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STATES AND TERRITORIES. — VIRGINIA. 157
Cumberland Mountains in another, commonly distinguished as West Virginia. This, too, is
an elevated and broken region, less productive in general than the middle section, and less
populous, but enjoying an atmosphere quite as healthy, and waters equally pure.
The chief agricultural products of Virginia are wheat, Indian corn, and tobacco. Cotton
is also cultivated considerably in the alluvial district contiguous to North Carolina; and in
other quarters, hemp and wool are among the chief staples. All the varieties of grain, vege-
tables, and fruit, peculiar to the climate, are also raised; and these in great abundance where
due attention is paid to their culture. In mineral wealth, Virginia is sufficiently rich to divert
much capital from employment upon the surface to the development of actual or supposed
treasures lying beneath. Iron, lead, copper, gypsum, salt, anthracite and bituminous coals
are among the most plentiful and profitable of the rewards of these efforts and researches;
although, in some localities, the more precious metals have become objects of inquiry; and
numerous explorations, particularly in pursuit of gold, have been undertaken, (some of them
quite recently,) with different degrees of success. The manufactures of the state are confined
principally, with some exceptions, to the preparation of its staples for market, or for domestic
consumption. The capital invested in all the branches of this department of home industry
amounts to several millions. For all its pux-poses of trade, the commercial facilities of Vir-
ginia are ample. Its sea-coast and principal rivers afford many excellent harbors ; and its
means of intercommunication, both natural and artificial, extending through all parts of the
statp, are well adapted to the convenience and requirements of the people. Much attention
has latterly been paid to the improvement of river navigation, the construction of canals,
Among the remarkable natural phenomena existing in Virginia, besides its mountainous
ridges, in some places singularly penetrated by noble rivers, are a number of mineral springs,
cascades, caverns, and, above all, the celebrated structure in the county of Rockbridge, between
the Blue Ridge and the North Mountain, called the Natural Bridge, and described by Mr.
Jefferson, as the most sublime of nature's works." 1 Many of the springs are so highly
impregnated with salt, as to induce numbers of capitalists to enter into the manufacture of this
article, and to erect salt works in various places ; at one of which, near Charleston, on the Great
Kanawha River, about 3,000,000 bushels of salt are made annually. The medicinal springs
of Virginia, to the waters of which many virtues have been ascribed, are much frequented
by invalids. The extraordinary cascade in the county of Augusta, called the Falling Spring,
where the water descends perpendicularly, though in a comparatively small volume, from a
height said to be 60 or 70 feet greater than that of the cataract of Niagara, is to the curious
traveller an object of great interest and wonder. The sheet of water, only some 15 feet
broad at the top, is divided in two or three places, at the commencement of the fall, by the
rock over which it passes, but is nowhere else interrupted until it reaches the valley imme-
diately below. So directly does the stream descend, that a person may pass dry-shod between
the base of the rock and the bottom of the fall. Another extraordinary specimen of nature's
A Gazetteer of the United States of America by John Hayward.
Hartford, CT: Case, Tiffany and Company. 1853. Public domain
It is on the ascent of a hill," says the author of the Notes on Virginia, which seems to have
been cloven through its length by some great convulsion. The fissure, just at the bridge, is by some
admeasurements 270 feet deep, by others only 205. It is about 45 feet wide at the bottom, and 90 feet
at the top ; this of course determines the length of the bridge, and its height from the water; its
breadth in the middle is about 60 feet, but more at the ends ; and the thickness of the mass, at the
summit of the arch, about 40 feet. A part of this thickness is constituted by a coat of earth, which
gives growth to many large trees. The residue, with the hill, on both sides, is one solid rock of lime-
stone. The arch approaches the semi-elliptical form ; but the larger axis of the ellipsis, which would
be the chord of the arch, is many times longer than the transverse. Though the sides of this bridge are
provided in some parts with a parapet of fixed rocks, yet few men have resolution to walk to them, and
look over into the abyss. You involuntarily fall on your hands and feet, creep to them, and peep over.
If the view from the top be painful and intolerable, that from below is delightful in an equal extreme.
It is impossible for the emotions arising from the sublime to be felt beyond what they are here; so
beautiful an arch, so elevated, so light, and springing, as it were, up to heaven ! The rapture of the
spectator is really indescribable ! " — p. 21.