81 West Virginia Facts And Weird Laws

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West Virginia boasts the best of the East Coast’s beautiful scenery. West Virginia is a forested mountainous state filled with rivers, hiking trails, camping sites, and ski resorts. 

From the historic Harpers Ferry to the celebrated golf courses in Greenbrier, West Virginia offers an unparalleled adventure.

Did you know that West Virginia has a bunker? The bunker in Greenbrier was constructed during the Eisenhower Era.

Here is the complete list of West Virginia facts you may not know.

Best Fun Facts About West Virginia

  1. The state’s name was going to be Kanawha after the Native American tribe.
  2. The Narrow Northern Panhandle of West Virginia resulted from a border dispute with Pennsylvania.
  3. Cecil Underwood is West Virginia’s youngest and oldest governor.
  4. Wheeling was West Virginia’s original capital.
  5. West Virginia has a bunker in Greenbrier resort.
Credits: Unsplash

West Virginia Facts—Politics And Government

  1. West Virginia is a reliably red state in the federal elections. The state’s popular votes have gone to the Republican presidential candidates in all elections since 2000. 
  2. The Republican Party holds a majority in both houses of the general assembly.
  3. In 2016, Donald Trump got his largest vote share in West Virginia. He got 67.87% of the total votes.
  4. Democratic nominees have not won any of the West Virginia counties since 2008.
  5. West Virginia is a pro-life state. They voted against abortion with the 7th largest vote in the nation.
  6. West Virginia has a bicameral legislature housed in the state capitol.
  7. The West Virginia legislature is a citizen legislature, where legislators only hold part-time positions. 
  8. Governors of West Virginia serve two four-year terms and must sit out one term before vying for the third term. Jim Justice is the current governor of the state.
  9. West Virginia remained the only state to abolish the death penalty in the southeastern United States until 2021, when Virginia joined. 
  10. Today, West Virginia is among the 27 US states without the death penalty.
  11. West Virginia has 31 judicial circuits with judges who serve for eight years.
  12. West Virginia has a single appellate court. Only 10 other states have the same.
  13. West Virginia Court of Appeals is the most active Court of Appeal.
  14. The Supreme Court of West Virginia has 5 judges elected to whopping 12-year terms.
  15. West Virginia is an alcoholic beverage control state.
  16. Charleston is the state capital of West Virginia.

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West Virginia Facts—History

  1. The mound-building cultures were the early inhabitants of present-day West Virginia.
  2. The Sioux nation was already living in the region of West Virginia by 1600.
  3.  Susquehannock and Shenandoah are the other Native American Tribes who lived in this region.
  4. Native American people such as the Shawnee arrived in West Virginia during the Beaver Wars.
  5. Robert Fallam and Thomas Batts were the first Europeans to discover Kanawha Falls.
  6. Mill Creek was home to the first permanent European settlement in this region.
  7. In 1725, German settlers established New Mecklenburg on the Potomac River.
  8. Thomas Fairfax received the land rights to the Northern Neck–between Rappahannock River and Potomac River–from King Charles II. 
  9. The Ohio Company, Indiana Company, and Vandalia Company all laid claims to some West Virginia and Kentucky regions.
  10. Settlers established a territory called Westsylvania to settle the disputes of land.
  11. West Virginia was part of the Virginia Colony from 1607 to 1776.
  12. Between 1776 and 1863, West Virginia was the western region of Virginia.
  13. West Virginia remained the only state to split from a Confederate State amidst the Civil War.
  14. The northern region of Virginia formed the state of West Virginia after the Wheeling Conventions.
  15. West Virginia was admitted to the Union in 1863.
  16. West Virginia’s name originated from Queen Elizabeth I.

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West Virginia Facts—Geography

