CIVIL WAR

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.

Explore WV military heritage >

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.

Crafting in WV

Heritage Farm

OLD-FASHIONED HERITAGE

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:

  • Tu-Endie-Wei State Park and Battle of Point Pleasant

    3 At the junction of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers stands a monument that commemorates the frontiersmen who fought and died at the Battle of Point Pleasant. In Oct. 10, 1774, Virginia militiamen lead by Col. Andrew Lewis defeated Native Americans led by Shawnee Chieftain Cornstalk. It is recognized as a decisive engagement in a proactive series of Indian wars and considered by some as the first battle of the American Revolution. Point Pleasant, W.Va.
  • Huntington High Renaissance Center

    0 The Huntington High Renaissance Center is an arts facility that includes rehearsal and performance space, an art gallery and classrooms. It provides four annual productions and a renaissance ballroom. 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.
  • Collis P. Huntington RR Historical Society

    1 Railroad Excursions, outdoor and Indoor Museum and private railroad car rental. 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.
  • West Virginia Independence Hall Museum

    2 West Virginia Independence Hall, a National Historic Landmark and the birthplace of West Virginia, is located in Wheeling, West Virginia. Originally built as a federal custom house in 1859, it is considered the birthplace of West Virginia because it was the site of a series of events leading up to the state’s creation. The building has been lovingly restored with period rooms and exhibitions which interpret the historic and architectural significance of the site.
  • West Virginia 150 – Culture Center

    4 West Virginia 150, a special sesquicentennial exhibit commemorating West Virginia’s 150th birthday, focuses on 150 people, places and events that helped to shape the lives of West Virginians over the past 150 years. The exhibit on display at the Culture Center in Charleston also features West Virginia’s national and international accomplishments and achievements as they have unfolded since the state’s birth on June 20, 1863. Hundreds of artifacts tell stories about the state’s steel, coal, glass, timber and railroad industries as well as such notable West Virginians as Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck, pepperoni roll inventor Giuseppe Argiro, award-winning composer George Crumb and former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. The Wheeling Jamboree, Mountain Stage, Mister Bee Potato Chips, Shoney’s and the Marble King also are featured.  Admission is free. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Craik-Patton House Museum

    1 Craik-Patton House, a Greek Revival style home built in 1834 by James Craik, whose grandfather was George Washington's friend and personal physician. Colonel George Patton, grandfather of the famous WWII General, later owned the house. Authentically restored and furnished to reflect early 19th century living. Meeting/conference/dining facility accommodating 50 available for rent. Formal garden. Free parking.
  • Calhoun County Park

    0 Calhoun County Park is located on land formerly used as a farm and airfield. The site currently hosts mountain bike competitions and civil war reenactments. The Park will add accessibility features as building and sites are converted. 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.
  • Prickett’s Fort State Park

    6 This fort was constructed in 1774 to provide early settlers protection from Native American attacks. It was built within 10 miles of three major Indian trails. The fort was named after Capt. Jacob Prickett. Fairmont, W.Va.
  • Laurel Hill Civil War Battleground

    3 Site of the longest battle in the Tygart Valley Campaign. Union forces ousted the Confederate army and protected important turnpikes, securing safe passage to Wheeling for the founding fathers to plan the statehood of WV. In fleeing to Beverly, Confederate General Garnett was the first general to die in the Civil War. Annual battle reenactment is staged during the third weekend in July. The Battlefield is open to the public year-round and walking trails are marked with interpretive signage.
  • Olivet Cemetery

    0 Formally set aside as a cemetery in 1851, the shelling of Moorefield took place from this hillside in 1863. A section of the cemetery is noted on a map as “Confederate dead,” and features a large monument, which was erected by the Memorial Association in 1873. The obelisk has plaques on each of the four sides recognizing the McNeill Rangers, Hardy Blues and Grays and the 18th and 7th Virginia Cavalries. The monument stands in the center of a double ring of gravestones. Moorefield, W.Va.
  • McCoy’s Grand Theatre

    0 The primary goal of MCT – indeed, the organization's mission – is the development of lifeskills in children through participation in the performing arts. Within each MCT cast, girls and boys are equal; the disabled become able; the shy experiment with bravery; the slow are rehearsed to perfection; and the gifted become part of the whole. The lesson they learn is that all of them are necessary for the show to go on. Few arenas exist where responsibility is taught and learned so clearly. MCT provides a unique opportunity to learn the lessons of group dynamics while excelling as an individual – a lesson from art that carries into life. MCT strives to use participation in the performing arts as a vehicle to develop lifeskills including social skills, communication skills, self-discipline, a strong work ethic, an understanding of the team concept and self-esteem. The show featured at the end of the week is Pinacchio
  • Heritage Craft Center of the Eastern Panhandle, Inc.

    2 The Heritage Craft Center is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of heritage crafts. The learning center offers craft classes taught by professional artisans. The marketing center sells a wide array of high quality handcrafted works of art by West Virginia artisans. 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.
  • Elmwood Cemetery

    1 The Elmwood Cemetery includes the graves of several Confederate veterans, including Henry Kyd Douglas, staff officer to Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson, and Gen. William W. Kirkland. Shepherdstown, W.Va.
  • Harpers Ferry Main Street

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  • Town of Harpers Ferry

    24 This quaint 19th century town is designated a National Historic District by the National Register. The architecture of the houses and shops reflect the town's history as a transportation hub 1800 - 1860, a strategic location during the Civil War, a thriving industrial center based on water power and a popular vacation spot in the late 1800s. The Harpers Ferry National Historic Park offers museums, events, and tours. The Appalachian Trail courses through town as its halfway mark between Georgia and Maine. The Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers provide opportunities for kayaking, tubing and white water rafting.