West Virginia's Capitol City is located in Kanawha County with a population of approximately 50,000 people. It is the largest and most populated city in West Virginia, with the highest population ever being over 85,000 in 1960s. Charleston was established in 1974 as Charleston, Virginia until June 20, 1863 when West Virginia became the 35th state of the union. The city has the Elk River and Kanawha River flowing through it. The rivers were originally the main source of trade.
Charleston became the capitol city after a state vote in 1877 and opened the first capitol building in 1885, but burned down in the 1920s. Capitol Building Commission authorized the building of the current capitol costing just under $10,000,000. It was dedicated as the capitol on West Virginia Day of 1932.
The city of Charleston is under the care of Mayor-Council, city government. The voting of city council occurs every 4 years. The current Mayor, Danny Jones, has served three terms and re-elected as Mayor in May 2015 to serve his fourth term. He has been voted in as a Republican four times, but he changed his party to Independent in 2016. Charleston began it's Mayor-Council city government under Virginia in 1861.
Transportation began to expand after World War II ended. The construction of Kanawha Airport was built in 1947 and is known today as Yeager Airport named after General Chuck Yeager. In the 1960s, the Interstate Highway System came into Charleston. I-64, I-77, and I-79 all overlapped and converged. Amtrak is located on MacCorkle Avenue in Charleston. It's served as a train system for national passenger rail service, providing service 3 times per week. Charleston now has two U.S. routes that cut through the city. US-60 and US-119. Charleston has the Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority and C&H Taxi to help serve the community.
In 1959, The Charleston Civic Center for entertainment. In 1983, the Charleston Town Center opened its doors and was the biggest mall east of the Mississippi River. It made a big impact on Downtown Charleston Shops. Many shops and restaurants had to close downtown. Many moved into the mall, however, the Downtown Shops have made a comeback on Capitol Street, Hale Street, and other bordering streets. In 2003, the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences opened. The Clay Center includes The Maier Foundation Performance Hall, The Walker Theater, The Avampato Discovery Museum, an art museum, and The ElectricSky Theater with a planetarium. The Clay Center is a great place for kids and adults alike to learn, discover, and have fun. There are now five shopping plazas including the Town Centre: The Shops at Kanawha, Southridge Centre, Dudley Farms Plaza, and The Shops at Trace Fork.
Charleston has several events and fairs throughout the year. The West Virginia Dance Festival is held the last week of April, featuring dance students from across the state. The Vandalia Gathering takes place every Memorial Day weekend, providing music, art, dance, crafts, and food about WV mountain culture.(http://www.wvculture.org/vandalia/) Symphony Sunday is a free performance by the WV Symphony Orchestra, other local dance teams, and musicians who provide food and entertainment. FestivALL is a festival to celebrate West Virginia Day, street venues and entertainment are located throughout downtown. A wine and jazz festival is set up at the University of Charleston during the FestivALL celebration as well.(http://festivallcharleston.com/) Mountain Stage was founded in 1863, providing a live music performance. The WV International Film Festival is held twice a year, in the spring and fall. (http://www.wviff.org) Since 1947, the Gazette-Mail hosts a majorette and band festival for the Kanawha County high schools each September. You can find more events and things to do at http://www.cityofcharleston.org/
Charleston is known for it's historic buildings, churches, museums, and homes. (Find Historic Charleston Area Homes For Sale at http://bit.ly/2FjBszt) Many residential homes were built between 1860-1930s. Several commercial buildings in downtown are over 100 years old. Approximately 50 buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. (https://www.nps.gov/nr/) Many of the buildings located on Capitol Street are historic buildings, as well as, the Kanawha County Courthouse and Public Library. Historic Churches downtown include the Masonic Temple, Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, First Presbyterian Church, Kanawha United Presbyterian Church, St. John's Episcopal Church, Charleston Baptist Temple, St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Christ Church United Methodist. Historic buildings can be found throughout the city. Some of the popular buildings known are as follows: Avampato Discovery Museum and Sunrise Museum (both are now a part of the Clay Center), West Virginia State Museum, South Charleston Museum, St. George's Orthodox Cathedral, St. Marks United Methodist Church, The Capitol Theater, and Woman's Club of Charleston.
Charleston has three professional sports' teams, three current high schools, three middle schools, 19 elementary schools, and several colleges/universities.
West Virginia Power is a professional minor league baseball team. They are part of the South Atlantic League and they play at the Appalachian Power Park located behind CAMC General Hospital. West Virginia Chaos is a USL Premier Development League soccer team who plays at the Schoenbaum Stadium inside Pickle Park. West Virginia Wildfire is a Women's American Football team who is part of the Women's Spring Football League who play at the Warrior Stadium in Charleston's suburb city of Belle.
Charleston Catholic High School opened in 1923 in downtown Charleston. In 1964, George Washington High School was opened in the South Hills community. Charleston High School and Stonewall Jackson High School consolidated in the late 1980s to become Capital High School, which is located in the Meadowbrook community. Horace Mann Middle School is in the community of Kanawha City. John Adams Middle School is in South Hills and Stonewall Jackson Middle School is located on the West Side of Charleston. The Board of Education determines which school your child will attend due to the location of your home. (If you're looking for a new home, please click here http://bit.ly/2FjBszt. Each home should list the school your child will attend.) Here is a list of Charleston Elementary Schools: Bible School Center(Private), Chamberlain Elementary School, Charleston Montessori School, Edgewood Elementary School, Elk Elementary School, Grandview Elementary School, Holz Elementary School, Kanawha City Elementary School, Kenna Elementary School, Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School, Montrose Elementary School, Mountaineer Montessori School(Private), Overbrook Elementary School, Piedmont Elementary School, Ruffner Elementary School, Sacred Heart School(Private), Saint Agnes School(Private), Shoals Elementary School, and Weberwood Elementary School.
University of Charleston(UC) is a private college with approximately 1,000 students. Their campus is often used for events and festivals for the City of Charleston and State functions. UC is located on MacCorkle Ave. Carver Career Center is a vocational school located in Charleston. West Virginia Junior College is an independent college located on Virginia St. It was formerly known as Capitol City Commercial College. West Virginia State University is located in the suburb of Institute. Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College located in the suburb of Institute. There are also a few branch campuses located in Charleston and its surrounding areas. WVU- Charleston Campus is used for WVU students' completing clinicals in the medical and dental fields. West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine is also a branch campus for students who have completed 2 years of schooling in Lewisburg. Marshall University has two branch campuses: MU-South Charleston Campus and Robert C. Byrd Institute. BridgeValley Community and Technical College branch campus is located in South Charleston. They also have one located in Montgomery, WV. Montgomery is located approximately 20 miles from Charleston. Montgomery is also home to the West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
Charleston has several recreational parks you want to be sure to check out: Cato Park, Pickle Park, Daniel Boone Park, Danner Meadow Park, Little Creek Park, Magic Island Park, Davis Park, Haddad Riverfront Park, Ruffner Park, and Shawnee Park. Charleston is also the home of the Kanawha State Forest with approximately 9300 acres and 46 campsites. Don't forget to check out your professional sport teams-- WV Power at the Appalachian Power Park, the West Virginia Chaos at the Schoenbaum Stadium located in Pickle Park, and the West Virginia Wildfire Warrior Stadium located in Belle, WV.
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