Credits: Unsplash
  1.  West Virginia is the 10th smallest state by area in the US. It has a size of 24,077.73 square miles.
  2. Charleston is the largest city area (84.54 km²) in West Virginia.
  3. Nicknamed the Mountain State, West Virginia covers the Mid-Atlantic region of the US.
  4. The state shares its borders with Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Kentucky.
  5. The border with Virginia state is its longest at 381 miles.
  6. West Virginia is a mountainous state located in the Appalachian Mountains.
  7. Nearly  75% of West Virginia lies in the Cumberland and Allegheny Plateaus.
  8. West Virginia has the highest average elevation (1,500 feet above sea level) of all the states east of the Mississippi River.
  9. The Spruce Knob peak in Monongahela National Park is the state’s highest point at 4,863 feet above sea level.
  10. West Virginia is home to the New River Gorge Canyon, 1,000 feet in depth.
  11. West Virginia is home to around 46 named rivers, including Cheat River, Cherry River, Coal River, Cranberry River, Hughes River, Kanawha River, and Ohio River.
  12. Summersville Lake is the state’s largest lake, covering 2,700 acres.
  13. Trout Pond (formerly Old Pond) is the state’s only natural lake.
  14. The climate in this state is majorly humid subtropical with hot and humid summers. The winters are chilly, but the severity varies with elevation.
  15. The mountain regions experience cooler temperatures than the lower regions.
  16. The Allegheny Mountains form a rain shadow in the Valleys of Western West Virginia.
  17. West Virginia is one of the nation’s cloudiest states, with some areas having more than 210 annual cloudy days.
  18. Tygart Valley in West Virginia experiences denser fog than any region.
  19. West Virginia is one of the states in the eastern United States least affected by tornadoes.

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West Virginia Facts—Plants And Animals Life

  1. The vegetation native to West Virginia includes hardwood trees such as oak, white pine, maple, and beech.
  2. American sycamore and Willow thrive near the state’s water areas.
  3. Crepe Myrtle, southern magnolia, Sabal minor, and needle palm thrives in the Ohio River Valley and the eastern panhandle.
  4. State symbols for plants include state flower (rhododendron), state tree (Sugar Maple), and
  5. West Virginia is home to the Eastern Prickly Pears.
  6. The Mountain State is home to more than 70 mammal species, including red foxes, skunks, gray foxes, weasels, bobcats, white-tailed deer, snowshoe hare, and opossum among others.
Credits: Unsplash
  1. The endangered animals in West Virginia include the West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel, Indiana bat, Eastern Cougar, and Virginia big-eared bat.
  2. The black bear is the state mammal of West Virginia.
  3. The native and migratory birds living in West Virginia include American Robin, Bluejay, Northern Cardinal, American Mockingbird, Catbird, hummingbird, and American Sparrow.
  4. Northern Cardinal is the state bird of West Virginia.
  5. The reptiles thriving in the state include over 20 turtles, snakes, and lizards.
  6. The timber rattlesnake is the state reptile of West Virginia.
  7. Copperhead snake is one of the venomous snakes in the state.
  8. West Virginia is home to fish, including bowfins, freshwater eels, sturgeons, lampreys, and freshwater catfish.
  9. Brook Trout is the state fish of West Virginia.

West Virginia Facts—Demographics

  1. West Virginia is the 12th least populous state in the US, with 1,793,716 people (2020 Census).
  2. Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, and Parkersburg are some of the major cities in West Virginia.
  3. Charleston is the most populated city and home to the state’s Capitol Building.
  4. The state’s median age is 41 years.
  5. Over 75% of the residents of West Virginia are Christians.
  6. The dominant racial group in West Virginia is the whites, with 93 percent of the total population. 
  7. West Virginia has one of the nation’s lowest foreign-born residents.
  8. Asian population in West Virginia is one of the nation’s lowest numbers.
  9. About 97% of West Virginians speak only English.

West Virginia Facts—Economy

Credits: Unsplash
  1. Tourism is one of the key industries to West Virginia’s economy.
  2.  West Virginia was the first to introduce a sales tax in the nation.
  3.  Morgantown is home to West Virginia University –one of the best universities in the nation.
  4. West Virginia coal is the second-highest in quantity in the US. Wyoming is the only state that produces more coal than West Virginia.
  5. West Virginia lies in the Marcellus Shale Natural gas bed.
  6. WVU Medicine and Walmart were the two largest private employers in West Virginia in 2019.

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Famous Location in West Virginia

Blackwater Falls. Credits: Unsplash
  1. Blackwater Falls State Park on the Blackwater River in Davis.
  2.  Monongahela National Forest is home to the state’s highest point and wildlife and forests. The national forest houses the Spruce Knob–Seneca Recreational Area, with the famous Seneca Rocks.
  3. Greenbrier Resort is a historic place located in White Sulphur Springs. It is home to ” Project Greek Island,” a bunker built during the Cold War.
  4. Snowshoe Resort in Snowshoe is famous for skiing.
  5. Berkeley Springs State Park in Berkeley.
  6. The New River is one of the nation’s oldest rivers. It flows via the Appalachian mountains to the New River Gorge. 
  7. The New River Gorge Bridge is the longest steel arch bridge in the world. Hawk’s Nest State Park also lies along the New River Gorge National River.
  8. Harpers Ferry is a small town located at the meeting point of the Potomac River and Shenandoah River. The Appalachian Trail Visitor Center and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park are some of the population places in this town.
  9. West Virginia Penitentiary is a popular place among paranormal researchers.
  10. Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.
  11. West Virginia State Museum in Charleston.
  12. Seneca Caverns in Riverton.

