This piece was originally written & image created for West Virginia’s 150th birthday in 2013. Please check out its original home and other content at the website of Megan Mallory Martin.
photo credit: Megan Mallory Martin
“I’ve got some major West Virginia pride. I usually don’t boast or brag about how great my home state is – unless it comes up in conversation. But on this very special day – the 150th birthday of my home state – I’ve got to let my pride shine through and tell you how great my home state is and why we’re the center of it all.
My close friends have heard my “WV is the Center of It All” theory many times before, and as far as theories go, it’s pretty good and totally true – WV is the center of it all.
What do I mean by “it all,” you ask? Life, the universe, and everything? Sure, of course. All of the above. It’s just true, and I think my argument is pretty sound.
Directionally speaking, WV is neither north, south, east, nor west. We can actually claim all of them, and here’s why:
- We are north. WV sided with the north during the Civil War. That’s how we became a state in the first place. You can reference our history here.
- We are south. WV is mostly south of the Mason-Dixon Line, the geographic divider between the north and the south during the Civil War. Read up on Mason-Dixon Line facts.
- We are east. We are on the eastern side of the United States. Just check a map.
- We are west. Duh. We’re West Virginia. (And yes, West Virginia is a separate state from Virginia. Sometimes that needs to be clarified, sadly.)
Yep, we cover all the directional bases. Pretty cool, huh? When I shared my theory with a fellow West Virginian, he agreed with me and added some other geographic oddities for consideration. This fellow West Virginian travels all over the world for his job, so he definitely knows his geography.
According to my friend, if you check a map, you will find that parts of the state are:
- Farther north than Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- Farther west than Cleveland, Ohio.
- Farther south than Richmond, Virginia.
- And did you know the Eastern Panhandle is only 50 miles from Washington, D.C.?
You may want to remember this stuff. You never know when it will come in handy on Jeopardy.
So, on this very special of days – the 150th anniversary of my home state – I’d like to wish a very happy birthday to the mountain state, the center of it all. Yep, we’re pretty amazing.
As Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) says, “It’s a peaceful place where the mountains hold us close and the view from our window reminds us we’re part of a larger story – of something special.”
Happy 150th birthday, West Virginia!” –Megan Mallory Martin
Click for another random image.
Header image: map of Northeast Houston in 1922, courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.