Beckley, West Virginia

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City of Beckley, West Virginia
City
Main Street in downtown Beckley in 2007.
Main Street in downtown Beckley in 2007.
Motto: The Gateway to Southern West Virginia
Location of Beckley, West Virginia
Location of Beckley, West Virginia
Coordinates: 37°46′47″N 81°10′59″W / 37.77972°N 81.18306°W / 37.77972; -81.18306Coordinates: 37°46′47″N 81°10′59″W / 37.77972°N 81.18306°W / 37.77972; -81.18306
Country United States
State West Virginia
County Raleigh
Government
 • Mayor Bill O'Brien [1]
Area[2]
 • City 9.50 sq mi (24.60 km2)
 • Land 9.49 sq mi (24.58 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
Elevation 2,421 ft (738 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • City 17,614
 • Estimate (2013[4]) 17,607
 • Density 1,856.1/sq mi (716.6/km2)
 • Metro 124,890 (312th)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 25801, 25802, 25926
Area code(s) 304 and 681
FIPS code 54-05332
GNIS feature ID 1553831[5]
Website http://www.beckley.org/

Beckley is a city and county seat of Raleigh County located in West Virginia, United States. It was founded on April 4, 1838.[6] Beckley was named in honor of John James Beckley, who was the first Clerk of the House of Representatives and the first Librarian of Congress. It was founded by his son Alfred Beckley (US Army general and Confederate militia commander, born in Washington, D.C.). The current mayor is Bill O'Brien [7]

History[edit]

Beckley Centennial Medal

Although founded in 1838, Beckley existed only on paper at that time, "Alfred Beckley said he "was frequently jeered and laughed at for his Paper Town..."[8] Early in its history, the town was known as Beckleyville and Raleigh Court House. In 1850, "The act of creating the county (Raleigh) made the town of Beckleyville the county seat." [9] The city is sometimes called the "Smokeless Coal Capital", "The City of Champions" and the "Gateway To Southern West Virginia." Beckley had the first "community antenna" television system in the United States, a forerunner of cable television.[citation needed]

During the presidential primaries of 1960, the vehicles of rivals John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey stopped at the same streetcorner in Beckley. Recognizing each other, the two men got out and chatted briefly.[10]

Geography and climate[edit]

Beckley is located at 37°46′47″N 81°10′59″W / 37.779764°N 81.183193°W / 37.779764; -81.183193 (37.779764, −81.183193).[11]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.50 square miles (24.60 km2), of which, 9.49 square miles (24.58 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.[2]

Due to its elevation, the climate of Beckley is either classified as mountain temperate or humid continental (Köppen Cfb or Dfb, respectively), and the city straddles the border between USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6B and 7A.[12] Summers are warm and humid, usually a few degrees cooler than lower-elevation places within the state, with some days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs annually. Winters are generally cold and snowy with occasional intervening warm periods and some nights with a sub-10 °F (−12 °C) lows. Temperatures range from (approximate) 31.1 °F (−0.5 °C) in January to (approximate) 86.4 °F (30.2 °C) in July. Snowfall varies with an yearly average of (appromimately) 61.4 inches (156 cm) per season and mostly occurs from December to March with an occasional snowfall in November of (usually) 2–3 inches (5–8 cm).

