Main Births etc
Fairmont, West Virginia
—  City  —
Downtown Fairmont and the Monongahela River in 2006
Nickname(s): "Friendly City"
Motto: "Spend a Day... Spend a Lifetime"

Fairmont, West Virginia is located in West Virginia
Fairmont, West Virginia
Location of Fairmont, West Virginia
Coordinates: 39°28′53″N 80°8′36″W / 39.48139, -80.14333Coordinates: 39°28′53″N 80°8′36″W / 39.48139, -80.14333
Country United States
State West Virginia
County Marion
 • Type Council-manager government
 • Mayor Ron Straight
 • Deputy Mayor Chuck Warner
 • City Manager Jay Rogers
 • Total 9.00 sq mi (23.31 km2)
 • Land 8.62 sq mi (22.33 km2)
 • Water 0.38 sq mi (0.98 km2)
Elevation 984 ft (300 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 18,704
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 18,737
 • Density 2,169.8/sq mi (837.8/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 26554-26555
Area code(s) 304
FIPS code 54-26452
GNIS feature ID 1560581[4]

Child laborers at Monougal Glass Works in Fairmont, 1908. Photo by Lewis Hine.

Marion County Courthouse in Fairmont

Fairmont is a city in Marion County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 18,704 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Marion County.[5]


  • Oral history indicates that in 1808, Boaz Fleming made his annual trek to Clarksburg to pay his brother's Harrison County taxes. While in Clarksburg, he attended a social gathering that included Dolly Madison, his cousin. He complained to her about having to travel over a hundred miles each year from his home to pay his Monongalia County taxes and his brother's Harrison County taxes. Dolly Madison supposedly suggested that he create his own county to save him all that travel. Six years later, Boaz Fleming circulated a petition to do precisely that, naming the proposed county Madison County, in her and her husband's, President James Madison, honor. The petition failed to gain sufficient support to be presented to the Virginia General Assembly. He then focused on creating a town near his farm. In 1819, a road was built from Clarksburg to Morgantown. His farm was about halfway between the two, making a good resting point. He laid out the town on the west side of the Monongahela River in 1819. It was incorporated on January 19, 1820 as Middletown. It is unknown if the town was called Middletown because of its location mid-way between Clarksburg and Morgantown or because Boaz Fleming's first wife, Elizabeth Hutchinson, was originally from Middletown, Delaware. Middletown was named newly formed Marion County's first county seat on February 18, 1842. At that time, William Haymond, Jr. suggested that the town's name be changed to Fairmont because the town had a beautiful overlook of the Monongahela River, giving it a "fair mount." The Borough of Fairmont was incorporated in 1843 by the Virginia General Assembly."
  • Established in 1820 as Middletown, then in Monongalia County, it was chartered by the Virginia General Assembly in 1843 as Fairmont, a contraction of "Fair Mountain".
  • Country Club Bakery in Fairmont is "The Home of the Original Pepperoni Roll."[6]
  • The former head of the art department at Fairmont State University, Luella Mundel, was the subject of a documentary called American Inquisition by Helen Whitney. Mundel was the victim of blacklisting during the McCarthy era, and the documentary showed how the negative effects of that era reached even smalltown West Virginia. This documentary was the subject of a very famous case about the First Amendment.[7]
  • The site of the first Father's Day on July 5, 1908, originally celebrated in honor of the more than 200 fathers lost in the Monongah Mining disaster several months earlier. However, neither Fairmont nor the state of West Virginia chartered the holiday to make it official, so several other locales have erroneously taken credit for its inception over the years.[8]
  • William S. Barnes born 1735, recognized patriot, militia man in the Revolutionary War, and progenitor of the Barnes family currently living in Fairmont and surrounding areas was the first person to live in what is currently Marion County and Fairmont, WV. He constructed a corn mill to process grain a short distance above where the Fairmont City Reservoir currently resides, and his pioneer house stood where the Fairmont Chemical Company is constructed.[9]


Fairmont is located at 39°28′53″N 80°8′36″W / 39.48139, -80.14333 (39.481253, -80.143453).[10] The Tygart Valley River and the West Fork River join in Fairmont to form the Monongahela River. Buffalo Creek, a tributary of the Monongahela River, flows through the northern part of the city.[11]

According to the US Army Corp of engineers, Fairmont, West Virginia, is the port city farthest from the ocean (2,085 miles) via an inland waterway.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.00 square miles (23.31 km2), of which, 8.62 square miles (22.33 km2) is land and 0.38 square miles (0.98 km2) is water.[1]


