Driving amidst the gorgeous mountainous country in West Virginia, travelers arrive at a lovely city nestled in the valley along a river. That city is Charleston, the capital of West Virginia.
Charleston is the largest city in the state. The city offers many attractions one of which is the absolutely breathtaking scenery. It's definitely worth the drive to see the painting-like views of the mountains in the fall!
Charleston is located in Kanawha County at the junction of Kanawha and Elk Rivers, and had an estimated population of 51,394 as of 2003. Nearby cities include Dunbar, South Charleston, Nitro and Winfield.
Famous Residents of Charleston - Charleston has been home to several well-known people such as actress Ann Magnuson, TV host and producer Tony Brown, and even the famous Daniel Boone!
A Brief History of Charleston - Charleston was once a frontier land and home to the well-known Daniel Boone during the late 1700s. The city was named after the father of a landholder named Colonel George Clendenin, who built a fort there in 1788 named Fort Lee. At first, the area was called Charles Town, but was later changed to Charleston. Fort Lee was the first permanent settlement in the area.
Charleston was chosen as the state capital in 1877. The current capitol building was dedicated in 1932. Over the years, Charleston became a center for salt production and then an important chemical manufacturing and coal mining center.
The State Capitol - One of the most fascinating places to visit in Charleston is the state capitol. The river front capitol building was designed by the same architect who designed the Lincoln Memorial, Cass Gilbert. Finished in 1932, the capitol building has a beautiful dome that is made of 23-karat gold and has a 20th-Century design. On the grounds, one can tour the statues of historic figures such as Abraham Lincoln or Stonewall Jackson.
There's also the West Virginia Cultural Center (http://www.wvculture.org), which is located in the same vicinity of the capitol. It offers great displays from wars, coal mining industries, local forestry and more. History buffs will love this museum-like center.
Local Festivals in Charleston - The city of Charleston hosts several festivals each year such as the Sternwheel Regatta in August/September, the Vandalia Festival in May and the Festivall Charleston in June. The Vandalia Festival is the largest folk arts and crafts celebration in the Appalachian mountains. It features bluegrass music, contests and much more!
Museums in Charleston - For those who enjoy learning about history and culture, Charleston has several museums. The Avampato Discovery Museum (http://www.avampatodiscoverymuseum.org/) is located in two mansions that have been preserved from long ago with art galleries, a science museum, planetarium and gardens. There's also the State Museum where historical displays and antiques come alive.
Charleston's Nature Appeal - There's a side to Charleston that appeals to nature lovers. The parks and forests are beautiful and offer plenty of activity - hiking, biking, strolling, sight-seeing, and even antique shopping!
Mountain goers can stop in for a refreshing break in Charleston, whether for a day or two, or a whole week. To learn more about Charleston, West Virginia USA visit the city's Web site. (http://www.cityofcharleston.org)