Fairmont, West Virginia
Middletown (c.1819-1843)
Flag of Fairmont, West Virginia
Official seal of Fairmont, West Virginia
Official logo of Fairmont, West Virginia
Friendly City
"Spend a Day... Spend a Lifetime"
Interactive map of Fairmont
Fairmont is located in West Virginia
Fairmont is located in the United States
Coordinates: 39°28′53″N 80°8′36″W / 39.48139°N 80.14333°W / 39.48139; -80.14333
Country United States
State West Virginia
Incorporated (town)1820
Incorporated (city)1899
Founded byBoaz Fleming
Named forThe town's overlook of the Monongahela River
 • TypeCouncil-manager government
 • MayorAnne Bolyard (D)[1]
 • Deputy MayorJosh Rice
 • City ManagerValerie Means
 • Total8.99 sq mi (23.27 km2)
 • Land8.60 sq mi (22.28 km2)
 • Water0.38 sq mi (0.99 km2)
984 ft (300 m)
 • Total18,313
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,137.64/sq mi (825.36/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code304
FIPS code54-26452
GNIS feature ID1560581[4]

Fairmont is a city in and county seat of Marion County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 18,313 at the 2020 census, making it the eighth-largest city in the state.[3][5] It is the principal city of the Fairmont micropolitan area, which includes all of Marion County in North Central West Virginia and had a population of 56,205 in 2020. Fairmont is also a principal city of the larger Morgantown–Fairmont combined statistical area.


Early settlements

In the eighteenth century, the earliest development of Fairmont consisted of subsistence farming settlements.[6]

In 1789, Boaz Fleming, a Revolutionary War veteran, migrated to western Virginia and purchased a 254-acre farm from Jonathan Bozarth. In 1808, Fleming made his annual trek to Clarksburg to pay his brother's Harrison County taxes.[7] While in Clarksburg, Fleming attended a social gathering that included his cousin Dolley Madison, wife of President James Madison. Fleming complained to Mrs. Madison about having to travel over a hundred miles each year from his home to pay his Monongalia County taxes and his brother's Harrison County taxes. Mrs. Madison supposedly suggested that he create his own county to save him all that travel. In 1814, Fleming circulated a petition to do precisely that, naming the proposed county Madison County in honor of Dolley and James Madison.

Milford, now Rivesville,[8] was the only town within the borders of Fleming's proposed county, so Fleming decided to make Milford the seat of Madison County.[9] However, Milford's citizens preferred to remain part of Monongalia County. As a result, Fleming's petition failed to gain sufficient support to be presented to the Virginia General Assembly. Fleming then focused on creating a new town near his farm, which was located on the west side of the Monongahela River. In 1817, Fleming's sons—William and David—began to clear land on a part of their father's farm to make way for the new town; this part of the farm would later become downtown Fairmont.[citation needed]

Modern history

Coal tipple at Gaston mine, October 1908

In 1819, Fairmont was founded as Middletown, Virginia. It was named Middletown because either it was in the middle of two cities, Morgantown and Clarksburg,[10] or Fleming's first wife, Elizabeth Hutchinson, was originally from Middletown, Delaware. That same year, a road was built between those two cities. Fleming's new town was about halfway between the two cities, which made it a resting point. The town was incorporated as Middletown on January 19, 1820.[citation needed]

The current borders of Marion County were established in 1842, and Middletown was named the county's seat. At that time, William Haymond Jr. suggested that the town's name be changed to Fairmont because the town had a beautiful overlook of the Monongahela River, giving it a "fair mount". The Borough of Fairmont was incorporated in 1843 by the Virginia General Assembly.[11]

In 1863, during the American Civil War, Confederate General William E. Jones and his men raided Fairmont and cut the Union's supply lines to take food and horses. They also burned the books from the personal library of Governor Francis Harrison Pierpont.[10]

Many of the first buildings in Fairmont were poorly constructed. By 1852—little more than 30 years after the city's founding—a large portion of Fairmont was reported to be run-down and dilapidated. Reports from 1873 indicate that these buildings had continued to fall into disrepair. On April 2, 1876, a fire destroyed a large portion of the city's business district, as well as many houses in the area. The continuing dilapidation of the city's buildings may have contributed to the fire; the large number of coal mines under Fairmont may have also played a role.[citation needed]

Child laborers at Monougal Glass Works in Fairmont, 1908. Photo by Lewis Hine.

