Zackquill Morgan and his brother David entered the area of Virginia that would become Morgantown in about 1767, although others such as Thomas Decker are recorded as attempting settlements in the area earlier or at about the same time. As well, several forts were built in the area during this time: Fort Pierpont near the Cheat River, in 1769; Fort Coburn, near Dorsey's Knob, in 1770. Fort Morgan, at the present site of Morgantown, in 1772; Fort Dinwiddle, north several miles at Stewartstown, in 1772; Fort Martin, several miles north on the Monongahela River, in 1773; Fort Burris in the present-day Suncrest area of Morgantown, in 1774; and Fort Kern in the present-day Greenmont area of Morgantown, in 1774, in addition to other, smaller forts.
Zackquill Morgan settled the area about 1772 by establishing a homestead near present-day Fayette Street and University Avenue. Morgan fought in both the French and Indian War and the American Revolutionary War, rising to the rank of colonel. By 1783, following his wartime duties, Colonel Morgan commissioned Major William Haymond to survey his land and divide it into streets and lots. Colonel Morgan then received a legal certificate for in the area of his settlement near the mouth of Decker's Creek. Fifty acres were appropriated for Morgan's Town by the Virginia General Assembly in October 1785. On February 3, 1838, the General Assembly enacted a municipal charter incorporating the city, now with a population of about 700. The town became part of the newly created state of West Virginia on June 20, 1863, through the Reorganized Government of Virginia.
Notable early structures still standing in Morgantown in the mid-2000s include The Old Stone House, built in 1795 by Jacob Nuce on Long Alley, the modern-day Chestnut Street; and the John Rogers family home on Foundry Street, built in 1840 and is now occupied by the Dering Funeral Home.
During the 1970s, the U.S. Department of Transportation built an experimental personal rapid transit system in the city, citing the area's variety of seasonal climates and geographic elevations as factors in testing the technology's viability. The Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) has been in use since 1975.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.1 square miles (26.2 km²), of which, 9.8 square miles (25.4 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km²) of it (3.16%) is water.
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There were 10,782 households out of which 15.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.1% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 61.2% were non-families. 37.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.76.
Morgantown's age distribution, which is heavily influenced by the presence of West Virginia University, is: 11.1% under the age of 18, 44.7% from 18 to 24, 20.4% from 25 to 44, 13.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23 years. For every 100 females there were 104.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $20,649, and the median income for a family was $44,622. Males had a median income of $33,268 versus $24,944 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,459. About 15.0% of families and 38.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.3% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.
Following Census 2000, Monongalia County (with county seat Morgantown) and neighboring Preston County were acknowledged as a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) by the United States government. Estimates from 2004 put the Metropolitan Statistical Area population at 113,500; as of July 2005, the estimate was 114,501. Of the 10 largest cities in West Virginia, only Morgantown and Martinsburg have shown positive population growth since the 2000 census, with Morgantown growing from 26,809 to a 2007 estimate of 29,361.
West Virginia University constitutes 913 acres (3.7 km²) of the city and vicinity, and with the fall 2005 enrollment added an additional population of 27,115 students from every state, the District of Columbia, and 91 nations.
As of April 2005, Monongalia County Schools employs 897 professional personnel and 490 service personnel, and carries an enrollment of 10,076 students, including 156 adult students at the Monongalia County Technical Education Center. Three of Monongalia County's 23 schools have earned Exemplary Achievement status, according to the West Virginia Office of Educational Performance Audits' (OEPA) report issued November 2004. In 2004, Suncrest Middle became a National Blue Ribbon School for the No Child Left Behind Act.
Other private schools include Alliance Christian School, Covenant Christian School, Maranatha Christian Academy, Morgantown Christian Academy, Trinity Christian School, and the alternative, non-religious Morgantown Learning Academy.
The Virginia Assembly in March 1831 authorized the creation of the Morgantown Female Academy. Proceeds from the sale of the original Monongalia Academy building funded construction of a two-story school at Bumbo Lane (the modern-day Fayette Street) and Long Alley (the modern-day Chestnut Street). This school opened April 1, 1834. After the Assembly approved a charter change in 1838, the school became known as the Methodist Academy. This prompted local Presbyterians to create the Woodburn Female Seminary, for which the Monongalia Academy's Rev. Moore also served as principal. The seminary closed in 1866, and its assets, like those of the Monongalia Academy, were donated toward the future university.
