Charleston is the capital of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. As of the 2000 census, it has a population of 53,421. However, the 2006 Census Estimate has Charleston with a population of 50,846, and a metro area of 307,763. Currently, Charleston is the largest city in the state. It is the county seat of Kanawha County.
The first permanent settlement, Ft. Lee, was built in 1788. In 1791, Daniel Boone was a member of the Kanawha County Assembly.
Charleston is the home of the West Virginia Power (formerly the Charleston Alley Cats) minor league baseball team, the West Virginia Wild minor league basketball team, and the annual 15 mile (24 km) Charleston Distance Run. Yeager Airport and the University of Charleston are also located in the city.
It is also home to the 130th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard
The city also holds public parks, such as Cato Park and Coonskin Park. It also is home to Kanawha State Forest, a large public state park that sustains a pool, camping sites, several biking/walking trails, picnic areas, as well as several shelters provided for recreational use.
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 53,421 people, 24,505 households, and 13,624 families residing in the city. The population density was 652.7/km² (1,690.4/mi²). There were 27,131 housing units at an average density of 331.5/km² (858.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.63% White, 15.07% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.83% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 1.91% from two or more races. 0.81% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 24,505 households out of which 23.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.9% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.4% were non-families. 38.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.82.
The age distribution is 20.7% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 87.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,009, and the median income for a family was $47,975. Males had a median income of $38,257 versus $26,671 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,017. About 12.7% of families and 16.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.5% of those under age 18 and 11.3% of those age 65 or over.
The city of Charleston is host to numerous elementary, middle, junior high and high schools as a part of the Kanawha Country school system. The three high schools include Capital High School, located near Yeager Airport and Coonskin Park, George Washington High School, a public school located in the South Hills neighborhood and Charleston Catholic High School, a Catholic school at the eastern edge of the city's downtown.
Charleston hosts a branch campus of West Virginia University which serves as a clinical campus for the university's medical and dental schools. Students at either school must complete their class work at the main campus in Morgantown but can complete their clinical rotations at either Morgantown or Charleston.
The city is also home to a 1,000 student private college, the University of Charleston. The college is located along MacCorkle Avenue along the banks of the Kanawha River.In 2006 the college opened a new school of Pharmacy.
Located within the immediate area are West Virginia State University in Institute and the Marshall University Graduate College, a postgraduate-only branch of Marshall University in South Charleston. The region is also home to the Charleston Branch of the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing, an independent program administered by Marshall University; it provides access to computer numerical control (CNC) equipment for businesses in two states.
Located approximately 30 miles (50 km) from Charleston, West Virginia University Institute of Technology has its campus. West Virginia University Institute of Technology is the largest regional campus of the university which focuses mainly on engineering programs.
The city is also home to West Virginia Junior College's Charleston campus. Located in downtown Charleston at 1000 Virginia Street, WV Junior College is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools to award diplomas and associate degrees in Business Administration, Medical Assisting, Legal Office Assisting and Computer Technology. Part of the Kanawha Valley for almost 115 years, WV Junior College was originially established as Capitol City Commercial College on September 1, 1892. The College was originally established to train students in secretarial and business skills and has undergone changes in location and curriculum through the years to keep up-to-date with the current changing need of office skill training.
Charleston is home to numerous annual events and fairs that take place throughout the city, from the banks of the Kanawha River to the capitol grounds.
The West Virginia Dance Festival, held between April 25 and 30, features dance students from across the state that attend classes and workshops in ballet, jazz and modern dance. At the finale, the students perform in the West Virginia State Theatre; these are free to the public. Twice a year, in late April and again in early November, the West Virginia International Film Festival occurs, where many domestic and international films are shown that range from "full-length feature films, shorts, documentaries, animation and student films."
On May 6, the Kanawha Kordsmen Barbershop Chorus performs at the Clay Center for the Arts. The 40-man cappela chorus performs music in a show titled "Songs America Sings." On Memorial Day weekend, the Vandalia Gathering is held on the grounds of the state capitol. Thousands of visitors each year enjoy traditional music, art, dance, stories, crafts and food that stems from the "uniqueness of West Virginia's mountain culture." There is no fee for admission.
Since 2005 FestivALL has provided the Charleston area with a nearly week of cultural and artistic events beginning on June 20th (West Virginia Day) and including dance, theater, and music. FestivALL provides local artists a valuable chance to display their works and help get others interested in, and involved with, the local artistic community. Highlights include an art fair on Capitol Street and local bands playing live music at stages set up throughout downtown, as well as a wine and jazz festival on the campus of the University of Charleston featuring local and nationally known jazz artists and showcasing the products of West Virginia vineyards.
Currently there are 2 shopping malls in the city of Charleston. The largest mall in the city is the Charleston Town Center Mall. Opening in 1983, the Town Center Mall is a three story shopping and dining facility, with 130 specialty stores. Macy's, Sears and J.C. Penney are the mall's current anchor stores. The fourth anchor pad is being renovated by Brickstreet Insurance, the administrators of the West Virginia workers compensation plan, to act as their new headquarters. There are also six major restaurants located on street level and 12 fast food restaurants representing the food court, located on the third floor of the mall.
The other mall in the city is the Kanawha Mall located in the Kanawha City neighborhood of Charleston. This mall is much smaller in size compared to the Town Center Mall, with Elder-Beerman, Gabriel Brothers and Kroger as anchor stores.
There are 21 high-rise buildings located in Charleston. The state capitol is the tallest structure. Source
|West Virginia State Capitol||3||292 ft (89 m)|
|Laidley Tower||18||256 ft (78 m)|
|Kanawha Valley Building||22||238 ft (73 m)|
|Bank One Center||18||225 ft (69 m)|
|Imperial Tower||19||209 ft (64 m)|
|Huntington Square||17||207 ft (63 m)|
|Columbia Gas Transmission Building #1||13||200 ft (61 m)|
|AT&T Building||15||195 ft (60 m)|
|City Center West||13||186 ft (57 m)|
|Union Building||14||183 ft (56 m)|
|United Center||12||178 ft (55 m)|
|Columbia Gas Transmission Building #2||12||177 ft (54 m)|
|Charleston Marriott Town Center||16||175 ft (53 m)|
|City Center East||12||164 ft (50 m)|
|Security Building||13||156 ft (48 m)|
|Jarrett Terrace||14||154 ft (47 m)|
|Boulevard Tower||12||151 ft (46 m)|
|BB&T Square||12||150 ft (46 m)|
|Holiday Inn Charleston House||12||144 ft (44 m)|
|Carroll Terrace||13||140 ft (43 m)|
|405 Capitol Street Building||12||136 ft (41 m)|
|KB&T Center||11||122 ft (37 m)|