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On This Day – West Virginia became our 35th State
June 20, 2025
|Recurring Event (See all)
An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 20 of June, repeating indefinitely
On June 20, 1863, West Virginia was admitted into the Union as our 35th state.
Did you know? Prior to 1863, West Virginia was (as its name implies) the western section of Virginia. The severance came about as a result of the Civil War – when Virginia seceded from the Union, the western region refused to leave the United States and instead seceded from Virginia.
West Virginia lives up to its nickname of “Mountain State” – the state is completely within the range of the Appalachian Mountains, and it has an average elevation higher than any other state east of the Mississippi.
The state is home to the longest steel arch bridge in the western hemisphere, the New River Gorge Bridge, which rises 876 feet above the New River below. Ironically, the New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world and predates the mountains surrounding it.
What’s in a name? Like its neighbor Virginia, West Virginia is named after Queen Elizabeth I, widely known as “the Virgin Queen.” It is thought that Sir Walter Raleigh suggested the name for the general region as early as 1584.
Fishing on the Potomac, Eastern Panhandle, West Virginia, William Louis Sonntag, Sr., c. 1850s/60s
-Written by Anna Zemaitaitis, Communications and Design Officer