The West Virginia. Cyclopedia
Fayette County was created in 1831 from parts of Greenbrier, Kanawha, Nicholas and Logan counties, and was named in honor of the Marquis de LaFayette. In 1671, Batts & Fallam here proclaimed the Mississippi Valley for Great Britain -- in opposition to the claim of France. The first court was held at New Haven, near Ansted. In 1850, the southern county was reapportioned as Raleigh County. The New River and Kanawha River carve the spectacular New River Gorge and Kanawha Valley across the county from north to south, effectively dividing it into eastern and western halves.
Fayette County, WV
Cities and Towns
The elevation of Fayette County rises from the less than a thousand feet above sea level in the valleys of the county's northwest to the Allegheny Mountains region in the east. It lowest point is 597.2 feet above sea level in the Kanawha Valley at Montgomery, WV, where the Kanawha River leaves the county in its course toward the Ohio River. Its highest summit is on the crest of Sewell Mountain on Myles Knob, at 3,375 feet above tide.
Fayette County contains many local parks and park areas, many of which are being improved to support increased tourism.
Two of the best known state parks in West Virginia are located in Fayette County along the New River Gorge. Babcock State Park is the largest state park in West Virginia and includes a much-photographed working gristmill. Hawks Nest State Park includes panoramic views of the New River Gorge popularized by their location along U.S. 60 (the Midland Trail).
Two areas of the National Park System (NPS) are located in Fayette County. They protect its scenic gorges and their namesake whitewater rivers as well as part of the Meadow River.
Development of Fayette County
In 1840 the population of Fayette County was reported as approximately 3,900. By 1870, it had nearly doubled to 6,700. By 1880, the population had almost tripled to 11,600 people. The rapid growth during the 1870s can be attributed to two factors -- the building of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway and the subsequent opening of the New River Coal Field. Some of the county's early mining operations began construction during the early 1870s and were ready to ship coal when the railroad was completed in 1873. For nearly 100 years coal mining reigned as lead employer in Fayette County, but by the late 1990s tourism had begun to overtake mining and by the end of the 21st Century the largest employers in the county were tourism related enterprises. However the county's economy is diverse, and includes large number of persons employed in the area of wholesale and resale trade, health care, real estate, and professional, technical and technicals services.
Temperature Mean Annual Average: 52 (Degrees F)
January Averages: High 40 (Degrees F) -- Low 19 (Degrees F)
July Averages: High 82 (Degrees F) -- Low 59 (Degrees F)
Long Term Precipitation
January: 3.25 inches -- July: 5.31 (inches) -- Annual: 45.3 (inches)
Mean Annual Snowfall Range
35 - 55 inches
Other Sources of Information
A History of Middle New River Settlements and Contiguous Territory, published in 1906