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Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
Charles Town
Jefferson County, West Virginia


Page Contents for Charles Town, West Virginia

Statistics & Facts


History & History-related items

Historical Events

Chamber of Commerce.


Statistics & Facts

The West Virginia state capital is Charleston.
The population of Charles Town is approximately 2,907 (2000), 5259 (2010).
The approximate number of families is 1,397 (1990), 2011 (2010).
The amount of land area in Charles Town is 2.485 sq. kilometers.
The amount of land area in Charles Town is 1.4 sq. miles.
The amount of surface water is 0 sq kilometers.
The distance from Charles Town to Washington DC is 54 miles.
The distance to the West Virginia state capital is 223 miles. (as the crow flies)
Charles Town is positioned 39.28 degrees north of the equator and 77.85 degrees west of the prime meridian.
Charles Town elevation is 540 feet above sea level.
Charles Town median income is $ 32,538 (2000).
The Charles Town median home price is $ 114,500 (2000).
Charles Town average annual precipitation is 42.3 inches peryear.
Charles Town average annual snowfall is 21.4 inches per year.
The average winter temperature is 31.0 degrees F.
The average spring temperature is 52.2 degrees F.
The average summer temperature is 75.1 degrees F.
The average fall temperature is 54.7 degrees F.


about 63 miles from Washington, DC. Other nearby communities include Corporation of Ranson, Bolivar, Harpers Ferry, Shepherdstown and Inwood all in West Virginia. It is also near Round Hill and Berryville Virginia and Sharpsburg, Maryland.
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History & History Related Items

Charles Town celebrated its 200th birthday with a three-day event beginning on West Virginia Day, June 20, 1986. Charles Town was established formally on January 4, 1787, by an Act of the General Assembly of Virginia. It was named for Col. Charles Washington, youngest brother of the first president, and was originally laid out on eighty acres of land provided by him. The land was part of the Happy Retreat plantation owned by Charles Washington. The main streets of Charles Town are named for members of the Washington family - George, Samuel, Lawrence, Mildred, and Charles. The main thoroughfare running through the town is Washington Street.

Oldest of the Washington homes is Harewood, believed to have been started in the mid 1750's. It was built by Samuel Washington, a younger brother of George Washington. Dolly Paine Todd married James Madison, our fourth President, at Harewood.

Five other Washington family homes were built near Charles Town. These include Claymont Court and Blakely, built about 3 miles southwest of the town. The two homes were built around 1820 and face each other across meadowland and the waters of Bullskin Run. Cedar Lawn was built in 1825 by John Thorton Washington, a grandnephew of the first President. Locust Hill was built in 1840 as a wedding gift for Lucy Washington. Unfortunately, the house burned down in the 1960's. Finally, there is Beallair that was the home of Col. Lewis Washington, a great, grand nephew of President Washington.

Cherry Tavern was the first business set up in Charles Town. It was established by Captain Cherry. This was followed soon after by historic Holl's Tavern. Both were dismantled many years ago.

In 1795 Charles Town Academy was founded to teach basics as well as Latin and Greek, with expansion to include French, English, geography, astronomy and philosophy as enrollment grew. While educational institutions often included the word public in their titles, schools were maintained by subscription-what each family paid--and donations. A similar academy in Charles Town was later established to teach girls and included many of the same subjects as boys were taught. Some families employed tutors or sent their children to Professors who were free lance educators teaching from their lodgings or church facilities.

In 1801, Jefferson county was established. It was formed out of the eastern section of Berkeley county. The first meeting of Jefferson county officials was held in Charles Town later that year.

The Jefferson County Courthouse, in downtown Charles Town, was built in 1836. It was damaged by shellfire during the Civil War but was extensively remodeled and is still in use today. It was the scene of the famous trial of abolitionist John Brown who was tried for treason in 1859.