Between 1891 and 1901—in a span of only 10 years—Fairmont's population had increased from 1,000 to 7,000. The City of Fairmont was chartered in 1899; as a result of the charter, the city absorbed the surrounding towns of Palatine (also known as East Side) and West Fairmont. By 1901, Fairmont was an important commercial center. Many railroads—including the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad on its way from Cumberland, Maryland to Wheeling—traveled through the city. By this time, Fairmont was also the leading center of the coal trade industry in northern West Virginia, employing some 10,000 workers in the coal mines around Fairmont.[citation needed]

By 1978, an issue with Fairmont's land experiencing subsidence appeared because the remains of Fairmont's 19th-century coal mines were crumbling. As a result, over the following years, the federal government along with other institutions spent money to fix the subsidence issue to prevent damage to the town.[12]


Downtown Fairmont viewed from across the Monongahela River

The Tygart Valley River and the West Fork River join in Fairmont to form the Monongahela River. Buffalo Creek, a tributary of the Monongahela River, flows through the northern part of the city.[13]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.00 square miles (23.31 km2), of which 8.62 square miles (22.33 km2) is land and 0.38 square miles (0.98 km2) is water.[14]


Fairmont has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa) with very warm summers and freezing winters. However, it is not uncommon during winter for warm air from the Gulf of Mexico to raise temperatures above 50 °F or 10 °C, which occurs on average six times each January and over eight in December and February. In contrast, when very cold air from Canada moves into West Virginia temperatures can go below 0 °F or −17.8 °C, which can be expected during 3.2 mornings each winter, but which occurred on twelve mornings during the extremely cold January 1977, whose average temperature of 16.0 °F or −8.9 °C was the coldest month on record by 4.0 °F or 2.2 °C. Despite the abundant precipitation throughout the year, the relative dryness of cold air means that most precipitation is rain even during the winter: the most snowfall in a month being 46.5 inches (1.18 m) is November 1950, and the most in a season 77.4 inches (1.97 m) between July 1950 and June 1951. The least snow in a season has been 12.0 inches (0.30 m) between July 1918 and June 1919, whilst the wettest calendar year has been 1956 with 58.12 inches (1,476.2 mm) and the driest – as with all of West Virginia – 1930 with 26.25 inches (666.8 mm). The hottest temperature has been 108 °F (42.2 °C) on August 8, 1918, and the coldest −21 °F (−29.4 °C) on January 21, 1994.[citation needed]

Climate data for Fairmont, West Virginia (1991–2020 normals; extremes 1905–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 81
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 39.6
Daily mean °F (°C) 31.8
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 24.0
Record low °F (°C) −21
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.81
Average snowfall inches (cm) 13.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 15.0 12.8 12.7 13.5 14.4 12.1 12.1 10.4 9.9 10.5 10.7 13.6 147.7
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 6.9 4.9 2.4 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.2 4.4 20.3
Source: NOAA (snow 1981–2010)[15][16][17]


Historical population
2021 (est.)18,209[3]−1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]

2020 census

As of the 2020 census, there were 18,416 people and 7,903 households residing in the city. There were 9,045 housing units in Fairmont. The racial makeup of the city was 84.2% White, 7.3% African American, 0.6% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% from other races, and 7% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 2.2% of the population.

There were 7,903 households, of which 37.1% were married couples living together, 30.6% had a female householder with no spouse present, 23% had a male householder with no spouse present. The average household and family size was 2.83. The median age in the city was 34.4 years. With 18.3% of the city being under 18. The median household income in the city was $47,618 and the poverty rate was 19.9%.[19]

2010 census

At the 2010 census,[20] there were 18,704 people, 8,133 households and 4,424 families living in the city. The population density was 2,169.8 inhabitants per square mile (837.8/km2). There were 9,200 housing units at an average density of 1,067.3 per square mile (412.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.9% White, 7.5% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.

There were 8,133 households, of which 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.7% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 45.6% were non-families. 36.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.83.

The median age was 36.8 years. 18% of residents were under the age of 18; 16.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25% were from 25 to 44; 24.4% were from 45 to 64; and 16.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.2% male and 51.8% female.

2000 census

At the 2000 census, there were 19,097 people, 8,447 households and 4,671 families living in the city. The population density was 2,438.5 per square mile (941.7/km2). There were 9,755 housing units at an average density of 1,245.6 per square mile (481.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.16% White, 7.26% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 1.49% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.82% of the population.[citation needed]

There were 8,447 households, of which 21.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.2% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.7% were non-families. 36.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.83.[citation needed]

18.4% of the population were under the age of 18, 14.9% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 20.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.3 males.[citation needed]

The median household income was $25,628 and the median family income was $37,126. Males had a median income of $27,944 and females $20,401. The per capita income was $16,062. About 12.6% of families and 20.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.0% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.[citation needed]

Arts and culture

The pepperoni roll snack originated in Fairmont's Country Club Bakery

Fairmont is home to Country Club Bakery, which is where the pepperoni roll snack originates. The bakery continues to serve the roll along with their various other baked goods.[21][22][23] Fairmont has considered itself to be the "pepperoni roll capital of the world".[24]

The city is home to multiple offices for national agencies. Fairmont's National White Collar Crime Center provides nationwide support to law enforcement agencies involved in prevention, investigation, and prosecution of economic and high-tech crime. The NASA Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility, governed by the Goddard Space Flight Center, houses more than 150 full-time employees and more than 20 in-house partners and contractors.[25] The NOAA Robert H. Mollohan Research Facility, which receives weather data from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, houses more than 100 full-time employees.[26]


