CLARKSBURG, WV (WBOY) — Today, Monday, June 20, 2022, we’re celebrating West Virginia’s 159th birthday by taking a look back at some West Virginia history.
While the Mountain State’s most-known invention among its residents is almost certainly the pepperoni roll–first commercially produced in 1927 by Giuseppe Argiro in Fairmont so that hungry coal miners could eat with one hand and drink water in the other, they’re not the only things invented in West Virginia.
Radio Broadcast Football Games – The first radio broadcast football game was a heated rivalry matchup between the West Virginia University Mountaineers and Pittsburgh University on Oct. 8, 1921, on KDKA, which was also the nation’s first radio station. You can listen to it on wvpublic.org.
Brick Roads – Brick roads were invented by Charleston, West Virginia resident Mordecai Levi in 1870. Levi used bricks to pave Summers Street and by 1873, historicalbricks.com says he had paved an entire block and sought out a patent for brick roads.
The Steamboat – While Robert Fulton is credited with creating the first steamboat, the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History said James Rumsey was the first to invent a steam engine capable of propelling a boat using hydraulic jet propulsion, and it was demonstrated on the Potomac River near Shepherdstown on Dec. 3, 1787, 20 years before Fulton’s boat design, though the Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History did acknowledge Fulton’s as more practical.
Mother’s Day – When Grafton, West Virginia resident Anna Jarvis’s mother, Ann Jarvis died in 1905, Anna promised to honor Ann’s career as an activist. According to the National Woman’s History Alliance, Ann organized “Mother’s Work Days” in an effort to improve sanitation and reduce deaths due to insect-borne illnesses and polluted water. Anna did so by becoming the first to celebrate Mother’s Day with a memorial ceremony on May 12, 1907, and then helping to turn it into a national holiday in 1914 when Congress passed a Mother’s Day resolution.
Grandparents’ Day – Oak Hill, West Virginia resident Marian McQuade is credited with creating Grandparents’ Day when she started a statewide campaign calling for a special day to recognize grandparents and Gov. Arch Moore proclaimed the first Grandparents Day in 1973 in West Virginia according to grandparentsday.org. It was adopted federally as the first Sunday after Labor Day in 1978 and President Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation.