The West Virginia Historical Markers Project
A photographic survey of over 1,000 historical markers
located throughout all 55 counties of West Virginia
About Us – Using the Site – Contact Us
Who are we and why are we doing this photographic survey?
My name is Michael Elyard and Beth is my lovely wife. I was born and raised in Clarksburg, WV. As I was growing up, our family traveled throughout West Virginia and I was exposed to many interesting and historical locations. Unfortunately, I was not interested in history as a young student, and did not research our state’s vast history past purely superficial levels.
After leaving the state for over 20 years as I served in the US Air Force, Beth (originally from Wisconsin) and I returned to West Virginia in 2008 as our son, Spencer, attended WVU. As I explored the state on my motorcycle, I became more and more interested in the historical markers along the roadsides. When I contacted Joe Geiger at the WV Archives and History with questions about the markers, we developed a friendship based on our mutual interest.
I soon discovered his office wanted to go out and survey all of the markers throughout the entire state, but lacked the manpower, time, and resources. In 2009, in a rare moment of brilliance, I suggested that I ask my fellow riders around the state to seek out and photograph all 700+ remaining markers. Soon, I had the help of over a dozen riders who were searching back roads and byways for old markers. Over the next few years, our group managed to photograph 835 markers, many of which had been listed as missing.
Since we finished that project, hundreds of old markers have been repaired/replaced and 160 new Sesquicentennial Markers have been added. I thought it was time for an updated photo survey. Beth and I have wanted to explore more of West Virginia, so we decided to take the challenge of traveling out to all 55 counties and photographing the 1,000+ markers on the current list. We know it will probably take several years, so there will be empty pages as this is a work in progress. We hope you enjoy the site, and we hope it encourages you to get out and explore!
Thank you! Even though this is a personal project and is not associated with the WV Archives and History Department, we owe a huge “Thank You” to Joe Geiger (Director, WV Archives and History) and Matt McGrew (Coordinator, WV Highway and Historical Marker Program). These two gentlemen have patiently answered my endless barrage of emails and questions over the past decade. Their assistance is greatly appreciated!
Using the WVHMP website
In order to help locate some of the more elusive markers, I have included a link on the top header of each County Page to a Google Earth map with each marker’s location marked. On that page, you can either click on the name of the marker along the left-hand column, or scroll to zoom in on a particular area. Once you are zoomed in fairly close, you can drag the Street View icon (outline of a person in the lower RH corner) out to the road beside the marker and see it as if you were driving by. When you are done with that, you can click on the icon again to return to overhead view.
Each marker that is in place features anywhere from 3-10 photos. If a marker is missing, I will try to include a photo of the location and an old photo of the marker if I have one from our previous survey.
When available, I have also included links on most markers to help you do more research on the subject.
If you have a question, comment, or correction, please feel free to contact us.