17 Incredible Facts That Make Virginia Like No Other Place in the World

Written by Justin Sexton
Updated: November 3, 2023
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Virginia USDA Hardiness Map

Virginia USDA Hardiness Map

©https://pdi.scinet.usda.gov/phzm/vm/VA72.jpg – License

Virginia is a unique state. Some people think it’s too north to be classified as a southern state, and some think it’s too south to be a northern state. We’ll get to why later though. It’s one of the original thirteen colonies and is a significant state in American history. Keep reading to learn more about what makes Virginia like no other place.

1. Virginia Has A Few Volcanoes!

The largest Volcano in Virginia, Mole Hill, is also one of the last volcanoes to have erupted in the U.S.

Virginia actually has a few volcanoes. The largest volcano in Virginia is Mole Hill. It covers forty-seven acres and is 1,893 feet above sea level. It’s outside of Harrisonburg, VA, and is in Dayton, Virginia. The only way to visit the Volcano is through the Mole Hill Bikes company in Dayton. Mole Hill is one of the youngest volcanoes on the East Coast and is currently dormant. Virginia also has two other volcanoes in Trimble Knob and Battle Mountain Volcano.

2. Richmond, Virginia Was Once The Capital Of The Confederacy

Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, USA.

The Virginia State Capitol Building is located in Richmond.

©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

Richmond, Virginia was once the capital of the Confederacy. The city played a massive part in the Civil War. It transformed the once-rural city into an industrial powerhouse thanks to its political power. It was once against secession due to how influential their Union ties with the tobacco industry were. The former capital was in Montgomery, Alabama. Still, it was moved to Richmond, Virginia so it could be close to the Union capital of Washington D.C. Its population increased greatly due to Confederate officials traveling to the new capital, soldiers moving in and out of the city, the increase in the wartime industrial services, and whiskey shops.

3. The Longest Bridge In Virginia Is Underground!

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is the Longest Bridge in Virginia
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is the Longest Bridge in Virginia.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is a seventeen-mile behemoth. It has two tunnels that dip underwater for a mile and go as low as 134 feet underwater. It’s been in operation for over sixty years now and it connects the Virginia mainland with the Eastern Shore.

4. Their Longest Tunnel Is Also Underwater

The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel infographic.

The longest tunnel in Virginia is the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. It was made to replace ferries that carried vehicles across the waters. There is a common misconception that the Chesapeake Bridge is the longest tunnel in Virginia, but that’s not the case. Why? The Chesapeake Bridge is a continuous bridge that at a certain point, dips underwater for a mile. Hampton Roads remains underwater for a longer distance than the Chesapeake Bridge Tunnel.

5. It’s Home To Many Musical Legends

The Butcher Brown Band performing for NPR at The HOF in Richmond, Virginia.

When people think of Virginia’s music history, people think of these names: Pusha T, No Malice, Pharrell Williams, Missy Elliott, Chad Hugo, D’Angelo, and GWAR. But there are many more musical legends to have come from the Commonwealth. The Butcher Brown Band was once the ESPN NFL Monday Night Football theme song. Virginia Commonwealth University alum Nickelus F worked with Drake from 2006-2013 on several of his projects. The metal band GWAR has a dive bar in Richmond’s downtown area. Missy Elliott has a highway named after her! Ella Fitzgerald is also from Newport News, Virginia.

Other notable Virginia music artists and bands today are Fly Anakin, AL-DOMS, Young Crazy, Kali Uchis, CONFROMTHE703, Outsider, Turnover, Michael Millions, and Radio B. The most popular music regions in Virginia are Richmond, Virginia, and the Eastern region. Some of the Eastern region comprises Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Suffolk, and Newport News.

6. Virginia Once Had A Major League Basketball Team!

Before the 1976 merger of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the American Basketball Association (ABA), the Virginia Squires existed in the ABA. Now if Virginia maintained the ABA team, it would’ve been even more like no other place to live. Before their move in 1970, the Squires were in Washington and Oakland.

Notable Virginia Squires alum were NBA legends like Rick Barry (famous for his granny shot free throw form), George Gervin (more known for his time in San Antonio on the Spurs), and Julius Erving (who was the face of the ABA). It must be noted that Rick Barry originally came from the Oakland team and appeared on Sports Illustrated in an August 1970 edition wearing a Squires uniform. However, the Squires traded Barry as he was not a fan of the South.

During their six years in Virginia, the Squires played games in Norfolk at Old Dominion University, Hampton, Richmond, and Roanoke.

