West Virginia celebrates its 150th birthday this year

This year is a special one for West Virginia as it celebrates its 150th year of statehood. Admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, as the nation was still midway through the War Between the States, West Virginia was carved from Virginia as part of an effort to finally secure for itself a place out from the political shadow of its eastern namesake.

Beginning this issue, the Spirit of Jefferson will run regular stories that celebrate the Mountain State’s peculiar heritage — the only state to be carved from another, the legality of which being still much debated — as well as its distinctive culture.

This week, writer Mary Wade Burnside explores the history of the state’s famous tune, “Take Me Home (Country Roads),” popularized by singer John Denver but known worldwide, and which is notable because the song, while a paean to the whole state, refers to landmarks found only in Jefferson County. This issue also features another historical column by Bob O’Connor, who this week begins his own year-long exploration into West Virginia’s origins.

The sesquicentennial provides a unique opportunity for us here at the Spirit, one of West Virginia’s oldest newspapers — founded, in fact, when we were still a part of Virginia — to examine this state’s rich history and we’re proud to be able to be a part of it.

Please keep reading. As always, we welcome your feedback. I can be reached at editor@spiritofjefferson.com or by calling 304-725-2046.


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