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West Virginia Fun Facts

West Virginia may be known for its breathtaking scenery and plethora of exciting outdoor activities, but there is much more to this great state than what meets the eye! There are many interesting and fun little tidbits of West Virginia trivia that are great to know as you are floating down the New River or flying among the trees on the zip line.

In the midst of the Civil War, West Virginia became the 35th state in the Union on June 20th, 1863, by a special proclamation through President Abraham Lincoln. The split was due to political, ideological, and economic differences from the eastern portion of Virginia.  The first union soldier died on West Virginian soil in 1861, securing West Virginia’s place in American history forever.

Here are some other fun facts about West Virginia:

-The border of West Virginia extends for over 1,300 miles.

-The first organized golf club in the United States was in West Virginia in 1884, at Oakhurst Links in White Sulphur Springs.

-West Virginia also was the first state to institute a sales tax, beginning in 1921.

-The mean altitude of West Virginia is 1,500 feet, giving it the highest elevation of any state east of the Mississippi River.

-The biggest industry in West Virginia is tourism; recently surpassing coal as the biggest money maker for the The state.

-The Greenbrier Hotel and Resort (located about 100 miles east of River Expeditions) was not only an Army hospital during WWII, but the springs there have also been rumored to cure many mild ailments and discomforts.

-The New River Gorge Bridge spans over 1,800 feet across the canyon, making it the longest steel-arch bridge in the United States.

-The “Golden Delicious” apple originated in West Virginia.

-Rhododendrons are the state flower of West Virginia.

-Brick streets originated in Charleston, West Virginia in 1870 on Summers Street.

-Alexander Campbell founded the Disciples of Christ in Bethany, West Virginia.

-In 1756, the first public spa was opened in Berkeley Springs.

-Some of the earliest suspensions bridges in the world were completed in West Virginia in 1849.

-The Sugar Maple is the state tree of West Virginia.

-James Rumsey piloted the first steamboat out of the Potomac River in New Mecklensburg (also known as Shepherdstown) in 1787.

Next time you are paddling, floating, or fishing in West Virginia, be sure to remember these facts! When you return home from your rafting trip, you will not only have these fun facts in mind, but also great new memories to add!

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