Thursday, September 6, 2012

West Virginia - #35, June 20, 1863

We have arrived at West Virginia, a state that became part of the United States having been a part of another state - West Virginia seceded from the rest of Virginia during the Civil War and was admitted as a Union State shortly before the battle of Gettysburg.  As a result, West Virginia is the only state in the Union to have acquired its sovereignty by proclamation of the President of the United States. 

Some fun facts about the Mountain State:
  • The state is considered the southern most northern state and the northern most southern state.
  • Mother's Day was first observed at Andrews Church in Grafton on May 10, 1908.
  • Jackson's Mill is the site of the first 4-H Camp in the United States.
  • The New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville is the second highest steel arch bridge in the United States and the longest steel arch bridge (1,700 feet) in the world. Every October on Bridge Day, the road is closed and individuals parachute and bungee cord jump 876 feet off the bridge.
  • West Virginia has an mean altitude of 1,500 feet, giving it the highest average altitude east of the Mississippi.
  • T. Bailey Brown, the first Union solider killed in the Civil War, died on May 22, 1861, at Fetterman, Taylor County.
  • Minnie Buckingham Harper, a member of the House of Delegates by appointment in 1928, was the first African American woman to become a member of a legislative body in the United States. 
  • Chester Merriman of Romney was the youngest soldier of World War I, having enlisted at the age of 14. 
  • The first brick street in the world was laid in Charleston, West Virginia, on October 23, 1870, on Summers Street, between Kanawha and Virginia Streets.
The current Governor of West Virginia is Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin.  Both Senators for West Virginia are Democrats, the senior Senator is Jay Rockefeller (John D. Rockefeller IV) and the junior Senator is former Governor of the state, Joe Manchin III. There are only three members in the WV Congressional delegation, two Republicans and one Democrat.
    • State Capital (and largest city) - Charleston
    • Date of Admission - June 20, 1863
    • Area - 24,230 sq mi (41st) 
    • Population (2011 est.) - 1,855,364 (37th) 
    • State Motto - "Montani semper liberi" "Mountaineers are always free"
    • State Nickname - The Mountain State
    • State animal - black bear
    • State bird - cardinal
    • State flower - rhododendron
    • State tree - sugar maple
    • State University - West Virginia University was established on February 7, 1867 under the name of "Agricultural College of West Virginia."
    • West Virginia State Archives part of the Division of Culture and History
    Prominent West Virginians - (here's a few lists to peruse, one and two)

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