Buchanan County is a United States county in far western Virginia, the only Virginia county to border both West Virginia and Kentucky. The county is part of the Southwest Virginia region and lies in the rugged Appalachian Plateau portion of the Appalachian Mountains. Its county seat is Grundy.
Buchanan County was established in 1858 from parts of Russell and Tazewell counties, and it was named in honor of then-President James Buchanan. In 1880, part of Buchanan County was taken to form Dickenson County.
As of the 2010 census, the county population was 24,098, and had a double-digit percentage population decrease over the last three censuses. In addition, as of 2012, Buchanan was the fifth-poorest county in Virginia, when ranked by median household income and has been consistently in bottom 5 % percent over the past decade.
|Buchanan County, Virginia|
Buchanan County Courthouse in Grundy
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
|Named for||James Buchanan|
|• Total||504 sq mi (1,305 km2)|
|• Land||503 sq mi (1,303 km2)|
|• Water||1.1 sq mi (3 km2), 0.2%|
|• Density||45/sq mi (17/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC−5/−4|
The county was formed in 1858 from parts of Russell County and Tazewell County. It was named for James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States. In 1880 the southwestern part of Buchanan County was combined with parts of Russell County and Wise County to become Dickenson County.
Helen Timmons Henderson (1877–1925) helped participate in the work of the Buchanan Mission School at Council, Va. She and Sarah Lee Fain (1888–1962) of Norfolk became the first two women to be elected into the Virginia General Assembly. They were both Democrats in the House of Delegates. When Helen was in office, the delegates agreed to let 6.2 miles (10.0 km) of improved road to be placed from Russell County, across Big "A" Mountain, to Council. Route 80 is also known as "Helen Henderson Highway." In 1876, Grundy was chosen and became the county seat of Buchanan County, it was named in honor of Felix Grundy, a Senator from Tennessee.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 503.8 square miles (1,304.8 km2), of which 502.7 square miles (1,302.0 km2) is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2) (0.2%) is water. It is home to Poplar Gap Park.
The county is divided into seven supervisor districts: Garden, Hurricane, Knox, North Grundy, Prater, Rock Lick, and South Grundy.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 26,978 people, 10,464 households, and 7,900 families residing in the county. The population density was 54 people per square mile (21/km²). There were 11,887 housing units at an average density of 24 per square mile (9/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.75% White, 2.62% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.10% from other races, 0.33% from two or more races, and 0.47% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 10,464 households out of which 30.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.90% were married couples living together, 10.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.50% were non-families. Of all households, 22.50% were made up of individuals and 9.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.87.
In the county, the population was spread out with 21.40% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 31.20% from 25 to 44, 27.50% from 45 to 64, and 11.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 102.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $22,213, and the median income for a family was $27,328. Males had a median income of $29,540 versus $17,766 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,788. About 19.80% of families and 23.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.20% of those under age 18 and 16.90% of those age 65 or over.
Buchanan County is represented by Republican A. Benton Chafin in the Virginia Senate, Republican James W. "Will" Morefield in the Virginia House of Delegates, and Republican H. Morgan Griffith in the U.S. House of Representatives.
All public schools in Buchanan County are operated by Buchanan County Public Schools system.
The Appalachian School of Law (ASL) is an ABA-approved private law school on a four building campus in Grundy, Virginia, a small town near the convergence of Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia. The school offers a three-year Juris Doctor degree, and enrolls approximately 128 full-time students. The law school was founded in 1994 and admitted its first class of students in August 1997.
ASL was started and brought to Buchanan County, Virginia as a tool of economic development for the region. ASL is notable for its focus to community service and leadership, emphasizing professional responsibility and alternative dispute resolution in its curriculum and requiring students to complete 25 hours of community service per semester in order to graduate. Each student is also required to complete an externship before graduation. According to ASL's 2018 ABA-required disclosures, 55% of the Class of 2017 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation. ASL was also the site of a triple homicide that took place on January 16, 2002.Conaway, Virginia
Conaway is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia, United States. Conaway is located along the Levisa Fork and U.S. Route 460 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Grundy. Conaway had a post office until July 9, 1988.Grundy, Virginia
Grundy is a town in Buchanan County, Virginia, United States, an area of the Appalachian Mountains. The population was 1,105 at the 2000 census and 1,021 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Buchanan County. The town is noted for two educational institutions established since the late 20th century: Appalachian School of Law and Appalachian College of Pharmacy.
Legislation establishing Buchanan County in 1858 designated a plat of land at the confluence of the Levisa Fork River and Slate Creek as the seat of government for the county and directed the erection of the county courthouse on the plat, which marked the beginnings of what would be Grundy.
Although originally developed along the Levisa Fork River, which provided a transportation and power waterway, the town suffered from nine major floods since 1929 that caused extensive damage, the last in 1977. It is notable for having major businesses relocated in the 21st century to higher ground to prevent such damage in the future. A mountain opposite the historic town was blasted to provide a kind of plateau where much of the town was relocated and redeveloped. The federal project included construction of bridges and a flood wall, and relocation of some roadways.
During the American Civil War, the town served as a stopover for Union troops on their way to the Battle of Saltville.Janey, Virginia
Janey is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia, in the United States.Leemaster, Virginia
Leemaster is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia, in the United States.Mount Heron, Virginia
Mount Heron is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia, in the United States.Murphy, Virginia
Murphy is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia, in the United States.National Register of Historic Places listings in Buchanan County, Virginia
This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Buchanan County, Virginia.
This is intended to be a detailed table of the property on the National Register of Historic Places in Buchanan County, Virginia, United States. The locations of National Register properties and districts for which the latitude and longitude coordinates are included below, may be seen in a Google map.There is 1 property listed on the National Register in the county. Another property was once listed but has been removed.
This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted April 12, 2019.Oakwood, Virginia
Oakwood is an unincorporated area in Buchanan County, Virginia, located at the intersection of U.S. Route 460 and Secondary Route 624. The Appalachian College of Pharmacy is in Oakwood, on the campus of the former Garden High School.
The Oakwood post office was established in 1938. The community was likely named for the valuable oak timber in the area.Page, Virginia
Page is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia, in the United States.Patterson, Buchanan County, Virginia
Patterson is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia, United States. Patterson is located on State Route 641 6.8 miles (10.9 km) east of Grundy. Patterson had a post office from September 11, 1936, to July 27, 1991.The Patterson post office was established in 1936. The community was named for the Patterson brothers.Peapatch, Virginia and West Virginia
Peapatch is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia and McDowell County, West Virginia.Roth, Virginia
Roth is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia, in the United States.Shack Mills, Virginia
Shack Mills is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia, in the United States.Thomas, Virginia
Thomas is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia, in the United States.Vandyke, Virginia
Vandyke is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia, in the United States.Venia, Virginia
Venia is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia, in the United States.Vicey, Virginia
Vicey is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia, in the United States.Whitewood, Virginia
Whitewood is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Virginia. As of the 2000 census, the Whitewood area had a population of 485. It is located along the Dismal River, which is part of the watershed of the Big Sandy River.
Places adjacent to Buchanan County, Virginia
Municipalities and communities of Buchanan County, Virginia, United States
‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties