How much do you know about the county at the heart of North Central West Virginia? Here are some odd facts you may or may not know.
1. The county was named after Revolutionary war hero Francis Marion, who is considered a father of modern guerilla warfare.
2. The British especially despised him for his surprise attacks.
3. There are 17 “Marion Counties” in the United States.
4. There are 33 “Farmingtons.”
5. And 288 “Fairviews.”
6. The county was once part of the huge Augusta County, Virginia, but was eventually broken down into Marion, Harrison, and Monongalia Counties.
7. The Rivesville Power Station draws up to 69.8 million gallons per day from the Monongahela River to cool the plant.
8. Four West Virginia Governors were born Marion County, the most recent was Joe Manchin.
9. The Monongah Coal Mining Disaster of 1907 remains the worst in America’s history. 361 miners died.
10. In 1950, 70,000 people lived in Marion County, an all-time high. Today, there are 57,000 people.
11. About 600 of those people live in Grant Town.
12. That may or may not include “The Grant Town Goon,” a local legend about a bigfoot-like creature that probably got its start in the 1970’s.
13. An alum Fairmont Senior High School invented the Big Mac (Class of 1936).
14. A huge mansion, known as both Hutchinson House and Sonncroft Castle, once stood near East Fairmont Middle School. It was demolished in the 1960’s.
15. Nick Saban, head coach of the Alabama football team, grew up in Monongah.
16. Fairmont was originally called Middletown—it was halfway between Clarksburg and Morgantown.
17. Little Creek, which runs through Catawba, was named after an 18th century farmer who was scalped by local natives. His name was Abe Little.
18. Radio station WMMN first broadcast from the mezzanine of the now-closed Fairmont Hotel in December 1928.
19. President James Madison once owned land near Mannington.
20. Mannington was named after Charles Manning, a civil engineer for the B&O Railroad.
21. Thanks to an abundance of sand and natural gas, Fairmont was well known for its glass industry in the early 20th century.
22. Valley Falls was once a bustling community, but was devastated by a fire and flooding between 1886 and 1888. It never fully recovered.
23. Both a park and a street are named after another Fairmont native, olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton.
24. Retton briefly moved back to West Virginia in 2009, but eventually returned to Texas.
26. The hit 1958 song “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry is about Fairmont-native Johnnie Johnson.
27. Marion County is 94% white, according to Census bureau numbers.
28. And yes, the pepperoni roll was in fact invented at the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont in 1927 by Giuseppe “Joseph” Argiro.
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