Radio

This new Victorian Capitol was a massive stone-and-brick structure built on the site of Charleston’s first capitol.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

On January 5, 1887, Governor E. Willis Wilson hosted a ball and banquet to dedicate West Virginia’s new capitol building in downtown Charleston. The event marked the end of what had become a running joke in the state’s early years—the location of the capital city. In the first two decades of statehood, the capital had already been moved from Wheeling to Charleston and back to Wheeling, again.

The dedication event in Charleston marked the capital’s final journey—at least in terms of host cities.

Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

From Northampton, Massachusetts, beloved folk-rocker Stephen Kellogg returns to Mountain Stage this week with a band that includes Miranda Mulholland of the Great Lake Swimmers. He closes his 2015 set with crowd favorite "The Bear" on this week's encore broadcast.

Congressman Ken Hechler paid to bring hundreds of miners and the widows of the Farmington miners to protest at the nation’s capitol.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

On December 30, 1969, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act.  Since the Monongah mine disaster in Marion County more than 60 years earlier, Congress had been passing laws to address coal mine safety. However, most were filled with loopholes or lacked funding for enforcement.

The tide turned after another Marion County disaster. The 1968 Farmington explosion killed 78 miners. Americans watched in horror as the drama unfolded on national TV. 

December 29, 1861: Sutton Burns

Dec 29, 2016
Suttonville, as it was known then, was strategically located on the Elk River, which ran south all the way to Charleston.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

The Braxton County seat of Sutton was nearly burned to the ground on December 29, 1861. During the first year of the Civil War, western Virginia was besieged by Union and Confederate troops vying for control of the region. Most fighting centered on important transportation routes.

Suttonville, as it was known then, was strategically located on the Elk River, which ran south all the way to Charleston. It was also located on the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike, which connected the town with other key roads.

Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

 

Singer and songwriter Craig Finn is best known as the frontman of the raucous punk-influenced rock band The Hold Steady. But in his solo work, Finn turns his focus to quiet themes of perseverance and redemption, as we can hear on this Mountain Stage performance of "Christine" from his latest album Faith in the Future.

Hayslett continued making instruments well into his nineties.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

Harold Hayslett was born in Putnam County on December 26, 1917. After serving in France during World War II, he worked as a pipefitter for Union Carbide in South Charleston. He retired in 1980 after 33 years of service.

While working at Carbide, he started a side hobby—making violins, cellos, and other instruments. His reputation spread quickly—first locally, and then worldwide. The Violin Society of America honored Hayslett on several occasions.

Shepherdstown and Romney were both chartered on the same day, the big question still comes down to which one came first.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV Humanities Council

On December 23, 1762, the Virginia General Assembly chartered the towns of Romney and Shepherdstown, igniting one of the longest-lasting debates in West Virginia history. The question?  Is Romney or Shepherdstown West Virginia’s oldest incorporated town? 

In 1991, the station fell into bankruptcy and went off the air. It was resurrected a little more than a year later by Fantasia Broadcasting.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / e-WV

On December 22, 1928, Fairmont’s WMMN radio station went on the air. The call letters were based on the initials of popular Fairmont attorney and U.S. Senator Matthew M. Neely. Like many other radio stations in Appalachia, WMMN played an important role in the growth of country music.

In 1938, WMMN began hosting a live Saturday night show. The Sagebrush Roundup was broadcast from Fairmont’s National Guard.  It featured some of the bigger names in country music, including Buddy Starcher and Grandpa Jones, who would later become a beloved TV star on Hee-Haw.

Josh Saul/Mountain Stage

Over the course of nearly half a century, NRBQ - which stands for "New Rhythm and Blues Quartet" - has earned the distinction of being one of the most finely tuned bands in America, with plenty of swing. Lead by founder and pianist Terry Adams, Scott Ligon takes the lead on this Mountain Stage performance of "Waitin' on my Sweetie Pie."

Bradley and her fellow nurses cared for the sick and taught good hygiene to the prisoners.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / e-WV

Ruby Bradley was born near Spencer on December 19, 1907. As a member of the Army Nurse Corps, she would become one of the most decorated women in U.S. military history.

