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Moorefield, named for Charles Moore, who owned the townsite, is one of the oldest towns in the state. Its 1777 act of establishment required purchasers of lots to build a house measuring at least 18 feet by 18 feet, with a brick or stone chimney, within three years. Charles Lanman, whose 1856 description of the South Branch Valley has been mentioned, obviously liked Moorefield, then a town of about five hundred inhabitants: “It … is ornamented with two handsome little churches, (Methodist and Presbyterian,) and about the village, the people, and the country, there is a kind of Arcadian simplicity, which is truly refreshing to one accustomed to city life.”

Moorefield still refreshes, and the historic core was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Unfortunately, its outskirts now look like any other place, as fields have given way to shopping malls and fast-food outlets. Its current prosperity is due to its standing as the “Poultry Capital of West Virginia.” Now Hardy County's most important economic resource, chickens have supplanted the corn and cattle that prevailed in earlier eras. Moorefield's 2000 population was 2,375, almost onefifth of the county's total.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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