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Town of Bluefield, Virginia
—  Town  —

Nickname(s): Virginia's Tallest Town
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Coordinates: 37°14′39″N 81°16′30″W / 37.24417°N 81.275°W / 37.24417; -81.275
Country United States
State Virginia
County Tazewell
Incorporated 1883
 - Mayor James Jones
 - 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 (2006)
 - Town 5,226
 - Density 669.8/sq mi (258.6/km2)
 - Metro 107,578 (Bluefield Micropolitan Area)
  U.S. Census Bureau, 2006 Population Estimates
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 24605
Area code(s) 276
FIPS code 51-08152[1]
GNIS feature ID 1481874[2]

Bluefield is a town in Tazewell County, Virginia, along the Bluestone River. The population was 5,078 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Bluefield WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 107,578. The micropolitan area is the 350th largest statistical population area in the United States.



Bluefield is located at 37°14′39″N 81°16′30″W / 37.24417°N 81.275°W / 37.24417; -81.275 (37.244195, -81.274926)[3].

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


As of the census[1] 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/sq mi (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.


Bluefield has not always borne the name Bluefield. The town was renamed Bluefield in 1924 during a marriage ceremony, which was held in the city park to celebrate the renaming of the community to match its sister city across the West Virginia state line. The original name for the post office in the town was Pin Hook, and as the railroad was being built by Norfolk and Western, a blueprint for a town was laid out around the post office, and the town of Harman was born. Harman was a community whose borders are now roughly the same as the downtown area alongside the railroad. Bluefield, West Virginia beat Harman, 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.

Harman 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 essentially killed any chance of Harman to grow. Even after the name change in the 1920s, the city did not start to expand outside of the downtown area until the 1950s, when the city annexed the small town of Graham to the west, and then began to expand to the more open rural foothills to the south of the city. Contrary to popular belief, Harman and Graham were two entirely separate towns until Harman changed its name to Bluefield, and then annexed the town of Graham.

As the largest town in Tazewell County, Virginia, Bluefield has recently undergone 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 city is in the process of moving its entire downtown area (the area originally encompassing Harman, which lies in a flood plain) 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. Highway 460. The new downtown area will be located on the southern side of Route 460, and should have plenty of expansion room for more growth.

Bluefield, Virginia's most famous residents are Bill Dudley, an NFL Hall of Famer whose grand nephew now coaches the city's semi-professional football team, the Bluefield Barons; New York Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw; and the widow of the late western actor Lorne Greene, who lives in a mansion atop a hill overlooking the town's most historic home, the Sanders house. The Sanders house was saved from demolition by the Walmart corporation thanks to a strong community effort to save the structure and now houses 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".


Educational institutions include Graham High School and Bluefield College.


The Bluefield Orioles, 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 Orioles' stadium lies entirely within Virginia.


  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. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  

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