The Civil War gave birth to this state. Trace the its history from the very first land battle in Phillipi, through secret backrooms where the strategies were crafted, and out across the once-roaring battlefields. Follow the stories of the spies whose intel turned the tides, the troops who revolutionized battle in the heat of its chaos, and the leaders who worked the political front in the push for West Virginia statehood.
COAL, RAILS & INDUSTRY
Our hardworking industries have long been the backbone of the nation’s energy, harboring timber, coal, oil and natural gas. Explore our rich mining heritage firsthand and ride a man car underground into an exhibition mine shaft. Or, uncover the relics of the coal boom, from the millionaire mansions of the former barons to the deteriorating, long-abandoned towns that were left behind after the bustle. Trains, too, came rolling to transport the precious fuel. Retrace the tracks along repurposed rail trails, or hop aboard a still-running vintage train for a ride and a rare glimpse at the state’s most remote scenery.
West Virginia heritage is truly one-of-a-kind. Secluded in not-quite-the-North and not-quite-the-South, our formative years were spent separated from the world by our rugged terrain. So we created our own lifestyle.
Here, we’re slow-paced to savor the little things. But while our folklife philosophy may be “simplicity,” our mountain culture is really quite intricate. Quilts are not just crafts, they’re family heirlooms and symbols of kinship. Our Appalachian recipes were passed down from grandma’s grandmas on notecards. Antiques tell stories of mountain resourcefulness— though they don’t tell it as well as a true West Virginia storyteller, or an old folk ballad.
This culture may be all our own, but we love to share it. Take it all in at the heritage museums, follow the quilt trails into the pastoral countryside, or just sit for a spell with your local pickers’ group.
Find historic sites to explore:
- The South Side Depot is a unique experience here in Grant County, WV. We have such a variety of items here from WV Made Arts and crafts, to WV Made Foods and Wines. Come and enjoy a cup of fresh coffee and take a walk around our 30K square foot building - two floors! We have special events throughout the year like our upcoming Valentine Express Dinner Train, The Civil War Trains, WV Wines and Foods Dinner Train and so much more. Here in the store we promote as many of our WV hand made artisans buy having demonstrations and book signings throughout the year. We are also the Grant County Visitors Information Center where you can get all the information you need for our area and the surrounding area as well. There is always something for everyone to do! Check us out on the web at www.southsidedepot.com or facebook us at South Side Depot. Hours: Open 10am-5pm daily except Sundays and Mondays until Easter!
- Arthurdale was the first of 99 New Deal communities built by the federal government during the Depression. Eleanor Roosevelt was deeply involved in planning the community and visited often. The New Deal Homestead Museum consists of 5 original buildings - Administration, Center Hall complex, Forge, Esso Station, and a Homestead house. Personally guided tours are available year round Tuesday through Friday between 11 and 3. The Arthurdale Craft Shop carries locally made items and is open during tour hours. From May through October, tours are offered between 11 and 3 on Saturday and noon and 4 on Sunday. Closed on Monday and most holidays. Call or go online for more details. This facility is included in "A Guide to Accessible Recreation in West Virginia." Please check the Guide or the site for information on accessibility. Please note - a self-reporting survey was used to compile the information in this Guide; every attempt was made to verify the accuracy of the information but West Virginia Division of Tourism is not responsible for errors or inaccuracies.
- Cannon Hill in Rowlesburg rises above Cheat River on the north side of town. It is a historic site for it's strategic location during the Civil War Battle of Rowlesburg in April of 1863. The Confederate Army, under the leadership of General William "Grumble" Jones, was intent on destroying the B&O Railroad bridge to cut the Union supply line. Alerted that the rebels were on their way across Lantz Ridge to attack from the east, townsfolk and Union troops barricaded themselves along the railroad track; Peter Wotring hauled an oxcart loaded with a cannon up the steep hillside and positioned it atop Cannon Hill with a clear view of the railroad bridge; when the rebels were in sight, volleys of rifle and cannon fire met them and repulsed them back into the hills. Thus, the railroad bridge was saved from destruction and "Lincoln's Lifeline" was preserved. Trips to Cannon Hill are available May through October by contacting members of the Rowlesburg Area Historical Society: Robert Ayersman at 304 454-9303 or Lucille Grimm at 304 454-9218.
