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Welcome to the Culture news directory at West Virginia Explorer. Follow along as we explore the diverse cultures that have come to define the West Virginia experience.

Museum installing monuments to commemorate Mine Wars

Community members gather to plan a Mine Wars monument installation at Marmet.
MATEWAN, W.Va. — The first of two monuments commemorating the Battle of Blair Mountain in West Virginia will be installed this weekend in Logan...

Hikers, paddlers can visit New River's lost "Island of the Dead"

Headstones hide in the dim light of wooded Red Ash Island in the New River Gorge.
THURMOND, W.Va. — Victims of a smallpox pandemic that swept through the New River Gorge in the late 1800s may have been buried in...

Notorious bank robber "Pretty Boy Floyd" hid in West Virginia

Pretty Boy Floyd once hid out in West Virginia, where he changed the life of a young policeman.
SAINT MARYS, W.Va. — As U.S. states go, West Virginia has always been a reasonably peaceful place. Violence erupts on occasion, though one might...

Roadside ghosts account for most popular W.Va. ghost stories

Roadside ghosts account for many of most popular WV ghost stories
PAX, W.Va. — Tales of roadside ghosts account for many of the most popular ghost stories in West Virginia, according to the publisher of...

Little-known monument recalls origins of Farley family in W.Va.

A monument at Old Farley memorializes Drewry Farley.
PIPESTEM, W.Va.—Of the tens of thousands of people surnamed "Farley" who can claim to hail from southern West Virginia, almost all come from one...

Three little-known facts about West Virginia's moundbuilders

The largest of the two Oak Mounds rises overlooks the West Fork River.
The term “moundbuilder” is often used to describe two ancient cultures that archaeologists now know as the Adena and the Hopewell. These peoples lived...

Strange haunting near Summersville Lake may be largely forgotten

Cliffs along Summerville Lake, Summersville Lake Climbing Area, Nicholas County, New River Gorge Region
SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va.—The tale of the "Ford Ghost" southwest of Summersville, West Virginia, makes its appearance several times in local lore, but this telling by...

Mass grave at Lewisburg unique among Confederate monuments

Pennies on Rebel Grave, Lewisburg, West Virginia, Greenbrier County, Greenbrier Valley Region
LEWISBURG, W.Va.—Of the many historic landmarks in Lewisburg, perhaps none is more remarkable than a cross-shaped Confederate grave on a hill above the city's...

How Pruntytown reformatory became a bogeyman in W.Va.

A farmhouse at Pruntytown was once part of the infamous boys' reformatory complex.
PRUNTYTOWN, W.Va.—If you were an unruly boy growing up in West Virginia before the 1980s, there's a chance your misbehaviors were met with the...

Devil's Saddle poem tells of girl's meeting with "granny witch"

Throughout the history of Appalachia, one may encounter the legend of granny witches—solitary women believed to possess uncanny powers. Many served in very real...

How the "Tug Fork" in southern West Virginia got its name

Ostenaco prepares for council on New River, West Virginia
WILLIAMSON, W.Va.—Of all the placenames associated with West Virginia, that of the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River may be the subject of...

W.Va. Penitentiary at Moundsville focus of strange history

Entrance to former W.Va. Penitentiary
The former West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville, West Virginia, in Marshall County, was a castellated gothic-style prison in operation from 1876 until 1995....

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