How much do you know about South Charleston? Here are 15 things you may (or may not) know about this great little West Virginia town.

1. Even though it’s called South Charleston, the city actually lies to the northwest of Charleston.

2. South Charleston High School is one of only six high schools in the state that have been operating for more than 75 years. The other high schools include Huntington High, Morgantown High, and Woodrow Wilson in Beckley.

3. With just under a 1,000 students enrolled, South Charleston High is the 27th largest high school in West Virginia.

4. There were only three members of the Black Eagle Band when it started in 1932.

The Criel Mound in South Charleston (Public Domain)

The Criel Mound in South Charleston (Public Domain)

5. The South Charleston burial mound, also known as the Criel Mound, was built by the Adena people. They lived along the banks of the Kanawha between 1000 and 200 B.C.

6. It’s called Criel because it once sat in the middle of the Criel family farm, now downtown South Charleston.

7. Spring Hill got its name from a spring in the area at which stagecoaches once stopped at.

8. The area was largely undeveloped until 1907, when Gov. William A. MacCorkle lead a development effort.

9. Factories were lured to South Charleston by cheap coal, natural gas, salt, and easy access to the Kanawha and rail lines.

South Charleston in the 70's

South Charleston in the 70’s (National Archives)

10. At its peak, Union Carbide employed over 10,000. The city’s population peaked at around 20,000 souls in the the 1960’s.

11. Blaine Island was once owned by a pioneer named Thomas Upton. In the 1790’s, he traded the entire island to Charles Blain for a flintlock rifle.

12. So important was the island’s chemical manufacturing during World War II that the island was patrolled by the U.S. Coast Guard 24 hours a day.

13. Thomas Memorial Hospital is named after Herbert J. Thomas, a local football star who threw himself on a grenade during World War II to protect others.

14. Country star Kathy Mattea was raised in Crosslanes but born in Thomas Memorial Hospital.

15. The West Virginia State Police are headquartered in South Charleston.

MORE: 28 Photos of the Kanawha Valley in the 70’s

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