West Virginia i/ / is a state in the Appalachian, Southern, and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, and Pennsylvania and Maryland to the northeast. The capital and largest city is Charleston.
West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Conventions, breaking away from Virginia during the American Civil War. The new state was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, and was a key Civil War border state. West Virginia was the only state to form by seceding from a Confederate state, and was one of only two states formed during the American Civil War (the other one being Nevada, which separated from Utah Territory).
The Census Bureau considers West Virginia part of the South, as most of the state is south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The northern panhandle extends adjacent to Pennsylvania and Ohio with the West Virginia cities of Wheeling and Weirton being just across the border from the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, while Bluefield is less than 70 miles (110 km) from North Carolina and Harper's Ferry is considered to be a part of the Washington metropolitan area. The unique position of West Virginia means that it is often included in a wide variety of geographical regions, including the Upland South, the Southeastern United States and often the Northeastern United States. Notably, it is the only state which entirely lies within the area served by the Appalachian Regional Commission, which is a common definition of "Appalachia". For these reasons, West Virginia is often considered simultaneously the northernmost Southeastern state, the southernmost Northeastern state, the westernmost Mid-Atlantic state and the easternmost Midwestern state. The state is noted for its mountains and diverse topography, its historically significant logging and coal mining industries, and its political and labor history. It is one of the most densely karstic areas in the world, making it a choice area for recreational caving and scientific research. The karst lands contribute to much of the state's cool trout waters. It is also known for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing, whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and hunting.
The Fort Henry Bridge
is a crossing of the Ohio River
main channel in Wheeling
, West Virginia
. The tied-arch bridge
carries two lanes in each direction of Interstate 70
(I-70), U.S. Route 40
(US 40), and US 250
. The bridge opened after four years of construction work on September 8, 1955, costing $6.8 million, $1.8 million over budget. The bridge, along with the aging Wheeling Suspension Bridge
, are the only two road links from Wheeling Island to downtown Wheeling. In 2009, the structure carried an average of over 60,000 vehicles per day.