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Ronceverte, West Virginia facts for kids

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Ronceverte, West Virginia
Ronceverte Depot, April 2009
Ronceverte Depot, April 2009
The Friendly River City
Location of Ronceverte in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.
Location of Ronceverte in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.
Country United States
State West Virginia
County Greenbrier
Incorporated 1882
 • Total 1.73 sq mi (4.48 km2)
 • Land 1.70 sq mi (4.41 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.06 km2)
1,677 ft (511 m)
 • Total 1,765
 • Estimate 
 • Density 980.05/sq mi (378.46/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 304
FIPS code 54-70156
GNIS feature ID 1546056

Ronceverte is a city in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, United States, on the Greenbrier River. The population was 1,765 at the 2010 census.

Culture and history

Ronceverte might have been named "Edgar", for the high number of Edgars who lived in the town, but the name was settled by a leading entrepreneur of the area, Cecil Clay, president of the St. Lawrence Boom and Manufacturing Company. According to Clay, he saw the name on an old Jesuit map from Fort Duquesne. His argument was that the name "looked well in print and was euphonious in sound." As the owner of the town's site, Clay argued he had the right to decide on the name, but the residents could change the name to whatever they wanted once Ronceverte was fully established. That day has never happened. Since April 1, 1882, the town has been Ronceverte.

Ronceverte is French for "Bramble Green", which is the Gallic equivalent for "Greenbrier". Greenbriers are a common vine (Smilax rotundifolia), and a humorous myth has it the surveyors were trapped in a thicket of the painful vines when they discovered the Greenbrier River. French surveyors were likely the first cartographers for the area, although many of the details have been lost to history.

The river is still inseparable from the culture of the town itself, considered one of the earliest significant river ports in the Greenbrier River watershed.

The Hokes Mill Covered Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. The Ronceverte Historic District was listed in 2005.


Ronceverte is located at 37°44′54″N 80°28′12″W / 37.74833°N 80.47000°W / 37.74833; -80.47000 (37.748460, -80.469910).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.73 square miles (4.48 km2), of which, 1.70 square miles (4.40 km2) is land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 395
1890 481 21.8%
1900 968 101.2%
1910 2,157 122.8%
1920 2,319 7.5%
1930 2,254 −2.8%
1940 2,265 0.5%
1950 2,301 1.6%
1960 1,882 −18.2%
1970 1,981 5.3%
1980 2,312 16.7%
1990 1,754 −24.1%
2000 1,557 −11.2%
2010 1,765 13.4%
2019 (est.) 1,670 −5.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

Ronceverte's economic area is in the downtown section, crossed with railroad tracks for the Chesapeake & Ohio and a large floodplain that causes occasional adjustment for its citizens. Grants from Tony Hawk and the Izaak Walton League have allowed this public area to grow for the health and recreational opportunities for its citizens. A ball field, swimming pool, playground, interpretive walk and walking track appeal to all ages adjacent to a public access point of the Greenbrier River, where picnickers are welcome. The county's recycling depot is close by, encouraging further business from a large area. The public access includes a boat launch for swimmers and fishers, and an outdoor amphitheater. Every June this area is inundated with the Ronceverte River Festival, where a unique raffle is held by floating hundreds of small, numbered yellow ducks into the river. The winning duck can be a cash prize or a new truck; runners-up are gifts from local businesses to support county interests.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,765 people, 753 households, and 446 families living in the city. The population density was 1,038.2 inhabitants per square mile (400.9/km2). There were 866 housing units at an average density of 509.4 per square mile (196.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.7% White, 5.6% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.1% of the population.

There were 753 households, of which 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.6% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.8% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.87.

The median age in the city was 43.6 years. 21.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.4% were from 25 to 44; 27.6% were from 45 to 64; and 20.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.3% male and 53.7% female.

Theater and drama

In the late 1880s, a man was traveling through on the rail and saw a very pretty young woman at the Ronceverte Depot. The incident inspired a song, "The Pretty Girl of Ronceverte", written by Thomas Thackston and set to music by Charles Pratt. The music is on display at the Ronceverte Public Library.

In September 10–19 the Outdoor Amphitheater stages Riders of the Flood, a popular historical drama based on the book by Pocahontas County author W. E. Blackhurst for the Riders of the Flood Outdoor Drama. The play's theme is a demonstration of Ronceverte's importance in the turn of the 20th century, when its St. Lawrence Boom and Lumber Company was the largest softwood mill in the country, and traces of its industry have sculpted Ronceverte's portion of the Greenbrier River to the shape it is today. All proceeds from the play are recycled back into the town of Ronceverte with the intention of improving the community, uplifting its economy, and fostering civic pride. Riders of the Flood is a member of West Virginia's Institute for Outdoor Drama. At this point, it is a purely volunteer program, as is its sequel, Big Dreams, Restless Spirit.

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