This Week in West Virginia History: Aug. 11-17

63
Boardwalk on Freeland trail, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Boardwalk on Freeland trail, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Charleston, W.Va. – The following events happened on these dates in West Virginia history. To read more, go to e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia at www.wvencyclopedia.org.

Aug. 11, 1844: Emanuel Willis Wilson was born at Harpers Ferry. He served as the seventh governor of West Virginia.

Aug. 11, 1994: The Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge became the 500th refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge system. It is one of the largest and most diverse freshwater wetland areas in central and southern Appalachia.

Aug. 12, 1937: Author Walter Dean Myers was born in Martinsburg. In January 2012, Myers was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress.

Aug. 12, 1997: The Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel strike ended when 79 percent of the workers approved a new contract. A 10-month walkout by steelworkers at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel was the longest steel manufacturing strike on record when it concluded.

Aug. 13, 1900: Railroad mogul and founder of Huntington, Collis Potter Huntington, died. Raised in poverty, Huntington went west when gold was discovered in California. There he became rich, not from mining but by selling supplies to miners.

Aug. 14, 1894: Entertainer Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Virginia ‘‘Bricktop’’ Smith was born at Alderson. She performed in Paris in the 1920s and opened her own club, called the Music Box, in 1926.

Aug. 14, 1943: Astronaut Jon Andrew McBride was born in Charleston. McBride became an astronaut in 1979 and piloted the space shuttle Challenger on an eight-day mission in 1984.

Aug. 15, 1867: The cornerstone for the first building of the Fairmont Branch Normal School was laid at the corner of Adams and Quincy streets in the heart of town. The first class of students occupied the new building in April 1869. That school evolved into Fairmont State University.

Aug. 15, 1906: The Niagara Movement began a five-day meeting at Storer College in Harpers Ferry. The organization was founded in 1905 by a group of African-American intellectuals, including W.E.B. DuBois.

Aug. 15, 1946: The first FM radio station in the state, WCFC of Beckley, began regular programming.

Aug. 16, 1851: William Hope ‘‘Coin’’ Harvey was born in Buffalo, Putnam County. Harvey, a social reformer, was nominated for president of the United States by the Liberty Party in 1932.

Aug. 17, 1944: Staff Sergeant Stanley Bender earned the Medal of Honor in southern France. Bender rushed through intense machine gun fire and grenades, and knocked out two German machine guns with rifle fire. His actions inspired the rest of the company to take out a German roadblock, kill 37 enemy soldiers, and take 26 prisoners.

Aug. 17, 1976: The National Mine Health and Safety Academy opened at Beaver, near Beckley. The academy, located on an 80-acre campus, is the world’s largest educational institution devoted solely to safety and health in mining.

e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia is a project of the West Virginia Humanities Council.  For more information, contact the West Virginia Humanities Council, 1310 Kanawha Blvd. E., Charleston, WV 25301; (304) 346-8500; or visit e-WV at www.wvencyclopedia.org.