Happy 150th Birthday, West Virginia!
Birthplace of West Virginia
Nearly six years before President Lincoln signed the proclamation making West Virginia the 35th State in the Union, construction had begun on the Wheeling Custom House, headquarters for federal offices for the Western District of Virginia. Its completion, coinciding with the beginning of the Civil War, provided a facility for heated political discussions and constitutional conventions that led to eventual statehood for West Virginia in 1863. Here, issues dividing many Virginians - slavery being one of many - were debated, compromised and shaped into the skeleton of statehood. Serving as the Restored Government of Virginia (aligned with the Union) from 1861-1863, it is appropriately known today as West Virginia Independence Hall.
Civil War 150 Schedule of Events
Sunday, May 19 (12-4 pm) – Mt. Wood Cemetery Tour (12 characters/impersonators)
Thursday, May 23 (7:00 pm) – “Countdown to West Virginia Statehood”
Author Bob O’Connor offers a program detailing the growing historical grievances that eventually led to WV statehood. While most people are of the impression that WV became a state due to the opposition to Virginia’s secession from the Union in 1861, in fact, western Virginians had been discriminated against since 1776 by their eastern Virginia brethren. This program is offered as part of the 150th anniversary commemoration of WV statehood. Free and open to the public. A reception to follow the program.
Thursday, June 6 (7 pm) – “The Revolution That Forged a State”
A presentation by distinguished scholar Ronald L. Lewis as part of the 150th commemoration of WV statehood. Free and open to the public. A reception will follow the program.
Friday, June 7 (4:30-10:30 pm) – First Fridays “Blue & Gold Night,” featuring a Party on the Patio concert at WesBanco Arena
Thursday, June 13 (7 pm) – “The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln: Emancipation and West Virginia Statehood”
A presentation by legal and historical scholar Forest “Jack” Bowman as part of the 150th commemoration of WV statehood. Free and open to the public. A reception will follow the program.
Tuesday, June 18
12:00 pm – Lunch with Books (Secession in Favor of the Constitution: How West Virginia Justified Separate Statehood during the Civil War)
7:00 pm – People’s University at Ohio County Public Library: “Wheeling Conventions,” presented by Dr. Javersak
Wednesday, June 19
5:00pm – Statehood Block Party at River City featuring music by Hit Play, appetizers and Fun
7:00 pm – Waterfront Wednesday at Heritage Port, featuring Streamline
Thursday, June 20
10:00 am – Governor Pierpont maquette presented
12:00 pm – “150 Years: West Virginia Sesquicentennial Celebration!” Commemorative ceremonies and historical reenactments at WV Independence Hall to celebrate the 150th anniversary of West Virginia statehood.
- Ceremonial bell ringing
- Speeches by elected officials and Gov. Pierpont
- 35-gun salute with choir and canons
- WV birthday cake
2:00 pm – The Wildcat Regiment Band will perform a concert of Civil War era music in the historic courtroom.
2-4 pm – Tours at First State Capitol Building
4:30-7:00 pm – WV Day Concert, Part I
7:30-10:00 pm – WV Day Concert, Part II: Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, featuring guest performances by Johnny Staats, Kathy Mattea, and Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.
7:45 pm – Original Poem for West Virginia by Marc Harshman
10:00 pm – Fireworks
Friday, June 21
6:00 pm – Beers & Beards at River City Aleworks
7:00 pm – Blue & Grey Choir at West Virginia Independence Hall
9:30 pm – Riverfront Movie Night (Lincoln)
Saturday, June 22
10:00 am-8:00 pm – Wheeling Arts Fest
6:00 pm – Civil War Ball at McLure Hotel