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Charleston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the junction of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County.The city has a total area of 32.7 square miles (85 km2)The Virginia General Assembly officially established Charleston. Charleston operates under the Mayor-Council form of city government.The town continued to grow until the Civil War began in 1861.
Charleston is the site to West Virginia Junior College's Charleston campus. Located in downtown Charleston at 1000 Virginia Street, WV Junior College is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools to award diplomas and associate degrees.Charleston hosts a branch campus of West Virginia University that serves as a clinical campus for the university's medical and dental schools.
Important industries of Charleston of the early days included salt and the first natural gas well. Later, coal became central to economic prosperity in the city and the surrounding area. Presently trade, utilities, government, medicine and education play the central role in the city's economy.
Salt brines were discovered by the early 19th century, along the Kanawha River.The first salt well was drilled in 1806. This promoted prosperous time and great economic growth for the area. 1,250 pounds of salt were being produced a day by 1808. The area adjacent to Charleston, Kanawha Salines, now Malden, would become the top salt producer in the world.The Kanawha salt industry declined its importance after 1861, until the advent of World War I brought a demand for chemical products.
The Charleston Town Center opened its doors downtown in 1983. Charleston was the largest urban-based mall,featuring three stories of shops and eateries.. Charleston also became known as one of the pioneer healthcare spots in the state.Several notable companies headquartered in the Charleston area.Some of them include Appalachian Power, owned by American Electric Powerof Columbus, Ohio Mountaineer Gas Company, City Holding Company (City National Bank),Charleston Newspapers, Charleston Stamping and Manufacturing, MATRIC (Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center) (South Charleston) and Mountain Stage Radio Show ,produced by WVPublic Broadcasting.Some of the notable companies founded in Charleston include Shoney's restaurants and Heck's / L.A. Joe discount department stores.Presently there is only one shopping mall in the city of Charleston, the Charleston Town Center which was Opened in 1983.