Located in the western part of the United States in the Appalachian region, West Virginia is the 41st largest state in terms of size and 38th largest in terms of population, making it the 29th most densely populated state overall. West Virginia covers an area of 24,230 square miles and has an estimated population of 1.81 million. This state has borders with Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Overview

Overview
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Nicknamed 'Mountain State' due to its many mountainous areas, West Virginia has been built on core industries of agriculture and mining. It is also a highly popular state for nature and outdoor enthusiasts, with lots of areas that are perfectly suited for activities like hiking, fishing, skiing, camping, mountaineering, and more. The capital city of West Virginia is Charleston, which is also the largest city in the state. The Greater Huntington area is the largest metropolitan area in West Virginia. Read on for some additional facts, statistics, and details of the largest cities in West Virginia.

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2.Charleston

Charleston
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Located in Kanawha County, of which it is the county seat, Charleston is the largest city of West Virginia. It is also the state capital and is located in the central western part of the state. Charleston covers a total area of 32.66 square miles and has an estimated population 49,000, with over 222,000 in the surrounding metropolitan area. This city was founded in 1788 and incorporated in 1794.

Charleston's early economy was reliant on local natural resources including coal, salt, and natural gas, but has expanded over the years to include additional industries like healthcare, trade, and public utilities. Education is also an important part of life in Charleston, with the city being home to the University of Charleston, as well as a campus of West Virginia State University.

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3.Huntington

Huntington
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Located in both Cabell County and Wayne County, Huntington is the second largest city in West Virginia. It is part of the Hunting-Ashland Metropolitan Statistical Area, also known as the Tri-State Area since it covers parts of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. Huntington was founded on the Ohio River and is situated in the western part of the state, covering an area of 18.46 square miles.

This city has an estimated population of 48,000, with over 363,000 in the full metropolitan area. Nicknamed 'River City', Huntington was named after Collis Potter Huntington, one of the major names in railroad construction in the United States. The city is known as a touristic, scenic location due to its proximity to the Appalachian Mountains and many green spaces.

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4.Morgantown

Morgantown
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Located in Monongalia County, of which it is the county seat, Morgantown is the third largest city in West Virginia. It covers a total area of 10.62 square miles and is situated in the northern part of the state. The estimated total population of Morgantown is 30,000, with over 137,000 people living in the city's metropolitan area.

Settled in 1772 and incorporated in 1838, Morgantown is best-known as the home of the flagship campus of West Virginia University, which was founded in 1867 and draws in tens of thousands of students each year.

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5.Parkersburg

Parkersburg
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Located in Wood County, of which it is the county seat, Parkersburg is the fourth biggest city in the state of West Virginia. It is situated in the northern central part of the state near the border with Ohio. Parkersburg covers a total area of 12.35 square miles and has an estimated population of 30,000, with over 92,000 in the full metropolitan area.

Originally known as Newport, the city was renamed Parkersburg in 1810 in honor of Alexander Parker, who owned much of the land on which the settlement had been founded. Due to its proximity to Ohio and location at the confluence between the Ohio River and Little Kanawha River, Parkersburg has been a key transportation and trade hub for West Virginia.

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6.Wheeling

Wheeling
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Located in both Ohio County and Marshall County, Wheeling is the fifth largest city in West Virginia. It is the county seat of Ohio County and is located in the northern part of the state. Wheeling covers a total area of 16.01 square miles and the city's estimated population is 27,000, with over 145,000 in the metropolitan area.

Wheeling was first settled in 1769 and incorporated in 1836. The origins of the city's name are unclear but the main theory suggests that the name comes from Native American language words meaning 'place of the head'. Founded in an area with good natural and man-made transportation routes, Wheeling grew into a prime trade center for West Virginia and Ohio.

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5 of the Largest Cities in West Virginia


  • Overview, Photo: Jerry/stock.adobe.com
  • Charleston, Photo: Pixel_PEEP/stock.adobe.com
  • Huntington, Photo: Jill Greer/stock.adobe.com
  • Morgantown, Photo: steheap/stock.adobe.com
  • Parkersburg, Photo: Sono Creative/stock.adobe.com
  • Wheeling, Photo: aceshot/stock.adobe.com
  • Cover Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com

More Ideas: The West Virginia University Core Arboretum

Located on a 91-acre tract of a hillside near the WVU Coliseum on the campus of the West Virginia University in Morgantown, the WVU Core Arboretum is a botanical garden founded by the University for recreation, research, and education that welcomes visitors every day, from dawn to dusk. Nestled between the Monongahela River and Monongahela Boulevard, the WVU Core Arboretum is home to a variety natural habitats in which several hundred species of native herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees reside.

