Keyser, West Virginia
|Keyser, West Virginia|
Downtown Keyser in January 2014
Location of Keyser, West Virginia
|• Total||1.92 sq mi (4.97 km2)|
|• Land||1.92 sq mi (4.97 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||807 ft (246 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||5,337|
|• Density||2,832.8/sq mi (1,093.8/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1541180|
Keyser is a city in and the county seat of Mineral County, West Virginia, United States. It is part of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 5,439 at the 2010 census.
|This section, except for a single footnote, needs additional citations for verification. (September 2014)|
Keyser was originally called Paddy Town after Patrick McCarty, son of one of the original settlers. With the coming of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1852, the destiny of the area changed from a quiet rural community to a thriving industrial center. The name was changed to New Creek Station and then to New Creek. In 1861 the Civil War came rumbling through the valley. Fort Fuller was built on the present site of Potomac State College, and Fort Piano entrenchments were established on New Creek Mountain. Because of the importance of the railroad, the town changed hands 14 times.
When West Virginia became a state in 1863, there was some contention between Piedmont and New Creek over the location of the county seat. As an inducement to have the county seat located in New Creek, the Davis brothers donated land for the courthouse in 1867.
In 1874, the town was incorporated as Keyser after William Keyser, vice president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
Keyser's public schools are part of the Mineral County school system. The schools in Keyser include Fountain Primary School, which covers Pre-Kindergarten through Fourth Grade; Keyser Middle School, which covers sixth through Eighth Grade; Keyser High School, which covers Ninth through Twelfth Grades; Mineral County Alternative School; and the Mineral County Tech Center, a vocational school. The mascot of Keyser High is the "Golden Tornado."
A new Keyser Primary School is scheduled to open on January 8, 2014. The new facility is located just north and adjacent to the campus that previously housed both the primary and middle Schools for the Keyser area. Once the old facility is vacated by the Keyser Primary School, it will remain in use by the Keyser Middle School.
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,439 people, 2,224 households, and 1,253 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,832.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,093.8 /km2). There were 2,525 housing units at an average density of 1,315.1 per square mile (507.8 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.4% White, 8.6% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.
There were 2,224 households of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.6% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.7% were non-families. 37.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.88.
The median age in the city was 36.1 years. 19.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 19% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 19.8% were from 25 to 44; 24.7% were from 45 to 64; and 17.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.2% male and 51.8% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,303 people, 2,241 households, and 1,333 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,791.7 people per square mile (1,077.6/km²). There were 2,542 housing units at an average density of 1,338.2 per square mile (516.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.55% Euro American, 7.07% Black, 0.23% Brown, 0.40% Asian, 0.32% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.72% of the population.
There were 2,241 households out of which 24.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.3% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.5% were non-families. 36.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the city the population was spread out with 20.0% under the age of 18, 13.5% from 18 to 24, 23.5% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 21.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 89.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $23,718, and the median income for a family was $32,708. Males had a median income of $29,034 versus $20,818 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,813. About 16.3% of families and 18.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.2% of those under age 18 and 11.0% of those age 65 or over.
In popular culture
Keyser is mentioned in the BBC television mini series The State Within (Season 1, Episode 1). British Ambassador Mark Brydon just landed from a round trip to the U.K. where he was told he will be nominated to a new position in the British Government. En route to the embassy, a plane that just departed explodes above the highway, killing all the passengers and a few people on the highway. Rapidly, the Secret Services pinpoint that it is a terrorist bombing and that the terrorist was of British nationality. British SAS are shown on a raid, the screen clearly labels the location "Keyser, West Virginia." One of their members is killed in a shoot out and dumped in a nearby stream located in the fictitious "Fairmont County, West Virginia." 
Notable residents and natives
- Henry Louis Gates, Jr. - Historian, author, academic; born in Keyser
- Jonah Edward Kelley - World War II soldier awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously; raised in Keyser
- Frank Lovece - Journalist, author, comics writer; lived there in childhood
- Catherine Marshall - American author known for her inspirational works, notably the novel Christy; raised in Keyser
- Walter E. Rollins, (also known as Jack Rollins) - Songwriter who wrote "Frosty the Snowman" and "Smokey Bear"
- John Kruk - Major League Baseball player, ESPN baseball analyst; raised in Keyser
- Harley Orrin Staggers - United States Congressman; born in Keyser
- Leo Mazzone- Major League Baseball pitching coach; born in Keyser
- Pete Ladygo - American football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ottawa Rough Riders
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "The State Within - Episodes". BBC.
- Abrams, Nancy (September 10, 1989). "Frank Lovece Makes a Living Writing About TV". The Dominion Post (Morgantown, West Virginia). Archived from the original on July 5, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013.