Highland County, with its mountains and valleys, is often called “Virginia’s Switzerland” or “Virginia’s Little Switzerland.” The County is located midway between the Shenandoah Valley and Virginia’s western border with West Virginia. It includes the highest elevation east of the Mississippi River. The headwaters of both the James River and the Potomac River are located within the County.
Highland County includes parts of the George Washington National Forest and the Highland Wildlife Management Area (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries) that occupy three defined areas. Together these areas cover 71,455 acres, or 28 percent of the land area of the County. The entire county lies within the National Radio Quiet Zone, which limits radio activity to minimize interference with the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.
Settled by Scotch/Irish highlanders and German immigrants, today the population is a mixture of native farm families and people drawn to the quality of life afforded here. Highland County has the lowest population east of the Mississippi River. The population reported by the U.S. Census of 2010 was 2,321. The estimated population in 2015 was 2,214. The total area of Highland County is 416 square miles, with only 0.7 square miles of water. The population density is 5.3 people per square mile.
The county seat of Highland County is the incorporated town of Monterey. Other communities in the County include:
- Blue Grass
- Clover Creek
- Doe Hill
- Forks of Waters
- Head Waters
- Mill Gap
- New Hampden
- Palo Alto
- Possum Trot
- Sirons Mill
Settlement of the area that is now Highland County began in about 1745. The Blue Ridge Mountains (then called the “Transmountaine”) formed an obstacle that few settlers were willing to try to overcome. Instead, they crossed the Potomac River from Maryland and Pennsylvania and traveled south through the Valley. The Valley Pike (today, U.S. Route 11) was a primary route. German immigrants typically settled in the northern area of present-day Highland County, and the Scots-Irish tended to settle in the southern part.
In the 1840s, the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike was built through the area. It was a toll road that connected the upper Shenandoah Valley with the Ohio River. On land taken from Bath and Pendleton Counties, Highland County was defined in 1847. It was named for the mountains – highlands – much like the Scottish highlands.
Control of the Turnpike was important. It became critical during the Civil War. The Battle of McDowell was hard fought, but ended in a victory for Stonewall Jackson and the Confederate troops. In the 20th century, the Turnpike was re-named U.S. Route 250. It is still the main east-west highway of Highland County. As it crosses into West Virginia, it becomes a National Scenic Byway. Other primary roads in the County are State Route 84 and U.S. Route 220.
Rural roads can be very dangerous for drivers. They present unique dangers. Roads through areas of high elevation can become quite dangerous in times of inclement weather. When people become distracted car accidents and small truck crashes happen. If you, or a loved one, should be injured through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to fair compensation under Virginia law. Typically, the compensation is intended to pay your medical expenses, lost wages, damages, and pain and suffering. Sometimes, punitive damages may also be included in a settlement.
If you are injured in a car or small truck crash, count on Bettina Altizer, one of the most trusted and experienced area attorneys. She will listen to your account of the crash, help you make a preliminary assessment of liability, and answer any questions you may have. Should you decide to hire us to represent you, we will seek justice aggressively on your behalf.
Agriculture has been a vital part of Highland County’s economy from its early days. The terrain is ideal for raising and grazing cattle. Roughly 36 percent of the land is used for agricultural purposes. In 2012, forestry agriculture, fishing and hunting were the source of nearly eight percent of local jobs. According to 2007 census reports, there were 239 farms or 76.764 acres of farmland, and 8,581 acres of cropland in the county. The county ranked fifth in the Commonwealth for the number of sheep and lambs.
Highland County also has 211,300 acres of timberland. The average annual harvest value of timber in the county between 1986 and 2001 was $1,248,889, ranking 54th in Virginia.
In 2012, the largest employment sector in the County was government, providing 34 percent of all jobs. Local government jobs accounted for 25.7 percent of all jobs. The finance and industrial sector accounted for 9.6 percent, and health care and social assistance for 8.2 percent of all jobs. The next two industries in terms of jobs were construction (7.2 percent) and retail trade (6.8 percent).
