Bluefield, Virginia

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Town of Bluefield, Virginia
Town
Official seal of Town of Bluefield, Virginia
Seal
Nickname(s): Virginia's Tallest Town
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Coordinates: 37°14′39″N 81°16′30″W / 37.24417°N 81.27500°W / 37.24417; -81.27500Coordinates: 37°14′39″N 81°16′30″W / 37.24417°N 81.27500°W / 37.24417; -81.27500
Country United States
State Virginia
County Tazewell
Incorporated 1883
Government
 • Mayor James Jones
Area
 • Town 7.6 sq mi (162.0 km2)
 • Land 7.6 sq mi (162.0 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 2,389 ft (728.167 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Town 5,444
 • Density 670/sq mi (258.6/km2)
 • Metro 107,342 (Bluefield Micropolitan Area)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 24605
Area code(s) 276
FIPS code 51-08152[2]
GNIS feature ID 1481874[3]
Website http://www.bluefieldva.org/

Bluefield is a town in Tazewell County, Virginia, along the Bluestone River. The population was 5,444 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Bluefield WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 107,342. The micropolitan area is the 350th largest statistical population area in the United States.

Geography[edit]

Bluefield is located at 37°14′39″N 81°16′30″W / 37.24417°N 81.27500°W / 37.24417; -81.27500 (37.244195, -81.274926).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 7.6 square miles (19.6 km²), all land.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 1,917
1920 2,752 43.6%
1930 3,906 41.9%
1940 3,921 0.4%
1950 4,212 7.4%
1960 4,235 0.5%
1970 5,286 24.8%
1980 5,946 12.5%
1990 5,363 −9.8%
2000 5,078 −5.3%
2010 5,444 7.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 5,078 people, 2,134 households, and 1,423 families residing in the town. The population density was 669.9 people per square mile (258.7/km²). There were 2,349 housing units at an average density of 309.9 per square mile (119.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 92.30% White, 4.86% African American, 0.32% Native American, 1.42% Asian, 0.12% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.41% of the population.

There were 2,134 households out of which 21.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.3% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.3% were non-families. 30.3% 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 2.23 and the average family size was 2.77.

In the town the population was spread out with 18.0% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 22.2% from 25 to 44, 27.3% from 45 to 64, and 22.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 86.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $32,157, and the median income for a family was $44,000. Males had a median income of $34,167 versus $18,875 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,755. About 3.9% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.6% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.

History[edit]

Bluefield has not always borne the name Bluefield. The town originated around a small post office named "Pin Hook" in the 1860s, named for a small creek that ran through the community.[5] For a brief time it was known as the commununity of Harman, named after a Civil War hero from the area who had been shot during the Battle of Cloyd's Mountain in Pulaski, County, Virginia. Later, after coal was discovered and a company was formed to build a railroad to the coalfields, the community's name was changed again to "Graham" to honor Col. Thomas Graham, a Philadelphia capitalist. The town was first chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia as the town of Graham in 1884 and operated under that name until a referendum that was held on June 10, 1924, after which time it became known as Bluefield, Virginia. The name change was celebrated in a mock marriage ceremony, which was held in the city park between Bluefield, Virginia, and Bluefield, West Virginia, to celebrate the renaming of the town of Graham to match its sister city across the West Virginia state line. Graham was a community whose borders are now roughly the same as the downtown area alongside the railroad. Bluefield, West Virginia beat Graham, Virginia out as the preferred community for the Norfolk and Western railroad to build its regional headquarters and main docking yards for the Pocahontas region. As a result, Bluefield, West Virginia grew at a much faster rate than its neighbor to the west.

Graham still held out hope to become a major city in the region - billing itself the "Pittsburgh of the South" by its mayor in an effort to attract a steel refining industry alongside the railyards. It is possible that the city may have had a chance to boom, had it not been for the Great Depression, which caused development in the region to come to a halt. Even after the name change in 1924, the city did not start to expand outside of the downtown area until the 1950s, when the city annexed the small town of West Graham, Virginia to the west, and then began to expand to the more open rural foothills to the south of the city.

As the largest town in Tazewell County, Virginia, Bluefield underwent a new wave of growth throughout the 1990s and the first decade of the new millennium. After a series of devastating floods in the past five years, the town has relocated its town council chambers and police department from the flood-prone historic downtown area to the southernmost point in the city at the foot of East River Mountain. The area is already booming there - with a Super Wal-Mart and numerous strip malls and a medical center already operating along U.S. Route 460.

Bluefield, Virginia's most prominent residents are Bill Dudley, an NFL Hall of Famer; New York Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw; and the widow of actor Lorne Greene, who previously lived in a mansion atop a hill overlooking one of the town's most historic home, the Sanders house. The Sanders house is home to the Tazewell County Visitors Center.

The town was chosen by Hollywood film producers for the 1990s remake of the classic movie, Lassie, and has been mentioned by musicians in numerous songs, including Blessid Union of Souls' "Oh Virginia".

The Walter McDonald Sanders House and Alexander St. Clair House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[6]

Education[edit]

Educational institutions include Graham High School and Bluefield College.

Sports[edit]

The Bluefield Blue Jays, a minor league baseball team, play their home games at Bowen Field, a stadium in the city park that serves both Bluefield and its neighbor of the same name in West Virginia. Although the park is operated by the West Virginia city, the stadium lies entirely within Virginia.

Bluefield College hosts many sports programs, including basketball, soccer, baseball, and now football.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ Hotchkiss, Jedidiah, in "The Virginias: A Mining, Industrial, and Scientific Journal," published in Staunton, Virginia, 1881, Vol. II
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 

External links[edit]