Wythe County is located in Southwest Virginia, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. The County includes 465 square miles, 2.8 square miles in water, and 462 square miles in land. The Census of 2010 placed the population at 29,235. Based on the 2015 population estimate of 29,118, the population density was 63 people per square mile. The county seat is the town of Wytheville, the largest town in the County.
The County is crossed by the New River. Most of the land is an elevated plateau that is between Walker’s Mountain to the northwest and Iron Mountain to the south. Much of the land is rich and fertile farmland. Mining operations have located iron ore, bituminous coal, lead, gypsum and limestone. Traces of silver have been found in the lead mines.
Parts of the County are within National Protected Area: Jefferson National Forest and Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Wythe County contains no cities. There are two incorporated towns: Wytheville and Rural Retreat. Unincorporated communities include:
- Cripple Creek
- Fort Chiswell
- Max Meadows
Wythe County is accessed and travelled via several highways. Currently it is accessed via two Interstate Highways, I-77 and I-81. It will also be accessible from the future Interstate 74. Transportation throughout the County primarily moves along several highways, including US Routes 11, 21, and 52, and State Routes 69, 90, 94, 100, 121. According to the NHTSA, Wythe County ranks third among Virginia counties for the most traffic wreck fatalities per 100,000 people in population.
Crash fatalities are common on rural or country roads. In fact, a large number of rollover crashes occur on these roads. If you, or a loved one, are injured, through no fault of your own, call Altizer Law, P.C., as soon as possible. For more than 20 years, we have been helping crash victims to get justice and to obtain maximum possible financial settlements to compensate them for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other harms and losses.
Before Wythe County came into existence, the area now known as Austinville was the county seat of Fincastle County. Fincastle County no longer exists. However, at one time Fincastle extended from Roanoke to the Mississippi River. Wythe County was formed in 1790 to include land taken from Montgomery County. It was named for George Wythe, the first Virginia signer of the Declaration of Independence. Originally called Evansham, the name of the town was changed in 1839. Throughout its history, Wytheville has been a crossroad for transportation and as a supply center and stopping point for settlers headed for the western frontier.
The Austinville community was founded by the brothers Stephen and Moses Austin (father of Stephen F. Austin). In the 1790s, the Austins took control of the local mines, which produced lead and zinc. They mined and shipped lead throughout the new United States of America. They also produced lead shot. Successive generations of Wythe County residents have preserved the Jackson Ferry Shot Tower, near Fosters Falls. Lead was mined until 1982, when demand had fallen and when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards were put in place. Today, those mines are filled with water.
Another significant area in Wythe County is the unincorporated community known as Fort Chiswell. The fort and the buildings that surround it served as the Wythe County seat until the town of Wytheville was incorporated about 10 miles away. The fort was allowed to go back to the earth. Fort Chiswell was named for Colonel John Chiswell, who had helped to work the lead mines until they were bought by the Austins. In the 1970s, construction of Interstate highways I-77 and I-81 met in the area, and the old ruins of the Fort were paved over.
Like a number of surrounding counties, Wythe County included several natural mineral spas. These, combined with the climate, made the area a popular “summering” place for Southerners who wanted to escape the heat and diseases the spread during the summers.
Four battles occurred in Wythe County during the Civil War. Unfortunately, a number of Antebellum homes and businesses were destroyed in the fighting.
Agriculture is, and always has been, important to the economy of Wythe County. It ranks among the top ten Virginia counties for livestock. Mining (though less lead mining) has also continued to be important to the area. Today, Wythe County’s economy is also heavily dependent upon manufacturing.
The industries that employ the largest numbers of residents are:
- Government (particularly local government)
- Retail Trade
- Accommodation and Food Services
- Health Care and Social Assistance
The largest employers include:
- Wythe County School Board
- Wythe County Community Hospital
- The Gatorade Co.
- Somic America Inc. – suppliers of Auto Body Parts
- Mt Rogers Community Mental Health Ret Service Board
- Town of Wytheville
- Wytheville Community College
- The Pepsi Bottling Group
- Klockner Pentaplast America — one of the world’s largest suppliers of films for pharmaceutical, medical devices, food, electronics, and general packaging.
- Hutchinson Sealing System – producing body sealing systems that are used on cars and trucks as window seals (glass run channels and weather-strips), dynamic seals and seals for opening panels (doors, trunks and hoods).
- Longwood Elastomers Inc. — A Manufacturer Of Specialty Rubber Products
- County of Wythe
- Cullen Management LLC — small organization in the management services industry
In addition to personal injury law, Altizer Law, P.C., also practices medical malpractice law. We understand how you feel when a trusted medical provider becomes distracted or makes a mistake that leaves you hurt or a loved one harmed. Attorney Bettina Altizer works with people who have been harmed by medical malpractice every day. We speak the language and we know the real meaning of harms or hurts resulting from medical malpractice. We hope you never have reason to need our help, but if you do, you can count on two things: a compassionate and caring staff, and an attorney who will fight relentlessly and aggressively on your behalf.
Many travelers stop at Wytheville to eat or to stay the night. In addition to several truck stops, there are hotels and motels, and numerous restaurants.
Those who are not just passing through, outdoor recreational opportunities abound. The Blue Ridge Mountains surround Wythe County, the Jefferson National Forest offers countless opportunities for
hiking, biking, horseback riding and even a motorcycle trail, and for those who prefer water activities, there are nearly 250 miles of trails, 20 miles of river frontage on the New River. Fishing is great on the New River. Rural Retreat Lake is a 90-acre fishing spot. There are also several trout hatcheries and farms.
Wythe County offers many parks to visit and places for picnicking, camping and family fun. Sites of special interest include
- African American Heritage Driving Tour
- African American Heritage Museum
- Beagle Ridge Gardens an Herb Farm
- Big Walker Lookout
- Big Walker Mountain Scenic Byway
- Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum
- Shot Tower Historical State Park
- West Wind Farm Vineyard Winery
- Fort Chiswell Animal Park
- Birthplace of Edith Bolling Wilson, Woodrow Wilson’s First Lady
- Gibboney Rock House Museum
- Thomas J. Boyd Museum
- Great Lakes to Florida Highway Museum
As it was in its early history, Wythe County remains a major crossroads for travelers. The beauty of the area and its towns are beautiful to see, and offer wonderful historical and local exhibits of fascinating artifacts.
Call Altizer Law, P.C.
If you, or a loved one, are injured through no fault of your own, whether in a car crash, due to medical malpractice, nursing home abuse or neglect, or any other cause of injury, call Altizer Law, P.C., to discuss your injury. We will listen to your account of what happened and make a preliminary determination regarding the merits of taking legal action against the person or institution responsible for your injury. Should you decide to hire us to represent your legal action, we will begin immediately to build the strongest possible case and negotiate or try the case to win for you the best possible financial compensation for your hurts and harms. When you hire us, we are on your side, and only on your side.