The History Project.
The History Project: The Underground Railroad, Part 1 – The Ohio River
With the Ohio River as its northwestern boundary, the Underground Railroad ran through Western Virginia before the Civil War, giving the body of water the nickname, “The River Jordan,” as it led to the “promised land” of freedom. Abolitionists, the enslaved, and free Blacks conspired together to get escaped slaves across the river and to new lives.
The History Project: The Glass Industry
Amid West Virginia’s natural beauty are various Oriskany sandstone outcroppings that do more than decorate the landscape. The stone breaks into sand perfect for making glass, and within it is the natural gas needed to melt it. No other industry found such a serendipitous location as glass found in the Mountain State.
The History Project: Heck’s Department Stores
From the 1950s through the 1980s, every region had its own discount department store chain and for West Virginia and its neighboring states, Charleston-based Heck’s reigned supreme, even outdistancing K-Mart and Wal Mart for a while.
The History Project: The Louis Marx & Company Toy Manufacturer
Throughout history, children have written letters to Santa with the list of toys they wanted, under the idea they were created in his workshop and they were…by extension of America’s Santa, Louis Marx, who built his busiest factory in Glen Dale, where the classics of 20th century toys were made.
The History Project: The Teays River
The suburbs between Huntington and Charleston fill a plain that offers some of the flattest land in the Mountain State. Called Teays Valley, even many of its residents are unaware this unique topography was created by an ancient river that mothered today’s rivers.
The History Project: John Marshall
West Virginians are used to frequently hearing his name, whether as the county or university, but John Marshall is more than a namesake in the state’s history. He actually played a role in the first famous Supreme Court trail involving the state and was an early explorer of its rivers and mountains.