Morgan County was created on February 8, 1820 by an act of the Virginia General Assembly. It was formed from parts of adjacent Berkeley County on the east and Hampshire county on the west. The county was named for Revolutionary War hero General Daniel Morgan who lived in nearby Winchester, VA and was known to “take the waters” of Berkeley Springs for his sciatica. In 1863, the county became part of the new state of West Virginia. Comprised of 230 square miles of mountainous terrain, Morgan County has always been rich in beauty and natural resources. North/south ridges and valleys mark the county with two parallel mountain ranges: Sleepy Creek and Cacapon.
Two rivers dominate the area: the east/west flowing Potomac and north/south Cacapon. The rivers intersect at the village of Great Cacapon. The joining is visible from Panorama Overlook, one of the most spectacular views in the east. Both the CSX Railroad and the now unused C&O Canal are also visible from this vantage point.
Berkeley Springs is the county seat located in the eastern section of the county. Long before the county was formed, it was a sought after destination for those seeking its healing warm springs. The town remains a healing center today and the center of a thriving tourism industry. Paw Paw, along the Potomac River in the western section, got its start as a railroad and canal town, later booming with tanneries and apple cultivation and processing. Today, its major attraction for visitors is the Paw Paw Tunnel, largest man made structure on the C&O Canal.
For all the many activities and attractions available to visitors today — many of them saturated with the county’s history — explore the rest of this website discovering a vibrant spa industry and arts community, outdoor adventure that ranges from fishing in Sleepy Creek Lake to golf, hiking and mountain biking at Cacapon State Park, and distinctive shopping and fine dining in an historic town.
The Morgan County Bicentennial is a collaboration of a variety of groups and businesses led by the Morgan County Commission and the Museum of the Berkeley Springs. Follow it on Facebook @Morgan County WV Bicentennial 2020.
A variety of events are planned. Key among them is a series of lectures produced by the Museum of the Berkeley Springs and highlighting economic activities that broadly impacted the culture of life in Morgan County. All lectures are to be live streamed and archived in video form linked below after the lecture.
The Heart and Soul of Morgan County, A History of the Tomato Cannery Boom with Kate Lehman, March 21, 2020
Bicentennial Lecture on Tanneries by Jeanne Mozier, April 25, 2020
Civil War – by Steve French, June 20, 2020
“Where’s My Medal, George”? by Jeanne Mozier, August 30, 2020
B & O Railroad by Steve French, September 19, 2020
Sand Mining by George Didawick, October 17, 2020
Currently our Future Lectures series include:
November 7 Morgan County History Timeline – Jeanne Mozier
All lectures live streamed: https://www.facebook.com/MuseumOfTheBerkeleySprings
Check for up to the minute dates and times:
Activities of the yearlong celebration, including the lectures, aim at exploring how the evolution of the county over the 200 years to its contemporary form and values impact personal and community life. The celebration helps people find connection to the place and its history.
Strong tradition, neighborly people, rich community life and a sense of place define the county. The rhythm of life is health giving, tranquil and secure yesterday, today and into the future.