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West Virginia celebrates a birthday

By Staff | Jun 21, 2013

June 20, 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the formation of West Virginia as a state. One of two states formed during the Civil War, the other being Nevada, West Virginia was the only one formed by secession from a Confederate state.

Originally part of Virginia, the state broke off due to sharply divided opinions over the secession of states from the Union. Formalized by admittance in 1863, West Virginia became one of the Civil War Border States.

Statewide there are many events planned commemorating the anniversary of statehood. There are also some events locally.

On Saturday, June 22, the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park will present a Civil War sesquicentennial event entitled “The Birth of a State: 150th Anniversary of West Virginia.” Men from the western mountains of Virginia fought on both sides during the Civil War, although the majroity remained true to the Union, according to a release from the HFNHP. Harpers Ferry, however, spurned the Union and embraced the Confederacy.

Saturday’s one-day event will focus on the 1863 vote for statehood and the establishment of West Virginia s the 35th state in the Union. Activities will include a 19th century baseball game, special ranger-conducted programs, family and youth activities and living history programs. Events begin at 11 a.m. continuing until 4 p.m.

In addition, a special event, “First Alert: Harpers Ferry and the Gettysburg Campaign” will highlight the critical role Harpers Ferry played in relation to the Battle of Hettysburg. The one day event will include a talk and book signing with Tom Huntington, author of “Searching for George Gordon Meade: The Forgotten Victor of Gettysburg,” living history programs and other activities. For more information

In addition to these events offered by the National Park Service, Friday will see the celebration of Harpers Ferry with tours of every kind and special events. Saturday is Charles Town’s day to shine with five different tours and events that will bring out the child in everyone, closing with the Charles Town Ghost Tour that night. For more information on these special tours, call Ann Khiel Fern at 304-724-6741.