West Virginia Day
Citizens of West Virginia celebrate their statehood on June 20th annually. When the holiday falls on a Sunday, observance moves to the next day. Many festivities occur at the State Capitol in Charleston and historic sites. These may include exhibits, colonial costume parties, educational programs, historical tours, and reenactments. Another popular tradition is to hold lunches and barbeques, often held by West Virginia patriotic-themed associations, outdoors along with swimming and athletic games. Some West Virginians reserve the day to celebrate the state’s beautiful landscape with hikes and camping trips. Many schools and offices close.
About West Virginia
Before the arrival of European explorers and settlers, the land of West Virginia served as a Native American hunting ground. Europeans arrived in the late seventeenth century and settled about 1725. At first, West Virginia was part of Virginia, which started with the British Virginia Colony. The east and west are separated by the Blue Mountains, causing problems with government of both areas as the regions were difficult to travel to and from.
West Virginia became a separate state after disagreement with Virginians over secession. The 50 counties that separated from Virginia in order to join the Union made up the new state of West Virginia. Lincoln issued a proclamation on April 30, 1863 admitting the state of West Virginia. Soon after, an informal commemoration of a state pride day was held until the holiday was made official in 1927.
West Virginia Fun Facts
- The population of West Virginia is the oldest in the entire country, with a median age of 40.
- The only state to achieve sovereignty via Presidential proclamation is West Virginia.
- West Virginia opened the country’s first women’s prison in 1926.
- Moundsville, West Virginia is named as such because it contains the oldest Indian burial grounds.
- Forests cover about ¾ of West Virginia.
- In 1997, West Virginia’s crime rate was the lowest in the country.
- On the Potomac River, the first steamboat set sail in 1787.