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West Virginia's Sesquicentennial by the numbers

By From staff reports

1 The state has one living Medal of Honor recipient in World War II Marine Corps veteran Hershel "Woody" Williams.

2 Only two Nobel laureates were born in the Mountain State. They are Hillsboro native Pearl S. Buck and John Forbes Nash Jr. of Bluefield.

3 There are three state songs.

4 The state's four casinos with racetracks are commonly referred to as "racinos."

5 Beer enthusiasts have five breweries from which to choose, but several more are slated to open within the year.

6 Those West Virginia hills have yielded six ski resorts.

7 There are seven commercial service airports.

8 State native Jon McBride spent eight days in space.

9 Boats can navigate through nine sets of locks and dams in the state.  

10  Fairmont native Mary Lou Retton scored a perfect 10 on the vault at the 1984 Olympics. She became the first American woman to win a gold medal in gymnastics and the state's first female gold medalist.

11 The Hatfield-McCoy feud resulted in 11 official deaths.

12 The clinic at the emergency bunker at The Greenbrier resort, which was maintained in secret by the U.S. government for 30 years, included 12 hospital beds.

13 Their numbers have dwindled, but 13 state synagogues remain active.  

14 Coalwood native Homer Hickam has published 14 books including "Rocket Boys" and "The Coalwood Way."

15 West Virginians have elected 15 Republicans as governor, versus 20 Democrats.

16 Since the federal government purchased it, 16 people have died while climbing Seneca Rocks.

17 There are 17 remaining covered bridges in the state.

18 The legal voting age is 18, a cause championed by former U.S. Sen. Jennings Randolph, who represented West Virginia in Congress for 40 years.

19 The state motto, "Montani Semper Liberi," has 19 letters.  

20 The burgeoning industry of winemaking has expanded over the years to include 20 wineries.

21 John Brown led 21 men on the raid at the Harpers Ferry Arsenal in 1859.

22 Twenty-two species of snake live here, but only two are poisonous.

23 Jennifer Garner, who grew up in Charleston, is listed in the credits of 23 feature-length films. (She has two more currently in production.)

24 The Capitol dome is leafed with 24-karat gold.

25 West Virginia University has had 25 Rhodes scholars.  

26 A 26-mile section of Interstate 81 lies in the state.

27 Scientists and explorers have documented 27 petroglyphs (cave paintings) in the state's caverns.

28 The Hatfield-McCoy feud lasted 28 years.

29 The explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine on April 5, 2010, claimed the lives of 29 miners.

30 For 30 years, Larry Groce and company have entertained public radio listeners worldwide on Mountain Stage.

31 Bridge Day has been celebrated at the New River Gorge 31 times since 1980. The event was canceled in 2001 because of 9/11.  

32 The state has 32 watersheds, or areas drained by a particular river.  

33 West Virginia Music Hall of Fame has inducted 33 acts since its inception in 2007.

34 At the sides of the state's governors have been 34 first ladies.

35 West Virginia was the 35th state to enter the Union.

36 The 36 state parks constitute one of the most highly regarded systems in the country.  

37 The New River Gorge Bridge cost $37 million to build and opened to traffic in 1977.

38 West Virginia is the 38th most populous state in the union.

39 Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort in Pocahontas County is 39 years old.

40 Believe it or not, the Mystery Hole in Fayette County opened 40 years ago.

41 According to the 2010 census, the median age of a West Virginian is 41.

42 The names of the state's 20th century war dead appear on 42 slabs of polished black granite at the West Virginia Veterans Memorial.

43 There are 43 accredited business schools.

44 Jerry West's number when he played for WVU and the Los Angeles Lakers was 44.

45 Ashford General Hospital employed 45 doctors when the Army hospital occupied The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs in the 1940s.

46 West Virginia has 46 named rivers.

47 Tourists have 47 bed and breakfasts to choose from.  

48 The death penalty was abolished in West Virginia in 1965, 48 years ago.  

49 There are 49 public health agencies.

50 Cass Scenic Railroad State Park is 50 years old.

51 Chuck Yeager's aircraft once spun out of control and he plunged 51,000 feet in 51 seconds while trying to break a speed record.

52 "The West Virginia Hills" became an official state song 52 years ago.

53 The Tray Run Viaduct, the nation's first iron viaduct, opened in 1853 in Preston County. It is featured on the reverse side of the state seal. The replacement Tray Run Viaduct is 58 feet tall.

54 A 54-foot gold chain holds the 2-ton imported Czechoslovakian crystal chandelier 179 feet and 9 inches above the marble floor in the state Capitol Rotunda.

