History In And Around Fayetteville
As the county seat of Fayette County, Fayetteville has played a pivotal role in the area’s history. It gained that title in 1873, when the town changed its name from Vandalia. Perched above one of the world’s oldest rivers, it stands to reason that Fayetteville has a lot of history of its own.
Here are some facts about Fayetteville…
- Fayetteville is named after the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington’s famed French advisor during the Revolutionary War. Lafayette’s statue looks upon downtown Fayetteville from the Fayette County Courthouse lawn.
- Fayetteville was fought over in the Civil War four times and was held by both the South and North.
- A historic marker at the courthouse square recognizes Fayetteville as the site of the first use of indirect fire during a battle.
- Fayetteville, on the rim of the New River Gorge, sits above the lowest sulfur, highest grade coal on earth, once mined extensively during the great coal boom of the early 1900s.
- Fayetteville is home to the New River Gorge Bridge, completed in 1976, and at the time was the world’s longest arch bridge.
- The National Park Service created the New River Gorge National River in 1977 and protects more than 70,000 acres of land in and around the gorge. In December 2021, the 53-mile stretch of river, along with the 70,000+ acres, were redesignated as the 63rd U.S. national park, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
- The Civil War Trail passes through Fayetteville.
- The Fayetteville Historic District includes 75 historic homes and buildings. A walking tour of the district is available.
With a thriving outdoor tourism industry, Fayetteville is an interesting mix of old and new. The history that’s made the town what it is- it’s on the National Register of Historic Places- continues to be a draw for visitors.