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flag  History of Charleston, West Virginia, USA

Journey back in time to Charleston, West Virginia, USA

Visit Charleston, West Virginia, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Charleston, West Virginia, USA - Y.M.C.A. Building

Daniel Boone made his last survey of Charleston on September 8, 1798. He left the state in 1799.

The first brick street in the world was laid in Charleston, West Virginia, on October 23, 1870, on Summers Street, between Kanawha and Virginia Streets.

The first rural free mail delivery was started in Charles Town on October 6, 1896, and then spread throughout the United States.

There is MUCH more to discover about Charleston, West Virginia, USA. Read on!

Charleston Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

Y.M.C.A. Building
Charleston, West Virginia, USA

Y.M.C.A. Building
Governor's Mansion
Charleston, West Virginia, USA

Governor's Mansion
Ruffner Hotel
Charleston, West Virginia, USA

Ruffner Hotel

Discover Charleston: History, News, Travel, and Stories

Add informationAdd History/News/Story
1787 (Charleston, WV) - The first permanent settlement, Fort Lee, was built in 1787 by Col. Savannah Clendenin and his company of Virginia Rangers.
1798 and 1799 - Daniel Boone made his last survey of Charleston on September 8, 1798. He left the state in 1799. resources/ state-facts/ west-virginia.html
1806 - (Charleston, WV) - By the early 19th century, salt brines were discovered along the Kanawha River and the first salt well was drilled in 1806. This created a prosperous time and great economic growth for the area.
1815 - (Charleston, WV) - Captain James Wilson, while drilling for salt, struck the first natural gas well in 1815.
1817 - (Charleston, WV) - In 1817, coal was first discovered and gradually became used as the fuel for the salt works.
1854 - Charleston
Charleston, a handsome post-village, capital of Kanawha county, Virginia, is situated on the Kanawha river, 60 miles from its mouth, and at its confluence with Elk river, 308 miles W. by N. from Richmond. The river at this place is about 800 yards wide, and is navigable by steamboats at all seasons. The principal thoroughfare from Richmond to the Ohio river passes through the town, which is the centre of an active trade. It contains 3 or 4 churches, a branch bank, and a printing office. The district court of the United States is held here twice each year. The county contains abundance of coal and a number of salt springs. Large quantities of salt are manufactured a few miles from Charleston. Population, 1092.
A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States: Giving a Full and Comprehensive Review of the Present Condition, Industry, and Resources of the American Confederacy ... Thomas Baldwin (of Philadelphia.) Joseph Thomas January 1, 1854 Philadelphia : Lippincott, Grambo & Company 1854.
The state of Virginia seceded from the Union, and Charleston was divided between Union and Confederate loyalty.
On September 13, 1862, the Union and Confederate Armies met in the Battle of Charleston. Although the Confederate States Army was victorious, occupation of the city was short-lived. Union troops returned just six weeks later and stayed through the end of the war.
1869 - The West Virginia Legislature has passed a bill removing the capitol from Wheeling to Charleston, the bill to take effect April 1.

St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
March 6, 1869
1870 - First brick street in the world was laid in Charleston, West Virginia on October 23, 1870, on Summers Street. resources/ state-facts/ west-virginia.html
1874 - FIRES.
Destructive Fire at Charleston, West Va.
Special Dispatch to the Enquirer.
CHARLESTON, WEST VA., December 11. — A fire occurred tonight in Gebhart’s building, on the south side of Kanawha street, opposite the Court-house, destroying all the buildings on both sides of Kanawha street, from Court to Alderson streets, including the St. Alberts Hotel, Kyle’s liquor saloon, Lowenstein’s saddlery, Lawhorn’s furniture, Bullard’s barber shot, Balches & Scott’s shoe shop, C. P. Snyder’s law office, Shearer’s leather store, Martin’s millinery, Goshorn’s restaurant, Bonhert’s grocery, Clinger & Irwin’s grocery, Stack’s dry goods, etc., Wolf’s tin and stove store, Singer Sewing Machine, Kahn’s eating saloon, Mollohan & Nash’s law office; Brown’s law office and Tell’s building, Good Templars’ Hall, Strauss’ clothing store, M. Kaufman’s building, which was unoccupied, Ritter & Co.’s stove store, Sterrett’s grocery, Keifer’s tobacco store, Wilkie’s butcher shop, Mrs. Beach’s millinery and dwelling, ... Read MORE...

1885 - The first capitol building was opened in Charleston, West Virginia.


Charleston, W. Va., July 5. - The worst wreck ever known in this part of the State, if not the worst that ever occurred in the State, occurred about 8 o'clock yesterday morning on the Kanawha & Michigan Railroad, eight miles west of here. The passenger train for Columbus pulled out from here with two car loads of excursionists, among them the United American Mechanics, who were going to Poca. The wreck occurred on a high trestle. The sleepers had caught fire during the night and burned so that the rails spread under the train. The engine and baggage and mail car passed over safely, but the two coaches were thrown from the track. After running some 40 feet on ... Read MORE...

