Mineral County has approximately 30,000 people with a predicted
1.9% population growth between 1996 and 2002. Average age is 37.4 years old
with disbursement as follows: 23.4% 17 and under; 52.3% 18 to 54; 17.9% 55
to 74 and 6.3% 75 years and older.
Median household income in 1999 was $31,149 with per capita
annual income of $14,444. Area recently transformed from a goods to a services
economy, with 33% of all jobs in the service sector. Approximately 40% of the
population commutes out of the county to jobs. A strong work ethic and
pro-business climate favors location of new industry.
Mineral County contains 328 sq. miles located in the Potomac
Highlands region of West Virginia -- west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Residents enjoy a mild climate with four distinct seasons. Average temperatures
range between 61 and 37 degrees. Annual rainfall is 45 inches and snowfall is
76 inches. The North Branch of the Potomac River runs through the county, which
is predominately mountain-and-valley terrain. Agricultural pastures, dense
forests, and abundant natural resources (minerals, timber, and wildlife) provide
both scenic outdoor recreation and opportunities for affordable residential
Residents and tourists alike enjoy outstanding fishing, hunting,
whitewater rafting, bird-watching, skiing, golfing, hiking, rock-climbing,
sightseeing, ice skating and boating in the county and nearby. Cultural and
recreational interests are served by the Apple Alley Players, Highlands Arts
Unlimited, and the Potomac State college which produce and sponsor a spectrum of
performing arts and special events throughout the year. Local festivals and the
county fair, with active 4-H, FFA and Homemakers participation, round out the
local youth and civic activities.
Settlers came to this land, granted by King Charles II to
Thomas, Lord Culpepper, in the early 1700's. Two important revolutionary forts
protected the new frontier settlers. Maryland and Virginia both claimed
rightful ownership of the territory. After the Revolutionary War, New Creek
Station became the "railhead" for the commercial interests of the territory.
The B&O Railroad then moved it facilities to New Creek, which changed its
name to Keyser in honor of William Keyser, first vice president of the B&O.
Mineral County was formally established in 1866. To get the full story, check
out Mineral County's History.
The County enjoys a strong sense of community and active
business life, spearheaded by the Mineral County Chamber of Commerce, Mineral
County Development Authority, and numerous vital service organizations -- from
Rotary International and United Way to Kiwanis and the Lion's Clubs. Vibrant
churches, synagogues and a college campus add to the spiritual and social life
of the community.
Mineral County contains two advanced-technology high schools and
boasts a drop-out rate of only 1%. Mineral County Schools were granted full
accreditation by the State Board of Education and students' test scores are
among the best in the State, consistently outperforming national norms on the
CTBS Potomac State College, affiliated with West Virginia University, is located
in Keyser along with the Vocational-Technical Training Center. In the County,
10.4% of the population are college graduates and 73% are high school
graduates. Additionally, the Robert C. Byrd Institute in Rocket Center, WV specializs in
training the work force and has a state of the art Engineering Prototype Center
available to assist industry.
WV ranks lowest in the nation is its serious crime rate.
Mineral County's rural nature and close-knit community helps to protect it from
serious incursion of drug trafficking and urban violence.
The area is served by Potomac Valley Hospital (in Keyser) as
well as hospitals in Morgantown, Cumberland and Winchester with regional cardiac
and cancer centers. Heartland Nursing Home in Keyser and nearby assisted-living
homes care for the needs of seniors.
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