HomeIdeasThe Shape We Are In: Missing Panhandles Mary Jo Yak October 17, 2016 3 Because of factors like the secession from Virginia, the Mason-Dixon line and winding rivers, some consider West Virginia to be the oddest shaped state in the Union. Could this be another reason for others to discount West Virginia? Seems ridiculous, considering the fact that it’s uniqueness in shape reflects its unique people. Actually, the “shape we are in” only fuels our pride and distinctiveness as West Virginians. Just as they make fun of our culture and our people, let’s consider the way the rest of the world butchers our cartography. Exhibit A – United States map puzzles. Seriously, both panhandles bear the brunt of these massacres. (Notice the smug New England states’ flawless lines.) Looks like Ohio’s football knocked the Northern Panhandle clear into the Atlantic Ocean. Here we can overlook the abbreviated “W” – but again the panhandles are nonexistant. Here we are smooshed into lima bean. Still use paper maps? Thanks to them, the Panhandles again suffer the consequences of ignorance. Wait, Wheeling is next to Columbus? Now we are on top of Richmond! Oh no what happened to Martinsburg! In the world of knick knacks, this magnet looks more like “Walk Like an Egyptian”. When the world comes down on us like this, like we always do, we shove the truth in their face. In this case, we incorporate the state’s acurate outline in every way possible. West Virginia is “Almost Heaven”. It might not be more true in the case of our shape. Considering that, from the heavens you can make out the one and only WV. This is a wireless carrier coverage map of the U.S. … white space indicates no coverage. Notice anything? Photo – Wikipedia Satellite view of North America at night. West Virginia seems to be sleeping soundly with no light pollution. Photo – NASA Some may say that West Virginians are out of shape. Maybe. But the shape we are in is unique. In more ways than represented on an election map or a leather chain wallet. Our uniqueness is our advantage and the fact that we embrace it time after time only makes us stronger. Keep fighting the fight, Mountain State. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window) 3 Responses Fritz Bayerlein January 20, 2017 Personally, I have always considered Wheeling to be a suburb of Pittsburgh, although given their laughable and utterly corrupt state legislature I would not for one second want to be a resident of Pennsylvania. At the same time I have seen enough of “down state” (way too much in fact) to understand that I have virtually nothing in common with those people. The fact that the northern panhandle is virtually ignored by the rest of the state suits me right down to my shoes. Log in to Reply C November 13, 2016 Why does the northern panhandle exist? Why doesn’t Pennsylvania just go all the way to the Ohio River? Log in to Reply Rochambeau November 13, 2016 The border between Pennsylvania and Virginia was the subject of dispute from the time of William Penn’s 1681 charter for his colony until a settlement was negotiated in 1779. The western boundary of PA ended up being a north-south line from a point 5 degrees of longitude west of the Delaware river at the latitude of the Mason-Dixon line. Land west of that but south of the Ohio River belonged to Virginia, and that created our Northern Panhandle. There’s an interesting read about it at http://www.virginiaplaces.org/boundaries/paboundary.html. Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.