Fayette county was created in 1831 from parts of Greenbrier, Kanawha, Nicholas and Logan counties and was named in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette. Located in the mountainous and rugged southern part of the state, the population in the area grew slowly until the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad reached the area and opened up the coal fields. Population in the county rose and later fell with coal production. It peaked in 1950 with 82,443 people.
The county included the New River Gorge area, home to some of the state's best whitewater rafting and a world famous bridge.
Fayetteville is the county seat.
Rafting on the New River ( Photo courtesy W.Va. Department of Tourism)
Source: The 55 West Virginias: A guide to the State's Counties, by E. Lee North, Published by The West Virginia University Press.
Land in square miles: 664
Number of people per square mile: 71.7