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Galax, Virginia
—  City  —
Central Galax
Galax, Virginia is located in Virginia
Galax, Virginia
Location within the state of Virginia
Coordinates: 36°39′53″N 80°55′13″W / 36.66472°N 80.92028°W / 36.66472; -80.92028
Country United States
State Virginia
 - Total 8.2 sq mi (21.3 km2)
 - Land 8.2 sq mi (21.3 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 2,372 ft (723 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 6,837
 - Density 830.9/sq mi (320.8/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 24333
Area code(s) 276
FIPS code 51-30208[1]
GNIS feature ID 1483573[2]
Historical marker at Galax

Galax (pronounced /ˈɡeɪlæks/) is an independent city in the southwestern part of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is bounded to the northeast by Carroll County and to the southwest by Grayson County. The population was 6,837 as of the 2000 census. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Galax with neighboring Carroll county for statistical purposes.



Map showing City of Galax, Virginia

Galax is located at 36°39′52″N 80°55′12″W / 36.66444°N 80.92°W / 36.66444; -80.92 (36.664675, -80.920275)[3].

The United States Census Bureau says the city has a total area of 8.2 square miles (21.3 km²), all of it land.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 6,837 people, 2,950 households, and 1,843 families residing in the city. The population density was 830.9 people per square mile (320.8/km²). There were 3,217 housing units at an average density of 391.0/sq mi (150.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.11% White, 6.26% Black or African American, 0.45% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 5.51% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 11.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,950 households out of which 27.6% had children under the living with them, 46.0% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.0% under the , 7.9% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 19.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,236, and the median income for a family was $36,832. Males had a median income of $24,013 versus $18,393 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,447. About 13.6% of families and 18.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.8% of those under age 18 and 21.4% of those age 65 or over.


Downtown Galax, Virginia

Located in the Appalachian region of the United States, Galax has long been famous for its traditional, or "old-timey" music and musicians. Although the entire Appalachian region is known for its music, the region around Mount Airy, North Carolina and Galax is one of the few areas of the United States where this music has remained strongest, even among young people. The Old Fiddler's Convention, one of the most prominent traditional music contests in the United States, has been held annually in Galax since 1935.[1] It has long attracted the best up-and-coming musicians in the bluegrass firmament. The Blue Ridge Music Center with its amphitheather and music museum of old-time music is just a few miles away on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 213.


The southern end of New River Trail State Park is in Galax.

Climate and Geography

Galax is in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Southwest Virginia. Galax sits in a valley and the average elevation in Galax is close to 2500'. The surrounding counties of Carroll and Grayson average closer to 3,000'. Several miles west of Galax rise the highest mountains in Virginia: Mt. Rogers and Whitetop mountain which both top out above 5,000'. To the east rise Carroll and Floyd counties, though not as drastically. Most of the counties average 3,000' in elevation, though Fishers Peak in the southern portion of Carroll County exceeds 3500'. In Floyd County, Rocky Knob, too exceeds 3500'. Both of these peaks are part of the Eastern Escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Four distinct seasons occur in these mountains. Spring weather lasts from late April until late June. Temperatures during this time average in the low 70's in the day, and 40's at night. This season is often showery as it is the growing season.

Summers often are short and go from late June to early September. The daily temperatures average in the 80's, and exceed 100°F often. In the night temperatures average from the upper 40's to upper 50's. Moisture during this time is often comes from tropical systems or sudden thunderstorms.

Fall often begins in early September and continues into early November. Temperatures start in the 70's in September, but by November rarely go above 45°F. Snowflakes are often seen before Halloween, though the first accumulation generally holds off until late November.

Winter is usually long. In a good year it lasts from early November to late April. Seasonal snowfall averages between 25 and 35 inches (higher amounts in higher elevations). Temperatures are usually in the 20's and 30's, and the teens at night. Extremes do occur though, as temperatures below 0°F are not uncommon.

Unique Climate Characteristics When winds turn from the east in the summer, the moisture off the Atlantic banks up against the eastern Blue Ridge, holding down temperatures and keeping fog and rain around, comparable to the Pacific Northwest. Temperatures in Galax will be in the 50's, with clouds and rain, while temperatures on the top of Mt Rogers (western side of the mountains) will be sunny and in the 70's. During winter storms more snow will fall east. The moisture off the ocean rides up the Eastern Escarpment, wringing out several more inches of snow than in surrounding areas. When the flow turns from the northwest, the opposite happens Often, when the flow turns out of the northwest, areas west of Galax receive more snow. It can snow for several days in a row, with moisture being wrung out of the air on the western side of the mountains. When the air crosses the higher mountains, the air downslopes and warms, creating a rain shadow effect over the eastern Blue Ridge Mountains. It is not uncommon for Galax to be sunny and cold, while Bluefield, (same elevation, just different side of the mountains ) has six inches of snow. The opposite is true when the winds come out of the east, twelve inches in Galax, with only two or three in Bluefield.)

"History" Galax was founded along the watercourse of Chesnut Creek which has provided an abundant water supply for the city as well as furnishing an early source of power. The Norfolk and Western Railway extended a spur into the village, then called Blairs, with the first train arriving in 1904. The town itself was incorporated in 1906. The railroad provided both freight and passenger transportation that facilitated the growth of industry and provided many of the necessities of life for the people. The manufacture of furniture, textiles, mirrors, garments, and hardwood flooring formed the economic backbone for the area. The processing of condensed milk also enabled many small farms to sell limited quantities of milk that were processed in Galax.

During the 1950s, Galax chose to separate from the two counties into whose territory it extended and became an independent city. That status fueled initial economic growth and provided a strong tax base for a number of years. While cooperating with both Grayson and Carroll Counties, Galax was able to chart an independent course to better respond to the needs of its citizens.


Galax is served by the Galax City Public School Division
High School: Galax High School (serving grades 8 through 12)
Middle School: Galax Middle School (serving grades 5 through 7)
Elementary School: Galax Elementary School (serving grades PreK through 4)


External links



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