West Virginia Geography and Famous Natives

Geography of West Virginia

Most of West Virginia is heavily forested land, dominated by the Appalachian Mountain System, which covers nearly two-thirds of the state. The most significant range of the state (Allegheny), extends from the southern part of the state on to Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The highest peaks in West Virginia are located within the Allegheny Range, and many rise to 4,000 feet or more. The highest point is Stylish Button at 4,861 feet. The Allegheny Plateau covers the western third of West Virginia, extending into Ohio and Pennsylvania. Elevations across the plateau vary considerably, but three hundred feet above sea level is a good average.

Hot water mineral springs are found throughout this mountainous state; White Sulfur Springs is the most famous. The Alleghenies of eastern West Virginia are also steeped in miles of limestone caves; Organa Cave is the largest.

  • Allcitycodes: Provides map of area codes in West Virginia by county and city.
  • Ask4beauty: Introduction to the state of West Virginia, addressing geography, history, politics, economy and population.
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The state’s most significant river is the Ohio, as it forms (with it’s tributaries) the state’s western border.

Other notable rivers include the Potomac and its North and South branches, Big Sandy and Jerk Fork, Cacapon, Deception, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Little Kanawha and New River.

West Virginia Famous Natives

People listed are almost always native to the state. We do (on occasion) include those who have either lived within the state for most of their adult lives or have made significant contributions to the state in their personal endeavors.


  • Hasil Adkins musician
  • John Adkins baseball player
  • Altia poet Todd Alderson
  • John Ashby’s militia
  • Actress Karen Austin


  • George Brett baseball player
  • Written by Pearl Buck
  • Baseball player Lew Burdetta
  • Johnson N. Camden politician
  • Theodore “Ted” Cassidy actor (born in PA)
  • John Corbett Jr actor
  • George Crum composer
  • Actress Kristana Cunningham
  • Operatic soprano Phyllis Curtin


  • Mike D’Antoni basektball player
  • Actress Joyce DeWitt
  • James Cecil “Little Jimmy” Dickens singer
  • Paul Dooley actor
  • Brad Dourif actor
  • Actress Joanne Dru
  • Brigadier General Isaac H. Duval Union Army, politician


  • Actress Concha Farrell
  • John James “Jimbo” Fisher American football coach
  • Henry Louis Gates Jr. critic, educator, editor
  • Hal Greer basketball player
  • William “Devil Anse” Hatfield patriarch Hatfield clan
  • American folk hero John Henry, the greatest “steel driver” (folklore)
  • Written by Homer Hickam Jr.
  • Author Lou Oltz, commentator, coach
  • Sam Huff footballer
  • Basketball player Rodney Hundley, announcer


  • Common ally of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson
  • Thomas Dexter “TD” Jakes Evangelist
  • Founder Anna Jarvis’ Mother’s Day Celebration
  • Joni “Johnny B. Good” Johnson musician
  • Knight newspaper founder John Shively Knight
  • Don Knotts actor
  • John Knowles author
  • John Crook baseball player, television analyst


  • Everett Lilly singer, musician
  • Actress Ann Magnuson
  • Peter Marshall actor
  • Singer Cathy Mattei
  • Leo Mazzone baseball player, coach
  • Charles “Charlie” McCoy musician
  • John Harvey McKay football coach
  • Musician Marion Meadows, composer
  • Morgan founder Morgan’s first white settlement in West Virginia (born in Wales)
  • Dwight Morrow politician, diplomat
  • Football player Randy Moss
  • Eugene Murphy Jr. Landau singer
  • Lou Myers actor


  • John Forbes Nash mathematician, Nobel laureate
  • John C. Norman surgeon, pioneering organ transplant
  • Brad Paisley singer, songwriter
  • Jedediah Purdy author, educator
  • Mary Lou Retton Olympic medalist
  • Labor leader Walter Reuter
  • Rich “Rod” Rodriguez football coach
  • Songwriter Walter E. “Jack” Rollins


  • Nick Saban American football coach
  • Chris Sarandon actor
  • Shoney’s restaurants by founder Alex Schoenbaum
  • Floyd B. “Ben” Schwartzwalder football coach
  • Founder of Harry Ford Sinclair Sinclair Oil
  • Michael W. Smith singer, songwriter
  • Red singer Sovine
  • Morgan Spurlock director, television producer, screenwriter
  • Johnny Steats musician
  • Opera singer Elinor Steber
  • Lewis L. Strauss scientist, naval official


  • Cyrus Vance politician
  • Written by Beverly Hennen Van Hook
  • Harold Webster cartoonist
  • Jerry West basketball player
  • Jason Chandler Williams basketball player
  • Bill Withers singer, songwriter
  • Chuck Yeager test pilot
  • Steve Yeager baseball player
  • Steve Yeager baseball player
  • Fielding Harris Yost football player, coach

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