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Northern Panhandle of West Virginia: Map

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Northern panhandle


The Northern Panhandle is a culturally and geographically distinct region in the U.S. state of West Virginiamarker. It is the state's northernmost extension, bounded by the Ohio River on the north and west, along with the state of Pennsylvaniamarker on the east. Due to the southern boundary being an extension of the Mason-Dixon Linemarker and its proximity to the Pittsburghmarker area, the Northern Panhandle resembles more of the Midwestern United States [53750] compared to the rest of the state, which is classified in the Upland South. [53751]

The following counties, listed from north to south, are universally accepted as being part of the Northern Panhandle:

Most West Virginians also include Wetzel Countymarker, directly to the south of Marshall County, as a part of the Northern Panhandle, although it does not lie strictly within the northern extension. [53752]

Important towns within the Northern Panhandle include Wheelingmarker, Weirtonmarker, and Moundsvillemarker. The region houses three four-year colleges—the public West Liberty University and the private Bethany College and Wheeling Jesuit University. All five counties listed in this article, plus Tyler Countymarker, are in the service area of West Virginia Northern Community Collegemarker.

In the late 19th century, the Northern Panhandle developed as an industrial area, especially in the manufacturing of steel and glass products. It still largely retains its industrial character, although many of its factories have closed down or fallen on hard times like others in the Rust Belt.

  • To learn why the Panhandle is shaped the way it is, please read the history of Yohogania County



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