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Huntington W. Va.

Huntington, WV
Huntington is a city located in the U.S. State of West Virginia, along the Ohio River.

Most of the city is in Cabell County, with a small part in Wayne County. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 51,475 (47,341 in Cabell County, 4,134 in Wayne County). The city was named for Collis P. Huntington, who founded it in 1870 as a headquarters for his Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. Huntington was incorporated in 1871, but its constituent city, Guyandotte was first built upon in 1799. Huntington is the county seat of Cabell County.

A well-planned small city, Huntington, West Virginia fills the three-mile wide flood plain of the Ohio River for sixty blocks, from 30th Street East to 30th Street West and from 1st Avenue (at the River) to 13th Avenue (in Ritter Park) and somewhat beyond this range into the area's hardwood forests and suburban hills. Ritter Park runs from the dramatic WWI Memorial Arch at 6th Street West through the Whitaker Boulevard area to the open fields and tennis courts at 12th Street East. A multi-terraced rose garden and a stone-tiered reflecting pond were built by the WPA and CCC in Ritter Park in the late 1930s, making it a beautiful and popular gathering area for the entire community. Kiwanis Park and Rotary Park complement Ritter Park.

Visitors admire - and residents enjoy - the quaint brick streets, mature hardwood trees and Edwardian architecture that characterize the residential South Side. A natural bird sanctuary, Four Pole Creek, runs the entire length of Ritter Park and the creek is crossed by numerous picturesque wooden and stone foot bridges. Architect Jack Keiffer designed the very popular gravel walking paths placed in Ritter Park (c. 1980). The Huntington Galleries (now renamed Huntington Museum of Art) stand above Ritter Park on 8th Street Hill on McCoy Road. There is a rustic frontier museum and also a radio technology museum near the west end of the park. The Cabell County Courthouse Building and Carnegie Library downtown also have historical interest, and Old Main on the Marshall University campus dates to the 1840s. The tavern inn on Whitaker Boulevard and the Meek House on 2nd Street and 6th Avenue are other antebellum structures.

Because of the "rust belt" experience of losing industrial jobs (INCO, AMC, Owens-Illinois) in the the 1970s, real estate remains very affordable in Huntington. Unemployment dropped below five percent for the first time in recent memory in 2005. A regional metropolitan statistical area center for over twenty counties in the Tri-State Area of West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky; Huntington, W.Va. is structurally positioned to prosper in the 21st century. The hospitals, health industries, communications, banking, hospitality and University institutions should support moderate growth and a cosmopolitan - if unhurried - lifestyle in the next generation.

Architecturally, in the 1970s federal urban renewal programs destroyed part of the downtown (from 6th to 12th Street between 1st and 3rd Avenue, along the river) but in 2005 the Pullman Square retail and entertainment center, aided by The Transit Authority TTA revived this blighted downtown "Superblock" area, leading to rising downtown values and usages. The Harris Riverfront Park promenade is now well-attended along the Ohio River downtown, although the post- 1937 flood city floodwall tends to obscure the view of the Ohio River. Today condominiums and lofts are beginning to be re-developed in downtown Huntington, including the old Frederick Hotel and Bank Arcade area, and although only one percent of the population resides now within the commercial downtown, the Victorian downtown is growing in popularity among young urban professionals today. The Keith Albee Theater, a Vaudeville palace from the 1920s is still the architectural masterpiece of the downtown area, and 5th Avenue is noted for its many impressive church buildings. Restaurants make downtown Huntington easily one of the very best dining areas in West Virginia. Meanwhile, new home building in the suburban areas also help to keep Huntington's South Side (the area from 8th to 13th Avenue) housing stock affordable. These include yellow brick bungalows from the 1920s and 1930s. US Interstate Freeway I-64 skirts the city, and three modern bridges cross over the Ohio River. Wide boulevards make transit easy from the Marshall University district to the Downtown. Traditional "drive-in" hot dog stands like Midway, Stewart's and Frostop are still very popular and they add a 'retrospective' aspect to the city. Camden Park, a small theme park with a wooden rollercoaster is just west of town, and Camden Park is also the site of an Adena Native American burial mound. The U.S. Corps of Engineers constructed locks and dams nearby in the Ohio River and designed the large recreational lakes East Lynn Lake and Beech Fork Lake just south of Huntington in Wayne County, and Huntington's suburbs of Chesapeake, Proctorville and Burlington, Ohio, are expanding on the north shore of the Ohio River near these bridges to Huntington, West Virginia.

Historically, the old Federal Era town of Guyandotte, now within the Huntington city limits, has homes dating back to 1820 and a graveyard containing 18th century French and Colonial Revolutionary Era settlers, including the Holderby and Buffington family markers. Huntington was known as Holderby's Landing previous to 1871 and the Buffington family held the tracts of land which became the Huntington Land Company. Albert Gallatin Jenkins, a Confederate General, had his plantation home in nearby Lesage that is still standing.

