Wise County, Virginia Southwest Virginia’s CHOICE for Play and Stay!
Wise County is the cultural crossroads of the Virginia Coalfields. There are festivals, music events and a wide range of outdoor and adventure based recreational activities that provide something interesting, and fun, for just about everyone. The county has produced world class authors, actors, and musicians including Adriania Trigiani, John Fox Jr., George C. Scott, Jim and Jessee McReynolds, and Dock Boggs. You can explore the ‘Round the Mountain’s Lonesome Pine Artisan Trail, The Crooked Road; Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail as well as the Coal Heritage Trail. Proudly, Wise County is home to Spearhead Trail’s Mountain View ATV Trail System in St. Paul, Virginia, the first motorized public access trail system in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Wise County, nestled in the Southwestern Virginia Mountain range, was chartered in 1856 and named after then governor Henry A. Wise. Early exploration of the region began with Dr. Thomas Walker, Christopher Gist and Daniel Boone, as well as many unknown “long hunters,” trappers and land speculators. Each made their mark along trails long used by the Cherokee, Shawnee and other Indian tribes. A visit to Wise County offers a taste of that first “Old West” in a mountain setting of natural beauty, history, music and mountain splendor.
Artists abound within the region, the handcrafts of blacksmiths, basket-makers, potters, quilters, woodworkers, and more are showcased at the Southwest Virginia Museum, a Virginia State Park. Experience the many historic and cultural exhibits set in a former “Coal Baron” mansion in Big Stone Gap.
The historic restoration and construction of The Inn at Wise will provide additional lodging and meeting facilities as the county continues to mature. The goal is to develop the Inn as a heritage-based destination attraction creating regional economic development opportunities. The Inn was once a cornerstone of the business traveler economy of the Coalfields and had a reputation for fine dining, top flight accommodations and quality entertainment. It is etched in the memory of many individuals who took advantage of its amenities during the days of prominence of the Wise Inn. The property, re-developed with a tourism focus and in a historically relevant manner that reflects Appalachian culture, music and heritage, will become a venue for a variety of events and a destination for business travelers and tourists to the region.
In Wise County, the creative arts and mountain traditions are not something just written about in a brochure, they are a way of life. Economic Development opportunities continue to thrive in Wise County.
Location Provides Access
Wise County is in the southwestern portion of Virginia where US Route 23 and US Route 58 – major four-lane arterial highways – intersect and provide easy access to nearby interstates (I-26, I-81, I-75, I-77). The county is also within 30 miles of the Tri-Cities MSA (500,000 population). With the proximity to interstates and a north-south arterial highway system, business and industry can enjoy easy access to the entire eastern seaboard and Midwest markets. Norfolk Southern and CSX Railways provide rail access in the region.
Workforce and Training
A trainable labor force is key to the success of any company choosing a business location. Virginia is the northern-most right-to-work state and is known for its aggressive training programs. Wise County stands ready to assist prospective industries to access these resources. Other quality career and technical education programs are available through the Center for Workforce Development at Mountain Empire Community College, at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, the Wise County Career and Technical Education Center and the Wise Skills Center.
Who’s Operating in Wise County?
Dominion Virginia Power constructed and operates the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, a circulating fluidized bed, 600-megawatt power station, which produces enough electricity to power about 150,000 homes. The facility is one of the cleanest coal-fired power stations in the country.
Mullican Flooring, one of the top five U.S. manufacturers of hardwood flooring, located one of its two manufacturing centers here because of the interest shown by local and state government.
Crutchfield Corporation, the nation’s leading catalog and Internet retailer of audio and video components, opened its first satellite call center here. AT&T, Verizon and Sykes Enterprises, Inc. are leading companies involved in information technology and have significant operations in Wise County. Major coal companies and gas businesses involved in exploration and distribution continue to operate within the region.
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, the only branch of the esteemed University of Virginia, offers baccalaureate degrees in 24 liberal arts and professional programs of study at its 400- acre campus in Wise and is ranked as one of the top ten public liberal arts colleges in the nation by US News and World Report’s annual college guide.
Mountain Empire Community College offers degrees with certificates in high-demand career and technical education and provides opportunities for internships, apprenticeships and job placement. The Center for Workforce Development at the college provides customized training programs and services for business and industry. The Small Business Development Center, also located on the community college campus, provides one-on-one counseling; business education opportunities and resources to help small business owners and managers improve their businesses. The sole objective is to help Southwest Virginia businesses prosper and to increase job opportunities.
The Wise County and Norton City school systems also offer a full range of K-12 programs serving 7,000 students, including a distance learning center and fiber-optic interactive classrooms. The Wise County Career and Technical Center provides a wide range of traditional and non-traditional vocational and technological opportunities.
Lonesome Pine Regional Business & Technology Park
In addition to three industrial parks, Wise County has developed a 225 acre campus that offers technology-based businesses the latest in fiber-optic connectivity in multi-tenant facilities. More than 75,000 square feet of space is available. The campus is located adjacent to the Lonesome Pine Airport and less than one mile from The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.
With a great quality of life, responsive government, beautiful scenery, many cultural and recreational activities, low crime-rate, and a mountain people’s respect, Wise County is a great place to live, work, play and stay.