The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Putnam County

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Putnam County
Putnam County border with Jackson County on WV 34
Draw near Paradise, WV
Barn near Extra, WV

Created in 1848 from parts of Cabell and Kanawha counties, to the south, and Mason County, to the north, Putnam County was among the first settled regions in West Virginia and is among its most productive agricultural markets. Its economy is tied to that of Charleston, to the southeast, and Huntington, to the southwest, -- the state's primary metropolitan areas. Interstate 64 (I-64) follows the suburban Teays Valley through the southern neck of Putnam County. Much of the northern county is in farmland and woodland.

County Seat: Winfield, WV
Population: 51,589 (2000 Census)
Putnam County Profile

Lodging: Putnam County Hotels

Schools: Putnam County Schools

Libraries: Putnam County Libraries

Cities, Towns, and Villages

The largest communities in Putnam are located in flats along the Kanawha River in the Kanawha Valley. Most such communities are commercial centers serving the region's smaller agricultural communities, though Nitro (in the south) is an important industrial city, formerly the site of a nitroglycerin plant and part of the industrial and chemical complex of the central Kanawha Valley. Hurricane, also in the south, is located along the I-64 corridor between the metropolitan areas of Charleston and Huntington, WV. The county is otherwise almost entirely rural.

Poca, WV
Nitro, WV
Buffalo, WV
Eleanor, WV
Winfield, WV
Red House, WV
Hurricane, WV

Many hamlets and small villages pepper the ridges beyond te Kanawha Valley. Many were established in the late 19th century when the county was timbered to fuel the valley's saltworks. Many were developed later around country stores and post offices. Little is left of these communities today.

Confidence, WV
Bancroft, WV
Extra, WV
Liberty, WV
Paradise, WV
Winter, WV

Points of Interest

Buffalo Indian Village
Amherst/Plymouth Wildlife Management Area

General Description

Putnam County is part of one of the most productive agricultural regions in West Virginia. Much of the county is in farmland and woodland. Particularly large farms have been worked along the broad bottoms of the Kanawha River and at the mouths of its major tributaries. Many smaller farms follow winding tributary streams into the ridges beyond. Many lay along the tableland regions above the valley, which rise 500 feet above the mean river level. Tobacco, beef cattle, grain crops, and poultry are its largest crops. The region is recognized for its pastoral beauty. The county is entirely contained with the Allegheny Plateau region of Appalachia.


Created by the Virginia Assembly in 1848 from parts of Mason, Cabell, Kanawha counties, Putnam was named in honor of New England soldier and patriot Gen. Israel Putnam. Many examples of commercial, residential, and ecclesiastical architecture of early 1800s are extant. Buffalo, in central Putnam County, may be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in North America, having been settled relatively early by native Americans and still being inhabited when the first European settlers arrived. Excavations at the village in 1963-1964 uncovered a central plaza surrounded by ceremonial buildings and a semi-circle of houses, all enclosed in a stockade. Then as now, residents enjoyed the bounty of the river, its fertile bottoms, and the wooded hills that extend into the distance beyond.


Temperature Mean Annual Average: 54 (Degrees F)
January Averages: High 41 (Degrees F) -- Low 21 (Degrees F)
July Averages: High 86 (Degrees F) -- Low 64 (Degrees F)

Long Term Precipitation

January: 2.68 inches -- July: 4.67 (inches) -- Annual: 41.2 (inches)

Mean Annual Snowfall Range

25 - 30 inches

Putnam County Weather Forecast

Additional Sources of Information


West Virginia Geological Survey: Jackson, Mason and Putnam Counties