Huntington's diners, restaurants and lodgings were integrated in the early 1960s following "sit-ins." There was at least one anti-war riot against the Vietnam War in the early 1970's.

Families in Huntington were shocked and saddened when on November 14, 1970 the entire Marshall University Football Team and many of its civic supporters (seventy five people in all) were killed in a plane crash near Tri-State Airport while flying back to Huntington from a football game with East Carolina. Community leaders Michael Prestera, Dr. Pete Proctor, Dr. Ray Hagley, Parker Ward Sr. and many others died that night in 1970 and they are still mourned today by their survivors in and around Huntington, who gather annually to remember the 1970 Marshall Plane Crash.

Medically, St. Mary's Hospital and The Cabell-Huntington Hospital provide health care for the larger region. The life-saving kidney Dialysis Unit at Cabell-Huntington Hospital was inaugurated in 1960 by Dr. David Sheffer Clark; an associate of Dr. Pete Proctor, Dr. Ray Hagley and Michael Prestera. Dr. Clark served as chief of staff at both the Cabell-Huntington Hospital and the St. Mary's Hospital in the 1970s and 1980s. Dr. Clark was early proponent and instructor at the Marshall University Medical School now known as the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

The former library at Marshall University was named for President James H. Morrow, father of American diplomat Dwight W. Morrow (1873-1931)and grandfather of Anne Morrow Lindbergh (the wife of Charles Lindbergh).. The late West Virginia historians Jim Comstock and Mrs. Doris Miller were also Huntington natives, along with Charles Moffat, Jim Casto, Strat Douthat and Joseph Geiger Jr.. At Tufts University in Massachusetts, Huntington, West Virginia native Cliff Wulfman designed the Perseus hypertext information management system for his co-operating middle English and Shakespearean scholars. A volunteer organization, the Huntington Foundation, is active in restoring historical sites and recognizing local leaders. Mr. Hercil Gartin, Bob Bailey, Ted Barr and Ottie Adkins have recently served as County Sheriff, while Jim Tweel, Michael Prestera, William Neal, Clyde Pinson, Olin C. Nutter, Charles Polan and Dan O'Hanlon are remembered in Huntington as important 20th century political leaders. Today, William Smith is Superintendent Cabell County School System, and Kim Wolfe is Mayor of Huntington, replacing former Mayors David Felinton and before him, Jean Dean.

Families in Huntington, West Virginia have produced many national leaders in education, history, communications, political theory and civic activism. C. Bosworth Johnson, former news anchor at WSAZ TV, an NBC affiliate, served as President of the National Broadcast Journalists' Association in the 1970s and is well known to city residents, as is his wife Dr. Dottie Johnson, the former Chair of the Marshall University Speech Department and also a television personality. Their son Robert Bosworth Johnson is now a WSAZ news anchor. Marshall University's Simon Perry, Ph.D., is one of the nation's leading political scientists and authorities on Constitutional Studies. The former Truman White House official, U.S. House of Representatives member and Secretary of State for W.Va., Mr. Ken Hechler is also affiliated with the Marshall University Political Science Department. Mrs. Betty Barrett is another widely respected community leader, her years of leadership include President of the League of Women Voters, member of both the Huntington City Council and the Cabell County School Board, as well as her tireless work to help homeless people. Her sons Kevin Barrett and Edgar Overton Barrett IV are educators, and another son John Barrett is a noted class-action environmental protection lawyer working against illegal strip mine pollution in the city of Charleston, the state Capitol of W.Va., forty-five miles east of Huntington.

Air Force Pilot Chuck Yeager is a favorite local native, as is comedian Soupy Sales and the late vaudeville performer Dagmar. Oscar-winning actor Brad Dourif (Oscar for One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, 1976) and game show announcers Chuck Woolery and 'Hollywood Squares' Peter Marshall are also from the Huntington area. The comedian Billy Crystal graduated from Marshall University, and 'flat picking' country musician Rickie Skaggs is also an area native. Huntington musicians and technicians regularly participate in the production of the syndicated radio program Mountain Stage recorded in nearby Charleston, WV. A commercial trade and communications center for the Tri-State Area, Huntington has enjoyed television since 1949 with WSAZ NBC, and later, WGNT and WOWK. A Gannett newspaper, the Herald Dispatch, is of unusually good quality for a city of this size, and the Herald Dispatch has websites. Huntingtonnews.net, published by Matthew Pinson, is a powerful online news source as well, and adds even more detail and veracity to the available internet news coming out of Huntington, W.Va. The Huntington Quarterly, a glossy magazine edited by Andy Houvouras is also popular and available online.

