Wise, Virginia

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Wise, Virginia
Wise County Courthouse
Wise County Courthouse
Official seal of Wise, Virginia
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Coordinates: 36°58′41″N 82°34′37″W / 36.97806°N 82.57694°W / 36.97806; -82.57694Coordinates: 36°58′41″N 82°34′37″W / 36.97806°N 82.57694°W / 36.97806; -82.57694
Country United States
State Virginia
County Wise
Founded 1874
Incorporated 1924
 • Mayor Erra Sutherland
 • Total 3.1 sq mi (8.0 km2)
 • Land 3.1 sq mi (8.0 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 2,451 ft (747 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 3,286
 • Density 1,059.4/sq mi (409.4/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 24293
Area code(s) 276
FIPS code 51-87072[1]
GNIS feature ID 1498553[2]
Website townofwise.net

Wise is a town in Wise County, Virginia, United States. The population was 3,286 at the 2010 census.[3] It is the county seat of Wise County.[4] It was originally incorporated as the town of Gladeville in 1874. The town's name was changed to Wise in 1924.[5] Wise is named after Henry A. Wise, the last Virginia governor before the American Civil War and the only governor to hail from the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

The town is also the home of the University of Virginia's College at Wise.


Wise is located in the middle of the county of Wise. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.0 km²), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 128
1890 186 45.3%
1900 511 174.7%
1910 806 57.7%
1920 1,071 32.9%
1930 1,112 3.8%
1940 1,226 10.3%
1950 1,574 28.4%
1960 2,614 66.1%
1970 2,891 10.6%
1980 3,894 34.7%
1990 3,193 −18.0%
2000 3,255 1.9%
2010 3,286 1.0%
Est. 2015 3,119 [6] −5.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 3,255 people, 1,424 households, and 868 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,059.4 people per square mile (409.4/km²). There were 1,594 housing units at an average density of 518.8 per square mile (200.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.24% White, 1.94% African American, 0.28% Native American, 1.14% Asian, 0.77% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.41% of the population.

There were 1,424 households out of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% were non-families. 34.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% 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 2.79.

In the town the population was spread out with 19.7% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 101.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $28,531, and the median income for a family was $36,875. Males had a median income of $30,170 versus $21,389 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,760. About 12.6% of families and 15.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.3% of those under age 18 and 11.6% of those age 65 or over.


Wise features five public schools of the Wise County Public School System, one private school, and one college.

Wise County School System public schools[edit]

Private schools[edit]

Higher education[edit]


The largest highway in Wise is Orby Cantrell Highway (U.S. Highway 23 US 23.svg), a north-south highway that runs through the west end of the town. Wise is also home to the Lonesome Pine Airport (LNP). The airport is located approximately three miles northeast of the central business district.

Theater and the arts[edit]

  • The Pro-Art Association offers a variety of theatrical, musical, and fine-arts events throughout the school year.
  • The Appalachian Children's Theater (ACT) promotes performing arts and fine arts education for children in Southwest Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, and Northeast Tennessee. In 2006, the organization opened its newly renovated facility on Main Street.[8]
  • The Charles W. Harris Art Gallery is located on the site of the Wise County Public Library.
  • The University of Virginia's College at Wise possesses a state of the art theater that usually sees two productions a year.

Notable residents[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

The Town of Wise has one sister city:

Historic downtown[edit]

Historic E. M. Fulton House on West Main Street

Three buildings on Main Street in the town of Wise are on the National Register of Historic Places.[9] The Colonial Hotel, now known as the Inn at Wise Court House, was added to the Register in 1991. The Wise County Courthouse was added to the Register ten years earlier, in 1981. In February 2006, the Register listed the E. M. Fulton House.[10] The downtown area hosts the Battles at Wise Civil War Living History Presentation and Re-Enactment on the second weekend of July each year.[11]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Wise has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[12]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Weldon Cooper Center 2010 Census totals by towns in Virginia
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ Wise County History
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ Appalachian Children's Theater
  9. ^ Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  10. ^ National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places
  11. ^ Town of Wise - Civil War Re-Enactment
  12. ^ Climate Summary for Wise, Virginia

External links[edit]