West Virginia Department of Commerce Unusual Facts about West Virginia

Recent Pages: Unusual Info
 

Unusual Facts about West Virginia



The first organized golf club in America is in West Virginia. West Virginia continues that tradition today with 1884 Oakhurst Links in White Sulphur Springs.

The border of the state of West Virginia is 1,365 miles flat (as the crow flies).

West Virginia’s Memorial Tunnel was the first in the nation to be monitored by television. It opened November 8, 1954.

The first rural free mail delivery was started in Charles Town on October 6, 1896, and then spread throughout the United States.

West Virginia was the first state to have a sales tax. It became effective July 1, 1921.

The first steamboat was launched by James Rumsey in the Potomac River at New Mecklensburg (Shepherdstown) on December 3, 1787.

Bailey Brown, the first Union solider killed in the Civil War, died on May 22, 1861, at Fetterman, Taylor County.

A naval battle was fought in West Virginia waters during the Civil War. United States Navy armored steamers were actively engaged in the Battle of Buffington Island near Ravenswood on July 19, 1863.

On February 14, 1824, at Harpers Ferry, John S. Gallaher published the "Ladies Garland," one of the first papers in the nation devoted mainly to the interests of women.

Organ Cave, near Ronceverte, is the third largest cave in the United States and the largest in the state.

A variety of the yellow apple, the Golden Delicious, originated in Clay County. The original Grimes Golden Apple Tree was discovered in 1775 near Wellsburg.

West Virginia has an mean altitude of 1,500 feet, giving it the highest average altitude east of the Mississippi.

The first iron furnace west of the Alleghenies was built by Peter Tarr on Kings Creek in 1794.

One of the first suspension bridges in the world was completed in Wheeling in November 1849.

Outdoor advertising had its origin in Wheeling about 1908 when the Block Brothers Tobacco Company painted bridges and barns with the wording: "Treat Yourself to the Best, Chew Mail Pouch."

Moundsville is the site of the continent’s largest cone-shaped prehistoric burial mound. It is 69 feet high and 900 feet in circumference at the base and was opened on March 19, 1838.

The first electric railroad in the world, built as a commercial enterprise, was constructed between Huntington and Guyandotte.

The first memorial building to honor World War I veterans was dedicated on May 30, 1923, in Welch.

On September 10, 1938, the Mingo Oak, largest and oldest white oak tree in the United States, was declared dead and felled with ceremony.

Coal House, the only residence in the world built entirely of coal, is located in White Sulphur Springs. The house was occupied on June 1, 1961.

"Paws-Paws," nicknamed the "West Virginia banana," originated in the state and took their name from Paw Paw, Morgan County.

The 1500 block of Virginia Street in Charleston is considered the longest city block in the world.

Declared a state by President Abraham Lincoln, West Virginia is the only state to be designated by Presidential Proclamation.

The world’s largest shipment of matches (20 carloads or 210,000,000 matches) was shipped from Wheeling to Memphis, Tennessee, on August 26, 1933.

Daniel Boone made his last survey of Charleston on September 8, 1798. He left the state in 1799.

The first white people to go through the New River Gorge and reach the head of Kanawha Falls were Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam on September 17, 1671.

William Tompkins used natural gas to evaporate salt brine in 1841, thus becoming the first person in the United States to use natural gas for industrial purposes.

The last public hanging in West Virginia was held in Jackson County in December 1897.

The first glass plant in West Virginia was at Wellsburg in 1815. The first pottery plant was in Morgantown in 1785.

In May 1860, the first well in the state for producing crude oil was drilled at Burning Springs.

Stone that was quarried near Hinton was contributed by West Virginia for the Washington Monument and arrived in Washington in February 1885.

West Virginia University was established on February 7, 1867 under the name of "Agricultural College of West Virginia."

On May 31, 1910, the Supreme Court held that the Maryland-West Virginia boundary was the low-water mark of the south bank of the Potomac River.

The first post office in West Virginia was established on June 30, 1792, at Martinsburg.

Mother’s Day was first observed at Andrews Church in Grafton on May 10, 1908.

The longest steel arch bridge (1,700 feet) in the Western Hemisphere is the New River Gorge Bridge.

The first spa open to the public was at Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, in 1756 (then, Bath, Virginia).

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was begun in West Virginia by Alexander Campbell in Bethany.

The first free school for African Americans in the entire south opened in Parkersburg in 1862.

Mrs. 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.

White Sulphur Springs, Greenbrier County, was the first "summer White House."

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.