Enforcement of the Clean Air Act of 1970 has substantially improved the air and water quality of the industrial corridor here. The regional cities of Charleston, Nitro, Hurricane, Huntington, Kenova (WV), South Point, Ironton (Ohio), Ashland and Catlettsburg (KY) have all seen dramatic improvements in air and water quality since the pivotal 1970 federal legislation outlawed indiscriminate and wasteful chemical emissions. At the same time roads have been improved, services have been expanded and civil suits enjoined against the worst local corporate polluters. Mountain top removal, rural stream preservation and coal strip-mining policy are still hotly contested issues here. Corporate attorneys in Huntington work to defeat the grass-roots plaintiffs who challenge large industrial polluters in Huntington, West Virginia civil court. These Huntington Tri-State Area communities are sometimes called the "Chemical Valley" or in more heated discussions, the "Cancer Valley," and litigation about coal, toxic emissions, mountaintop removal, and the actions of the chemical industry continue.

Huntington grew to nearly 100,000 in population by the 1950s thanks to a successful coal and chemical industry; as coal has since lost some of its prominence as a fuel and the city has lost much of its industrial base - including glassworks, steel, and manufacturing train parts - Huntington is now effectively a medical community (the two hospitals are the largest employers) and a university town. About 17,000 students are currently enrolled at Marshall University. In the Census of 2000, the city slipped below 50,000 and Cabell County slipped below 100,000--hurting Federal funding.

A banking and commerce center for the area between 1880 and the present, Huntington, West Virginia developed along the river's shore with its 19th century urban industry centered on today's 3rd Avenue and 7th Street. The C&O Railroad had its western terminus in Huntington and railroad tracks bifurcate the city today, along old 7th Avenue. Underpasses convey automobile traffic from the South Side to the Downtown and Marshall University parts of town via viaducts at West 14th St, 1st St., 8th St. E., 10th St. E., 16th St. (or Hal Greer) Blvd. and 20th Street East in Huntington, and substantial railroad traffic (C & O and B & O) is seen and heard daily within the Huntington city limits. Westmoreland and Central City are being revitalized with new investments in the West End of Huntington, while in the East End there is solid housing stock, suburban neighborhoods and the city's second large park, Rotary Park. The geographic logic and order of Huntington's street plan makes each sector distinct and the relation between neighborhoods easy to remember.

A thriving regional center, Huntington is a university town on the Ohio River, it is now being discovered by new visitors, investors, and other interested parties. Its economic development, new sense of historic preservation, promotion of tourism and rapid road and downtown improvements are due to the efforts of local community leaders assisted by the vision and efforts of noted United States Senators for West Virginia the Honorable John D. Rockefeller IV and his senior colleague, the late Honorable Robert C. Byrd.


Huntington has three public high schools; Spring Valley High School (located in Wayne county), Huntington High School and Cabell Midland High School (in Cabell county). It is also the home to Marshall University, a fully accredited research university with a medical school. Douglass High School was guided by its principal Carter G. Woodson the noted American educator, before Douglass High School was amalgamated into Huntington High School in 1960. The second largest institution of higher learning in the State of West Virginia, Marshall University, 'the Thundering Herd' is now pursuing more federal grants and high-tech foundation grants, following the example of the State's flagship university in Morgantown, West Virginia, West Virginia University, 'The Mountaineers.' President Koop has a new master plan for community involvement, and the new Simon Perry Constitutional Studies program was inaugurated in 2005.
Location of Huntington, West Virginia

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 46.6 km² (18.0 mi²). 41.2 km² (15.9 mi²) of it is land and 5.4 km² (2.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 11.51% water. The Guyandotte River joins the Ohio River in Huntington, about 5 mi (8 km) east of its downtown. It lies in the westernmost and lowest altitude area of West Virginia, and has a temperate four seasons, with hot (60-90 degrees) Summers and snowy (20-50 degrees) Winters. Fall and Spring tend to be cool and wet, but Huntington, West Virginia enjoys warmer and milder climate than the hilly uplands of West Virginia which are located in the Allegheny Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. Huntington is warmed by westerly winds from the Midwest, and made humid by the Ohio River, but avoids the bitter cold and high winds of the interior of West Virginia. Culturally influenced by the Ohio Valley and Midwest cities of Columbus, Ohio; Cincinatti, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky, it has a strong, traditional American "Norman Rockwell" visual identity, with its tree-lined streets, sidewalks, brick streets, parks, alleyways and brick homes.


As of the census of 2000, there are 51,475 people, 22,955 households, and 12,235 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,248.4/km² (3,234.1/mi²). There are 25,888 housing units at an average density of 627.9/km² (1,626.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 89.61% White, 7.49% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.82% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 1.53% from two or more races. 0.85% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 22,955 households out of which 0.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.9% are married couples living together, 13.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 46.7% are non-families. 37.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 15.1% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.0 and the average family size is 2.0.

The age distribution, which is strongly influenced by Marshall's presence, is 17.7% under the age of 18, 17.5% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females there are 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 85.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $23,234, and the median income for a family is $34,756. Males have a median income of $30,040 versus $21,198 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,717. 24.7% of the population and 17.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 29.8% of those under the age of 18 and 12.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

(Original Wikipedia Article by D.S. Clark as filed in November 2005)