Biggest, longest & best-est of West Virginia
From classical to quirky, West Virginia boasts some of the biggest, longest and best-est events and attractions in the world.
These are just some of the unique features that contribute to the Mountain State’s wild and wonderful reputation:
1. Big Gulp
The World’s Largest Teapot in Chester is 14 feet high and 14 feet across. It started its life in Pennsylvania as a giant barrel advertising Hire’s Root Beer before William “Babe” Devon brought it to Chester in 1938 to display outside his pottery store. He added a spout, handle and knob to make a lid, converting it into a teapot and concession stand. Today the restored teapot is a popular roadside attraction in this town at the tip of the Northern Panhandle.
2. High Stakes
In the New River Gorge, the tiny town of Thurmond (population 5) was at its heyday in the early 1900s. A flourishing coal mining town with a railroad depot that served 95,000 passengers a year, the town had a reputation that earned it the nickname “The Wild West of the East.” But Thurmond’s biggest claim to fame is a rumored 14-year-long card game reported by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not as the World’s Longest Poker Game.
3. Take the Plunge
Official Bridge Day, held annually the 3rd Saturday in October, is the largest single-day extreme sporting event in the world. The festival attracts 80,000 spectators who come to watch hundreds of BASE jumpers parachute off the 876-foot-high New River Gorge Bridge.
4. Reel Fun
The Robey Theatre in Spencer was built in 1911 and bills itself as the oldest continuously operating movie theater in the United States. The three-story, Neoclassical-Italian Renaissance style building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
5. Calling Outer Space
At the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, the awe-inspiring Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope looms over Pocahontas County farmland like a scene from a science fiction movie. The world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope and the world’s largest moveable land object, it is 1 of 2 telescopes in the world employed by the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute.
6. Bargain Hunter’s Paradise
If you attend West Virginia’s Largest Yard Sale, be sure to wear some comfortable walking shoes. The annual event features hundreds of yard sales lining the streets of Buckhannon and Weston and spread throughout Upshur and Lewis Counties. Visitors are encouraged to spend some time enjoying the historic towns and beautiful scenery.
7. Building Blocks
The 242,000 square foot Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America and the second-largest in the world, next to the Kremlin in Russia. Construction began in 1858 but was interrupted by the outbreak of the American Civil War, during which the grounds served as camp for Union soldiers. The facility closed to patients in 1994 but now offers guided tours for history buffs and ghost hunters.
How many of these biggest, longest, best-est in West Virginia have you seen firsthand?
This post was last updated on March 15, 2022