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West Virginia Facts

West Virginia Facts

West Virginia is an eastern U.S. state in the Appalachian Mountains. It has some of the east coast’s most beautiful scenery and is a great place for outdoor adventures.

Hiking, camping, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and fishing are popular activities thanks to the state’s mountains, forested wilderness areas, and fast-running rivers. People also visit West Virginia to see historical sites and other unique attractions.

west-virginia-seal

Quick Facts

  • Capital: Charleston
  • Population: 2 million
  • Nickname: Mountain State
  • Key Cities: Morgantown, Charleston, Huntington, Wheeling, Fairmont
  • Postal Abbreviation: WV
  • Major Industries: Chemicals, biotech, energy, aerospace, automotive

History

  • How did West Virginia get its name: West Virginia was formed when 39 counties split from Virginia instead of joining the Confederacy. The new state’s name was borrowed from Virginia, which was named in honor of Elizabeth I, Queen of England.
  • Date admitted to the Union: Saturday, June 20, 1863

Geography

  • Size: 24,038 sq. miles
  • Lowest point: Potomac River at 240 ft.
  • Highest point: Spruce Knob at 4,861 ft.
  • Counties: 55
  • Famous locations: New River Gorge National River, Blackwater Falls State Park, Appalachian Trail, John Brown’s Fort

Famous West Virginians 

  • Randy Moss- football player
  • Brad Paisley- singer
  • Jerry West- basketball player/coach
  • Bill Withers- singer/songwriter
  • Steve Harvey- comedian/television host
  • Nick Saban- college football coach

Fun Facts

  • When Virginia voted to secede from the Union in 1861, representatives from 39 counties who were against this decision held a meeting. They voted to side with the Union and form a separate state. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the order recognizing West Virginia as its own state.
  • West Virginia’s historic Greenbriar Hotel was built in 1778, and more than half of all U.S. presidents have stayed there. For 30 years, the hotel also held a secret bunker where Congress could meet in case of a nuclear attack.

greenbriar-hotel

  • The New River (which runs through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina) is actually one of the oldest rivers in the world. Some experts believe it’s second only to the Nile River in Egypt.
  • The New River Gorge Bridge is the second highest steel arch bridge in the world at 876 feet. On Bridge Day each October, people gather to parachute and bungee jump off the giant bridge. About 100,000 people attend the event annually.
  • West Virginia is responsible for 15 percent of U.S. coal production. The state is also home to the Coal House, the only residence in the world made entirely of coal. It’s located in White Sulphur Springs.

More US state facts.