Keyser, West Virginia

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Keyser is a city in and the county seat of Mineral County[3], West Virginia, United States. It is part of the 'Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area'. The population was 5,303 at the 2000 census. Keyser is styled as the "Friendliest City in the U.S.A."[citation needed].



Keyser was originally called Paddy Town after Patrick McCarty, son of one of the original settlers. With the coming of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1852, the destiny of the area changed from a quiet rural community to a thriving industrial center. The name was changed to New Creek Station and then to New Creek. In 1861 the Civil War came rumbling through the valley. Fort Fuller was built on the present site of Potomac State College, and Fort Piano entrenchments were established on New Creek Mountain.

Because of the importance of the railroad, the town changed hands 14 times. At the time, West Virginia became a state in 1863 there was some contention between Piedmont and New Creek over the location of the county seat. As an inducement to have the county seat located in New Creek, the Davis brothers donated land for the courthouse in 1867 and is still in use.

In 1874, the town was incorporated as ‘Keyser’ to honor William Keyser, Vice President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Supposedly, intended to gain favor with Mr. Keyser and the railroad to ensure that they would move all rail operations from Piedmont to Keyser.

Former Major League Baseball player and current sportscaster John Kruk grew up in Keyser. Current Baltimore Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone, who made his reputation in the same role with the Atlanta Braves, was born in Keyser, but never lived there. At the time Mazzone was born, Keyser had the nearest hospital to his parents' home in Westernport, Maryland, and he spent his entire childhood in Westernport. Eighties Hard rock artists Kix ("The Itch", "Don't Close your Eyes", "Midnight Dynamite") are from Keyser. After changing their name from The Shooze and signing with Atlantic Records, the band went on to sell 2 million records before breaking up in 1995. Former G Gordon Liddy Producer and current San Francisco radio host Matty Staudt also hails from Keyser. He recently was a featured voice/character in the Pixar movie "Cars." Staudt began his radio career with local radio station WQZK. The world renown historian of the African American Slave trade and one of the most powerful academic voices in America, Dr. Henry Louis Gates,Jr. was born in Keyser in 1950 (he also was the first African American to graduate from Cambridge.) Dr. Gates is a good friend of Qunicy Jones and the late Alex Haley.(

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