Climate data for Fairmont, West Virginia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 38
Average low °F (°C) 20
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.45



Fairmont is located in the North-Central region of the state, along West Virginia's I-79 High Tech Corridor. Major highways include:

  • I-79.svg Interstate 79
  • US 19.svg U.S. Highway 19
  • US 250.svg U.S. Highway 250
  • WV-310.svg West Virginia Route 310
  • WV-273.svg West Virginia Route 273


Fairmont Municipal Airport (Frankman Field) is a public use airport located two nautical miles (4 km) southwest of the central business district of Fairmont. It is owned by the Fairmont-Marion County Regional Airport Authority.[12]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 683
1860 704 3.1%
1870 621 −11.8%
1880 900 44.9%
1890 1,023 13.7%
1900 5,655 452.8%
1910 9,711 71.7%
1920 17,851 83.8%
1930 23,159 29.7%
1940 23,105 −0.2%
1950 29,346 27.0%
1960 27,477 −6.4%
1970 26,093 −5.0%
1980 23,863 −8.5%
1990 20,210 −15.3%
2000 19,097 −5.5%
2010 18,704 −2.1%
Est. 2012 18,737 −1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
2012 Estimate[14]

2010 census[]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 18,704 people, 8,133 households, and 4,424 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,169.8 inhabitants per square mile (837.8 /km2). There were 9,200 housing units at an average density of 1,067.3 per square mile (412.1 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.9% White, 7.5% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.

There were 8,133 households of which 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.7% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 45.6% were non-families. 36.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.83.

The median age in the city was 36.8 years. 18% of residents were under the age of 18; 16.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25% were from 25 to 44; 24.4% were from 45 to 64; and 16.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.2% male and 51.8% female.

2000 census[]

As of the census of 2000, there were 19,097 people, 8,447 households, and 4,671 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,438.5 people per square mile (941.7/km2). There were 9,755 housing units at an average density of 1,245.6 per square mile (481.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.16% White, 7.26% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 1.49% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.82% of the population.

There were 8,447 households out of which 21.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.2% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.7% were non-families. 36.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the city the population was spread out with 18.4% under the age of 18, 14.9% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 20.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 87.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,628, and the median income for a family was $37,126. Males had a median income of $27,944 versus $20,401 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,062. About 12.6% of families and 20.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.0% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.

Local government[]

Fairmont has a Council-manager government, whereby the mayor serves as chairman of the city council and the city manager takes care of the day-to-day operations. The current mayor, Ronald J. (Ron) Straight was elected to a two-year term as Mayor in January 2013.[15]

Current City Council[]


  • 1st District- Marianne Moran
  • 2nd District- Frank Yann
  • 3rd District- Rob Linger
  • 4th District- William "Bill" Burdick
  • 5th District- Fran Warner
  • 6th District- Dan Weber
  • 7th District- Philip Mason
  • 8th District- Tom Mainella (Deputy Mayor)
  • 9th District- Ronald J. "Ron" Straight (Mayor)


Past Mayors[]

Name Term
William Elza Arnett 1906-1908
Matthew M. Neely 1908–1910
William Conaway
A.C. West
Fred T. Wilson 1935–1940
Fred T. Wilson 1944–1945
Albert F. Robertson 1947–1950
James H. Hanway 1951–1955
Wiliam G. Meyer 1959
Forrest L. Springer
Albert F. Robinson
J. Richard Davis
William M. Hawkins
Gregory T. Hinton
Charles G. Manly II 1994-1996
Nick L. Fantasia 1996-2006
S. Scott Sears 2007–2009
Matt Delligatti 2009-2010
Bill Burdick 2011-2012


Fairmont Senior High School[]

Fairmont Senior High School (FSHS) is an historic secondary school, listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 22, 2002.[17] Architect William B. Ittner, who is responsible for over three dozen entries in the National Register, designed the school in the late 1920s. The school's architectural classification is Colonial Revival, with a stone foundation, brick walls, and asphalt shingle roofing.

Fairmont State University[]

Fairmont State University is a public university with an approximate enrollment of 7,700 students. The institution offers master's degrees in business, education, teaching, criminal justice, and nursing, in addition to 90 baccalaureate and 50 associate degrees. Originally named Fairmont Normal School, the college was located on the corner of Fairmont Avenue and Second Street and moved to its present location in 1917.[18]

Pricketts Fort State Park[]

Pricketts Fort is a 22-acre (8.9 ha) West Virginia state park and site of an historic fort built to defend early European settlers from raids by hostile Native Americans. The feuds were generally over territory the settlers appropriated following the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768).


