Huntington was incorporated in 1871, but was really a massive addition to an earlier city, Guyandotte. Guyandotte, which became a neighborhood of Huntington, was first built upon in 1799. The land that is now part of both Guyandotte and Huntington was originally part of the 28,628 acre French and Indian War veteran's Savage Grant.
Historically, the old Federal Era town of Guyandotte has homes dating back to 1820 and a graveyard containing 18th century French and Colonial-era settlers, including surnames such as LeTulle, Holderby, and Buffington. Huntington was known as Holderby's Landing prior to 1871 and the Buffington family held the tracts of land that became the Huntington Land Company. The Buffingtons were the only revolutionary-era Savage Grant claimants to continuously reside within the area, and later generations of Buffingtons were associated with Marshall College (later a university) were business partners of Collis P. Huntington. Albert Gallatin Jenkins, a Confederate Army General, had his plantation home in nearby Lesage, which has since become a historical landmark.
At the time of Huntington's founding, Holderby's Landing was already the home of Marshall College, a normal school that had been founded in 1837 as Marshall Academy. Originally, Marshall Academy was essentially a boarding school, under the control of the Southern Methodist Church, for wealthy high school students. In 1857, the school became Marshall College, which in turn became a public institution in 1867. The college later became Marshall University in 1961 and now occupies a large portion of the city to the immediate east of the downtown CBD.
In 1891, work contructing the first school building for African Americans was begun. Douglass High School was named for U.S. abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass. Among the school's early graduates in 1896 was Carter G. Woodson, who became its principal four years later. Dr. Woodson became a noted teacher, educator and historian, and was one of the first blacks to be awarded a doctorate from Harvard University. Known as the father of Afro-American History , in 1926, he founded Negro History Week, which later became Afro-American History Month. Public school desegregation resulted in the closing of Douglass High School in 1961. The building was placed on the register of historic places in 1985.
By the 1950s thanks to a successful coal and chemical industry, Huntington had grown to nearly 100,000 in population. However, due to coal losing some of its prominence as a fuel in the second half of the 20th centry, the city lost much of its industrial base including several factories in industries such as glassworks, steel, and locomotive parts.
In the 21st century, Huntington is now effectively a regional medical community - the two hospitals, St. Mary's and Cabell-Huntington, are the largest employers - and a university town, thanks to the presence of Marshall University, which has an enrollment of approximately 16,000 students.
Despite being located to the south of the area traditionally defined as the Rust belt, the city suffered from the trend of heavy de-industrialization experienced in cities of the Upper Midwest during the 1970s. This trend has been one of the factors that has resulted Huntington's population decline over the last several decades.
In the 1970s, federal urban renewal programs destroyed part of the downtown. However, in 2005 downtown again began to prosper with construction of the Pullman Square, retail and entertainment lifestyle center. The Harris Riverfront Park promenade is now well-attended along the Ohio River downtown.
On November 14, 1970, a chartered Southern Airways McDonnell-Douglas DC-9 jet transporting 75 Marshall University football players, coaches, staff, and supporters crashed just short of the Tri-State Airport in adjoining Ceredo, West Virginia. Everyone on board was killed.
A movie titled We Are Marshall, starring Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox, was released locally on December 12, 2006, and nationally on December 22, 2006. The movie depicts the aftermath of the aviation disaster for the families and university.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.0 square miles (46.6 km²), of which, 15.9 square miles (41.2 km²) of it is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km²) of it (11.51%) is water. The Guyandotte River joins the Ohio River in Huntington, about 5 mi (8 km) east of its downtown.
Due to its position in the westernmost and lowest altitude areas of the state, the city is on the northern limits of a warmer and milder Humid subtropical climate , unlike the hilly uplands of West Virginia which are located in the Allegheny Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. Huntington is warmed by westerly winds from the Midwest, and made humid by the Ohio River, but avoids the bitter cold and high winds of the interior of West Virginia. Huntington enjoys temperate four seasons, with hot (70-90 degrees) summers and snowy (20-50 degrees) winters. Fall and spring tend to be cool and wet, but Huntington fills the roughly three-mile wide flood plain of the south bank of the Ohio River for sixty city blocks and portions of the hills to the immediate south.
|Avg high (°F)||41||45||56||67||75||83||86||84||78||67||56||45||65|
|Avg low (°F)||24||26||35||44||53||61||65||64||57||45||37||29||45|
The city's primary public recreation center is Ritter Park (named for Charles L. Ritter who donated the land). The park area encompasses a walking and cycling path, tennis courts, an outdoor amphitheater, a multi-terraced rose garden, and a stone-tiered reflecting pond built by the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s. Four Pole Creek, runs the entire length of Ritter Park and the creek is crossed by numerous wooden and stone footbridges.
