West Virginia State Capitol
The current West Virginia State Capitol was constructed from 1924 to 1932 and is the tallest building in the state. Wheeling served as the first capital city of the new state of West Virginia when it separated from Virginia during the Civil War. The transfer of the capital to Charleston in 1870 reflected the growing population of the western portions of the state and a shift in political power during the Reconstruction period. The change was not permanent at first, and the records and other items of the fledgling state government were transferred back and forth from Charleston and Wheeling via steamboat along the Ohio River and the Kanawha River a total of three times. The capital was moved from Wheeling to Charleston in 1870, from Charleston to Wheeling in 1875, and finally back to Charleston in 1885 when the state capital was permanently established in Charleston.
The original structure that served as the capitol building in Charleston in the 1870s was razed to make way for a more prominent structure in hopes of convincing West Virginia voters to make Charleston their choice for the state’s capital. That state capitol building was located in downtown Charleston and construction began in 1880 when Wheeling once again served as the capital. The building was complete in 1885 when the government returned to Charleston. That capitol building caught fire in 1921 and was quickly replaced by a wood frame structure that served as temporary quarters for the government while architect Cass Gilbert’s design for the new capitol complex along the Kanawha River was coming to life. In addition to this building, Cass Gilbert is best-known for designing the Woolworth Building in New York, the George Washington Bridge, the Minnesota State Capitol, and the U.S. Supreme Court Building.
Holly Grove Mansion - Ruffner Mansion
Holly Grove Mansion, also known as the Ruffner Mansion, is the oldest home in the city of Charleston, WV. The home was built in 1815 by Daniel Ruffner, brother of David Ruffner, Joseph Ruffner Jr., and Tobias Ruffner, (sons of Joseph Ruffner Sr.) who were largely instrumental in developing a thriving salt industry to the Kanawha Valley in the early 1800s. The Ruffner Mansion served as the home for the family who helped develop the Kanawha Valley while also being a center of industry and commerce during the early 19th Century. Holly Grove Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and now sits on the West Virginia State Capitol Complex.
West Virginia Governor's Mansion
The West Virginia Governor's Mansion symbolizes the state's distinguished past and present. The Georgian Revival mansion, completed in 1925 at a cost $200,000, was designed by Walter Martens, a Charleston architect who designed several other buildings on Charleston's East End. The Georgian Revival-style home has welcomed national and global dignitaries, ambassadors, public officials, and hosted numerous events to encourage business, support education, and promote the preservation of West Virginia history and culture.