  • Valley Falls State Park is also located nearby to the east.
  • The Johnnie Johnson (musician) Blues & Jazz Festival is held annually in Fairmont, WV.
  • Fairmont's National White Collar Crime Center provides nationwide support to law enforcement agencies involved in prevention, investigation, and prosecution of economic and high-tech crime.
  • NASA Independent Verification and Validation Facility, governed by the Goddard Space Flight Center, houses more than 150 full-time employees and more than 20 in-house partners and contractors.[19]
  • The Jacobs-Hutchinson Block building, also known as Peoples' National Bank and Friendly Furniture Store
  • The Aerial Port Gymnastic Center is were the 1984 Olympic Medalist Mary Lou Retton was trained, now relocated to the former site of ABC Printing.

Notable people[]

Mary Lou Retton, the first female gymnast from outside Eastern Europe to win the Olympic all-around title

File:Nick Saban 09 Practice.jpg

Nick Saban, head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide college football team and winner of four national championships

  • Tony Adamle, played in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns (1947–1951, 1954).
  • Frank J. Breth, United States Marine Corps brigadier general.
  • Joe Cerisano, singer, songwriter, musician, "Be All That You Can Be" "Hands Across America"
  • Augusta Clark, librarian, politician and lawyer; second African-American woman to serve on the Philadelphia City Council (1980-2000).[20]
  • Ann K. Covington, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri, the first woman to hold that position.
  • Frank Kendall Everest, Jr., U.S. Air Force officer who is best remembered as an aeroengineer and test pilot during the 1950s. Once known as The Fastest Man Alive.
  • Ron Everhart, assistant basketball coach at West Virginia University. Former head basketball caoch at Duquesne University, Northeastern University and McNeese State University.
  • Art Finley, North American television and radio personality, mostly in San Francisco and Vancouver, remembered by many as "Mayor Art," the host of a live children's show that aired on KRON-TV in San Francisco beginning in 1959 through 1966.
  • Aretas B. Fleming, 8th Governor of West Virginia.
  • Carrie Watson Fleming, First Lady of West Virginia, 1890–1893
  • Frank Cruise Haymond, Judge of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, 1945-1972
  • Thomas Haymond, a nineteenth-century congressman and lawyer.
  • Philip C. Jimeno Long-serving member of the Maryland State Legislature.
  • Johnnie Johnson, Piano player and blues musician, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Rashod Kent, NFL player
  • Fuzzy Knight, film and television actor, appeared in over 180 films between 1929 and 1967, usually as a cowboy hero's sidekick.
  • John Knowles, author
  • Alan Mollohan, former member of United States House of Representatives, who represented West Virginia's 1st district.
  • Luella Mundel, professor and McCarthyism victim
  • Michael Oliverio II, member of the West Virginia Senate, representing the 13th District.
  • Doris Piserchia, science fiction writer.
  • Roman W. Prezioso, Jr., West Virginia state senator representing the 13th senatorial district.
  • Francis H. Pierpont, Governor of the union controlled parts of Virginia during the American Civil War, known as the "father of West Virginia."
  • Mary Lou Retton, American Olympic gold medal winner, member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.[21]
  • Nick Saban, Head coach of University of Alabama football team.
  • Robert Tinnell, Motion picture screenwriter, director, and producer, the author of several comic books and graphic novels.
  • Hershel W. Williams, awarded the Medal of Honor for his outstanding heroism in the Battle of Iwo Jima.
  • Clarence Wayland Watson, Founded several companies that became Consolidation Coal and Mining Companies, United States Senator from West Virginia from 1911 to 1913.

See also[]

  • Fairmont State University
  • Fairmont Marion County Transit Authority
  • Floyd Abrams and the McCarthy documentary case
  • West Virginia


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  6. ^ Pepperoni Roll History
  7. ^ Floyd Abrams, Speaking Freely, published by Viking Press (2005), Page 153-58
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  11. ^ West Virginia Atlas & Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Me.: DeLorme. 1997. p. 25. ISBN 0-89933-246-3. 
  12. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for 4G7 (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective May 31, 2012.
  13. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "The City of Fairmont - City Council". 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  18. ^ Images of America: Marion County by Thomas J. Koon
  19. ^ NASA IV&V Facility
  20. ^ "Former Philly Councilwoman Augusta Clark Dies at 81". WCAU. 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2013-11-23. 
  21. ^ Biography of Mary Lou Retton

External links[]

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