New digital archive honors legacy of state official Arch Moore

MORGANTOWN — Before those divisive terms as state governor and the conviction on corruption charges that sent him to jail, Arch Moore was an earnest young public servant in Washington.

And now, the West Virginia and Regional History Center at WVU Libraries is showcasing Moore’s time in Congress.

The center  digitally archived more than 200 boxes of paperwork and 900 photographs chronicling the years he spent representing West Virginia  from 1956-’69.

Moore worked on the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964. He was also significantly involved in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

To explore, visit arch and type “Arch Moore” in the search field.

Moore came to WVU on the G.I. Bill after his service in World War II, where he was shot in the jaw and left for dead on a German battlefield.

He was elected student body president and earned a law degree here.

The Moundsville native also founded Mountaineer Week, WVU’s celebration of all things Appalachian, in 1947.

He was Republican when West Virginia was then 5-1 Democrat.

Ironically, the indictment on bribery and conspiracy charges of former Gov. W.W. “Wally” Barron, a Democrat, may have given Moore a boost in the polls when he

was first elected governor in 1968.

As governor, Moore championed massive roadwork projects, quelled a prison riot, helped settle  coal strikes and launched a school voucher program for needy families.

He was also heralded for a charming brain-quirk: He never forgot a name.

Not everyone was a fan.

Critics said survivors of Buffalo Creek — an earthen dam maintained by a coal company gave way and 125 perished in the deluge — were only awarded a fraction due them because of  mishandling by Moore when the state sued.

He served three years in federal prison after pleading guilty in 1990 to extortion, mail fraud and other charges while governor.

He died four years ago at the age of 91.

Former WVU president Neil Bucklew said Moore was easy to work with when it came to advancing his alma mater.

As a law student in the 1950s, Moore lobbied for the placement of a medical center in Morgantown, which cemented the city’s status as a health hub for West Virginia and the region.

“He knew what made the state tick,” Bucklew said after Moore’s death.

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