Huntington has, since 1985, operated under a strong mayor/city council form of government. The mayor is elected to four-year terms in partisan elections contested at the same time as United States presidential elections. The current mayor is David Felinton, a Democrat who is currently in his second term. Mayors in Huntington are term-limited to three terms and have the authority to veto acts of the city council.
Huntington's city councilors are also elected to four-year terms at the same time as the mayor. There are eleven members of the council, nine of whom represent single-member districts, while the other two are elected at-large by the city as a whole. Huntington's city council has the authority to draft and debate ordinances and can override a mayoral veto with a two-thirds majority. There are currently ten Democrats and one Republican on the city council.
|District 1||James Ritter (D)||District 7|
|District 2||Teresa Loudermilk (D)||District 8|
|District 3||Frances Jackson (D)||District 9|
|District 4||Mary Neely (D)||At Large|
|District 5||Sandra Clements (D)||At Large|
|District 6||Calvin Kent (R)|
The city also serves as the county seat of Cabell County. The Cabell County Courthouse is located in downtown Huntington on a parcel that covers an entire city block. Within the building are the offices for all of the county's elected officials and their employees, including the sheriff, county commissioners, county clerk, magistrates, and Circuit Court judges.
There are 22,955 households out of which 20.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.9% are married couples living together, 13.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 46.7% are non-families. 37.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 15.1% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.12 and the average family size is 2.80.
The age distribution, which is strongly influenced by Marshall's presence, is 17.7% under the age of 18, 17.5% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females there are 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 85.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $23,234, and the median income for a family is $34,756. Males have a median income of $30,040 versus $21,198 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,717. 24.7% of the population and 17.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 29.8% of those under the age of 18 and 12.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Huntington is home to several medical centers. St. Mary's Medical Center and Cabell-Huntington Hospital provide healthcare for Huntington and the surrounding metropolitan area. St. Mary's and Cabell-Huntington are jointly designated as the only trauma center in the region. St. Mary's is home to a regional heart institute, regional cancer center and regional neuroscience center. The Marshall University Medical Center is located at Cabell-Huntington. In addition, the Marshall University Medical School, now known as the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine in honor of Joan C. Edwards, a major benefactor, has a comprehensive cancer care center. It is also a distinguished leader nationwide for rural health care delivery.
The Huntington Veteran's Administration (VA) Medical Center, located on Spring Valley Drive, is an 80-bed medical and surgical care facility that offers primary inpatient and outpatient care, along with mental health services and subspeciality outpatient options. It is also the primary teaching facility for the Marshall University School of Medicine and is also affiliated with the Pikeville School of Osteopathic Medicine. In 1993, the Robert C. Byrd Clinical Addition expanded the hospital's surgery, radiology, laboratory, cardiology, nuclear medicine, and rehabilitation services and renovated inpatient care facilities. In 1998, a $10 million research facility was completed
The city is also home to the state's largest psychiatric hospital, Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital.
A banking and commerce center for the area between 1880 and the present, Huntington developed along the river's shore with its 19th century urban industry. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad had its western terminus in Huntington and railroad tracks bifurcate the city today. The railroad was historically the leading Huntington industry, along with coal, railcars, nickel, steel and glass.
Largest employers Number of employees:
Huntington has a central business district, located directly south of the Ohio River, east of the Robert C. Byrd Bridge, and west of 11th Street. It has another smaller business district, known as Central City, that is well known for its antique shops and for Heiners Bakery. There are several heavy industrial plants that line the Ohio River and the Guyandotte River, but the dominance of Marshall University's research prominence and the growing service sector, especially in the medical field, is reversing the effects of the rust belt that have plagued Huntington for two decades.
