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MARKER DATABASE
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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

West Virginia Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database

 

on January 19, 2022

 
1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikimedia Commons

 West Virginia ranks 19th among states and provinces with markers in this database. West Virginia is a state in the United States of America located in the American South. It is also in the Appalachia region. West Virginia is some 24 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 1.8 million people. The state is divided into 55 counties and all of them have entries in this database. In West Virginia we have discovered historical markers in 483 cities and towns lying in 365 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 2,694 historical markers in West Virginia, by our count. We have cataloged 2,649 historical markers and 329 war memorials—each individually presented on 2,937 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 1.6% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 45 historical markers in West Virginia that we don’t yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

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The first West Virginia marker in the database, The Mingo, was added May 10, 2006. It was photographed in Wheeling in Ohio County and was erected in 1928. The last one added was submitted on January 9, 2022, and titled Clay County WWI & WWII Veterans Memorial. It is in Clay in Clay County. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in West Virginia was erected in 1867. It was this one: Confederate Memorial, and one of our correspondents found it in Romney in Hampshire County on May 29, 2020.

West Virginia Historical Topics
820 • Civil War
512 • Settlements and Settlers
439 • Industry and Commerce
220 • Education
185 • Churches and Religion
177 • Colonial Era
165 • African Americans
163 • Railroads and Streetcars
156 • Cemeteries and Burial Sites
151 • Waterways and Vessels
    ... and others ...

West Virginians don’t want to forget their Civil War history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from West Virginia about the Civil War—820 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Settlements and Settlers with 512 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Civil War topic was Paw Paw, added July 21, 2006. It had been erected in Paw Paw in Morgan County. The last one submitted was submitted on January 9, 2022, and titled Capturing Spencer. It had been erected in Spencer in Roane County. The earliest marker erected with the Civil War topic that we have listed was erected in 1867. It is Confederate Memorial, found in Romney in Hampshire County on May 29, 2020.

What is the most interesting historical marker in West Virginia? What we know is that Hatfield Cemetery is the most viewed entry in the database from West Virginia since it was added in 2011. It is located near Sarah Ann in Logan County. This year so far, the most viewed West Virginian entry is located in Point Pleasant in Mason County. It is “Legend of the Mothman”.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The West Virginia county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Jefferson County, with 346 of them. It is followed by Monongalia County with 186 markers. The Harpers Ferry area of Jefferson County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 126. In Monongalia County the area with the most markers, 132, is Morgantown.

Historical Markers in These
West Virginia Counties
346 • Jefferson County
186 • Monongalia County
162 • Kanawha County
117 • Ohio County
107 • Fayette County
104 • Randolph County
103 • Berkeley County
102 • Morgan County
96 • Wood County
94 • Mason County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in West Virginia with the most markers we again find Morgantown at the top of the list with 132 markers in or near it. And Harpers Ferry also shows up again in next place, just missing out with 126 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 25425 at the top of the list with 184 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 25425 is assigned to Harpers Ferry WV including the Bolivar delivery area.) It is followed by ZIP Code 26003 with 112 markers. (26003 is assigned to Wheeling WV including the Bethlehem, Elm Grove, Mozart, Overbrook, and Warwood delivery areas.)

Historical Markers Near These
West Virginia Cities and Towns
132 • Morgantown
126 • Harpers Ferry
94 • Wheeling
86 • Berkeley Springs
84 • Point Pleasant
78 • Charleston
64 • Parkersburg
60 • Charles Town
59 • Bolivar
59 • Shepherdstown
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Jefferson County, the first marker added to the database from there, Keyes Gap, was added April 29, 2007. near Harpers Ferry. The last one submitted was uploaded on May 22, 2021, and is titled The History of White House Farm, near Charles Town. The earliest marker erected in Jefferson County that we have listed was erected in 1870. It was Confederate Dead, found in Shepherdstown on August 30, 2017.

Latest entry from West Virginia. Click to go there
By TeamOHE, December 27, 2021
Latest Entry from West Virginia
“Clay County WWI & WWII Veterans Memorial”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Morgantown. The first: Easton Roller Mill, was added December 3, 2008. It had been erected in 1984. The last: Stewartstown Honor Roll added on January 5, 2022. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1905: Monongalia County War Memorial, added on July 10, 2009.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

West Virginia Archives and History is currently in charge of the familiar silver and black double-sided official historical markers found all over the state. You will also find official markers erected by the West Virginia Historic Commission, a predecessor. We have 853 of their markers in the database.

In addition, West Virginia Civil War Trails—not government affiliated—also erected numerous historical markers, and we have 853 of their West Virginia markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from West Virginia. Click to go there
By Mike Wintermantel, March 19, 2017
A West Virginia Archives and History Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of West Virginia have been marked with history. Check out Clay County, Calhoun County and Lincoln County. We've only found, respectively, 10, 9, and 8 historical markers there. Visiting one or more of these parts of West Virginia might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

Jan. 19, 2022