The Grimes Golden is one of two apple varieties originating in West Virginia, both of which are yellow apples. The first Grimes Golden was found in the early 1800s growing on the farm of Thomas Grimes near Wellsburg in Brooke County. Local legend claims that the tree grew from a seed planted by John Chapman, otherwise known as Johnny Appleseed. Soon after the original tree was discovered, a large orchard was planted nearby using scions from the parent tree.
The Grimes Golden, popular for eating, cooking, and cider production for many years, made outstanding applesauce. The fruit was of medium size or larger, with tough yellow skin and firm, juicy flesh. Although the Grimes Golden is still around, it has largely been replaced in popularity by the Golden Delicious, the second apple variety to originate in West Virginia. The Grimes Golden is thought to be a parent of the Golden Delicious apple tree.
The original Grimes Golden tree bore fruit for more than 100 years and was carrying a crop of apples when it blew down in 1905. Wood from its trunk was used to make gavels for the West Virginia Agricultural Society, and part of the trunk was preserved at West Virginia University. A stone monument was erected at the site of the original Grimes Golden tree and is still standing today.
This Article was written by Amy Donaldson Arnold
Calhoun, Creighton Lee Jr. Old Southern Apples. Blacksburg, VA: McDonald & Woodward Pub., 1995.
Comstock, Jim, ed. West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia vols. 10-12 & 21. Richwood: Jim Comstock, 1976.