The hills and valleys of the Mountain State came alive in 1963 as West Virginia celebrated 100 years of statehood. Musical events, drama, traveling exhibits, and festivities in each of the 55 counties highlighted the celebration. It began on West Virginia Day, June 20, 1962, with the appearance of former President Harry S. Truman at the state capitol in Charleston. One year later, on the state’s 100th birthday, President John F. Kennedy delivered the featured address at the state capitol. It was a rainy day, and the president took note. ‘‘The sun does not always shine in West Virginia, but the people do,’’ Kennedy said.
Many events marked the celebration, including a special ceremonial session of the West Virginia legislature held on April 20, 1963, in Wheeling, the state’s first capital. It was on April 20, 1863, that President Lincoln issued a proclamation that in 60 days West Virginia would become a state. The legislature met in Wheeling’s old U.S. Custom House, later known as West Virginia Independence Hall, the birthplace of West Virginia. (From the West Virginia Encyclopedia, http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/1038)