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Some facts about West Virginia

Jun. 20, 2013 @ 12:01 AM

In recognition of West Virginia Day, which recognizes the state’s founding in 1863, here are some of the official state emblems of West Virginia and other facts:

NICKNAME: The Mountain State

MOTTO: “Montani Semper Liberi” (Mountaineers Are Always Free)

SEAL: The Great Seal of West Virginia was adopted by the Legislature on Sept. 26, 1863. Joseph H. Diss Debar of Doddridge County designed the seal in 1863 at the request of the Legislature. The seal features a farmer and a mountaineer standing near a boulder upon which appears the date of its admission into the Union. Two rifles lie crossed in front of the boulder, draped with a Liberty Cap. The seal is surrounded by a wreath of Rhododendron maximum, the state’s official flower.

FLAG: West Virginia’s flag was approved by the Legislature on March 7, 1929. It features the original state seal centered on a white field surrounded by a dark blue border.

COLORS: Old gold and blue

SONG: Although many people consider John Denver’s “Country Roads” the state’s unofficial anthem, the Legislature adopted the following three official state songs on Feb. 28, 1963: “The West Virginia Hills,” words and music by Ellen King and H.E. Engle; “This is My West Virginia” by Iris Bell; and “West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home” by Julian G. Hearne Jr.

FLOWER: Rhododendron

TREE: Sugar maple

BIRD: Cardinal

ANIMAL: Black bear

FRUIT: Golden Delicious Apple

FISH: Brook trout

BUTTERFLY: Monarch

INSECT: Honeybee

GEM: Lithostrotionella

SOIL: Monongahela silt loam

HIGHEST POINT IN STATE: Spruce Knob  4,863 feet above sea level

LOWEST POINT IN STATE: Potomac River at the Virginia border near Harpers Ferry, 240 feet above sea level.

SOURCE: State of West Virginia, University of North Carolina

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