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East End

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Charleston's East End is a long, narrow rectangle extending along the northern bank of the Kanawha River southeast of downtown. The architectural styles in this primarily residential district generally range chronologically from west, closest to downtown, to east, beyond the West Virginia State Capitol. Within the district, three main streets parallel the river: Kanawha Boulevard, E.; Virginia Street; and Quarrier Street. Because the state capitol complex divides the area, only Kanawha Boulevard, on the riverfront, is continuous. Ripley's Believe It or Notcited the 1500 block of Virginia Street as the world's longest block but, strangely, failed to note that the 1500 blocks of Kanawha and Quarrier extend the same length without benefit of cross streets.

With few exceptions, houses in the district face these three main streets rather than the few shorter north-south cross streets. Along Kanawha Boulevard some houses were built endwise to the boulevard, facing their neighbors instead of the street. Because this riverfront thoroughfare was always considered the area's best address, deep lots were platted with narrow street frontages to maximize the number of houses that could claim a Kanawha address. This pattern is particularly noticeable in the 2000 block, immediately east of the state capitol.

Writing Credits

Author: 
S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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