Established in 1948 when the West Virginia University purchased the site, the WVU Core Arboretum was named after Professor Earl Lemley Core, who was chairman of the Biology Department and is now managed by the WVU Department of Biology.

The Gardens

Situated on a steep hillside and the flood plains of the Monongahela River, the WVU Core Arboretum consists of old-growth forest and includes densely wooded areas featuring 3.5 miles of walking trails, and three acres of lawn planted with specimen trees. The Arboretum also features a diverse variety of natural habitats in which hundreds of species of native shrubs, trees and herbaceous plants that are endemic to the area.

The Arboretum is renowned for its magnificent wildflower displays from late March to early May and is an excellent spot to observe animals and birds. Other facilities in the WVU Core Arboretum include trailside benches and interpretive signs throughout the park, a small amphitheater, and an information kiosk, which provides trail maps and other information free of charge.

The WVU Core Arboretum features 3.5 miles of walking trails, including the Guthrie Loop and Strausbaugh Trail, which are relatively gently and level and close to the parking lot. The Caperton Rail-Trail which also passes through the gardens and link visitors to the far-reaching rail-trail system.

Located along a major north-flowing river and featuring a variety of diverse habitats, the WVU Core Arboretum is home to a wealth of wildlife and birds, as well as excellent possibilities for viewing. More than 160 species of birds have recorded in the garden, ranging from herons, ring-necked ducks, tundra swans, and green-winged teals, to lesser scaups, buffleheads, northern pintails, and woodpeckers. Mammals that call the Arboretum home include beavers, raccoons, woodchucks, muskrats, foxes, and deer.

Visitor Information

The West Virginia University Core Arboretum is located on Monongahela Boulevard and is open to the public every day during daylight hours.

Monongahela Blvd, Morgantown, WV 26502, Phone: 304-293-0387

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More Ideas: West Virginia State Museum

The West Virginia State Museum is operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History with a mission to preserve and promote the history, culture and arts of West Virginia. The museum is located on the first floor of the West Virginia Culture Center at the West Virginia State Capital. Visitors to the museum may follow a path through twenty-six different exhibition rooms.

The showpath takes guests on a journey through the history of West Virginia beginning with exhibits on the state’s geology, coal forests and the pre-historic cultures that lived along the river plains. Exhibits follow the state’s history through European settlement and frontier life, to the struggle for statehood, explore life as a coal miner in a coal town, and how things changed with the Great Depression. West Virginia’s history during the Civil Rights movement, and 20th century changes to culture and transportation are also displayed. Visitors may end their tour with a 5-minute audiovisual presentation on the state’s efforts to preserve cultural and historical artifacts and what it means to be a proud West Virginian today.

The museum displays over one thousand artifacts from the state’s collection. Artifacts from the pre-historic collection include the world’s oldest known seed, and part of a mastodon jaw. An audiovisual presentation in the Conflict and Settlement room features the history of the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and battles related to early European settlement. A special exhibit on Wheeling, one of the state’s largest cities, introduces the concept of immigration and highlights the cultural achievements of the city and the influence of the railroads. Significant objects include numerous Civil War artifacts, a reproduction of an early 1900’s coal company store, historic and contemporary painting and sculpture by West Virginia artists, and a springboard wagon from the late 1800’s from which the Reverend George W. Kesler would preach to the public. Perhaps the most asked-about artifact in the museum’s collection are Emmiline and Alexander, two fleas who passed in 1906, but enjoyed a lavish life as entertainers with the flea circus of New York City.

History: The collection of the West Virginia State Museum was begun in the 1890’s with the organization of the West Virginia Historical and Antiquarian Society. Although the society had limited state support, it was given space in the first floor of the state capital building to house exhibits. The exhibits officially opened to the public as a museum in 1894, featuring a small permanent collection, as well as a number of items that had recently been on display at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The Historical Society’s collection legally became part of the West Virginia State Museum in 1905 with an act of legislation. The collection was then moved to it’s own home in the Capitol Annex, which by a stroke of luck, saved it from the fire which devastated the capitol building in 1921.

The collection moved to the newly opened West Virginia Science and Culture Center in 1976, where it remains today. A 2009 renovation expanded the exhibits and added architectural enhancements and interactive displays.

