Michael Shamblin is the Clay County Extension Agent for West Virginia University, with an office in the Courthouse Annex Building. "The annual 4-H Camp is one of my favorite activities," said Mr. Shamblin. "Children learn and grow through the experience. One student gave me a note saying, ĎAt school I feel like everybody hates me, but at camp I feel like a new person.' When I receive a comment like this, I realize how important it is to continue providing a quality 4-H camp experience and other agriculture career development events for children in Clay County."
The Extension Office provides a wide range of services for residents and agriculture businesses including:
- Community Educational Outreach Service
- Food Preservation and Food Safety
- Dining with Diabetes
- Bridging the Gap with Education:
Diabetes Symposium and Workshop
- Active for Life
- The Clay County 4-H Program
- Clay County 4-H Camp
- The Agriculture Youth Fair
- Help with home gardens and orchards
"The highlight of the year for many of the youth in Clay County is the Agriculture Youth Fair," said Mr. Shamblin. Youth are given an opportunity to raise a market animal and make a return on their investment. The Agriculture Youth Fair has grown since its inception in 1996 to a two-day event with an average of 60 exhibitors. Contributors to the fair generate approximately $30,000 each year for youth involved.
For more information about any of these services call the Clay County Extension Office at 304-587-4267.
Signs announcing "West Virginia's Best Kept Secret" welcome visitors entering the Town of Clay. There are approximately 600 residents and the primary industry of the area is coal mining. Clay is located on State Highway 16 with the Elk River running through town.
Mayor Jack Brown is available at Clay Town Hall to assist citizens or answer any questions about the town. Call 304-587-4233.
"One of the best things about having a business in the Town of Clay is that we do not impose a B&O (business and occupations) tax," explains Mayor Jack Brown. Clay operates a municipal fresh water utility that supplies the entire county, a sewage service within city limits, and a small police department. "We are building a new water plant to extend fresh water service to all of the rural areas of the county," said Mayor Brown. "And we will be starting a streetscape project in Spring 2010 that will extend sidewalk areas and improve walkways along Main Street." Mayor Brown has lived in or near Clay his entire life. He and his wife, then Edna Strickland, met in 1951.
Pink Lady Slipper orchids grow wild in many areas of Central West Virginia including Clay County.
Public schools in Clay include Clay Elementary School with an enrollment of about 500 students in Pre-K through 5th grade, Clay Middle School with an enrollment of about 450 students in 6th through 8th grade, and Clay County High School (home of the Panthers) with more than 600 students in 9th through 12th grade. Clay Christian Academy (304-587-2786) is a private school in Clay, West Virginia. It is coed and Baptist affiliated, serving 29 students in grades K-12.
The Virginia Legislature established Clay County in 1858 and named it in honor of Henry Clay, a Kentucky Senator. The new county's seat, located on the McCalgin farm near the mouth of Buffalo Creek, was to be known as the "Town of Marshall". However, the local citizens generally referred to the town as "Clay Court House", because the courthouse was the town's primary reason for existing. In 1863 the town's name was changed to "Henry", in honor of Henry Clay, then changed to "Clay" in 1927. "Hickory & Lady Slippers: Life and Legend of Clay County People" is a set of collections of history, stories and poetry written by residents, and genealogies. The collections are available for purchase by mail order from P. O. Box 523, Clay WV 25043.
If you have information about Clay that you would like to share, please submit by email to CAEZ Marketing.
The Old Clay County Courthouse in Clay, West Virginia was designed by Frank L. Packard and built in 1902. The Beaux-Arts building is located on a hill overlooking the town. The courthouse was the site of three notable trials: the Sarah Ann Legg trial of 1905, the first trial of a woman in Clay County for murder, the Booger Hole trial of 1917, in which citizens nearly lynched the defendants, and the Oscar Bail trial of 1953, in which Bail was convicted of killing a mine guard in the Great Widen Coal Strike.
The bustling Clay Downtown has drug store, banks, insurance companies, florists, auto parts and repair shops, hardware stores, general merchandise stores and restaurants.
Clay County Public Library is open Tuesday through Saturday and provides book borrowing, internet access, tax and legal forms, copying and a meeting room. For information about the library call 304-587-4254.
Clay County High School was built in 1971, after the old high school burned. For more information call 304-587-4226.
For information about Clay County Ambulance Service call 304-587-2554.
For information about the Clay Lions Club Community Center call 304-587-6003.
Call the Clay County Senior Center for information about their services at 304-587-2468.
J. G. Bradley Campground offers tent and RV camping along the mouth of Buffalo Creek and the Elk River. The passenger station for Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad is adjacent to the campground. Call 304 587-6055 for reservations.