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The first permanent settlement in modern-day Huntington was founded in 1775 as "Holderby's Landing." The modern City of Huntington was founded by Collis P. Emmons as the western terminus for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) on a tract of land west of the mouth of the Guyandotte River, between the Ohio River and Twelve Pole Creek. Huntington was one of the "Big Four" of western railroading who built the Central Pacific Railroad as part of the first U. transcontinental railroad (along with Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker).

Huntington was created as a hub for the C&O, which, once completed in 1873, fulfilled a long-held dream of the Virginias to have a rail link from the James River at Richmond, Virginia to the Ohio River Valley.

Developing fast after the railroad's completion in 1871, the site was previously a collection of agricultural homesteads, and is eponymously named for the railroad company's founder Collis Potter Huntington.

The first identifiable permanent settlement, Holderby's Landing, was founded in 1775 in the Colony of Virginia although the site had been sparsely settled by the French as early as 1609.

The town of Guyandotte was officially absorbed in 1891.

Modern day Huntington is commonly divided into four main sections.

The city lies within the ecoregion of the Western Allegheny Plateau.

The area of greater Huntington, although situated in a Southern state, was originally settled as early as 1609 and was long considered a western city in what was then the Colony of Virginia since the first permanent settlements were founded in 1775 Historically, the old Federal Era town of Guyandotte (now a neighborhood absorbed into Huntington proper) was first built upon in 1609 by French setters of the Ohio Valley, and has homes dating back to 1820 and a graveyard containing 18th-century French and Colonial-era settlers, including surnames such as Le Tulle, Holderby, and Buffington.This location was selected by Collis Potter Huntington as ideal for the western terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, the predecessor of what would become CSX Transportation which still operates CSX Transportation-Huntington Division in the city to date.The railroad founded Huntington as one of the nation's first planned communities to facilitate the railroad and other transportation-related industries at the railway's western terminus.The new railroad facilities adjacent to the Ohio River resulted in expansion of the former small town of Guyandotte into part of a large new city called Huntington.The C&O Railroad expanded east to Newport News (and coal piers), and west to eventually reach Cincinnati and Chicago in later years.

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Huntington is commonly divided into four main sections.

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