1. The border of the state of West Virginia is 1,365 miles flat (as the
proverbial crow flies).
2. 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.
3. The first steamboat was launched by James Rumsey in the Potomac River at
New Mecklensburg (Shepherdstown) on December 3, 1787.
4. Bailey Brown, the first Union solider killed in the Civil War, died on
May 22, 1861, at Fetterman, Taylor County.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Organ Cave, near Ronceverte, is the third largest cave in the United
States and the largest in the state.
8. A variety of the yellow apple, the Golden Delicious, originated in Clay
County. The original Grimes Golden Apple Tree was discovered in 1775
9. West Virginia has an mean altitude of 1,500 feet, giving it the highest
average altitude east of the Mississippi.
10. The first iron furnace west of the Alleghenies was built by Peter Tarr
on Kings Creek in 1794.
11. One of the first suspension bridges in the world was completed in
Wheeling in November 1849.
12. 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."
13. The first electric railroad in the world, built as a commercial
enterprise, was constructed between Huntington and Guyandotte.
14. The first memorial building to honor World War I veterans was dedicated
on May 30, 1923, in Welch.
15. On September 10, 1938, the Mingo Oak, largest and oldest white oak tree
in the United States, was declared dead and felled with ceremony.
16. 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,
17. "Paws-Paws," nicknamed the "West Virginia banana," originated in the
state and took their name from Paw Paw, Morgan County.
18. The 1500 block of Virginia Street in Charleston is considered the
longest city block in the world.
19. Declared a state by President Abraham Lincoln, West Virginia is the only
state to be designated by Presidential Proclamation.
20. Daniel Boone made his last survey of Charleston on September 8, 1798. He
left the state in 1799.
21. 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
22. 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
23. The last public hanging in West Virginia was held in Jackson County in
24. The first glass plant in West Virginia was at Wellsburg in 1815. The
first pottery plant was in Morgantown in 1785.
25. In May 1860, the first well in the state for producing crude oil was
drilled at Burning Springs.
26. 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."
27. 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,
28. The longest steel arch bridge (1,700 feet) in the United States, and
once the world, is the New River Gorge Bridge.
29. The first spa open to the public was at Berkeley Springs, West Virginia,
in 1756 (then, Bath, Virginia).
30. The Christian Church was begun in West Virginia by Alexander Campbell in
31. The first free school for African Americans in the entire south opened
in Parkersburg in 1862.
32. 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.
33. Chester Merriman of Romney was the youngest soldier of World War I,
having enlisted at the age of 14.
34. White Sulphur Springs, Greenbrier County, was the first "summer White
35. The first brick street in the world was laid in Charleston, West
Virginia, on Oct. 23, 1870, on Summers Street, between Kanawha and
36. The Battle of Philippi — also called The Philippi Races —
was fought on June 3, 1861, in and around Philippi, (West) Virginia was the first organized land action
in the Civil War.
37. All Mountaineers know that the first battle of the Revolutionary
War was fought at Point Pleasant on October 10, 1774 commanded by Andrew Lewis. It was also referred to as the
Dunmore's War named after Lord Dunmore, Royal Governor of Virginia.
38. There were more battles and skirmishes fought within the boundaries
of what is now West Virginia than any other state, either Union or Conferderate.
49. Frank Woodruff Buckles (born February 1, 1901) is, at age 108, the
last verified living American veteran of World War I. He currently lives
in Charles Town, West Virginia and is the Honorary Chairman of the World War I Memorial Foundation.