Buena Vista, Virginia
|Buena Vista, Virginia|
|• Total||6.8 sq mi (17.7 km2)|
|• Land||6.8 sq mi (17.7 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||837 ft (255 m)|
|• Density||929.5/sq mi (358.9/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1492666|
Buena Vista (// BEW-nə-VIS-tə) (formerly Hart's Bottom) is an independent city located within the confines of Rockbridge County, Virginia. The estimated population in 2012 was 6,707. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Buena Vista (along with Lexington) with Rockbridge County for statistical purposes.
The Buena Vista Downtown Historic District, Buena Vista Colored School, Cedar Hill, Glen Maury, Old Courthouse, Southern Seminary Main Building, and W.N. Seay House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Founded by Benjamin C. Moomaw in the late 1800s the town consisted only of a simple tannery at the intersection of wheat The Richmond and Alleghany Railroad and The Shenandoah Valley Railroad alongside the James River Canal that had been used to transport materials from the Atlantic ports of Virginia to Lexington, VA since the 18th century but by the founding of the city had been converted for the distribution of water power. After opening the tannery, Moomaw opened a pulp mill and a canning factory. In 1882 Appold & Sons Tannery opened and the first public school opened in 1885.
In 1893, the town was described as "one of the many new towns that seem to have sprung up as if by magic in some parts of Virginia... Previous to 1889 none of the 600 handsome dwellings churches stores hotels and other buildings in the town had been built but where are streets and all that goes to make a booming city the reapers that year gathered a luxuriant crop of wheat" In December 1888, Moomaw wrote the Buena Vista Prospectus to organize a town and began selling stock. "It took only 30 days for all the stock to be sold for a total of $400,000. With the sale completed, it was time to lay out the town and begin recruiting people and industries." On February 22, 1889 a large deposit of iron ore was reportedly discovered that resulted in a boom of economic activity that lasted until March 4, 1892. In just those three years the community grew extensively adding a new brick school house, an opera house, two churches, a luxury hotel, a new Masonic Lodge (Buena Vista Lodge No. 186), a paper and pulp mill, a saddle factory, a cashmere mill, two brick and clay works, a wagon works, two banks, an egg crate factory, an electric light plant, a furniture and chair factory, a boiler factory, an iron furnace and steel factory, a glass foundry and several wood and lumber establishments.
The Maury River has a history of destructive floods damaging nearby communities. Particularly notable were floods on Oct 12, 1870, on the death of Robert E. Lee, when the Maury River provided Lee a temporary coffin due to a dock washed away up river (source: Library Virginia Military Institute), and in 1936, 1969, 1985 and 1995. The Flood of ’69 was the result of rainfall from the inland movement of Hurricane Camille. The Flood of ’85 resulted from the convergence of three systems, including Hurricane Juan, which dumped tremendous amounts of rain on western Virginia. The flood of record for the lower Maury River (downstream of the confluence with the South River) including Buena Vista and Glasgow occurred on August 20, 1969, at a stage of 31.23 feet (9.52 m) on the Buena Vista gauge (flooding begins at 17.0 feet (5.2 m) and major flooding at 21.0 feet (6.4 m). The downtowns of Buena Vista and Glasgow were submerged in over 5 feet (1.5 m) of water. The upper Maury River including Lexington saw its flood of record during the Flood of 1985 when the gauging station at Rockbridge Baths recorded a value of 19.19 feet (5.85 m) from flood marks. The difference in flooding results from differing contributions of the South River depending on rainfall in the respective watersheds.
The James C. Olin Flood Control Project was completed in 1997 to reduce the potential for damage from flooding of the Maury River and inland streams in Buena Vista.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.8 square miles (18 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,349 people, 2,547 households, and 1,749 families residing in the city. The population density was 929.5 people per square mile (358.9/km²). There were 2,716 housing units at an average density of 397.6 per square mile (153.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.56% White, 4.80% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. 1.01% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,547 households out of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.87.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 86.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,410, and the median income for a family was $39,449. Males had a median income of $28,921 versus $21,029 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,377. About 8.2% of families and 10.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.3% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.
Buena Vista is home to Southern Virginia University, which had an enrollment of 804 full-time students in the autumn of 2011. The university is primarily for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, however, it is not owned or operated by the church, nor does it have any official affiliation with the church. Students adhere to an honor code including dress and moral standards.
Public schools include Kling Elementary, Enderly Heights Elementary, Parry McCluer Middle School, and Parry McCluer High School.
Buena Vista is within the Roanoke/Lynchburg media market. Local television news coverage is provided by television stations based in Roanoke, Virginia. The Roanoke Times is Buena Vista’s major daily newspaper. Several non-daily print publications are produced locally which cover the Buena Vista, Lexington, and Rockbridge County area as listed below:
- The Rockbridge Advocate (monthly magazine)
- The News-Gazette (weekly newspaper)
- The Rockbridge Report (weekly Web site and cable broadcast by the students at Washington and Lee University)
Landmarks and historic sites in Buena Vista include the 1890 Buena Vista Hotel (now Main Hall at SVU), original Buena Vista Courthouse (now A.B. Modine Memorial Library), Canton Chinese Restaurant and Glen Maury Park, particularly the two-story wooden pavilion which provides 360 degree views of the surrounding landscape.
- Major League Baseball World Series champion manager Charlie Manuel of the Philadelphia Phillies was a Buena Vista resident and is a graduate of Parry McCluer High School where he was a multi-sport star. Manuel played in the Major Leagues and Japan during his playing career in the 1960s and 1970s.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- . Weldon Cooper Center 2010 Census Count Retrieved September 8, 2011
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- Field Guide to the Chessie Nature Trail. Rockbrige Area Conservation Council, 1988.
- VAEmergency.com > Newsroom & Archives > Virginia Hurricane History
- Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service: Blacksburg
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Record Enrollment Exceeds 800 Students". Southern Virginia University. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
-  History; Southern Virginia University
-  History, In the beginning...; City of Buena Vista Official Website
-  Glen Maury Park
-  Charlie Manuel's Buena Vista roots; Mark Berman; October 22, 2008
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