Charleston, WV — The New River Gorge Bridge, the longest steel–arch bridge in the United States, graces the West Virginia commemorative quarter–dollar, the newest coin in the United States Mint’s popular 50 State Quarters Program. United States Mint Acting Director David A. Lebryk and West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III launched the new quarter–dollar today on the steps of the State Capitol Building in Charleston. The West Virginia quarter also captures the scenic beauty of the “Mountain State” with its depiction of the New River Gorge National River that flows northward through deep canyons. It is among the Nation’s oldest rivers.
“This new quarter celebrates the natural splendor of West Virginia and its engineering triumph, the New River Gorge Bridge,” said Acting Director Lebryk. “The construction of this magnificent bridge is symbolic of the ingenuity and strength of West Virginians. Many obstacles had to be overcome to build it, but when finished, it was tall, graceful and indispensable.”
Following the launch ceremony, which featured a dramatic presentation by actors portraying President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, Acting Director Lebryk, Governor Manchin and Mrs. Manchin handed out shiny, new West Virginia quarters to the children in the crowd. Adults lined up to exchange their bills for $10 rolls of West Virginia quarters.
The New River Gorge Bridge, which was completed on October 22, 1977, reduced what was once a 40–minute drive down winding mountain roads to less than one minute. At 3,030 feet, with an arch length of 1,700 feet, the New River Gorge Bridge is the longest steel arch bridge in the country. The New River Gorge Bridge is also the second highest bridge in this country (876 feet), with only the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado ranking higher.
The Governor declared Friday, October 14, 2005, State Quarter Day in the Classroom. Free United States Mint lesson plans about the West Virginia quarter–dollar may be downloaded at www.usmint.gov/kids.
The United States Mint also hosted a Coin Collectors Forum on the eve of the launch in which members of the public discussed coin programs and design. The West Virginia quarter is also available in two–roll sets (40 coins per roll), including one roll each from the United States Mint at Philadelphia and Denver, and in bags of 100 and 1,000 coins, at the United States Mint website at www.usmint.gov. The two–roll sets are $32.00, bags of 100 coins are $35.50, and bags of 1,000 coins are $300.00.
For a digital image of the West Virginia quarter, click here and scroll down the page.
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