by Matt Murphy
Charleston, West Virginia. Charlie West. #CWV. Our city goes by various names, but ultimately, it’s simply home. Being located in West Virginia often has negative connotations. Our state is known for rampant drug use, a poor education system, and dying industries. It would be very convenient to count Charleston out in the rat race of life, except for the amazing heart of its citizens.
Quite frankly, Charleston has a lot to offer. Geographically, we are located within 4 hours of several major cities with several more just beyond that. We are located in the center of the Appalachian Mountain region, providing us with some of the most beautiful scenery east of the Mississippi. We are one of the only cities in the nation to boast of three major interstate highways converging right in the center of Charleston (I-64, 77, and 79). We have amazing events such as FestivALL, Live on the Levee, Vandalia Gathering, and many others.
But, it is our people who truly make Charleston a place to be. Charleston is filled with some of the most amazing musicians and artists around. The talent base in Charleston easily rivals that of cities like Nashville or Pittsburgh.
What makes it special here is the culture with which these people thrive. Individuals alone cannot make a city great, but when they build a network that supports one another, suddenly you have magic. Indeed, there is a small sense of magic in Charleston. With a population of just near 50,000, Charleston has still seen significant growth with projects like independent radio station WTSQ 88.1FM. Brand new publications like Contraband are able to build and grow here as well. Art studios such as Hole in the Wall sell work made by local artisans. Charleston’s Artwalk takes place monthly, turning our downtown streets into an art gallery. New businesses are popping up monthly: Elk City Records, Gonzoburger, Genesis Cafe, to name a few. The list goes on and on.
If you’re a Charleston resident and you’ve found yourself ever asking yourself, “Why Charleston?” I would encourage you to think about these things. We are as unique a city as any, and to that, I challenge you to ask, “Why not?”