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(Formerly Mole Hill)

JULY 2, 1949

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a real pleasure to be here with you fine people of Ritchie County and all your many visitors on this rare occasion. I say rare occasion because, so far as I know, this is the first time in all history that a mountain has actually been made out of a mole hill. I congratulate you people on having really done what others, for ages, have just talked of doing!

Your community is really making a place for itself in. the world. You have not only produced a lot of timber, oil and gas in your county, but you have made progress in the field of agriculture. You have also built up a very thriving dairy business - as the great Borden Company has recognized here today. To further show how up and coming you are, you now make a molehill into a mountain and throw this big party to celebrate it. You deserve all the nationwide publicity you are receiving by press, radio and newsreel on this occasion.

I am glad you have changed the name of your community to Mountain. It is very fitting, because West Virginia is known as the Mountain State. By geography and tradition, we West Virginians are a mountain people.

It is a wonderful thing to be mountain people. There is more of the spirit of freedom among people who live in the highlands than among those who live, crowded together, in the lowlands. Our State's slogan is "Mountaineers Are Always Free", and we shall always be proud that General George Washington declared, in a dark hour of the Revolution, that one sure way to win our independence was to plant the flag of freedom on the mountain of West Augusta - which is now West Virginia.

The name Mountain is fitting for another reason. All through history, men have had great thoughts and great experiences on the mountain tops. Many of our Nation's great men have come from our own Mountain State, or figured in its growth and prospered in its development. Our mountains inspire - they give strength.

In that connection, I am proud to recall that a distinguished former Governor of our State, the Honorable John J. Cornwell, of Romney, was born here at what is now Mountain.

And now, on behalf of the people of our great State, I am happy to congratulate you, the citizens of Mountain, on receiving the official recognition of the Postmaster General of the United States for the new name of your community. With his permission, I hereby declare that the village of Mole Hill, West Virginia, be henceforth known as MOUNTAIN, West Virginia.

For every one of you I wish real progress and all happiness - not necessarily the progress of becoming a large town, but the quiet growth of a good place in which to live normal, useful, happy lives. Anyway, no matter how big you may grow to be, you will never again get too big for your name!

From State Papers and Public Addresses of Governor Okey Patteson, pp. 53-54

West Virginia Archives and History