The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Charleston, West Virginia

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Charleston, WV is the county seat of Kanawha County and the capital of West Virginia (1788-1793 and 1885-present.) Located along the Kanawha River, Charleston was originally chartered in 1794 as Charles Town, so named for by town's founder, George Clendenin, for his father, Charles Clendenin. Because there were then two other communities in what is now West Virginia with the same name, by popular usage the town's name was shortened to "Charleston." The name of the town was officially changed to Charleston in 1818. See: The Founding of Charleston

Charleston, WV, was the site of Clendenin's Fort, later renamed Fort Lee, an early frontier fort (1788-1796) which stood at the present-day corner of Brooks Street and Kanawha Boulevard. Colonel Andrew Lewis and his company of troops reached the site of present-day Charleston on Sept. 21, 1774, in route to the Battle of Point Pleasant.

The manufacture of salt was first industry to develop in Charleston area during the late 1700s, in an area known as the Kanawha Salines, near present-day Malden, WV. The drilling of the first natural gas well in the U.S. occurred near the foot of present-day Brooks Street in Charleston in 1815.

Charleston, WV

Charleston, WV, is located about: 5 miles east of South Charleston, WV; 13 miles east of Saint Albans, WV; 36 miles south of Ripley, WV; 50 miles east of Huntington, WV; and 55 miles northwest of Beckley, WV.


Yeager Airport : Yeager Airport (map)
Public and private heliports and airports near Charleston, WV (map)


Charleston, WV, Hotels: Find nearby hotels and make online reservations


Charleston, WV Weather: Current conditions, forecasts, weather alerts, and more


Map of Charleston and Vicinity

View a larger version of this map (best viewed full-screen) with links to driving directions and additional mapping options.


Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center - Casino, greyhound racing, and gaming at Cross Lanes, WV


Radio Stations

WCHS (AM 580) : WCAW (AM 680) : WVTS (AM 950) : WSWW (AM 1490) : WVPN (FM 88.5) : WXAF (FM 90.9) : WKWS (FM 96.1) : WQBE (FM 97.5) : WVAF (FM 99.9) : WVSR (FM 102.7)

Television (TV) Stations

WLPX (DT 39, Pax TV) : WCHS (DT 41, ABC) : WCHS (TV 8, ABC) : WVAH (TV 11, Fox) : WLPX (TV 29, Pax TV)


Kanawha County Schools : Map of area schools


Kanawha County Public Library : Map


Charleston, WV Photos - State Capitol Building, Governor's Mansion, Sunrise, Craik-Patton House, and Ruffner Cabin.



Map of Charleston, WV showing streets and highways, and nearby airports, parks, hospitals, and other points of interest, with link to driving directions.

Topo map of Charleston, WV and vicinity

Census Data

Population: 53,421
(2000 Census)


Elevation: 606 feet
Longitude: -81.6328
Latitude: 38.349


180px-WV-Capitol-Building.jpg State Capitol

180px-Kanawha-manufacturing-charleston.jpg Kanawha Manufacturing Co. circa 1929

State Capitol Building

State Capitol Complex

Capitals of West Virginia

Charleston is the capital city of West Virginia, but this was not always the case. Wheeling was the capital of West Virginia from 1863 to 1870, when it was moved to Charleston. In 1875 the seat of government was again moved to Wheeling, remaining there until 1885, when it was again changed to Charleston.

Variant Name(s) for Charleston, WV

Charles Town, Charleston-on-the-Kanawha, Charlestown, Clendenin's Settlement, Clendenins Fort, Clendenins Settlement, Fort Clendennin, Fort Lee, Kanawha, Kanawha Court House, Mouth of Elk, The Town at the Mouth of Elk