Blackwater Falls in Tucker County, is today, the most familiar landmark in West Virginia and one of the most photographed. It is not the highest waterfall in the state, but the Blackwater River's five-story plunge is the most spectacular. The "black" in Blackwater is from the dark amber color of the water, caused by the tannic acid from fallen spruce and hemlock needles. Just downstream from the Blackwater Falls is an eight mile canyon, one of the more unique and important natural ares in WV. Although Tucker County isn't mentioned thus far in my study of our families, I'm sure it depicts the type of landscape they encountered in their explorations and adventures.
"The Glade Creek Grist Mill"
This landmark is probably the most photographed scene in West Virginia. The Glade Creek Grist Mill is located in Babcock State Park, in Fayette County, and has become an icon for the Mountain State of West Virginia. Built in 1976, Glade Creek Grist Mill was built; a reproduction of the original, Cooper's Mill, which stood on the site of the present Administration Building at Babcock. The mill was created by combining parts of three mills, originally located in various parts of the state. The basic structure is from Stoney Creek Grist Mill (1890), which was located near Campbelltown in Pocahontas County. The water wheel was reconstructed from Spring Run Grist Mill, near Petersburg, Grant County. The other parts came from Onego Grist Mill, near Seneca Rocks in Pendelton County. this is an actual working mill, and visitors can watch grains being ground and, if they'd like, purchase it. At the turn of the century ( 1900), there were over 500 such mills all over the state of West Virginia.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Just in case we forget!
Because of our mountains, we have rivers. The oldest river in the Western Hemisphere, the New River (quite appropriately named; don't you think?) ends in West Virginia. We have the Gauley River, which confluences with the New River in a magnificent cascade to form the Kanawha River, which in turn flows through the center of the state, and directly through the capital city of Charleston, the largest city in West Virginia. These rivers in addition to the Cheat, Blackwater, Tygart, Monongahela,Ohio and countless others offer tremendous recreational opportunities.
The tallest building in Charleston is barely 25 floors tall, which, if you
think about it, is a plus; how could you possibly build a skyscraper more
beautiful than a mountain?
The capital city stretches throughout the long river valley encompassing both hill and dale.
The Charleston airport, the largest in the state, sits on top of a mountain.
The crime rate in Charleston, including the entire population of the Kanawha Valley (around 200,000), reflects that of the entire state, the lowest in America.
No more than a handful of murders are committed each year.
Charleston has no subway systems, but, truth be known, you can get from one end of town to the other, even in rush ho hour traffic, in less than ten minutes.
There are three major interstate systems going through Charleston, the smallest city in America to make such a claim.
The entire state has six different interstate systems, meaning, from Charleston, you can reach Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Louisville or Charlotte in four hours or less....
Ah, but once you leave the intestates, the drive becomes a thing of wonder. Two lane roads, winding up and down the mountains, offer amazing views and historic places, small towns, poor in wealth but rich in history.
West Virginia is the birthplace of Mother' s Day, in Grafton; and Father's Day, in Fairmont.
We have the oldest covered bridge still in use. We have walnut festivals and strawberry festivals and apple festivals and pumpkin festivals and buckwheat festivals, and arts and crafts fairs and stern wheel regattas and ramp dinners.
We have Bridge Day, on the New River Gorge bridge over 800 feet above the New River; the only standing structure in the United States that, one day a year, allows parachuting and bungee jumping.
We have college basketball, and minor league baseball and hockey, and just like all of America, Friday night high school football.
We have white water rafting, and skiing, and hiking, and caves, and waterfalls, and camping in every direction. We have Sundays where a leisurely drive in the car can take eight hours, and only cover 100 miles.
We have bed and breakfasts, and resorts, and golf courses, and museums, and the Greenbrier Hotel. West Virginia has more natural beauty and wonder than any person could ever imagine.
We have all of this, and yet .... our greatest asset is our people. West Virginians are good people. We care about each other. We talk to our neighbors over the backyard fence.
We grow tomatoes for the entire neighborhood.
We turn around in each other's driveways, and yell "howdy" when we do.
We sit on the porch on warm summer evenings, listening to crickets, and watching kids catch fireflies.
We loan a hammer, or a cup of sugar. We don't take two-hour lunches, but we do spend a few minutes each day with a cup of coffee, and our feet up on our desk, shooting the breeze.
We rarely get in a hurry. We have relatives just down the street. We don't just loan someone a socket wrench, we help them fix their car. We share recipes, and gardening tips, and our last cup of coffee. We baby sit each other's kids, we house sit each other's dogs while we're on vacation, and we loan each other our cars if we have to get to the drugstore. We ask each other if we need anything as we're going to the market.
We celebrate each of her accomplishments, and we cry over each other's disappointments.
We are a friendly folk. We are West Virginians.
Mountaineers are always free! Free to take the time to enjoy life, and hold each moment in our hearts, forever.
This article on West Virginia was sent to me from several people, so I thought this an appropiate time and place for it.