55 The state has 55 counties, and some schoolchildren can sing their names.  

56 Baseball was played for 56 years at Watt Powell Park in Kanawha City.

57 Robert C. Byrd served 57 years in the U.S. Congress. Fifty-one of those years were spent in the Senate and six in the House of Representatives. He remains the longest-serving senator in history.

58 The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine has a constant temperature of 58 degrees.

59 African-American leader, educator and orator Booker T. Washington, who was raised in Malden, died at age 59.   

60 Those who like Tudor's Biscuit World can choose from 60 state restaurants.

61 Chuck Yeager flew 61 missions in World War II.

62 The Grave Creek Mound, for which Moundsville is named, is 62 feet tall.

63 Earl Lloyd, a West Virginia State College graduate, became the first black NBA player 63 years ago this year. He was also the NBA's second black coach.

64 The WVU Mountaineer mascot's uniform has been worn by 64 men (and women!).

65 Nitro High quarterback J.R. House threw 65 touchdown passes in the 1998 season for the state record.  

66 The Grand Ballroom at Seneca Caverns is 66 feet wide.

67 The Silver Bridge collapse killed 46, but 67 people were on the span connecting Point Pleasant and Gallipolis, Ohio, that fateful day in 1967.

68 During the Great Depression, 68 state banks shut down.

69 The New River Gorge Bridge is 69 feet wide with four lanes and a center divider.

70 The 2012 Orange Bowl between WVU and Clemson ended with an all-time bowl record score of 70-33.

71 Huntington native and NBA Hall of Famer Hal Greer led Marshall in 71 games as the university's first black scholarship athlete.

72 The city of Bluefield has been serving free lemonade on days when the mercury hits 90 or more degrees for 72 years.

73 WVU's Personal Rapid Transit system, which opened in 1975, has 73 cars.

74 Cecil Underwood was 74 when he was elected governor for his second term, making him the oldest man to serve as governor. He was also the youngest when he began his first term in 1957 at age 34.  

75 The Marshall plane crash on Nov. 14, 1970, killed 75 people.

76 In 1939, 76 years after statehood, West Virginia made its last payment of the $12 million pre-separation debt owed to Virginia.

77 Fiestaware by Homer Laughlin Co. turned 77 in January.

78 The Farmington Mine Disaster killed 78 miners.

79 The Kentucky/West Virginia border is 79 miles long.

80 The Good Zoo in Wheeling's Oglebay Park holds 80 different species of animals.  

81 The general session that ended in April was the first of the 81st Legislature.

82 The state Capitol has been on Kanawha Boulevard for 82 years.

83 Democrats have held the majority in the House of Delegates for 83 years.

84 Cyrus Vance, who served as U.S. secretary of state under President Jimmy Carter, was 84 when he died.

85 The '85 flood, which occurred from Nov. 4-5, 1985, was the most damaging in state history. It caused an estimated $1.2 billion in damage and killed 47 people in the state.

86 The first pepperoni roll at Country Club Bakery in Fairmont was baked 86 years ago.

87  The famed 87-minute silent film "Stage Struck" starring Gloria Swanson was shot in New Martinsville in 1925.

88 The West Virginia Press Association includes 88 daily and weekly newspapers.

89 Hank Williams would be 89 today if he hadn't died in Oak Hill.

90 Storer College in Harpers Ferry was established to educate freed slaves and operated for 90 years until closing in 1955.

91 An explosion at Pond Creek No. 1 mine in McDowell County in 1940 resulted in the deaths of 91 miners.  

92 Sen. Robert Byrd was 92 when he died June 28, 2010.

93 There are 93 farmers markets in the state.

94 Built in 1917, the Aracoma Hotel in Logan had 94 rooms. It was demolished in 2010 after a fire severely damaged the four-story brick building.

95 Families own and operate 95 percent of West Virginia farms.

96 Randy Moss had 96 receptions in 1997 at Marshall University. He was named the nation's top receiver that year.

97 To claim a school record, 97 people packed into a PRT car at WVU in 2000.

98 Camp Good Luck, believed to be the world's first 4-H club encampment, was held 98 years ago at Elkwater in southern Randolph County July 29-31, 1915.

99 Mother's Day, the brainchild of Grafton native Anna Jarvis, has been observed as a national holiday for 99 years.

100 Camden Park first opened as a picnic spot 100 years ago. It is now the state's only amusement park.  

101 The state Division of Tourism produces a list of 101 unique places to dine in West Virginia. Visit www.wv commerce.org for information.  

102 Blenko Glass moved to West Virginia 102 years ago.

103 The Shinnston tornado killed 103 people in 1944.

104 The state is home to 104 credit unions.

105 The state's tallest sugar maple is 105 feet tall. It's in Jefferson County.

106  West Virginia has 106 public golf courses.

107 Beartown State Park is 107 acres of unusual terrain in Pocahontas County. See the massive boulders, overhanging cliffs and deep crevasses from boardwalks and trails.