Fairmont has a Council-manager government, whereby the mayor serves as chairman of the city council and the city manager takes care of the day-to-day operations. The current mayor is Anne Bolyard and the current city manager is Valerie Means.[27]

Position Name
Council District 1 Josh Rice[27]
Council District 2 Anne Bolyard[27]
Council District 3 Rebecca Moran[27]
Council District 4 Rick Garcia[27]
Council District 5 Chuck Warner[27]
Council District 6 Gia Deasy[27]
Council District 7 Nicholas "Nicky" Cinalli[27]
Council District 8 Bruce McDaniel[27]
Council District 9 Kandice Nuzum[27]

Past mayors


The campus of Fairmont Senior High School

Fairmont Senior High School is a public high school that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[28] The school was established in the late 1800s, and the school was relocated in 1905 and 1928. The current iteration of the school, which is located on Loop Park Dr, was designed by the architect William B. Ittner.

Fairmont State University is a public university with an approximate enrollment of 3,800 students. The institution offers master's degrees in business, education, teaching, criminal justice, and nursing, in addition to 90 baccalaureate and 50 associate degrees. Originally established as a school for teachers, the college was named Fairmont Normal School, and was located on the corner of Fairmont Avenue and Second Street and moved to its present location in 1917.[29]

Dunbar School in 2015

Dunbar School is a historic building in Fairmont, West Virginia, that used to be an all-black high school. The school was designed by the architect William B Ittner. The school was built in 1928.[30]



Fairmont is located in the North-Central region of the state, along West Virginia's I-79 High Tech Corridor. Major highways include:


Fairmont Municipal Airport (Frankman Field) is a public use airport located two nautical miles (4 km) southwest of the central business district of Fairmont. It is owned by the Fairmont-Marion County Regional Airport Authority.[31]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "Anne Bolyard". Voteref. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Bureau, US Census. "City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2021". Census.gov. US Census Bureau. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ West Virginia SHPO (November 29, 2001). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Fleming-Watson Historic District" (PDF). National Park Service. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Dilger, Robert (2003). "The Early History of North-Central West Virginia". The West Virginia Public Affairs Reporter. Institute of Public Affairs. 20 (1): 15–26. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 26, 2010. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  8. ^ Butcher, Bernard (1912). Genealogical and Personal History of the Upper Monongahela Valley, West Virginia. New York, NY: Clearfield Company. p. 514. ISBN 9780806348490.
  9. ^ Burkett, Connie (2015). "Fairmont, Marion County WV (history)". Marion County WVGenWeb. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  10. ^ a b McMillan, Debra Ball (1996). An Ornament to the City: Historic Architecture in Downtown Fairmont, West Virginia. Terra Alta, WV: Headline Books, Inc. p. 10. ISBN 0929915186.
  11. ^ Kenny, Hamill (1945). West Virginia Place Names: Their Origin and Meaning, Including the Nomenclature of the Streams and Mountains. Piedmont, WV: The Place Name Press. p. 236.
  12. ^ Wicker, Tom (November 23, 1980). "Fairmont, W. Va., Lives in Peril As Old Mines Under It Crumble; Cracks in the Wall Possible Domino Effect". The New York Times.
  13. ^ West Virginia Atlas & Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Me.: DeLorme. 1997. p. 25. ISBN 0-89933-246-3.
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 25, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  15. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  16. ^ "Station: Fairmont, WV". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  17. ^ "Station: Fairmont, WV". U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1981-2010). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  18. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  19. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  20. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  21. ^ Virginian, Scott Gillespie | Times West. "Fairmont's pepperoni roll legacy now enshrined". Times West Virginian. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  22. ^ "The Pepperoni Roll, a West Virginia Secret, created in Marion County". Marion County CVB. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  23. ^ Virginian, Scott Gillespie | Times West. "Fairmont's pepperoni roll legacy now enshrined". Times West Virginian. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  24. ^ Smith, Vicki (March 28, 2004). "Meaty Snack Puts W.Va. Town on the Map". The Washington Post.
  25. ^ "About IV&V | NASA". Nasa.gov. March 9, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  26. ^ "NOAA center in Fairmont, WV, continues supercomputing, cybersecurity work; High Technology Foundation". wvhtf.org. April 24, 2019. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "City Council | Fairmont, WV - Official Website".
  28. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  29. ^ Images of America: Marion County by Thomas J. Koon
  30. ^ Erin Riebe (November 2014). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Dunbar School" (PDF). West Virginia Division of Culture and History State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  31. ^ FAA Airport Form 5010 for 4G7 PDF. Federal Aviation Administration. Effective May 31, 2012.
  32. ^ "Former Philly Councilwoman Augusta Clark Dies at 81". WCAU. October 14, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  33. ^ "Biography". Archived from the original on May 15, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  34. ^ West Virginian, Matt Welch Times. "Darius Stills garners national recognition". Times West Virginian. Retrieved May 17, 2021.