Today is WV Day. But you probably already knew that. My home state is turning 156 and in honor of the day I thought I’d share some unusual facts about the Mountain State.
- The largest diamond ever found in North America was discovered in Peterson, WV, by the Jones family. They kept it in a cigar box for 14 years before realizing that it wasn’t just a piece of quartz, but rather a 34.5 carat diamond.
- About 75% of the state is covered by forests with nine state forests and 37 state parks.
- The New River in WV is actually among the world’s oldest rivers and runs from south to north instead of north to south like most other rivers in the U.S.
- The first woman to dunk a basketball in a college game was WV University center Georgeann Wells in 1985.
- In the northern panhandle the city of Weirton touches Ohio on one side and Pennsylvania in the other.
- In 1972 spelunker Bob Addis set the world record for stalagmite sitting in New World Caverns in WV. He stayed up there for 16 days.
- When it seceded from the Union, plans were to call the state Kanawha, but they went with a shortened version of Western Virginia since that’s what everyone was already calling it. And cursed natives to hear, “So you’re from Western Virginia–right?” from then on.
Happy birthday, Mountain state!