Appalachian Thursday – What do diamonds, women who dunk, and stalagmite sitting have in common?
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!