Yesterday was West Virginia Day. That would be the 155th birthday of my home state. Often, I celebrate the day by subjecting my readers to the history of how West Virginia became a state (and was almost called Kanawha, which I think would have been nice!), but this year I’m giving you a break. Instead of a history lesson, I thought I’d give you some fun facts about the incredibly unique southernmost northern state/northernmost southern state.
FUN FIRSTS – some more dubious than others . . .
- On July 1, 1921, West Virginia was the first state to institute a sales tax.
- Mother’s Day was first observed in Grafton, WV, in 1908. You can visit the Mother’s Day Shrine there today.
- The first brick street in the world was laid in Charleston, WV, in 1870.
- It was the first (and only) state created by presidential proclamation. Thanks Abraham Lincoln!
- Jackson’s Mill is the site of the first 4-H camp in the United States. And I went to camp there!
- The first US prison exclusively for women was opened in the state in 1926.
- 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.
FAMOUS WEST VIRGINIANS
- Stonewall Jackson – Civil War general
- Pearl Buck – author
- Chuck Yeager – test pilot
- Jerry West – basketball player and coach
- Don Knotts – actor (Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith Show)
- Brad Paisley – country singer
- Jennifer Garner – actress
- Bird – Cardinal
- Flower – Rhododendron
- Tree – Sugar Maple
- Animal – Black Bear
- Fish – Brook Trout
- Food – pepperoni roll
State Motto – Montani semper liberi – Mountaineers are always free!
So how about you? What fun facts do you know about your state?