Earlier this month, bituminous coal became the official
West Virginia state rock. The choice is obviously for its contribution
to the state’s economy and history. West Virginia is the nation’s second
largest coal producer to Wyoming. It is a key source of energy.
The state rock is the newest of the state symbols. The
first was the state flower, the rhododendron or great laurel, designated
in 1903. The choice was by vote of public school children.
The year of other state symbols is as follows:
1949 - Bird: Cardinal
1949 - Tree: Sugar Maple
1972 - Fruit: Apple; in 1995, it became the
Golden Delicious Apple, first discovered in Clay County in 1905
1973 - Animal: Black Bear
1973 - Fish: Brook Trout
1990 - Gem: Fossil Coral (actually, it is a
fossil, not a gem)
1995 - Butterfly: Monarch
1997 - Soil: Monongahela Silt Loam
2002 - Insect: Honeybee
2008 - Reptile: Timber Rattlesnake
2008 - Fossil: bones of the Megalonyx
jeffersonii or ground sloth
Each of these symbols was chosen because of its
significance to West Virginia, and each has an interesting story.
Take some time to investigate the creatures, flora,
fauna and other things that represent the state. You can also check out
the state colors, seal, flag and songs that coincide with West Virginia
history, natural resources and economy. It will be a reminder of why
West Virginia is “Wild and Wonderful.” The information is available
online by searching for West Virginia state symbols or check out the
subject at Calhoun County Library.