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5 Fun Facts About October 26 In West Virginia History

---Learn Every Day: WV Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history wv To: 618-270-4005---

1. In 1863, the Battle of Droop Mountain took place in Pocahontas County during the American Civil War. Union forces under General William W. Averell defeated Confederate forces led by General John Echols. This battle is considered a turning point in the war in West Virginia, as the Confederate Army was virtually eliminated from the state.

2. On October 26, 1870, the West Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (now West Virginia University) opened its doors to students for the first time. The university was established by the West Virginia Legislature in 1867 as a land-grant institution and has grown to become the state's flagship university.

3. The infamous Curse of the Bambino came to West Virginia on October 26, 1975, when the Boston Red Sox played an exhibition game in Charleston against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Red Sox outfielder Jim Rice hit a home run that landed in the Kanawha River, leading some fans to believe that the curse had spread to West Virginia. The Red Sox went on to lose the World Series that year, extending their championship drought to 57 years.

4. On October 26, 2005, West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin declared a state of emergency after a chemical spill contaminated the water supply of more than 250,000 residents in nine counties. A storage tank ruptured at a chemical plant near Charleston, leaking approximately 10,000 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) into the Elk River. The spill resulted in a widespread water crisis and prompted changes to state and federal regulations to prevent similar incidents.

5. In 2018, West Virginia made history by becoming the first state to allow voting by smartphone in a federal election. The Secretary of State's office partnered with Voatz, a Boston-based mobile voting platform, to offer the technology to military personnel stationed overseas in the state's primary election in May and again in the general election in November. The move was controversial, with some experts expressing concern about the security of the technology.
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