The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Charleston (West Virginia)
CHARLESTON, a city, the capital of West Virginia and of Kanawha county, on the Kanawha river, 60 m. from its mouth and at its confluence with Elk river, 233 m. W. by N. of Richmond, and 130 m. S. by W. of Wheeling; pop. in 1870, 3,162, of whom 761 were colored. The Kanawha is 300 yards wide here, and is navigable throughout the year. The valley of this river is rich in salt, coal, iron, and timber, and Charleston is a central point for the working and shipping of these articles. In the vicinity of the city are 10 salt furnaces; more salt is made here annually than at any other point in the country except Syracuse, N. Y. They are situated in the Kanawha Salines, beginning about 2 m. above Charleston, and extending up the river on both sides for 10 m. A great variety of coal is found in abundance, such as cannel, splint, and all kinds of bituminous coals. Locks and dams are in process of construction on Elk river in order to facilitate the transportation of the immense quantities of coal and timber that abound along its banks for over 100 m. The Chesapeake and Ohio railroad, which is designed to be one of the great through routes between the east and west, passes through Charleston. The Northern and Southern West Virginia railroad, in progress, terminates here. The state house is a capacious stone building, 138 ft. long, 56 wide, and 140 high, erected in 1870 at a cost, including land, of about $60,000. The other state institutions are in other parts of the state. The manufacturing establishments comprise 2 iron founderies with machine works attached to each, 4 saw and planing mills, a cabinet factory, 2 factories for making staves and headings for salt and flour barrels, a pump factory, a mineral water factory, 2 large flour mills, and a woollen factory. There are a high school called the Charleston institute, a public school, a Roman Catholic seminary, and several private schools. There are 8 churches, 4 weekly newspapers, and a monthly periodical. The seat of government was removed from Wheeling to Charleston by an act of the legislature of 1869, which went into effect April 30, 1870.