West Virginia Is No Longer Wild, Wonderful

West Virginia has replaced its “Wild, Wonderful” motto with “Open for Business.”

Talk about missing the forest for the trees!

Gov. Joe Manchin unveiled the new sign (which features a photo of Spruce Knob) during his State of the State address.

Manchin has never been happy with a wild wonderful West Virginia. Nearly 20 years ago, as a legislator, Joe wanted to replace “Wild, Wonderful” on the license plates with “Mountains of Energy.”

Radio show personalities wonder whether they should put hours on the sign and whether the state was ever closed to business.

The signs, which feature a scenic view of Spruce Knob, are one of the only state welcome signs that have a photographic image in the background. While most agree the signs themselves are beautiful, some think “Wild, Wonderful” describes the state better.

That slogan dates back to the Arch Moore administration in the late 1960s when he popularized the phrase and put it on all of the welcome signs. It lasted until the early 1990s when Gov. Gaston Caperton took office and promptly removed it.

The change did not sit well with the public or state legislators.

The article notes the state does not have to fret too much about the motto.

West Virginians who don’t like the slogan, though, won’t have to worry about staring at it for the next 12 years, the usual life of a welcome sign. The designers made sure sections of it could be easily changed if a new governor takes office.

Bruce Kenney, an engineer with the Division of Highways, said the “Open for Business” and governor’s name can be removed without affecting the scenic image.

Some don’t welcome signs
Charleston Mail
January 19, 2006

Manchin can’t tame ‘wild, wonderful’
Oldsurber Blog
January 19, 2006

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