- This cemetery was established in 1867 by congressional legislation to offer a final resting place for the men who died during the Civil War. The remains of Union soldiers were removed from temporary graves in West Virginia as well as several Union dead from Kentucky. Of the 1,215 graves, 664 are unknown and some are Confederate soldiers. Notably the grave of Private T. Bailey Brown, the first Union soldier to be killed by a Confederate, is located here.
- This stately brick mansion was built in 1870 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The land was settled in 1807 by the Modisett family. The historic barn was built in 1850 by Uriah Modisett. Adaland is located near several Civil War sites. We offer historic guided tours of the mansion on tour days and arranged tours of the barn. Special events can be arranged by calling 304-457-2415. Visit our web site www.adaland.org. This facility is included in "A Guide to Accessible Recreation in West Virginia." Please check the Guide or the site for information on accessibility. Please note - a self-reporting survey was used to compile the information in this Guide; every attempt was made to verify the accuracy of the information but West Virginia Division of Tourism is not responsible for errors or inaccuracies.
- Site of the July 1861 Civil War battle for control of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike. This early union victory catapulted Gen. George McClellan to leadership of the union army and gave the north control of western Virginia leading it to eventual statehood. This site, five miles west of the town of Beverly, WV, features interpretive signs, walking/hiking tours and picnic area. The Beverly Heritage Center (located on Main St., Beverly) serves as the interpretive center for the site with "The 1st Campaign of the Civil War" exhibit and research facilities. Group and guided tours by appointment. Battlefield open year round dawn to dusk. Visitor Center open daily in season and weekdays through the winter. 304-637-7424 or www.richmountain.org.
- The Stonewall Jackson Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy, has placed a bronze plaque at 326-328 West Main St in Clarksburg to mark the birthplace of the Civil War general. A statue of Jackson at the courthouse plaza honors it's famous son. Location: Various sites, Clarksburg. Address: Greater Clarksburg CVB, 208 Court St., Clarksburg, WV, 26301. Telephone: 304-622-2157.
- Historical home.
- At least 62 Confederate soldiers and one civilian, many of them killed at the Battle of Rich Mountain, are buried in this small cemetery surrounded by Union fortifications. Near Beverly, W.Va. (Butcher Hill Historic District).
- The Town of West Union Historic Walking Tour takes participants through nine blocks of West Union’s historic district. The tour and attractions are listed on the National Historic Register. This facility is included in "A Guide to Accessible Recreation in West Virginia." Please check the Guide or the site for information on accessibility. Please note - a self-reporting survey was used to compile the information in this Guide; every attempt was made to verify the accuracy of the information but West Virginia Division of Tourism is not responsible for errors or inaccuracies.
- Located just two miles from downtown Parkersburg, the park features a reconstructed Union Civil War fortification, trenches, interpretive signage, picnic shelters, nature trail and spectacular views of Parkersburg and the Ohio and Little Kanawha Rivers.
- The only way to experience the enchantment of historic Blennerhassett Island is via a 20-minute sternwheeler ride. From Point Park in Parkersburg, 19th century-style riverboats ply the beautiful Ohio River, carrying passengers into a bygone era. Public excursions are available from May 1 through the last weekend of October on a varying schedule. Admission - Adults $8.00, Children 3-12 $7.00, and under 3, free. This facility is included in "A Guide to Accessible Recreation in West Virginia." Please check the Guide or the site for information on accessibility. Please note - a self-reporting survey was used to compile the information in this Guide; every attempt was made to verify the accuracy of the information but West Virginia Division of Tourism is not responsible for errors or inaccuracies.
- Enjoy historic buildings, a museum, a working oil derrick, a one-room schoolhouse and a large antique mall.
- The Greenbrier closed its doors to guests during the Civil War as Union and Confederate soldiers occupied the grounds for use as military headquarters or a hospital. It was reopened to guests shortly after the war ended. During World War II, the State Department leased the hotel for seven months to detain German, Japanese and Italian diplomatic personnel and their families until they were exchanged for stranded American diplomats. In September 1942, the U.S. Army purchased the resort and converted it into a 2,000-bed hospital named Ashford General Hospital. For four years the facility served as an infirmary where 24,148 soldiers were admitted for treatment. White Sulfur Springs, W.Va.
