West Virginia

20 Facts
About West Virginia

West Virginia Trivia and Interesting Facts

West Virginia is known for its coal industry and gorgeous mountain scenery, but there is certainly more to this mountainous state than meets the eye. Here are 20 of the most interesting facts about West Virginia.

State Flag

West Virginia State Flag

Location

West Virginia Location

State Seal

West Virginia State Seal
1 West Virginia is the only state in the country to have been made sovereign by a proclamation of a U.S. president (Abraham Lincoln).
2 The town of Grafton, West Virginia was the first place to celebrate Mother's Day in the United States in 1908.
3 West Virginia was the first state to enact a state sales tax in 1921.
4 The New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia is the longest steel arch bridge in the world. An annual event in its honor sees roughly 100,000 visitors every year.
5 West Virginia's median resident age is 40—the oldest population of any state in the U.S.
6 West Virginia played host to the first major land battle of the Civil War. The Battle of Philippi took place on June 3, 1861.
7 The Golden Delicious apple originated in Clay County, West Virginia and was discovered in the 1770s.
8 West Virginia has the highest average altitude east of the Mississippi River at 1,500 feet.
9 Minnie Buckingham Harper of West Virginia was appointed to the House of Delegates in 1928. She was the first African-American woman to become a member of a U.S. legislative body.
10 West Virginia, like its neighbor Virginia, received its name from England's Queen Elizabeth I (also known as the "virgin queen").
11 West Virginia was once a part of the state of Virginia, but due to irreconcilable differences leading up to the Civil War, the area that is now West Virginia split off from Virginia.
12 West Virginia is the second-largest coal producing state in the country behind Wyoming.
13 Famous West Virginia natives include Don Knotts, Chuck Yeager, Brad Paisley, Steve Harvey, and Stonewall Jackson.
14 The first ever radio-broadcasted football game was played between West Virginia University and Pitt.
15 The University of West Virginia also played home to the first basketball player to ever dunk in a college basketball game: Georgeann Wells.
16 The first strictly female federal prison was opened in West Virginia in 1926.
17 In November of 2014, West Virginia elected an 18-year-old to its House of Delegates. She became the youngest elected lawmaker in the United States.
18 West Virginia's state flower is the rhododendron and the state bird is the northern cardinal.
19 West Virginia is made up of roughly 78% forested land.
20 Although West Virginia did not become a state until 1863, in the 1700s, a group of people (including Benjamin Franklin) sought to make the area an additional colony known as Vandalia. The name paid homage to Queen Charlotte of England and was an attempt to persuade the King to approve the formation of the colony.
New River Gorge Bridge
"In the false American imagination, West Virginia is a joke or else it’s a charity case; but more than anything it is unseen, an invisible architecture of labor and struggle."
- Lauren F. Winner
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