Pendleton County, a rough parallelogram bordered by Virginia on two sides, was created in 1788 and named for Edmund Pendleton, president of the 1775 Virginia Convention and member of the first U.S. Congress. The extremely rugged terrain embraces West Virginia's highest peak, Spruce Knob, and two of its best-known geologic features, Seneca Caverns and Seneca Rocks. All are within the bounds of the Monongahela National Forest, which, along with the George Washington National Forest to the east, encompasses most of the county's land area. Pendleton County has great natural beauty, but architectural assets are scarce and scattered in its sparsely settled landscape. A modest population peak was achieved in 1940, with a count of 10,884, but by 2000 the figure had declined to 8,196.
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