Did you know…
1. Most of Huntington is in Cabell County, but a small portion actually sits in Wayne County.
2. The first settlement at what is now Huntington was founded in 1775 as Holerby’s Landing.
3. The city of Huntington was incorporated 1871 as the western terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. The railroad connected Richmond, Virginia with the Ohio River.
4. Development of the railroad was led by a man named Collis Potter Huntington. He was also partially responsible for the creation of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad.
5. After the C&O had tapped into West Virginia’s coal reserves, it expanded to Virginia’s coast. The city of Newport News was created along with new coal piers at the Hampton Roads harbor.
6. Huntington would eventually become one of the most hated railroad men in the county. One textbook even read that he came to “symbolize the greed and corruption of late-nineteenth-century business.”
7. Guyandotte was a small town when Huntington was incorporated, it’s now just a neighborhood inside the city.
8. That small town was home to Buffington Mill, the largest flour mill on the Ohio between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
9. Guyandotte is the French name for Wyandotte (or Huron) Native Americans.
10. Until the early 19th century, the Wyandotte held significant land in the Ohio River valley. In 1842 they lost all land east of the Mississippi River and were forced to move west. Only remnants of the tribe remain on reservations in Kansas, Oklahoma and southern Quebec.
11. Together with Charleston, Huntington is the 64th largest television market in the country. It’s also the largest market geographically east of the Mississippi.
12. First opened in 1952 as The Huntington Galleries, the city’s Museum of Art is the largest in West Virginia.
13. When it opened in 1977, the Huntington Civic Center was also the largest of its kind in the state. A new arena at the Charleston Civic Center in the 80’s significantly hurt the Huntington Civic Center’s business and the city eventually turned it over to private management.
14. Marshall objected to the construction of the Huntington Civic Center because of its location and an unfriendly design to sports. The University declined to move its sports programs there and opened the Cam Henderson Center in 1981.
15. The average incoming freshman at Marshall has a 3.4 high school GPA and a 22 on the ACT.
16. When it was founded in 1837, Marshall was essentially a boarding school for wealthy high-school aged students. It’ didn’t become a college until 1858.
17. The school was financially troubled in the 1860’s and the Civil War often closed Marshall.
18. It’s named for Justice John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He was a friend of one the school’s founders, John Laidley.
19. Maple Grove, the land on which Marshall’s Old Main sits, was purchased by the school in 1839 for $40. That’s $898.17 in 2015 dollars. Pretty good deal!
20. The Huntington Mall remains the largest mall in West Virginia, even though it’s technically located in the village of Barboursville.
21. Huntington was the second city in the country to adopt electric streetcars, after San Francisco. Some of the old trolley tracks can still be seen.
22. Camden Park was established in 1902 as a park at the end of one of those streetcar lines (like many other parks of the era). It’s first amusement, a carousel, opened in 1903.
23. At the center of the park is a large indian mound which has grown over with trees. It has reportedly never been excavated.
24. Camden remains the only amusement park in the state of West Virginia.
25. At its peak in 1950, 86,353 people lived inside the city limits. Today less than 50,000 do.
26. Hal Greer Boulevard is named after NBA Hall of Famer Hal Greer, who was born here. He played for the Philadelphia 76’ers and along with fellow West Virginian Jerry West, is considered one of the best players of the 1960’s.
27. The Joan C. Edwards Stadium at Marshall is one of only two NCAA-Division I stadiums named exclusively after a woman. The other is South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium.
28. The Thundering Herd has a 140-25 overall record at The Joan—a winning percentage topping 84%.
29. The name of the Keith-Albee Theatre was a ploy to get top vaudeville acts to stop there. The Keith-Albee-Orpheum Corporation was one of the top performance chains of its time and it was hoped the name would get directors to perform in Huntington.
30. In 1937, the city experienced one of its worst crises ever. The Great Flood of 1937 killed five people in the city and left tens of thousands homeless and led to the creation of the city’s floodwalls.
31. Cabell County has tied Berkeley County (Martinsburg) for most heroin overdose deaths since 2001.
32. The city was once home to both a morning and afternoon newspaper. The afternoon paper, the Huntington Advertiser, ceased publication in 1979.
33. The iconic Frostop Drive-In was part of a nationwide chain when it opened in 1959. Only a few still remain (although we couldn’t find a complete list).
34. The root beer for which the drive-in was named is also still available in bottled form, though not in West Virginia.
35. Built in 1905, the Frederick Hotel was once considered the finest hotel between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. It stopped normal business as a hotel in the 70’s and began converting to office space about the same time.
36. The land on which Ritter Park was purchased by the city in 1908. It was supposed to be the site of large-scale incinerator. Neighbors protested and the city agreed to convert the area into the city’s first large park.
37. It’s long been rumored that a tunnel system runs or once ran under downtown Huntington. No credible evidence suggests such a system exists today, though they may have been destroyed in the flood of 1937 or become the basis for the city’s sewer system.
38. Before officially gaining the name Huntington High School, the consolidated Huntington High/East Huntington school was going to be called Cabell West High School and later Cabell Summit High.
39. When it was built in 1924, The West Virginia Building was called the Union Bank and Trust Building. When the bank collapsed during the depression, the building was renamed because it was the largest building in the state. It’s now the largest residential building in the state.
40. Completed in 1985, the East Huntington or Frank Gatski Bridge is a concrete cable-stayed bridge and was the second of its kind built in the United States.
41. Harris Riverfront Park is about to get a big makeover; city officials plan on adding a marina on the Ohio by Labor Day 2016.