Climate data for Beckley, West Virginia (Raleigh County Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 74
(23)
75
(24)
83
(28)
87
(31)
92
(33)
100
(38)
103
(39)
103
(39)
97
(36)
88
(31)
80
(27)
75
(24)
103
(39)
Average high °F (°C) 39.4
(4.1)
43.1
(6.2)
51.8
(11)
62.8
(17.1)
70.2
(21.2)
77.0
(25)
79.8
(26.6)
79.2
(26.2)
72.9
(22.7)
63.3
(17.4)
53.0
(11.7)
42.3
(5.7)
61.3
(16.3)
Average low °F (°C) 22.8
(−5.1)
25.7
(−3.5)
32.3
(0.2)
41.4
(5.2)
49.4
(9.7)
57.8
(14.3)
61.4
(16.3)
60.3
(15.7)
53.4
(11.9)
43.1
(6.2)
34.8
(1.6)
26.2
(−3.2)
42.5
(5.8)
Record low °F (°C) −22
(−30)
−20
(−29)
−7
(−22)
8
(−13)
21
(−6)
32
(0)
38
(3)
33
(1)
22
(−6)
9
(−13)
−1
(−18)
−20
(−29)
−22
(−30)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.81
(71.4)
2.76
(70.1)
3.57
(90.7)
3.36
(85.3)
4.66
(118.4)
4.00
(101.6)
5.03
(127.8)
3.47
(88.1)
3.01
(76.5)
2.57
(65.3)
2.95
(74.9)
3.00
(76.2)
41.19
(1,046.3)
Snowfall inches (cm) 18.3
(46.5)
16.4
(41.7)
7.9
(20.1)
2.9
(7.4)
0.1
(0.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.4
(1)
2.6
(6.6)
12.9
(32.8)
61.4
(156)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 15.1 13.9 15.6 14.2 14.7 13.2 13.1 10.7 9.6 10.1 12.2 14.9 157.1
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 10.1 8.4 5.2 2.5 0 0 0 0 0 0.3 3.0 7.7 37.2
Source: NOAA (extremes 1896–present)[13][14]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1950 19,397
1960 18,642 −3.9%
1970 19,884 6.7%
1980 20,492 3.1%
1990 18,274 −10.8%
2000 17,254 −5.6%
2010 17,614 2.1%
Est. 2013 17,607 0.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
2013 Estimate[4]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 17,614 people, 7,800 households, and 4,414 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,856.1 inhabitants per square mile (716.6 /km2). There were 8,839 housing units at an average density of 931.4 per square mile (359.6 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 72.3% White, 21.2% African American, 0.3% Native American, 2.4% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.

There were 7,800 households of which 25.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.4% were non-families. 37.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.85.

The median age in the city was 41.6 years. 20.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.9% were from 25 to 44; 28.5% were from 45 to 64; and 17.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.6% male and 53.4% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census of 2000, there were 17,254 people, 7,651 households, and 4,590 families residing in the city.[16] The population density was 1,874.9 people per square mile (724.1/km2). There were 8,731 housing units at an average density of 948.8 per square mile (366.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 73.64% White, 22.89% African American, 0.14% Native American, 1.89% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 1.22% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.74% of the population.

There were 7,651 households out of which 25.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.9% were married couples living together, 16.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 35.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the city, the population was spread out with 21.8% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 82.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,122, and the median income for a family was $38,110. Males had a median income of $35,780 versus $23,239 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,912. About 16.4% of families and 20.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.9% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

Two universities are located in Beckley: University of Charleston-Beckley and a branch campus of Concord University. Also located in Beckley is New River Community and Technical College. The nonprofit, nondenominational Appalachian Bible College[17] is located just outside the city limits, in nearby Bradley.

Transportation[edit]

The city is the regional hub for over 100,000 Southern West Virginia residents. It is the eighth largest city in West Virginia, succeeded by Fairmont and followed by Martinsburg.

Highways[edit]

Rail[edit]

Amtrak's Cardinal passenger train at Prince station.

Amtrak services Beckley at Prince Station with a thrice-weekly long distance passenger train between New York Penn Station and Chicago Union Station, with major intermediate stops at Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Charlottesville, Charleston, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis.

Air[edit]

Greater Beckley's only airport is Beckley Raleigh County Memorial Airport. Raleigh County Airport is served by United Airlines with service to Washington-Dulles and Shenandoah Valley.

Tourist Attractions[edit]

Beckley is well known for two major tourist attractions: The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and Tamarack. The Exhibition Coal Mine is a preserved coal mine that offers daily tours and a history lesson on coal mining in Appalachia. Tamarack, originally built at a cost of $10 million and dedicated to former Governor Gaston Caperton.

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.beckley.org/mayor_emmett_pugh.html
  2. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  4. ^ a b "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-07-08. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ Wood, Jim (1994). Raleigh County West Virginia. Beckley, WV: BJW Printing and Office Supplies. p. 76. 
  7. ^ http://wvmetronews.com/2014/01/02/new-mayor-in-beckley/
  8. ^ Wood, p.77
  9. ^ Lewis, Virgil (1889). History of West Virginia. Philadelphia, PA: Hubbard Brothers, Publishers. p. 708. 
  10. ^ Boothe, Dallas (April 12, 1960). "Stoplight Meeting". West Virginia Division of Culture and History. 
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ "Station Name: WV BECKLEY RALEIGH CO AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  14. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  15. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  16. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  17. ^ http://www.abc.edu

External links[edit]