About Mineral County
Mineral County is in the Eastern panhandle of West Virginia located south of Cumberland, Maryland and about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Its northern and western border is the Potomac River, a part of the West Virginia state border with Maryland. It was formed in 1866 from Hampshire County. The county is named after the then abundant mineral resources (mainly coal but also some iron ore) it contained.
It is rural with a present territory of 329 square miles and a population of 27,028. Its county seat and major city is Keyser (pop. 5,303) located in the northwestern part of the county. Other towns are Carpendale (pop. 954); Elk Garden (pop. 217); Fort Ashby (pop. 1,354); Piedmont (pop. 1,014); Ridgeley (pop. 762); and Wiley Ford (pop. 1,095). The county is drained by the Potomac River and its tributaries, and has a railroad line along the northern border.
Major employment is in manufacturing, retail, health care and social assistance, and accommodation and food service. About half of the manufacturing employment is in the making of aerospace products and parts. There is also manufacturing of plastic products, fabricated metal products, and wood products. One-fourth to one-half of retail employment is in warehouse clubs and superstores. About one third each of the health care and social assistance employment is general medical and surgical hospital employees, employees of ambulatory health care services, or employees in nursing and residential care facilities. There is noticeable economic activity and some employment in surface coal mining and in education. Keyser is the site of Potomac State College of West Virginia University which is a public, residential junior college. There is some notable agricultural production in dairying and in the raising of corn and vegetables; but the major products are poultry, eggs, livestock, and forage.