Famous People From West Virginia

Here are the famous West Virginia natives.

  1. Steve Harvey, the comedian, was born in Welch, West Virginia.
  2. Mary Lou Retton, the first american woman to win the all-around gymnastics event at the Olympics, was born in Fairmont, West Virginia.
  1. Katie Lee, chef & journalist, was born in Huntington, West Virginia.
  2. Jessica Lynch, the first female POW, was born in Palestine, West Virginia.
Image: ABC
  1. Morgan Spurlock, the film director, was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
  2. Joe Manchin, the politician, was born in Farmington, West Virginia.

Common Misconceptions About West Virginia

Here are some of the most misleading beliefs non-residents have about Mountain State.

West Virginia is part of Virginia

West Virginia attained statehood during the Civil War.

Incest is a thing in West Virginia

You can marry your third cousin, but it isn’t common in this state.

West Virginia is boring

There are several indoor and outdoor activities to do in this state. 

Weird Laws In West Virginia

Here are our top 10 weird laws in the Mountain State. Read the Craziest Laws in the United States, if you want more.

  1. You may not wear a hat when you are in a theater.
  2. The state Constitution prohibits residents of West Virginia from owning a black or red flag.
  3. In Nicholas County, it’s illegal for the clergy to tell jokes during a service.
  4. In Huntington County, Firemen should not flirt.
  5. You risk a fine of at least 50 dollars when you live with your partner before you get married.
  6. It’s unlawful to whistle underwater.
  7. Children may not go to school with the “wild onion smell” in their mouths.
  8. You may not sleep on a train.
  9. Chickens may not lay eggs before 8 AM or after 4 PM.
  10. In Alderson, it’s illegal to walk your tiger, leopard, or lion.
Image: Daily Mail

Final Thoughts

West Virginia is a fantastic place with a rich cultural heritage and thousands of history. 

The state’s unique politics, history, geography, and wildlife make it one of the top states to visit in the nation today.  

What is the most interesting West Virginia Fact you learned today?

West Virginia Stats And Facts

Population2020 (1,793,716)
GovernorJim Justice (Republican Party)
Date Of AdmissionJune 20, 1863
U.S. SenatorsShelly Moore Capito(R)
Joe Manchin(D)
US House of Representatives3 (of 435 Seats) 
State NicknameMountain State
State Motto“Montani Semper Liberi, ” for Mountaineers are Always Free
State Song“The West Virginia Hills” by Ellen King and H. E. Engle.
State FlowerRhododendron 
State FishBrook Trout
State BirdCardinal
State TreeSugar Maple
State AnimalBlack Bear
State SoilMonongahela
State RockBituminous coal
State GemFossil Coral
State FossilMegalonyx jeffersonii
Neighbor StatesOhio Kentucky Pennsylvania Virginia Maryland

Frequently Asked Questions

What is West Virginia famous for?

  • Dense forests.
  • The Appalachian Mountains.
  • Ohio River.
  • Charles Town.
  • Summers Street.
  • Ohio County.

What are the 10 Surprising Facts About West Virginia?

  1. West Virginia is the only state completely located in the Appalachian Mountains.
  2. West Virginia is the nation’s 3rd most forested state.
  3. West Virginia is 24 hours away from 75% of the US population.
  4. West Virginia is home to the world’s second-largest hand-cut building. Only the Kremlin is larger than the Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.
  5. Greenbrier Resort is home to a banker constructed during the Eisenhower Era.
  6. The nation’s most extensive quiet zone is in Eastern West Virginia.
  7. Clay County is home to the golden delicious apple.
  8. West Virginia is the third most forested state in the US.
  9. About 1.13 million acres of West Virginia land belong to the federal government.
  10. Charleston, West Virginia is home to the first brick street in the nation–Summer Street.

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[1] https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.history.com/.amp/topics/us-states/west-virginia

[2] https://worldpopulationreview.com/states/west-virginia-population

[3] https://www.attractionsofamerica.com/attractions/westvirginia.php

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Sabrina is a former campaign manager who has decided to focus her effort to help people contact senators and get help. She leads our Editorial Team with Ronald and Lawrence to curate content and resources that help us navigate the system.

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