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Town of Appalachia, Virginia
Downtown Appalachia
Downtown Appalachia
Appalachia is located in Virginia
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Coordinates: 36°54′23″N 82°47′8″W / 36.90639°N 82.78556°W / 36.90639; -82.78556Coordinates: 36°54′23″N 82°47′8″W / 36.90639°N 82.78556°W / 36.90639; -82.78556
Country United States
State Virginia
County Wise
 • Mayor Jessie "Jay" Swiney, III
 • Vice Mayor Ted Collins
 • Town Manager Fred Luntsford
 • Town Clerk & Treasurer Michele Hylton
 • Town Council
 • Total 2.3 sq mi (6.0 km2)
 • Land 2.3 sq mi (6.0 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 1,647 ft (502 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 1,839
 • Density 797/sq mi (307.8/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 24216
Area code(s) 276
FIPS code 51-02040[1]
GNIS feature ID 1481331[2]
Website townofappalachiava.us

Appalachia is a town in Wise County, Virginia, United States. The population was 1,839 at the 2000 census.


The Appalachia post office was established in 1898.[3] The community was named for the surrounding Appalachian Mountains.[4]

The Derby Historic District, Kelly View School, and Stonega Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[5]


Appalachia is located at 36°54′23″N 82°47′8″W / 36.90639°N 82.78556°W / 36.90639; -82.78556 (36.906505, -82.785560).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 km²), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 1,090
1920 2,036 86.8%
1930 3,595 76.6%
1940 3,010 −16.3%
1950 2,915 −3.2%
1960 2,456 −15.7%
1970 2,161 −12.0%
1980 2,418 11.9%
1990 1,994 −17.5%
2000 1,839 −7.8%
2010 1,754 −4.6%
Est. 2014 1,684 [7] −4.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 1,839 people, 790 households, and 515 families residing in the town. The population density was 797.3 people per square mile (307.4/km²). There were 891 housing units at an average density of 386.3 per square mile (148.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.18% White, 4.57% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.38% from other races, and 0.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.20% of the population.

There were 790 households out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.4% were married couples living together, 17.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the town the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 86.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $20,405, and the median income for a family was $25,221. Males had a median income of $26,842 versus $18,864 for females. The per capita income for the town was $11,782. About 28.0% of families and 29.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 41.0% of those under age 18 and 16.2% of those age 65 or over.

Surrounding area[edit]

Appalachia is surrounded by numerous coal camp communities. They include Andover, Arno, Derby, Imboden, Exeter, Dunbar, Pardee, Osaka, Roda, and Stonega. Many of these communities formed at the beginning of the twentieth century with the arrival of the mining and railroad industry.


Appalachia is home to one public school, Appalachia Elementary School. Prior to the 2011 school year the Appalachia High School Bulldogs was merged with the Powell Valley High School Vikings in neighboring Big Stone Gap to become the Union High School Bears.

Special events[edit]

Each year, usually in the first week of August, the residents of Appalachia and the surrounding area celebrate their heritage in a week-long celebration known as Coal/Railroad Days. The festival includes a 5K road race, music concerts at the town's amphitheater, amusement rides, street vendors, a parade, and numerous other festival type events. Twice, Coal/Railroad days has coincided with other celebrations in Appalachia. In 2000 the town took part in a mass high school reunion, known as Appy 2000. In 2006, the festival was part of the Appalachia 100 celebration that marked the 100th birthday of the Town of Appalachia.

World records[edit]

The town of Appalachia holds two world records.

  • Bee Rock Tunnel, the world's second-shortest railroad tunnel.
  • The Peake Building, an apartment house with street-level access on all four floors.

Electoral fraud[edit]

On March 6, 2006, a grand jury in Wise County, Virginia indicted fourteen Appalachia residents with charges relating to a electoral fraud conspiracy. The town's mayor, Ben Cooper, and the head of the town's police department were among the individuals charged. The former mayor was convicted in November 2006 of intercepting absentee ballots and changing the votes on them; buying votes with beer, cigarettes, and pork rinds; and conspiring with a police chief, who he appointed, to steal money and other items from residents, among 243 felony charges. However, state sentencing rules limited his sentence to 21 months in prison. The other 10 conspirators pleaded guilty and received fines or short jail sentences.[9][10][11][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. ^ "Wise County". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  4. ^ Tennis, Joe (2004). Southwest Virginia Crossroads: An Almanac of Place Names and Places to See. The Overmountain Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-57072-256-1. 
  5. ^ Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ Lester, Jeff (2006-03-21). "Thirteen of 14 defendants pleaded not guilty Tuesday in the massive investigation of alleged election fraud and corruption in the town of Appalachia". Coalfield Progress (Coalfield.com). Retrieved 2006-11-20. 
  10. ^ "Ex-mayor pleads guilty to 243 felonies". breitbart.com. Associated Press. 2006-12-01. Archived from the original on 4 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  11. ^ The Roanoke Times (2007-02-01). "Ex-mayor sentenced in election fraud case". roanoke.com. Retrieved 2007-02-10. 
  12. ^ "UPDATE: Ex-Mayor Pleads Guilty to Buying Votes With Pork Rinds - Lowering the Bar". 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachia,_Virginia — Please support Wikipedia.
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