108 Fenton Glass opened 108 years ago in Martins Ferry, Ohio, but moved across the river to Williamstown, Wood County, the following year.

109 You could sing "The West Virginia Hills" about 109 times during the four-and-a-half hour roundtrip train ride to Bald Knob on the Cass Scenic Railroad.

110 Frank Buckles, who was the last living U.S. veteran of World War I, was 110 when he died in 2011 at his Charles Town home.

111 WesBanco, founded in West Virginia and headquartered in Wheeling, had 111 banking offices across West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania as of 2010.

112 Between 1863, when West Virginia became a state, and 1965, when it abolished the death penalty, 112 prisoners were executed.

113 Putnam County businessman Jack Whittaker took home a check for $113 million and some change after taxes when he won the $314 million Powerball jackpot on Christmas Day, 2002.

114 The Star House, known as a place where hungry transients could stop for a meal during the Great Depression, sits at 114 James St. in Hinton.

115 The Kenova Pumpkin House, which lights up the sky with thousands of carved and lit jack-o-lanterns every Halloween, is 115 years old.

116 Marshall University offers 116 major fields of study.

117 West Virginia has 117 named coal seams.

118 The Pennsylvania/ West Virginia border is 118 miles long.

119 The movie called "The Mothman Prophecies" about a series of strange events in Point Pleasant is 119 minutes long.

120 The Blennerhassett Bridge connecting Parkersburg to Belpre, Ohio, cost $120 million to build in 2008 and was the most expensive bridge in the state until 2010.

121 West Virginia, an outdoor lover's paradise, is home to 121 fishing lakes and ponds.

122 The Summersville Lake lighthouse, which is being dedicated today as part of the state's birthday celebrations, has 122 steps inside.

123 Interstate 64 spans 123 miles through the state by itself but shares another 50 miles between Charleston and Beckley with Interstate 77.

124 Pantone 124 is the official old gold, one of the state's colors, in the Pantone Color Matching System. The state's official colors were adopted 50 years ago, during the state's centennial celebration. In case you're wondering, Pantone 286 is the official blue.

125 The biggest Virginia Pine tree in the state is 125 inches around, or more than 10 feet. It's 65 feet tall and in Monongalia County.

126 Legendary Confederate spy Belle Boyd, who carried Union plans to Gen. Stonewall Jackson, was raised at 126 Race St. in Martinsburg. Her childhood home is now a museum.

127 Heck's, the discount retailer headquartered in Charleston, operated 127 stores in nine states.  

128 The Battle of Allegheny Mountain on Dec. 13, 1861, in Pocahontas County resulted in 128 Confederate soldiers and 140 Union soldiers killed or wounded.

129 Moundsville Prison, the state's first penal institution, was open for 129 years.

130 The state is 130 miles across at its widest point.

131 The South Branch of the Potomac River traverses 131 miles in the state before joining with the North Branch near Green Spring, Hampshire County.

132 Nitro High's Chris Martin caught 132 passes in 1998 for the state football record.

133 The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Strauder v. West Virginia, which held that black men could not be barred from serving on juries, was handed down 133 years ago, in 1880.  

134 The state Legislature has 134 members - 34 state senators and 100 delegates.  

135 Danny Heater of Braxton County's Burnsville High School scored 135 points in a single basketball game in 1960, earning him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

136 West Virginia businesses exported to 136 new countries last year.

137 The Washington Heritage Trail in the Eastern Panhandle is 137 miles long. It travels through Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties.

138 The state Capitol moved from Wheeling to Charleston 138 years ago. It would later move two more times between the cities.

139 The largest sycamore tree in the world, located in Webster Springs, is 139 feet tall.

140 The state's first oil well, drilled in 1860 in Wirt County, was 140 feet deep.

141 Still standing in 36 counties are 141 Mail Pouch barns.

142 Barney Fife, played by Morgantown native Don Knotts, appears in 142 episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show."

143 The West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission regulates 143 schools.

144 The Randolph County town of Helvetia, where the German festival Fasnacht is celebrated, is 144 years old.

145 Of West Virginia's 24,231 square miles, 145 are covered by water.

146 West Virginia University in Morgantown opened its doors 146 years ago.

147 The historic district of Preston County's Arthurdale, the first New Deal community of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration, includes 147 contributing buildings.

148 The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope is 148 meters tall.

149 West Virginia is home to 149 Catholic churches.

150 Voila! West Virginia today marks 150 years of statehood.


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