7. Deion Sanders Once Played For The Richmond Braves

A video covering how Deion Sanders became the only man to play an NFL and MLB game on the same day.

Neon Deion. Prime Time. The man himself Deion Sanders used to play for the Triple-A Richmond Braves baseball team for twenty-nine games. He was a past investor in The Diamond baseball stadium where now the Richmond Squirrels play today. Nowadays, Deion Sanders is a celebrated NFL legend and is the football coach for Colorado.

8. The First Thanksgiving Actually Happened In Virginia, Not Massachusetts…

Close up of stuffed turkey during Thanksgiving meal with family toasting in the background.

Close-up of Thanksgiving turkey during family dinner at a dining table.

©Drazen Zigic/iStock via Getty Images

Everyone knows about the meeting between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans in 1621 at Plymouth, however, a group of Virginians gathered to eat and pray at Berkley, Virginia. It’s celebrated annually in Berkley as a local holiday! It features a parade, re-enactments, tribal dancers, barbecue, and mansion tours of the Berkley Plantation.

9. Virginia Is Home To Many Sports Legends

Bethel High Alum, NBA legend Allen Iverson, attends the official renaming of their gymnasium after the iconic NBA player.

Although Virginia nowadays doesn’t have any major sports teams in their states, Virginia has produced some great sports legends. Hampton, Virginia’s own Allen Iverson is one of the most, if not, the most notable athletes from the Commonwealth state. However, he’s not the only one.

Charlotte Hornets legend Alonzo Mourning is from Chesapeake, Virginia. NFL Quarterback Michael Vick is from Newport News, Virginia. Tennis Icon Arthur Ashe is from Richmond, Virginia, and has a statue near the famous Arthur Ashe Boulevard. NASCAR Driver Denny Hamlin lived in Chesterfield, Virginia for most of his life. NBA legend Moses Malone is from Petersburg, Virginia.

Six-time boxing champion Pernell Whitaker is from Norfolk. NBA Hall of Famer Grant Hill is from Reston, Virginia. The five-time all-pro safety Jake Scott secured the ’72 Dolphins their perfect winning season with two interceptions against the Commanders. The Arlington native secured the Super Bowl MVP that year because of his performance in the big game. Virginia is like no other place to live for athletes, right?

10. Virginia’s Slogan Is “Virginia Is For Lovers”

Virginia Welcome Sign

A roadside sign welcomes travelers along a rural road to the state of Virginia.

©Wilsilver77/iStock via Getty Images

The slogan “Virginia Is For Lovers” was recognized by Advertising Age in 2012 as one of the most iconic ad campaigns in the past fifty years. The Martin Agency created the slogan as a way to attract tourists and at first had other variations of it. Some of the slogans were “Virginia Is For Beach Lovers” and “Virginia Is For Mountain Lovers”, but none of them would stick like the slogan we know today.

Contrary to popular belief, The Martin Agency claims it’s not a reference to the famous Loving v. Virginia case which legalized interracial marriage in the United States.

11. The Loving v. Virginia Case Has Its Own Movie

The trailer to the movie, Loving.

Loving is based on the 1967 trial between Richard and Mildred Loving versus the state of Virginia. The Loving’s marriage violated Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924 which barred interracial marriage. In June 1967, the Supreme Court ruled in the Lovings’s favor and ended the race-miscegenation laws in Virginia and all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States. The film has won a few awards since its release in 2016.

12. Virginia Is One Of The Four Commonwealths In America

Virginia US state flag

The current flag of Virginia consists of a dark blue field with the obverse side of the state seal in the center.

©Mehaniq/Shutterstock.com

Virginia is a commonwealth state. The other commonwealth states are Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. A commonwealth is no different from a state in regards to politics and most laws, but why are they commonwealths? Their respective constitutions said so. It was a popular word from political writers in the late 1700s that they called those territories. Even back then, Virginia was like no other place to live as it’s the oldest commonwealth.

13. The First Woman And Black Owned Bank Was In Richmond, Virginia

A quick biography video on Maggie L. Walker

The Richmond resident Maggie L. Walker became the first woman and black person to open her own bank, The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in 1903. Maggie L. Walker was president of the bank for nearly thirty years. The bank was in the historic Jackson Ward district in downtown Richmond. Maggie Walker dealt with bouts of economic turmoil, but she increased its assets more than tenfold! One of the best things Maggie did with the bank was how she solidified her bank’s long-term prospects and merged with two other banks during the low point of the Great Depression.

