On April 26, 1937, West Virginia’s first highway historical marker was installed in Charleston, detailing the history of our state capitol.
In that first year, 440 sites were marked by these white aluminum signs, which feature a circular state seal at the top. Initial funding was provided by one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs.
After the early flurry of activity, the highway marker program waned until the centennial of the Civil War and West Virginia statehood in the 1960s. Existing markers were inventoried, damaged and missing markers were replaced, and nearly 300 additional sites were selected. Since that time, new markers have been added yearly, as funds permit, to commemorate more recent events or topics that may have been missed in the past.
Today, the roadside markers program is operated by the Archives and History Section of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, with the cooperation of the Division of Highways. New markers are approved by the Archives and History Commission.
Some 1,000 markers are scattered along roadsides across West Virginia, marking significant historical events, prehistoric sites, and geological and natural features.