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Overview

Founded in 1794, Charleston is located on the banks of the Kanawha River and surrounded by the lofty Appalachian Mountains. The capital city of West Virginia, Charleston holds its history close to its heart. Graced by the beauty of nature as well as the art of man, the city offers postcard-perfect landscapes and architecture. To get a feel for its past, walk around downtown Charleston with its more-than-a-century-old buildings. A good place to start is the eye-catching Capitol Complex nestled in a park-like setting. Completed in 1932, the Capitol building is topped by a gold-tome dome. Look for a statue of a mountaineer carrying a rifle and ...

Founded in 1794, Charleston is located on the banks of the Kanawha River and surrounded by the lofty Appalachian Mountains. The capital city of West Virginia, Charleston holds its history close to its heart. Graced by the beauty of nature as well as the art of man, the city offers postcard-perfect landscapes and architecture. To get a feel for its past, walk around downtown Charleston with its more-than-a-century-old buildings. A good place to start is the eye-catching Capitol Complex nestled in a park-like setting. Completed in 1932, the Capitol building is topped by a gold-tome dome. Look for a statue of a mountaineer carrying a rifle and a Union flag. On the other end of the avenue is a statue of Stonewall Jackson, his coat billowing in the wind as though buffeted by a strong Northern wind. Along the river is a statue, called Lincoln Walks at Midnight, of a sad and pensive Abraham Lincoln clad in a robe. Added in the 1930s is a curious statue west of the Lincoln site. This monument features a marching Union soldier wearing a blanket roll with his musket slung over his shoulder. Historical experts like to point out that the Union soldier might look nice but he certainly is not accurate. Union soldiers generally wore backpacks, not blanket rolls and no soldier would carry his musket in such a manner or it would whack the man behind him. To clear your mind, sit along the river and watch barges and boats traveling to and fro.

Jackie Finch
About the Expert

Jackie Sheckler Finch has written several guidebooks, including The Unofficial Guide to Campgrounds in the Great Lakes States, and four times she was named Travel Writer of the Year by Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, summer, fall; Sternwheel Regatta on Labor Day weekend