- The Lewisburg and Ronceverte Trail, currently under construction, runs along the former L&R Rail Road which ran between the towns of Lewisburg and Ronceverte from 1906 and 1931. This 6 mile project is ongoing with sections completed within both communities. The trail provides bicycling and walking paths for all ages.
- The West Virginia State Farm Museum is a 50 acre tract of land dedicated to the preservation of West Virginia's early pioneer and farm life heritage. It serves as a window to the past for future generations. It has 32 buildings to see. It is self guided and infomation is in each building. Must make reservations for guided tours. There is a Country Store, Old Doctors Office, Print Shop, Log Church, 3 log cabins, a taxidermy building with the 3rd largest horse at one time, a military museum and much more. This facility is included in "A Guide to Accessible Recreation in West Virginia." Please check the Guide or the site for information on accessibility. Please note - a self-reporting survey was used to compile the information in this Guide; every attempt was made to verify the accuracy of the information but West Virginia Division of Tourism is not responsible for errors or inaccuracies.
- This quaint chapel served as a Confederate hospital and Union stable during the war. A slave cemetery is located behind the church. Cedar Grove, W.Va.
- This historic exhibit, titled "From Slavery to Statehood," tells the story depicting African-American contributions in West Virginia. The historic event created an opportunity for the interpretive history on the role of African Americans before, during and after emancipation from slavery. The exhibit continues with the formation of West Virginia, blacks in the coal mines and the building of the railroad system, to the establishment of black schools and renowned people of African heritage from West Virginia.
- The Paint Creek Scenic Trail is a state designated scenic byway/backway. The Trail exists to encourage the understanding and enjoyment of Paint Creek's natural, historic, and cultural heritage. The Paint Creek Scenic Trail begins at Tamarack in Raleigh County and extends 44 miles north to Pratt in Kanawha County. The Trail follows Paint Creek Road for the majority of its length, with the exception of the southernmost 7 miles which utilize a combination of Dry Hill Road and Sweeneysburg Road to access Paint Creek Road from Tamarack. Intertwining with the West Virginia Turnpike for most of its length, the Trail offers an attractive alternate route of travel between Beckley and Charleston. The following Turnpike exits provide travelers with direct access to the Trail: 45, 54, 60, 66, and 74. The Paint Creek Scenic Trail parallels Paint Creek and offers scenic views of its many waterfalls and rapids. Trout fishing is a popular activity along the creek, and a handicapped accessible fishing pier is located a short distance south of Exit 74. The Trail passes through one of West Virginia's most storied landscapes. Paint Creek was the site of West Virginia's first mine war, and the Native American history of the area is very significant. The Paint Creek Scenic Trail Association is working to install multiple interpretive kiosks along the Trail so that visitors can learn about this historically and culturally significant land. Currently, one interpretive kiosk exists in Mossy at Exit 60. Dining, picnicking, fishing, boating, cycling, hiking, and nature photography are some of the activities and amenities available along or near the Trail. Note: Many of the amenities listed are not operated by the Paint Creek Scenic Trail Association. These represent amenities offered by state parks or independently owned businesses located on or near the Trail.
- Closed for Renovations. Since 1835, a large, brick mansion has stood sentinel on the banks of the Ohio River, home of the Jenkins family, most notable being General Albert Gallatin Jenkins, C.S.A. His family owned more than 4,000 acres and maintained a successful plantation at Green Bottom, in what was then western Virginia. As on most plantations, slaves provided the labor and craftsmanship to build the plantation buildings, working the fields and serving the main house. At Green Bottom, slaves made bricks and hewed logs for the building of Jenkins' brick plantation house in the 1830s. Not all slaves were content to stay on the plantation, and like other owners in the Ohio Valley, Jenkins had difficulty keeping his slaves. Abolitionists, both white and African American, often operated safe houses or Underground Railroad stations near the free banks of the Ohio River, tempting slaves to cross to possible freedom. According to Cabell County records, in 1827 Jenkins was sued by James Shelton, a local slave catcher and owner of a plantation, for not paying enough for the return of an escaped slave.