Ongoing Programs and Education: Guests may explore the exhibits via a self-guided tour. Guided tours are available for groups of 15 or more. The museum offers an extensive array of materials to support teachers with lesson plans and educational videos. Lessons are geared towards students in grades four through eight. Activity Packages allow students to participate in interactive learning experiences. Over nine activities to choose from include a Young Writers Kit, an Adventure Kit, a Team Challenge and Classroom Jeopardy. A once-weekly afterschool program offers educational activities for children in grades two through five. Saturday programs are geared towards the whole family. Each Saturday centers on a different theme and allows for exploration of the exhibits as well as family participation in classic games.

Past and Future Exhibits: Two exhibit rooms at the museum are dedicated to changing displays. Temporary exhibits allow for the museum’s permanent collection to be showcased on a rotating basis, and allow for the display of visiting artifacts and artwork. Recent exhibits have included a juried quilt show and a juried art show in collaboration with the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

What’s Nearby: The West Virginia State Museum is located on the first floor of the West Virginia Culture Center. The Culture Center hosts a variety of performances and events and houses the State Archives. The Culture Center is located within the Capitol Complex, home to the State Capitol.

1900 Kanawha Boulevard East Charleston WV 25305, Phone: 304-558-0220

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More Ideas: Art Museum of West Virginia University

The Art Museum of West Virginia University is dedicated to showcasing modern artworks and providing a stimulating educational environment for audiences to experience the beauty and power of art. Located on the Evansdale campus of the West Virginia University in Morgantown, the Art Museum of WVU features two integrated facilities, namely the Art Museum and the Museum Education Center, and the beautiful Nath Sculpture Garden, which offers a peaceful place to relax. The Museum features a variety of collections of drawings, paintings, sculpture, print works and more, as well as provides a range of collection-focused educational programs, lectures, tours, and performances.

The mission of the Art Museum of West Virginia University aims to provide an inviting and stimulating educational environment for audiences to experience and enjoy the metamorphic power of visual art by examining a variety of artistic traditions of world cultures, both past, and present, in a variety of exhibits.

The Art Museum

The Art Museum features state-of-the-art facilities, including two naturally-lit art galleries boasting more than 5,400 square feet of exhibition space, an elegant lobby space to welcome museum visitors, a study room for researching and examining works of art, a storage area to securely protect and preserve collected works of art, and a fully-equipped University classroom for 25 students.

The Museum Education Center

Formerly the two-story Erickson Alumni Center, which was designed by acclaimed architect Michael Graves, the Museum Education Center features a beautiful Grand Hall for educational programs, including lectures, symposiums, musical and theatrical performances, and museum offices for staff. The Museum Education Center can be hired as a private facility for meetings, receptions, and other functions, and a bookstore and gift shop sells books, gifts, and refreshments.

The Nath Sculpture Garden

The Nath Sculpture Garden seamlessly blends the interiors of the Museum with the outside world with a beautiful garden that spans 2,5 acres in front of the Art Museum. Named after retired WVU Professor Nath, the sculpture garden is renowned for the beauty of its landscapes and features artworks purchased with donated funds, including five Shona sculptures by Zimbabwe artists, and a ‘bridge’ installed by a contemporary Chinese artist.

The Art Museum of West Virginia University features a collection of paintings, drawings, prints, ceramics, and sculpture, including more than 3,000 works of international art. The current art collection features paintings by artists such as Tim McFarlane, William Conger, Jean Metzinger, Rockwell Kent, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Cole, William Merritt Chase, and William Schumacher, as well as an acclaimed collection of works by American Modernist artist, Blanche Lazzell.

The collection of works on paper and prints includes pieces by artists such as Andy Warhol, Francisco Goya, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Robert Rauschenberg, Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt van Rijn, Stanley William Hayter, and Jasper Johns. There are also prints by contemporary artists Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker, William Kentridge, Willie Cole, and Leslie Dill.

The Asian Collection holds significant historical works, including Korean Silla pottery, Japanese prints, Chinese scroll paintings, and works from India and Thailand, while the Harry Shaw Collection features more than 160 examples of contemporary ceramics. The Leonhart Collection of African Art features a range of jewelry, textiles and ritual objects, and the James Edward Davis Collection contains over 100 artworks by innovative American artist and filmmaker, James Edward Davis.

The Art Museum of West Virginia University offers a range of collection-focused educational programs, lectures, field trips and tours and performances that aim to inspire, educate and transform the way audiences experience art. Programs include artist demonstrations, lectures, workshops and classes, school programs, concerts, and theatrical performances, as well as exhibitions based on the museum’s collection.

Visitor Information

The Art Museum of West Virginia University is located on Two Fine Arts Drive on the campus of the University.. The Museum offers guided tours for after-school programs, church groups, senior centers, and other organizations, for which reservation is required.

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Two Fine Arts Drive, Morgantown, WV 26506, Phone: 304-293-7790

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