Upper Falls is an unincorporated census designated place (CDP) in Kanawha County, West Virginia, United States. The Coal River bisects the community and gives it its name from the cascading waters of its Upper Falls.
At 17.2 square miles, Upper Falls is the largest CDP in the state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, its population was 3,701.
Upper Falls is in the Charleston, West Virginia metropolitan area.
Upper Falls is located at 38°20′34″N 81°50′39″W (38.342872, -81.844296).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Upper Falls CDP has a total area of 17.2 square miles (44.49 km²), of which, 16.9 square miles (43.84 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.644 km²) of it (1.45%) is water.
The United States National Geodetic Survey control point for Upper Falls is at 38°20′23″N 81°50′20″W.
The United States Geological Survey identifies the community's namesake Upper Falls of Coal River at 38°20′33″N 81°50′29″W.
As of the Census of 2010, there were 3,701 people, 1,458 households, and 1,072 families residing in the community. The population density was 218.6 people per square mile (84.4/km²). There were 1,549 housing units at an average density of 91.7/sq mi (35.3/km²).
There were 1,458 households out of which 33.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.3% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 26.5% were non-families. 20.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 2.93.
The community's age distribution was 19.4% under the age of 15, 10.2% from 15 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 31% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 97.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.4 males.
During its history, transportation infrastructure serving Upper Falls has included roads, rail and water transport.
The primary means of transportation throughout the CDP today is by secondary highways.
In a clockwise direction on the map, Coal River Road (Kanawha County Highway 3) intersects the northern boundary of Upper Falls at Tear Drop Lane (private.) Dogwood Road (CH 6/6) crosses the northern border at the Armstrong Tunnel. Smith Creek Road (CH 9) crosses east at Dry Ridge Road (CH 8.) Coal River Road (CH 9/1) bisects Upper Falls, as it also crosses the southern border at the Lincoln County line. Falls Creek Road (CH 3) crosses south at the Lincoln County line. Woods Drive (CH 1/3) crosses to the west at the Putnam County line. Finally, Browns Creek Road (CH 1) crosses at the intersection of Bryants Branch Road (CH 3/3) to the north.
The Coal River subdivision, a CSX main line, runs parallel to Coal River, dividing Upper Falls from north to south. Its primary use is to transport coal from the Southern West Virginia coalfields to global markets. There was once a railroad station in Upper Falls of the same name.
Coal River is still designated by the federal government as a navigable waterway, though the 19th century system of locks and dams that made commercial transportation possible no longer exists.
Upper Falls, Virginia was discovered in 1742 by John Peter Salling during an expedition along the Coal River. Today, the community is in West Virginia, which gained independent statehood in 1863.
Since the earliest European settlers moved into the area in the 18th century, the community, named for the cascading waters of the adjacent river, was known as Upper Falls, Upper Falls of Coal, Upper Falls of Coals, Upper Falls Coal River, Upper Falls of Coal River, Upper Falls of the Coal River, Upper Falls on Coal River and Upper Falls Coal River Bridge.
Educational opportunities available to Upper Falls students are provided by these schools.
- Andrews Heights Elementary School, 7776 Coal River Road
- Humphreys After School Program, 7799 Coal River Road
Upper Falls offers numerous recreational possibilities.
- Big Bend Golf Course, 151 Riverview Drive
- Coal River, accessible via many public access points
- Meadowood Park, 292 Pettigrew Lane
- Mountaineer Radio Control Flying Club, 8004 Smith Creek Road
- Walhonde Trail, contiguous with the Coal River
Churches of the following denominations serve the spiritual needs of Upper Falls residents.
- Apostolic Holiness Church, 1100 Gore Addition Road
- Browns Creek Church of God, 2550 Browns Creek Road
- Humphreys Memorial United Methodist Church, 7799 Coal River Road
- New Hope Baptist Church, 9414 Coal River Road
- Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, 7398 Smith Creek Road
- Riverview Freewill Baptist Church, 10603 Coal River Road