Location of Pocahontas, Virginia
|• Mayor||Benjamin Gibson|
|• Total||0.6 sq mi (1.6 km2)|
|• Land||0.6 sq mi (1.6 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||2,329 ft (710 m)|
|• Density||729.1/sq mi (281.5/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1493440|
Pocahontas is a town in Tazewell County, Virginia. It was named for Chief Powhatan's daughter, Pocahontas who lived in the 17th Century Jamestown Settlement. The population was 389 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Bluefield, WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 107,578.
Pocahontas was the location of the start of this region's coal boom with a spur line that launched the Norfolk and Western Railroad (now Norfolk Southern) into national prominence during the 1880s. The large two-state coal region bears the town's name.
Pocahontas is located at (37.304997, -81.339802).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.6 square mile (1.6 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 441 people, 190 households, and 122 families residing in the town. The population density was 729.1 people per square mile (283.8/km2). There were 230 housing units at an average density of 380.3 per square mile (148.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.15% White, 2.04% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.91% from other races, and 0.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.81% of the population.
There were 190 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.3% were married couples living together, 16.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the town the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 21.1% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.4 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $22,917, and the median income for a family was $30,357. Males had a median income of $22,232 versus $17,321 for females. The per capita income for the town was $12,124. About 19.8% of families and 17.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.4% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.
The Town of Pocahontas owns and operates the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum, a National Historic Landmark and Virginia's official "coal heritage zone." The "show mine," as many locals call it, features tours from retired coal miners into the real mine that served as the birthplace of the world-famous Pocahontas #3 coal that heated homes across the United States and was the chosen fuel of the United States Navy. The exhibition mine, open from April–August annually, features a 13-foot-tall (4.0 m) coal seam. There is also a museum and education center located in the mine's former powerhouse.
The town also features a registered Virginia Historic site, the Pocahontas Cemetery. The cemetery features graves that are over 100 years old and a mass grave of coal miners killed in a mine explosion in Pocahontas on March 13, 1884. Each year, the town holds a ceremony at the cemetery to remember the more than 114 coal miners killed in the explosion.
The town is also home to St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic Church which features ten life-sized murals on the ceiling and walls of the church. The church also holds an annual Hungarian cabbage roll dinner to honor the European heritage of the coalfields.
On the last Saturday in April, the town hosts the annual Pocahontas Indian Run, a 5-mile run through the historic town and scenic community that brings runners from across the United States. The event also features a 3-mile Indian Walk and a Papoose Run for children 6-12. In the evening, there is a memorial ceremony at the Pocahontas Cemetery for the miners killed in the 1884 mine explosion, which killed 114 coal miners.
The Pocahontas Lions Club hosts a Car Show and Flea Market along with the Pumpkin Festival in October.
Pocahontas celebrates July 4 with a fire works celebration. The combination of a small town atmosphere, street dance, bands, home cooking, and sparklers for the children provides for a unique experience.
On Labor Day each year, Pocahontas is home to the Coal Miners Reunion, which brings together retired coal miners and railroad workers from across the United States to be honored by the town with a parade and luncheon. The festival also includes special recognition of the oldest and longest-serving miners or railroad workers present and stump speeches from local political candidates.
The Town of Pocahontas utilizes a Mayor/Council form of government. The Mayor is elected and serves as the Town Manager. The current mayor is Benjamin A Gibson.
The Town of Pocahontas also operates a water treatment plant and distribution system for the town and surrounding communities in both Virginia and West Virginia. In 2009,2013 the Virginia Department of Health awarded the Town with a Bronze Water Performance Award (3rd place in the State of Virginia) for excellence in granular media filtration. In 2011 the West Virginia Department of Health recognized the Town for their efforts taken to protect its source water and to safeguard the public it serves.
In 2006, the town made history when it elected an all-female administration.
Plans are currently in place to develop a "tourist train" from nearby Bramwell, West Virginia in Mercer County, to the coal community. Railroad has recently been donated towards the project, and the project is endorsed by former Democrat U.S. Congressman Frederick "Rick" Boucher from Virginia's Ninth District. Virginia also created a "Tourist Train Commission," for the project.
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development awarded the Town of Pocahontas with a $1,000,000.00 grant to help fund their Downtown Revitalization. In 2012 Thomas Burns Childress, Tazewell County Northern District Supervisor filed a lawsuit on behalf of Historic Pocahontas, Inc. The lawsuit stopped the Revitalization Project and was never completed.
The Pocahontas ATV Spearhead Trail System is was opened in 2014. It will eventually encompass fifty-seven miles of ATV trails and will be connected to the Hatfield and McCoy trail system in West Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Transportation awarded the Town funding to complete a walking trail. The new walking trail will link the Pocahontas Exhibition Coal Mine to the Laurel Meadows Park. Future plans are being developed to link the walking trail to Boissevain, Virginia.
Pocahontas was the setting and filming location of the 1992 film, The Turning, starring Gillian Anderson, Academy Award nominee Tess Harper, Karen Allen, Michael Dolan and Raymond J. Barry. It was written and directed by L.A. Puopolo, and co-written by Chris Ceraso, the author of the play "Home Fires Burning," which was the basis of the film. Scenes were filmed in various locations in Pocahontas, and in the neighboring communities of Abbs Valley, Virginia and Nemours, West Virginia. The drama's plot is based on a Neo-Nazi that returns to his home of Pocahontas, Virginia only to find his family falling apart before he decides to take matters into his own hands.
- "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.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Population Finder: Pocahontas CDP, Virginia". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-10-26.
- Pocahontas Virginia Video DanTraveling.com
- Pocahontas Exhibition Mine & Museum
- Pocahontas Middle/High School
- "History-making Pocahontas council readies for fight", Bluefield Daily Telegraph
- "VDOC nixes name for new federal prison", Bluefield Daily Telegraph
- "The Turning" on the Internet Movie Database