Bradley’s ordeal also is one of the most incredible stories of World War II. Just hours after attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Japan bombed American defenses in the Philippines, where Bradley was stationed as an Army nurse.

About three weeks later, she was captured and imprisoned in an internment camp in Manila. Conditions in the camp were brutal and kept deteriorating as the war dragged on.

Some 5,000 spectators poured into the Jackson County seat. Many were drunk, and some even sold souvenirs.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / e-WV

On December 16, 1897, John F. Morgan was hanged in Ripley for the murder of Chloe Greene and two of her sons. It was the last public execution in West Virginia history.

Some 5,000 spectators poured into the Jackson County seat. Many were drunk, and some even sold souvenirs. The rowdy scene prompted West Virginia lawmakers to take action.

Jim McGuire

Mountain Stage with Larry Groce is proud to announce the return of Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn and The Del McCoury Band to Charleston, West Virginia.

A faulty eyebar eventually cracked and began to corrode, out of sight from the public or bridge inspectors. At about 5 p.m. on December 15, the eyebar failed, setting off a series of other failures that caused the bridge to collapse.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online

  

December 15, 1967, was one of the darkest days in West Virginia history. Sadly, it was only the first of many tragic days that West Virginians would suffer.

The Silver Bridge, which connected Point Pleasant with Gallipolis, Ohio, had opened to traffic in 1928. It was the first bridge in the nation to use an innovative eyebar-link suspension system rather than a traditional wire-cable suspension.

Josh Saul/Mountain Stage

As Don Henley's long-time writing partner, JD Souther has had his hands in some of the most memorable pop songs of all time,  including "The New Kid in Town" and "Best of My Love." But here, Souther teams up with Mountain Stage favorite Nellie McKay to cover another legendary songwriter: Cole Porter's standard "Every Time We Say Goodbye."

Discover our holiday line-up of radio specials. 

Battle of Allegheny Mountain: December 13, 1861

Dec 13, 2016
Union General Robert Milroy’s force of about 1,900 went up against the Confederate’s 1,200 troops.
Wikipedia

On December 13, 1861, the Battle of Allegheny Mountain was fought in Pocahontas County. Following the Battle of Greenbrier River at Camp Bartow on October 3, the Confederate army had withdrawn to winter quarters atop Allegheny Mountain. Union General Robert Milroy likely believed the Confederates were demoralized and launched an attack on the cold mountain summit. Milroy’s force of about 1,900 went up against the Confederate’s 1,200 troops.

Adam Harris / Mountain Stage

2016 was a big year for NPR Music and West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Mountain Stage. We celebrated 33 years of live performance radio, commemorated the 25th anniversary of R.E.M.’s legendary set, and listened to the voices of two new guest hosts

Shoneys
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online

On December 12, 1975, the original Shoney’s Restaurant closed down for good in Charleston. The Shoney’s chain grew from the original Parkette Drive-In and Bowling Alley, which had opened on the city’s West Side in 1947.

The restaurant was the brainchild of Alex Schoenbaum, a former All-American football player at Ohio State. He moved to Charleston in 1943 and opened the Parkette four years later.

Over the years, the performers who have recorded Wheeler’s songs read like a Who’s Who of country music.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

On December 9, 1932, songwriter, musician, playwright, humorist, and poet Billy Edd Wheeler was born in Boone County. He started writing and performing songs when he was just a teenager.

Wheeler got his first check in the music business when Pat Boone recorded his song “Rock Boll Weevil.” He would go on to write more than 500 other songs, including the country classics “Jackson,” “The Reverend Mister Black,” and “Coward of the County.”

Blenko Glass also manufactures trophies for the annual Country Music Awards.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

Glassmaker William Blenko was born in England on December 8, 1854. In his late thirties, he immigrated to the United States and tried to produce stained glass for a living. Unfortunately, business after business failed—until he wound up in the Cabell County town of Milton in 1921.

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