Mountains are not the only attributes that define West Virginia.

It is a place filled with a rich and unique history and, since becoming a state, has evolved into an important hub for natural energy resources and a popular outdoor recreation destination.

West Virginia doesn’t seize the spotlight as often as some larger states. Still, many important milestones have occurred within the state’s borders and it holds several notable geological, cultural and historical distinctions.

Here are a few fun facts about the Mountain State

  • West Virginia formed after breaking away from Virginia during the Civil War. It was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863 under a proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln. West Virginia is the only state to be admitted under presidential proclamation.
  • Mother’s Day was first observed as a holiday at Andrews Church in Grafton on May 10, 1908. It became a national holiday in 1914.
  • The New River Gorge Bridge is the longest steel arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere. It spans a length of 1,700 feet. Every October on Bridge Day, the bridge is closed to traffic while individuals parachute and bungee jump 876 feet off the bridge.
  • One of the world’s first suspension bridges was built in Wheeling in November of1849.
  • Organ Cave is the largest natural cave in West Virginia and the third largest cave in the United States
  • Camping in WV is fun to do because there is no shortage of places to go. Nearly 75 percent of the state is covered by forests.
  • West Virginia produces 15 percent of the total coal used nationwide. It is home to Coal House, the world’s only residence built entirely of coal. Coal House is in White Sulphur Springs and was occupied on June 1, 1961.
  • West Virginia became the first state to have a sales tax. The tax went into effect on July 1, 1921.
  • Golden Delicious, a variety of yellow apples, are native to West Virginia. The first golden apple tree originated in Clay County in 1775.