Following the 1863 creation of West Virginia, the new state's first legislature created a public-school system. The act provided for the education of "free colored children", and was adapted three years later to mandate education for all African-American children. However, a two-tier system was created: White children attended a regular term (at the second former Monongalia Academy building, purchased in 1867 from West Virginia Agricultural College, the future West Virginia University), only a short term was provided for African-Americans, who met at St. Paul's African Methodist Episcopal Church, on Beechurst Avenue.
A Catholic elementary school, Saint Francis de Sales, began sometime prior to 1915 as a two-room school in a house on McLane Avenue in the Seneca neighborhood, and run by lay teacher Miss Sterbutsal, who became Sister M. Isabelle of the Sisters of St. Joseph. In October 1915, the pastorate of Father Peter Flynn arranged for Ursuline nuns from Louisville, Kentucky, and in 1918, under principal Sister M. Isadore, the school moved to a new building on Beechurst Avenue, adjacent to St. Theresa's Church. On June 9, 1990, the grade school moved into the former St. Francis Central High School building, and eventually into newly built facility at 41 Guthrie Lane. Its mascot is the Falcon. The Beechurst Avenue building was demolished in 2003
St. Francis Central High School, which had existed for several decades until circa 1990, was located between WVU's Towers dormitory complex and Patteson Drive in the Evansdale neighborhood. Its mascot was the Trojans, and its football field was named for Father Flynn. The West Virginia University Foundation purchased its building and land in July 2003, formally selling it to WVU for $11 million in August 2004, with the university then announcing it intended to use the football and adjacent baseball fields as intramural recreation area. Through January 2006, the building housed the St. Francis middle and elementary schools.
Fall 2007 enrollment was 27,500, with students from all 55 state counties, 50 states plus the District of Columbia, and 89 other nations. Basic figures regarding the student body:
The 2007-08 curriculum is supported by 14 colleges and schools offering 179 bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional degree programs in the arts and sciences; business and economics; creative arts; engineering and mineral resources; human resources and education; journalism; law; agriculture, forestry, and consumer sciences; dentistry; medicine; nursing; pharmacy; physical education; plus programs at Potomac State College.
|KDKA-TV||2||CBS affiliate, Pittsburgh, Penn.|
|WTAE||4||ABC affiliate, Pittsburgh, Penn.|
|WDTV||5||CBS affiliate, Bridgeport, W.Va.|
|WPXI||11||NBC affiliate, Pittsburgh, Penn.|
|WBOY||12||NBC affiliate, Clarksburg, W.Va.|
|WQED||13||PBS station, Pittsburgh, Penn.|
|WPCW||19||CW Television Network affiliate, Pittsburgh, Penn.|
|WPMY||22||My Network TV affiliate, Pittsburgh, Penn.|
|WNPB||24||West Virginia Public Broadcasting Morgantown, WV|
|WVFX||46||FOX affiliate, Clarksburg, W.Va|
|WPGH-TV||53||FOX affiliate, Pittsburgh, Penn.|
|WCLG||1300 AM||Oldies||Bowers Broadcasting Corp.|
|WCLG||100.1 FM||Rock||Bowers Broadcasting Corp.|
|WAJR||1440 AM||News/Talk||West Virginia Radio Corporation|
|WVAQ||101.9 FM||Top 40||West Virginia Radio Corporation|
|WWVU||91.7 FM||Campus||West Virginia University Board Of Governors|
|WGYE||102.7 FM||Country||Burbach of de, LLC|
|WZST||100.9 FM||Country||Tschudy Broadcasting Corp|
|WFGM||93.1 FM||Oldies||West Virginia Radio Corporation|
Morgantown Municipal Airport is one of West Virginia's few commercial airports. It is located seven miles (11 km) east of Interstate 79 just off the Pierpont Road exit on Interstate 68, accessible via WV 857 by turning left onto US 119.
Cable television and cable Internet are provided by Comcast Communications. Landline telephone and DSL services are offered by Verizon, with West Side Telecommunications telephone and DSL service available in some areas.
Trash pickup is provided by Allied Waste Industries.
The Joni Mitchell song "Morning Morgantown" is popularly believed to be written about Morgantown, West Virginia.
The 2006 film We Are Marshall has two brief scenes set in, but not filmed in, Morgantown.