During the Civil War there were two major battles of Charles Town. The first occurred on May 28, 1862. Some 1,500 Confederate troops under General Charles Winder, who were taking part in General "Stonewall" Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, met an equal force of Union soldiers at Charles Town and routed them. The second battle of Charles Town took place on October 18, 1863. The Confederate military was forced to resort to artillery to dislodge the Union troops. Though the Union troops were defeated, many of the buildings in Charles Town were severely damaged or destroyed.

Charles Town is also the home of William L. Wilson, the Postmaster General in President Cleveland's cabinet who established the first rural free delivery service in America between Charles Town, Uvilla, and Halltown in 1896.

In 1922, William Blizzard, a leader of striking coal miners, was charged with treason and murder for engaging in warfare against state and federal troops in Mingo and Logan counties. He was tried in the Jefferson county courthouse in Charles Town. The trials of William Blizzard and John Brown are two of only three treason trials held in the United States prior to World War II.

Horse racing has been an integral part of Charles Town for over 200 years. Since 1786, horse shows have been held regularly by the Charles Town Horse Show Association on property adjacent to Charles Town. The famous Charles Town Race Track opened in 1933 and is still in operation today. In 1999 it underwent a major renovation and now includes a large addition containing over 200 video slot machines. Now known as Charles Town Races & Slots, it attracts many visitors each week from the nearby Baltimore and Washington D.C. metropolitan areas.

There are many other historic sites and building located in Charles Town such as Charles Washington Hall, Tiffin House, the Old Opera House, the Presbyterian Church, Zion Episcopal Church, and the location of the gallows where John Brown was hung, to name just a few.
Information is from the Charles Town Bicentennial, 1786-1986, available from the Old Charles Town Library
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Charles Town Historical Events

The new Jefferson Memorial Hospital opened, replacing the old Charles Town Hospital.

The newly constructed Charles Town Library and Civic Center were dedicated.

Construction was completed on the new Shenandoah Downs thoroughbred horse racing track in Charles Town.

A newly constructed Charles Town Hospital was dedicated, replacing the old Charles Town General Hospital which was originally built in 1905.

The Charles Town Race Track opened. It was built on land purchased from the Charles Town Horse Show Association.

Ku Klux Klan members marched through town and then set fire to a cross in Charles Town's public square.

Workers discover a series of caves and a lake beneath Charles Town referred to as Lakeland Caverns.

Tolls were eliminated on the Charles Town-Kabletown and the Charles Town-Harpers Ferry turnpikes.

The Town Council granted the right to a local company to begin erecting and installing poles and wiring needed for electrical lighting, heating, and power purposes.

The Winchester Telephone Company began putting up poles needed to install telephone lines between Charles Town and Harpers Ferry. The telephone system was completed in 1905.

A company of volunteers organized by Captain H.C. Getzendanner were recruited and left Charles Town to fight in the war with Spain (Spanish-American War).

The Light Drugstore became the first place in Charles Town to have water piped to its premises.

Charles Town Independent Fire Company #1 was formed.

The Town Council voted to begin procuring and installing gas posts and lamps in Charles Town.

A bill was passed by the West Virginia legislature moving the Jefferson county seat from Shepherdstown back to Charles Town.

The Jefferson county seat was moved from Charles Town to Shepherdstown.

First edition of the "Spirit of Jefferson" newspaper published.

First Masonic Lodge established in Charles Town

Author and U.S. Senator Daniel B. Lucas was born in Charles Town.

Over 100 men enlisted in Charles Town to fight in the War of 1812

Charles Town Chamber

Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce
Box 426
Charles Town, WV 25414
Phone: 304-725-2055
Toll-free: 800-624-0577
Fax: 304-728-8307

Charles Town Organizations

Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce
Box 426
Charles Town, WV 25414
Phone: 304-725-2055
Toll-free: 800-624-0577
Fax: 304-728-8307
Email Charles Town


The population of Charles Town was:
1990 - 3,122
2000 - 2,907
2002 - 3,132 (estimate)

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