1895 - Charleston
Charleston, a city, the capital of West Virginia and of Kanawha co., is situated on Great Kanawha River, at the mouth of Elk River, and on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, 369 miles W.N.W. of Richmond, about 66 miles S. of Parkersburg, and 52 miles E. of Huntington, which is on the Ohio River. Lat, nearly 38° 21' N.; lon. 81° 31' W. Steamboats can ascend the river to this place in all stages of water. It contains 2 national banks, 1 other bank, St. Mary's Academy (Catholic), 10 churches, and printing offices which issue 2 daily and 4 weekly newspapers, besides the "Baptist Record" and a monthly agricultural paper. It has also a state-house built of stone and brick about 1870. Large quantities of bituminous coal, timber, and salt are procured near this place. Pop. in 1880, 4192; in 1890, 6742.
Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ... Joseph Thomas January 1, 1895 J.B. Lippincott
1896 - First rural free mail delivery was started in Charles Town on October 6, 1896, and then spread throughout the United States. resources/ state-facts/ west-virginia.html
Charleston, a city, the capital of West Virginia and of Kanawha co., is situated on the Great Kanawha River, at the mouth of the Elk River, and on the Chesapeake and Ohio and other railroads, 66 miles S. of Parkersburg. Steamboats can ascend the river to this place in all stages of water. It has lumber-mills, distilling- and packing- industries, and manufactures of furniture, fire-brick, wire- nails, engines, boilers, etc. The city also has boat-building yards and railroad repair-shops. Large quantities of bituminous coal and salt are produced in the vicinity, and there are also deposits of iron, oil, and natural gas. Pop. in 1890, 6742 ; in 1900, 11,099.
Lippincotts New Gazetteer: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World, Containing the Most Recent and Authentic Information Respecting the Countries, Cities, Towns, Resorts, Islands, Rivers, Mountains, Seas, Lakes, Etc., in Every Portion of the Globe, Part 1 Angelo Heilprin Louis Heilprin - January 1, 1916 J.B. Lippincott - Publisher
1927 - Capitol building in Charleston, West Virginia destroyed by fire.

Governor William G. Conley dedicated the newly built West Virginia State Capitol building on June 20, 1932 in Charleston, West Virginia.

1949 - November 15 - WSAZ TV channel 3 in Huntington-Charleston, WV (NBC) 1st broadcast
2023 - Charleston has something for everyone. Here's a list of places to go and things to do in the town:
Capitol Building and Capitol Complex:
Start your visit with a tour of the impressive West Virginia State Capitol building. Explore the Capitol Complex, which includes the Governor's Mansion and the Cultural Center. The beautiful grounds are perfect for a leisurely stroll.

Haddad Riverfront Park:
Head to Haddad Riverfront Park for a relaxing time along the Kanawha River. The park features walking paths, green spaces, and a scenic view of the city. It's a great place for a picnic or to simply unwind.

Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences:
Immerse yourself in culture at the Clay Center. This facility houses an art museum, performing arts theater, and a science museum. Check the schedule for live performances or rotating art exhibits.

State Museum at the Cultural Center:
Learn about West Virginia's history at the State Museum. Exhibits cover everything from Native American heritage to the state's involvement in the Civil War. It's a fascinating journey through... Read MORE...

Discover MY Roots: Charleston Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Charleston, West Virginia, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were born or died in Charleston.

View Them Now (sorted by year of birth)

female ancestorMargaret WATTS (1700, , Virginia, USA - March 1755, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
photo of John BROWNJohn BROWN (9 May 1800, Torrington, Connecticut, USA - 2 December 1859, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
male ancestorFriederich Robert REINHARDT (8 April 1841, , Germany (German States) (German Empire) - 21 August 1864, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
male ancestorJoseph Thompson HAYES (21 December 1861, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA (Losanteville) - 24 June 1863, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
male ancestorCarl Cole WILEY (18 October 1875, Fowler, Indiana, USA - 30 August 1945, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
male ancestorArthur MOULTON (19 July 1877, Charleston, West Virginia, USA - 7 September 1950, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
photo of Annie Louise MOULTONAnnie Louise MOULTON (3 May 1882, Charleston, West Virginia, USA - 25 January 1961, Henderson County, North Carolina, USA)
photo of Roscoe Norris MOULTONRoscoe Norris MOULTON (8 November 1884, Charleston, West Virginia, USA - 2 December 1950, Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
photo of Mart MULLINSMart MULLINS (March 17, 1889, Charleston, West Virginia, USA - July 1, 1976, Randle, Washington, USA)

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Updated: 10/16/2023 10:33:55 AM