The top employers, according to the 2010 economic report of the Virginia Employment Commission were:
- Highland County School Board
- Highland County
- Highland Medical Center
- First Citizens Bank
- Lowry Logging LLC
- Rexrode Masonry and Tile
- Blue Grass Valley Bank
- Beverage Construction LLC – construction of custom homes
- The Recorder
- Alleghany Meats — a USDA-inspected slaughter, value-added processing facility opened in 2012
- Alleghany Instruments Inc — Specializing in portable borehole video systems featuring six interchangeable video cameras including pan and tilt, dual view and our ¾-inch (20 mm) diameter Nano camera.
- Highland Telephone Company Co-0p
- Obaugh Funeral Home, Inc.
- Postal Service
Any job can become dangerous when defective or damaged equipment is present. Flawed processes can
also put workers in danger. Improperly maintained or constructed facilities also put people at risk. If you are injured due to any of these factors, you have the right to expect fair and sufficient compensation from your employer in these cases. If you believe you are not being treated fairly by an employer or the employer’s insurance company, you might want to give us a call. Our attorneys negotiate with insurance companies every day. We know what is important to them, and how they operate. More important, we know what is important to you. When hired to assist in these cases, you can expect the compassionate help and care of our entire team and relentless aggressive pursuit of justice and maximum allowable compensation for you.
With no hospital of its own, residents and visitors, rely on the various emergency services organizations and use the hospital facilities in either Bath County or Augusta County. Highland Medical Center, in Monterey is the only medical care facility offering general patient care. Highland County is one of the four counties in Virginia and one of 50 counties in states east of the Mississippi River that has been designated a “frontier county.” The designation is applied to counties with remote characteristics, a low population density, and limited access to health care and other services.
We know that every hospital, short term care facility and long term or rehabilitation care facility is committed to providing the highest quality of care to each patient. Unfortunately, sometimes these care providers can become overwhelmed or preoccupied and be negligent in providing care, or they make mistakes. Normally, when health care providers make mistakes or become negligent, patients suffer. If you are harmed by a medical provider, or (we hope never happens) a loved one dies as a result of medical mistakes, you have legal rights to seek justice and fair compensation for your harms and losses.
At Altizer Law, P.C., our legal team have a strong history of helping clients who have been harmed by the mistakes or negligence of a medical provider. If you need legal representation in a case of medical malpractice, or nursing home abuse or neglect, call us. When hired, you can be assured that we will be on your side, and only on your side.
Highland County offers abundant scenic views of mountains and valleys and rivers. It draws many visitors, and has done so for many years. The Highland County Museum and Heritage Center is the home of the County Historical Society. It offers several exhibits on the history of the County and the history of the Battle of McDowell during the Civil War. The McDowell battlefield is considered the best preserved battlefield of all preserved battlefields in the Shenandoah Valley.
The highland County Maple Festival has been held every March since 1958. It attracts more than 60,000 visitors each year. It has been designated a Local Legacy by the Library of Congress. The County also hosts a farmers’ market in season, and supports the Allegheny Mountain School, which helps to secure community food systems. The County Fair is the longest continuously running fair in the Commonwealth.
Other attractions include the barn quilt trails, Bike Highland County, Highland Artists and Artisans, scenic driving tours, Virginia’s Western Highland Artisan Trail, and many opportunities to see wildlife.
A number of outdoor sports, such as fishing, hunting, caving, hiking and cycling are enjoyed by residents and bring a number of visitors. The annual August Mountain Mama Road Bike Challenge draws bicyclists from across the United States to take on the steep roads of Highland County.
The Highland County Arts Council was formed in 1989 to bring musical, dramatic, and other art programs to the County. In 1998, the Highland Center was created and found a home in the former Highland Elementary School building. It offers programs in business incubation, youth development, local food and agriculture, and community and economic development.
Call Altizer Law, P.C.
If you are injured through no fault of your own, or if you are harmed by a medical practitioner, call the experienced legal team of Altizer Law, P.C. Although based in Roanoke, we help people throughout the Commonwealth who call upon us. We are known for compassionate care for our clients and for aggressive and relentless pursuit of justice for them and the highest possible level of financial compensation to help them rebuild their lives.