The city also has a wealth of architecture, most of it constructed at a time when Huntington was dominated by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The city can also lay claim to a new urban renewal stance, brought on by Heritage Village, Pullman Square, and the continued investment in numerous downtown properties. Offshoots of the Pullman Square project include the renovation of many historical structures along 3rd Avenue, a new 9th Street Plaza, and the Old Main Corridor project.
|St. George Greek Festival||St. George Greek Orthodox Church 701 11th Ave. Huntington, WV 25701||September 26-28, 2008||A festival with Greek food, music, and dancing.|
|Chilifest||Downtown district - 4th Avenue and Plaza||September 15-17||State championship is held every year, with chili cooks coming from West Virginia and other states to compete for a berth in the national competition.|
|Guyandotte Civil War Days||Guyandotte||Early-November||This festival features arts and crafts, food, and entertainment.|
|Guyandotte Heritage Days||Guyandotte||November||This historic-themed festival features reenactment of the Confederate raid and the Union reprisal. It features period music, museums, 'living histories', and craft displays.|
|Hilltop Festival||Huntington Museum of Art||2nd weekend in September||This event offers entertainment, children's activities, a petting zoo, book fair, arts and crafts, and concessions.|
|X-Fest||Harris Riverfront Park||Within the first 3 weeks of September||Rock/alternative music concert that allows local bands to play with bigger bands.|
|Huntington Dogwood Arts and Crafts Festival||Big Sandy Superstore Arena||April||This features the demonstration and sale of traditional arts and crafts plus specialty ethnic foods.|
|Jazz-MU-Tazz||Marshall University||June||A summer jazz festival, it is a weekend of music that features jazz cabarets, outdoor concerts, and numerous activities.|
|Lions Tri-State Arts & Crafts Festival||Big Sandy Superstore Arena||1st weekend in December||An old-fashioned arts and crafts fair that includes over 200 exhibitors featuring a variety of arts and crafts and homemade foods and sweets.|
|Old Central City Days||Central City district in West Huntington||3rd weekend in June||This event offers numerous entertainment and shopping options in addition to the existing stock of storefronts, historic tours, and various food vendors at the new farmers market "depot."|
|Pilot Club of Huntington's Antique Show and Sale||Big Sandy Superstore Arena||Last complete weekend in September.||An antique show and sale that features more than 40 dealers representing more than 10 states and West Virginia.|
|Ritter Park Days||Ritter Park||Weekends in July and August.||Features children-based activities and programs.|
|West Virginia Day Celebration||Downtown district - 9th Street Plaza||June 20||This features live entertainment, jugglers, food, crafts, and more.|
|St. Patrick's Day Celebration||Downtown Huntington||March 14||This features live entertainment by musical and dance groups appropriate for St. Patrick's Day.|
|West Virginia Hot Dog Festival||Pullman Square district - 3rd Avenue||Celebrates the unique variations of local hot dogs.|
The Huntington Museum of Art is located in the hills above Ritter Park, featuring numerous collections and exhibitions; it is also home to the C. Fred Edwards Conservatory. The Museum of Radio and Technology is located near the west end of the park in a renovated elementary school. The Cabell County Courthouse and the Carnegie Library in the downtown also hold historical interests, along with Old Main at Marshall University, a structure dating to the 1840s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Keith Albee Theatre, a former Vaudeville palace in the "Art Deco" style from the 1920s, is one of the architectural masterpieces of downtown Huntington, located along 4th Avenue. It is currently being renovated to become one of the state's largest performing arts centers. One block north, 5th Avenue is noted for its many historical church buildings. The city is also the site of an Adena Native American burial mound.
Traditional "drive-in" restaurants and hotdog stands are popular in the city, with locally-based favorites including Stewart's Original Hot Dogs, Frostop, Midway Drive-In (recently re-opened), Sam's Hot Dog Stand, Farley's (in Barboursville), and Hillbilly Hot Dogs making appearances throughout the region. Several drive-ins have closed in recent years, including Wiggins, and Cam's Ham. Cam's Ham still exists as a sit-down restaurant.
