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West Virginia History

Facts

state bird

WV state bird - the cardinal

WV state flower

WV State Flower - the rhododendron

state tree

WV State tree - the maple

state animal

WV State animal - the black bear

Great Seal of WV obverse

Great Seal of WV - front

Great Seal reverse side

Great Seal of WV - reverse side

Some facts and firsts about West Virginia:
1.  West Virginia has the second lowest cost of living rate in the United States.
2.  WV leads the nation in home ownership.  75.2% of our state's housing units are owner occupied.
3.  WV is within overnight trucking distance of more than 60% of the United States population and more than a third of the Canadian population.
4.  The first spa open to the public was at Berkeley Springs (then Bath, Virginia) in 1756.  Berkeley Springs has more massage therapists than lawyers and is the only place in the US to boast, "George Washington bathed here."
5.  Bruce Hardwood Floors in Beverly, WV, has the world's largest hardwood flooring plant.
6.  The world's first naturally occurring asphalt was discovered and mined at Ritchie Mines in southern Ritchie County, WV, in 1852.  It was used to pave streets as far away as London.
7.  West Virginia's Memorial Tunnel was the first in the nation to be monitored by television.  It opened November 8, 1954.
8.  WV has the fourth lowest industrial electriciy rates in the nation and the eighth lowest industrial natural gas costs.
9.  Nearly 80% of WV is covered with forests.  Eighty years ago, 80% of WV's forests had been cleared.
10.  Pearl S. Buck, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning author, was born in 1892 in Hillsboro, WV.
11.  In 1742, John Peter Salley discovered coal in what would become West Virginia.  By 1927, WV ranked first among bituminous coal producing states.  We are also the nation's number one exporter of coal.
12.  The first concrete street in the world was laid in the town of Webster Springs, WV, in 1903.
13.  Stone quarried near Hinton, WV, was used in the building of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., in 1885.
14.  The world's largest sycamore tree is located on the Back Fork of the Elk River in Webster Springs, WV.
15.  The Golden Delicious Apple was first produced in Clay County, WV, in 1912.
16.  The town of Weirton, WV, is the only city in the United States that extends from one state border to the other.
17.  West Virginia has had one of the lowest crime rates in the nation over the past two decades.
18.  The fifteen hundred block of Virginia Street in Charleston, WV, is considered the longest city block in the world.
19.  The Western Hemisphere's longest steel arch bridge is the New River Gorge Bridge at 1,700 feet.  It is also the second highest steel arch bridge in the US at 876 feet.
20.  The first brick street in the world was laid in Charleston, WV, on October 3, 1870, on Summers Street between Kanawha Boulevard and Virginia Street.