West Virginia Department of Commerce Potomac Highlands

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Potomac Highlands





Grant County

Named for General Ulysses S. Grant, this area was created from Hardy County in 1866. At the extreme western corner of the county is the Fairfax Stone, set in 1746, which marks the southwestern border of Maryland. The exact spot is marked by the head spring or fountain of the Potomac River. The leading industrial and agricultural products are machinery, printing, polymers, electric power, coal, ladies apparel, lumber, livestock, hay, grain, poultry, fruit and maple sugar.

The county seat of Petersburg was named in 1745 for Jacob Peterson, who conducted the first general store in the county. During the 1830s the name was changed to Lunice Creek to avoid confusion with Petersburg near Richmond. It was later changed back.

Hampshire County
The oldest county in West Virginia was created in 1754 from parts of Frederick and Augusta Counties and named for the English Shire of the same name. The chief industrial and agricultural products are lumber, wood creosoting, sheep, fruit, hay, grain and livestock. Pliska Winery, part of West Virginia's growing wine industry, is located in Purgitsville.

Romney
, the county seat, was chartered in 1762 by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Fort Pearsoll was built here in 1756 for Indian defense. The West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind was established in Romney in 1870. Cacapon Bridge was incorporated in 1902 and named for the construction of the bridge over the Cacapon River. Cacapon was derived from the Shawnee Indian name Cape‑cape‑de‑hon, meaning "river of medicine water."

Hardy County
Named for the distinguished Virginian, Samuel Hardy, in 1786. The leading agricultural and industrial products are hay, grain, livestock, dairy farming, poultry processing, lumber and cabinet manufacturing. Moorefield, the poultry capital of West Virginia, is the county seat.

This area is known for their Heritage Weekend
in late September when colonial era farmhouses, churches and Victorian country homes are opened to the public.

Near Wardensville, the Lost River disappears under Sandy Ridge and reappears over four miles away at the headwaters of the Cacapon River. Lost River State Park
includes Lee Sulphur Springs, a 19th century resort owned by the family of General Robert E. Lee. A museum is housed in the cabin originally built by Lee's father, General "Light Horse" Harry Lee of the Revolutionary War.

Mineral County
Created in 1866 from Hampshire County, this area was named because of the mineral deposits found here. The county was an active battleground during the Indian wars. Fort Ashby, built in 1755, is the only fort remaining that Governor Dinwiddie directed to be built for frontier protection. Named for its commander, Captain John Ashby, it is located on the south bank of Patterson's Creek.

Nancy Hanks, mother of Abraham Lincoln, was born on the eastern slope of Saddle Mountain where her family settled in the early 1780s.

The chief agricultural and industrial products are fruit, hay, grain, livestock, dairy farming, buckwheat, maple sugar, coal, glass and lumber.

Waffle Rock, a 300-million-year-old rock formation, overlooks Jennings Randolph Lake
on the North Branch of the Potomac River. The lake offers fishing, boating and swimming opportunities.

Pendleton County
Created from parts of Augusta, Hardy and Rockingham Counties in 1788, this area was named in honor of Edmund Pendleton, a Virginia statesman and jurist. Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia, is located here at an elevation of 4,861 feet. Seneca Rocks, part of the Monongahela National Forest, offers excellent rock climbing opportunities.

Two Indian massacres occurred in 1758 at Fort Upper Tract and Fort Seybert when the Indians were led by the Shawnee Chieftain Kilbuck. Franklin, the county seat, is home to the Treasure Mountain Festival. The fair incorporates the 200-year legend of buried treasure being hidden in the nearby hills.


Pocahontas County
Named for the Indian princess Pocahontas, this area was created from Bath, Pendleton and Randolph Counties in 1821. Known as the "birthplace of rivers," eight rivers have their source in this county‑‑Cherry, Cranberry, Elk, Gauley, Greenbrier, Shavers Fork of the Cheat, Tygart Valley and Williams.

The most extensive Civil War conflict in the state was on November 6, 1863 at Droop Mountain. Confederate General John Echols was overpowered by Union forces under General William Averell and Confederate power was broken in the Greenbrier Valley. The battlefield was acquired by the state in 1929 and is now a state park.

The county is known for the recreational opportunities available from alpine and nordic skiing to trout fishing to mountain biking. Leading industrial and agricultural products are lumber tannery, livestock, potatoes, oats, maple sugar, honey and poultry. The county seat of Marlinton was named in honor of one of the first settlers to spend a winter in the county, Jacob Marlin. The 
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park was once a thriving lumber town. Geared steam locomotives, especially designed to haul timber out of rough terrain, will take you to the top of Bald Knob, the second highest point in the state.

Pearl S. Buck, the only American woman to win both the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize for literature, was born at her grandparents' home at Hillsboro in 1892. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is located in Green Bank and is the site of the largest radio satellite telescope in the world.

Randolph County
The largest of West Virginia's 55 counties with 1,046.34 square miles was formed in 1787. The area was named for Edmund Jennings Randolph, Virginia governor from 1786‑1788. The first Indian massacre in what is now West Virginia occurred in this county.

The first 4‑H camp in the world was held here. Chief agricultural and industrial products are potatoes, hay, grain, livestock, dairy farming, lumber, coal, furniture, clothing and shoes.

The county seat of Elkins was incorporated in 1890 and named for Stephen B. Elkins, United States senator from West Virginia in 1895‑1911. The city is the headquarters of the Monongahela National Forest. The heritage and traditions of the area are revived every summer during the Augusta Heritage Workshop Festival held on the campus of Davis and Elkins College.

West Virginia's oldest festival, Mountain State Forest Festival, is held the first week of October in Elkins.

In 1869, a group of Swiss and German immigrants from Berne, Switzerland settled in the area of the county where the mountains reminded them of home. They named their town Helvetia and their traditions and customs are carried out today by the current residents.


Tucker County
Named for Henry St. George Tucker, a Virginia jurist and statesman. Leading industrial and agricultural products are charcoal, coal, lumber, potatoes, maple sugar, buckwheat and livestock. 

Canaan Valley Resort State Park was West Virginia's first ski resort, opening in 1971. Located in Davis, Canaan is a four‑season resort offering a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities and nature programs.

Davis
is the highest municipality in the state at an elevation of 3,101 feet. Incorporated in 1889 and named for the family of Henry Gassaway Davis, United States senator from West Virginia, the town is also home to Blackwater Falls State Park and the five‑story falls of the Blackwater River.

The first officer to die during the Civil War (Confederate General Robert S. Garnett) was killed on July 3, 1861 at Corrick's Ford Battlefield near Parsons.