Her bank is still operating today, although it’s across the street from its original location. Maggie L Walker’s house is just a few blocks away from the bank today. It’s a national tourist attraction as a lot of her house remains untouched to this day. Many schools in Richmond City and the Greater Richmond Area take students to it every school year.

14. Virginia Is Home To The World’s Largest Naval Base

landing on a cloudy day at norfolk virginia airport

Landing on a cloudy day at Norfolk International Airport.

©digidreamgrafix/Shutterstock.com

Norfolk, Virginia is home to the world’s largest naval base. The Naval Station Norfolk has more than seventy-eight fleets. It covers four miles of waterfront and eleven miles of pier and wharf space. Naval Station Norfolk resides in the “Hampton Roads” area which consists of several cities: Hampton, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News, Suffolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach.

15. The Largest Caverns In Eastern United States Are In Virginia

The Stalacpipe Organ in Luray Caverns, Virginia, USA.

The Stalacpipe Organ in Luray Caverns, Virginia, USA.

©Joe Ravi/Shutterstock.com

The largest caverns in the Eastern United States belong to the Luray Caverns. People make the drive to the rural area of Luray, Virginia to travel through the natural phenomenon. It garners plenty of visitors annually for its columns, stalagmites, flowstones, and stalactites. The Luray Caverns trip is 1.5 miles long and can be done in forty-five minutes to an hour.

The visitors enter the place with a pathway that winds down into the Saracen’s Tent and Dream Lake. Visitors will also see The Great Stalacpipe Organ. The Great Stalacpipe Organ was invented in 1954 by Mr. Leland W Spinkle. Mr. Spinkle constructed the project in three years with the aid of thirteen English forks. Stalactites were selected and altered to be a part of the world’s largest instrument. Electronic mallets were wired throughout the cavern and connected to a four-manual console. The organ is played today by activating an automated system similar to a child’s music box. It can also be played manually like how Mr. Spinkle used to.

Thanks to the Great Stalacpipe Organ, it garnered attention from National Public Radio (NPR), Good Morning America, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, and Voice of America.

16. It’s Home To One Of The Busiest International Airports In The United States

Washington Dulles International

Washington Dulles International is a large airport.

©Joe Ravi/Shutterstock.com

The Washington Dulles Airport is based in Dulles, Virginia. It’s twenty-six miles south of Washington D.C. Washington Dulles International Airport helps passengers get to over sixty-one different international destinations and even more domestic destinations. It can get highly overcrowded because of all the international traffic it gets on a daily basis. It’s the fourth largest airport in the United States as it covers over thirteen thousand acres of land.

17. The Appalachian Mountains Cuts Through The Western Part Of Virginia

Appalachian Trail in the winter snow

Hiking along the Appalachian Trail in the winter snow-covered landscape at the Roan Highlands

©iStock.com/skiserge1

The Appalachian Mountains are also called The Blue Ridge Mountains because of how the mountains give off a blue hue during the sunrise & sunset portions of the day. These mountains cut through the western part of Virginia and extend across different parts of the East Coast. Two of the highest peaks in the Virginia portion of the Appalachian Mountains are Mount Rogers at 5,729 ft and Whitetop Mountain at 5,520 ft.

Many people go to the mountain range to shoot college films, take good photos, camping, fishing, hunting, and hiking. Virginia is home to The Appalachian Trail which is five-hundred-forty-four miles long. It has a popular Shendedoah Park Valley that is a great site for touring. The Luray Caverns are also a part of the Appalachian Mountain Valley. Many travelers visit Virginia for the sites and it makes Virginia like no other place. People have said it’s pretty awesome, breathtaking, and a beautiful sight to behold.

Summary

Virginia is like no other place. Its historical significance for America makes it a perfect place for history buffs. The different beaches and mountains give people plenty of nature-filled getaways when they’re tired of the urban lifestyle. The center of Virginia is filled with plenty of urban history, artwork, sports monuments, traditional history, and strong music scenes. It truly is like no other place.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Wilsilver77/iStock via Getty Images


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About the Author

Justin is an A-Z Animals Writer that loves to cover places, unique natural disasters, and travel. He has eight years of experience as a writer in the medical and media fields. He wrote for the likes of VCU Health, theMSQshop, PayDay LA, and Comic Book Resources under the penname Jay Guevara. Although he's a full time writer, Justin graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2019 with a Bachelors in Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science with a background in Community Engagement. After spending over two decades in Richmond, Virginia, Justin now resides in the suburbs of Rancho Cucamonga, California. He's a dedicated gymrat. He's also a two-time poetry author who's influenced by rappers Joe Budden and IDK along with Dante Alighieri.

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