Huntington is home to eleven parks located in the neighborhoods of Huntington, the most visible being Harris Riverfront Park in the downtown and Ritter Park. Camden Park, an amusement park, is also adjacent to the city.
A great place to spend a night on the town is Pullman square. This town center features many restaurants, including Frankie D's Italian Chophouse, Max and Erma's. This beautiful center also features a stage for live performances and many great little shops including Empire Books.
Huntington was also home to the Huntington Blizzard, an ECHL ice-hockey team that was in existence from 1993 to 2000 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, and a succession of minor league baseball teams in the 1990s at St. Cloud Commons.
|WPBY||33-34||West Virginia Public Broadcasting|
|WCHS-TV||8||ABC affiliated station broadcasting from Charleston.|
|WQCW||30||CW affiliated station from Portsmouth, Ohio.|
|WVAH||11||FOX affiliate broadcasted from Teays Valley.|
|Call sign||Frequency||Format||Description / Notes|
|WMUL||88.1 FM||College Radio||This is operated by Marshall University.|
|WVWV||89.9 FM||NPR||West Virginia Public Radio|
|WRVC-FM||92.7 FM||Rock||92.7 the Planet "The Real Rock Station"|
|WDGG||93.7 FM||Country||Kindred Communication; Huntington, WV|
|WEZB||97.1 FM||Adult Contemporary||B97 "All The Hits"|
|WKEE||100.5 FM||Top 40||100 KEE FM "Today's Best Music"|
|WRYV||101.5 FM||Classic rock||101.5 The River "The Best Classic Rock"|
|WTCR||103.3 FM||Country||WTCR-AM is licensed to Kenova, West Virginia|
|WKLC||105.1 FM||Rock||Rock 105 "Everything That Rocks."|
|WEMM||107.9 FM / 1470 AM||Southern Gospel||Southern Gospel simulcasts on WEMM-FM and WEMM-AM|
|WVHU||800 AM||News/Talk||News Talk 800|
|WRVC||930 AM||News/Talk||WRVC-FM is licensed to Catlettsburg, Kentucky.|
The residents of Huntington are served by the Cabell County School System, which includes Huntington High School, Cabell Midland High School, Cabell County Career Technology Center, Huntington Middle School, Beverley Hills Middle School, Milton Middle School, Barboursville Middle School, Enslow Middle School, Altizer Elementary School, Cox Landing Elementary School, Davis Creek Elementary School, Guyandotte Elementary School, Hite-Saunders Elementary School, Meadows Elementary School, Milton Elementary School, Ona Elementary School, Salt Rock Elementary School, Village of Barboursville Elementary School, Central City Elementary School, Culloden Elementary School, Geneva Kent Elementary School, Highlawn Elementary School, Martha Elementary School, Southside Elementary School, Nichols Elementary School, Peyton Elementary School, and Spring Hill Elementary School. Huntington is also the home of three colleges and universities, including Marshall University, the Robert C. Byrd Institute, and the Huntington Junior College.
The Cabell County Public Library system operates a main branch in the downtown and seven branches in neighboring towns.
US 60, part of the historic Midland Trail, runs through the entire length of Huntington from west to east, cutting through West Huntington, downtown, East Huntington, and along the Guyandotte River. US 52 cuts through West Huntington along the West Huntington Expressway, but its presence is brief. It has an interchange at Madison Avenue and one for US 60.
The city is the northern terminus for WV 10, a scenic highway that follows the Guyandotte River for much of its length and connects Huntington to Princeton. It is also the southern terminus of WV 2, which parallels the entirety of West Virginia's section of the Ohio River, and facilitates much traffic towards Point Pleasant and Parkersburg.
Huntington utilizes a grid-like street pattern featuring several wide boulevard-style avenues that run east and west. Most notable of these are 3rd and 5th Avenues. The city has a numbered street naming system, with avenues running east and west (parallel to the Ohio River) and streets running north and south.
The city was once a hub for passenger rail service in the region, but accounts for a significantly smaller portion of rail traffic than in the early decades of the 20th Century. Huntington, however, has an Amtrak station that lies on the Cardinal line running between New York City and Chicago via Washington, DC and Cincinnati.