WEST VIRGINIA

State Information

Nickname(s):                             Mountain State

Motto(s):                                     Mountaineers Are Always Free

State song(s):                           The West Virginia Hills, Take me Home Country Roads

 Capital and Largest City      Charleston

Admitted to US                        6/20/1863                 35th State

Brief History

West Virginia was the anti-slavery portion of Virginia that broke-way from Confederate Virginia, during the civil war. 

Here are a few interesting facts about West Virginia:

  • West Virginia has many limestone caves that are home to bats, making them rich in deposits of calcium nitrate.  Calcium nitrate was used in making gunpowder during the Civil War. 

  • West Virginia is the only state to have acquired its sovereignty by presidential proclamation.  

  • Seventy-five percent of West Virginia is covered by trees.  

  • West Virginia has the first suspension bridge in the world, in Wheeling. 

  • The state has beautiful mountains and is referred to as “the Switzerland of the US.”  

  • Famous people from West Virginia include: Don Knotts (actor), Mary Lou Retton (Olympic gold medalist), Jerry West (basketball), Steve Harvey (game show host), Peter Marshal (game show host), Bob Denver (actor), and many others.

Interesting Stories

Coal.    West Virginia is the second largest coal producing state in the Nation, behind Wyoming. Coal is located throughout the state and has been mined since the 1800s.  Coal laid the foundation for the industrial revolution. Without it this country would not exist.  In 1950, coal was producing 80% of the Nation’s electricity.  Nowadays, things are changing in an unexpected way.  China has been producing almost all of the rare earth elements, capturing 85% of the world’s supply.  Rare earth elements are used in all of our sophisticated electronic systems and satellites.  This creates a strange benefit to West Virginia.  Rare earths are located in coal seams, and high concentrations are present in the waste from the treatment plants in West Virginia. This provides West Virginia with a unique opportunity to take something old and reimagine it in a more modern context.

Chuck Yeager was born on a farm in Myra, West Virginia.  He enlisted in the Air Force during WWII and became a fighter pilot.  Chuck shot down five Messerschmitts in one day.  Two of those kills were accomplished when German pilots tried to follow him and crashed.  After the war, he became the most famous test pilot in the Nation breaking the sound barrier, fastest speed, and highest elevation. The term, “Right Stuff” describes him. 

George Brett was born in Glen Dale, West Virginia to a family steeped in baseball.  He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals and stayed with them for 20 years.  He has the most career hits by any third basement in major league history.  And he holds the distinctive honor of being the only MLB player to win a batting title in three different decades.  He received some unexpected publicity when Brett Kavanaugh reflected on a trip to a Red Sox-Royals game with Clemens pitching and George Brett playing left field.  George said his phone went crazy and he’s still getting texts. 

Brad Paisley is a West Virginia boy from Glen Dale – the same place that George Brett was born.  He got his musical abilities from his grandfather who gave him a guitar when he was eight.  Like most West Virginians, Brad is close and loyal to his family.  His debut as a singer was in 1999 when he appeared on the Grand Ole Opry.  His hits came pouring in.  His first album hit platinum. And in 2009, he broke the record for the most consecutive singles.  He wears a signature white Stetson hat and donates the proceeds from his hat sales to feed the hungry. 

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