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:
- 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.
- The Douglass Junior and Senior High School stands as a symbol for the black citizens of Huntington. The school served as a cultural and educational center for the black community for nearly 40 years. Among the graduates of Douglass was Carter G. Woodson, the noted black essayist, historian and activist. In 1915, he founded the nation�s oldest black history organization and the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. On the National Register of Historic Places.
- The Hatfield McCoy House is a full service Inn with 5 Rooms, Wifi, Free Long Distance, Privates Baths, A bunkhouse for Trail Riders with locked Bike storage building and parking available. 500 yards from the Buffalo Mountain Trailhead. The House is the 2nd oldest structure in Mingo County, the home of Devil Anse Hatfield. Decorated to tell the story of the historic Hatfield McCoy Feud. Each Room takes you back to the life of 5 of the most important people in the story. 79.95 Rates
- The famous black educator spent his early life in Malden near Charleston. Washington established the country's first vocational school for African Americans in Alabama in 1881. Sculptor Bill Hopen of Sutton created the likeness, which was erected in 1985.
- Enjoy historic buildings, a museum, a working oil derrick, a one-room schoolhouse and a large antique mall.
- Open From Memorial Day through Labor Day daily 10 AM to 5 PM Special Programs - Walking tours Exhibits - Restored passenger depot, historic furnishings, exhibits of interaction between coal miners and railroad, abandoned buildings in Thurmond townsite.
- The World War II Memorial lists the names of 23 Glenville State College students who died during World War II. The memorial, dedicated in September 1995, is surrounded by 23 flags to honor of those who sacrificed their lives for our country. Gilmer County, W.Va.
- Doddridge County Museum is a small county museum which houses artifacts and documents ranging from pre Civil War and forward. A sketch done by J.H. Diss DeBar is housed here and is the pride of the county as this is the home county of the designer of our state flag. The family history library housed within the museum is a regular stop for genealogists and researches from all over the nation.
- The Weston Colored School served as the only educational facility for black youth in segregated Weston from 1882 through May 1954. It was the fourth school building erected with public funds specifically for black children in West Virginia. Eight grades were taught to children ranging in age from six to 16. On the National Register of Historic Places.
- Conference center - handles groups up to 400. All types of equipment needed for any meeting, educational schooling, etc. Fully-equipped computer lab. A mill, 4-H camp, museum housing agricultural, milling and homestead artifacts from 18th century. A cemetery on the grounds holds the graves of Jackson’s grandparents. Relocated to the site: the McWhorter Cabin (c. 1793), Blaker’s Mill (c. 1794) and the Mary Conrad Cabin. Visit website for info. I-79 Exit 99, left toward Weston onto Rt 33W. At fourth light, turn right onto Route 19 N. Turn left onto Jackson's Mill Road, cross the bridge, WVU Jackson's Mill is on right.
- Following the Battle of Lewisburg, May 23, 1862, the Old Stone Presbyterian Church was used as a hospital. Several Civil War veterans are buried in the church cemetery. Lewisburg, W.Va.
- Historical home.
- The West Augusta Historical Society consists of a restored Round Barn and Historical Museum in which there are four rooms of musical, war, industrial and other various artifacts. 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.
- Along Rt 219 In Mill Point In Pocahontas County. Latitude: N38 15.40 Longitude: W80 18.01
- The Beverly Heritage Center combines four historic buildings in the center of Beverly, West Virginia, to tell the story of the Battle of Rich Mountain and the First Campaign of the American Civil War, the pivotal role of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, and daily life in a small rural county seat through the 19th century.
- Seneca Rocks, located in Monongahela National Forest, is one of the best-known landmarks in West Virginia and have long been noted as a scenic attraction and are popular with rock climbers. The rocks are a magnificent formation rising nearly 900 feet above the North Fork River. Eastern West Virginia contains many such formations of the white/gray Tuscarora quartzite. Seneca Rocks and nearby Champe Rocks are among the most imposing examples. A self-guided 1.3 mile interpretive trail beginning behind the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center offers the non-climber a way to reach the lofty heights of the rocks and view the scenic valley below.
- Built on land donated by George Washington’s youngest brother Charles, this 1836 Greek Revival brick building was the site for the famous trial of John Brown in 1859. During the Civil War it served as a barracks for Union troops.
- 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.
- This unique museum details John Brown's hatred of slavery tracing his exploits and depicting scenes from his daring raid on Harpers Ferry.