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Town of Tazewell VA
The town of Tazewell is located in Tazewell County in the Southwest Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains. Tazewell is the scenic gateway to the heart of the Appalachians. Tazewell offers the full experience, nestled among the Back of the Dragon’s rolling mountains, the winding Clinch River and sweeping farm lands, Tazewell is Nature’s playground. Enjoy an excellent meal at one of our many diverse dining establishments after you shop your worries away at trendy boutiques. The town of Tazewell Virginia is situated along the banks of the Upper Fork of the Clinch River. Tazewell county is considered to be the adventure tourism capital of the Appalachian Mountains. From ATV trails, to motorcycle rides, hiking, cycling, fishing, mountain vistas, campgrounds, museums, Clinch River Artisan Trail, and much more.
We have fun community events for all ages, from the Music on Main & Cruise In, Main Street Moments festival, Oktobrewfest each October, and the Main Street Winter Market in December.
History of Tazewell VA
Areas around the town of Tazewell and within the county was long a hunting ground for various historic Native American tribes and their ancestral indigenous cultures. Although rare in the eastern United States, there are petroglyphs near the summit of Paintlick Mountain. Among the tribes that occupied this area in historic times were the Lenape (Delaware), and the Iroquoian-speaking Cherokee and members of the Iroquois Confederacy.
A little more than two hundred years ago, a virgin forest existed in the expanse that was to become Tazewell County. The five hundred twenty-two square miles of abounding natural resources and a large population of grazing animals made the Clinch Valley a choice hunting ground for the native Americans who were the first inhabitants. Later, hunters, from eastern Virginia traversed the area.
Tazewell was first settled in 1773, when William Peery selected a home site. Samuel Ferguson followed and when the legislature created the county of Tazewell in 1799, Peery and Ferguson gave the land on which to erect the court house and the town.
The selection of the site for the town was not decided in a traditional manner. Two factions, the east and the west, vied for the location; the controversy was settled by a fist fight. Two able fighters were selected, and it is said: “For several hours these men fought, urged on and encouraged by their friends, until finally the ‘west’ was declared the winner and the location was set.” It is believed that Tazewell is the only town in the Commonwealth whose site was chosen this strange way.
Named Jeffersonville until 1892, Tazewell was developed near the headwaters of the Clinch River. It is one of the smallest towns in the United States to have once operated a street car. It is in a county that underwent rapid growth in population at the end of the 19th century during the period of the coal and iron boom, as resources of the Pocahontas Coalfields were exploited.
The Big Crab Orchard Site, Bull Thistle Cave Archeological Site, Burke’s Garden Rural Historic District, Chimney Rock Farm, Tazewell Historic District, and James Wynn House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the spring of 1771, Thomas and John Witten established the first permanent settlement in Tazewell County at Crab Orchard. Tazewell County was created on December 20, 1799. The land for the county was taken from portions of the adjacent counties, Wythe and Russell.
During the early settlement period, many Scots-Irish settled through the Appalachian backcountry, including here and in what is now West Virginia. They tended to be yeoman farmers, owning fewer slaves than the planters in the Tidewater or some Piedmont areas. They developed separate goals and political culture from eastern residents. During the American Civil War, West Virginia, which had many Union supporters, seceded from Virginia and the Confederacy, and was admitted to the Union as an independent state.
Construction of railroads in southwestern Virginia enabled the development of coal and iron resources in the Clinch Valley. The railroads and coal industry attracted new workers for industrial jobs, including blacks from other rural areas of the South and immigrants from Europe, which resulted in social tensions. Richlands had a boom economy in the early 1890s, and became a rougher place with young industrial workers and more saloons. Many whites resisted the entry of blacks into southwestern Virginia.
The profits generated by the coal boom resulted in the development of mansions and the elaborate Richlands Hotel, said to rival the best hotels of New York City. But it was forced to close after the boom cycle ended.