The seat of Raleigh County, Beckley, WV, (map) was incorporated in 1838 through the efforts of Alfred Beckley, a young Washingtonian who employed his knowledge of engineering to locate a town in what was then an Allegheny wilderness. The state's eighth-largest city (pop. 17,254 in 2000) developed in the tableland of central Raleigh County and became a center of commerce and transportation. Interstate highways 64 and 77 converge at Beckley. Interstate access, proximity to parkland, and mountainous climate and scenery have been counted among Beckley's attributes.
The largest city in southern West Virginia, Beckley was established in a plateau region southwest of the New River Gorge in north-central Raleigh County and is located approximately 25 miles south of Fayetteville, WV, 50 miles west of Lewisburg, 40 miles north of Bluefield, WV, and 55 miles southeast of Charleston, WV.
The Raleigh County Memorial Airport is located five miles north of Interstate 64 (I-64) in Beaver, WV, east of Beckley.
Map showing location public and private heliports and airports in/near Beckley, WV.
Beckley lies at the center of a regional tourist market fueled by the Winterplace ski area and parks and national park lands along four national rivers. Primary attractions in Beckley include: The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine] provides tours of a historic coal mine tunneled beneath the City of Beckley. Guided tours on period "mancars" are offered April through November while group tours are available by reservation in the winter. New River Park, the largest of five municipal parks in Beckley, serves as a popular recreational facility for Beckley residents and includes a playground, picnic areas, a baseball diamond, a woodland walking trail, game courts for tennis and basketball, and a swimming pool with waterslide. A small full-service campground and the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia are also located within the park.Tamarack, West Virginia's premier showcase for fine arts, is located in Beckley, off Interstate 77 (I-77) exit 42. Thousands of travelers visit this unique Appalachian cultural complex every year. West Virginia handcrafts and Appalachian cuisine are available for purchase. Tamarack is conveniently located for travelers in Beckley's hotel and restaurant district at I-77 exit 44. Wildwood (c. 1835), home of Beckley-founder Alfred Beckley, has been restored to its late historical appearance and is open for tours. Wildwood Cemetery, where Beckley was buried, is located across South Kanawha Street (originally the first route through the area), but the historical view from Wildwood to the cemetery has been obliterated by the Memorial Baptist Church complex and several private residences.
Other Attractions near Beckley, WV
The New River Gorge National River, West Virginia's most popular outdoor-recreation destination, is located to the north and east of Beckley. Several popular hiking trails, campgrounds, fishing areas, and natural and cultural landmarks are located with the parkland, which is administered by the U.S. National Park Service.
Winterplace Ski Resort, West Virginia's most accessable ski resort, is located just off I-77 between Beckley and Bluefield, WV, and attracts hundreds of thousands of skiers from throughout the southeastern U.S.
Little Beaver State Park, east of Beckley off Interstate 77 (I-77), is a popular local-use park which includes hiking trails, an exercise trail, picnic shelters, and Little Beaver Lake, a popular, stocked fishery.
The Outdoor Dramas near Beckley at Grandview -- "Honey in the Rock" and "Hatfields and McCoys" -- have been performed since the early 1970s under the summer stars at the Cliffside Amphitheatre, off Interstate 64 (I-64), part of the New River Gorge National River. Many now-famous singers, dancers, and theatricians have performed on the Cliffside stage over the decades.
Beckley is the medical service center of southern West Virginia. Five hospitals have traditionally operated in Beckley -- Beckley Hospital, Pinecrest Hospital, Raleigh General Hospital, Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital, and the Beckley Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center.
Beckley ARH Hospital : Beckley VA Medical Center : Raleigh General Hospital
Historic Sites and Districts
Two historic sites and a historic district in Beckley have been so-designated as nationally historic. The Raleigh County Historical Landmarks Commission in 2010 designated the route of North and South Kanawha streets through Beckley as part of a historically important thoroughfare, the Giles, Fayette and Kanawha Turnpike Historic District.
Beckley Courthouse Square National Historic District
Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine
The Raleigh County Public Library, at 221 N. Kanawha Street, is the largest of public libraries in southern West Virginia and includes volumes on local and regional history.
Raleigh County Library : Interactive street map showing location of Raleigh County Library in Beckley, WV
Many of southern West Virginia's media sources are based in Beckley.
Internet Media based in the Beckley, WV, region
Newspapers serving the Beckley, WV, region
Radio stations broadcasting in the Beckley, WV, region
Radio History: WJLS, the first radio station in Beckley, went on the air in 1939. WVPB radio, the first public radio station in West Virginia, began broadcasting from Beckley on May 1, 1974.
Television (TV) Stations
Television (TV) stations serving the Beckley, WV, region
Photos of Beckley, WV, are easy to find on line. Several historical collections of Beckley photos are available in book form through Beckley Newspapers and other private sources and at the Raleigh County Public Library. Beckley's many woodlots provide a scenic backdrop to the lives of its inhabitants.
Beckley, WV Photo Gallery : Beckley, WV e-Postcards
Beckley is the home of Mountain State University, originally chartered as Beckley College in 1933. The institution was briefly known as the College of West Virginia in the late 1990s. Appalachian Bible College, a private non-demoniational Christian academy, is located in nearby Bradley, WV.
Raleigh County Schools : Map
Additional information about Beckley, West Virginia (WV), and the New River Gorge region is available through NewRiverWV.com.
Beckley, West Virginia
Map of Beckley, WV showing streets and highways, and nearby airports, parks, buildings, churches, cemeteries, trails and other points of interest, with link to driving directions.
Topo map of Beckley, WV and vicinity
Housing Units: 8,731
Elevation: 2416 feet
Beckley Exhibition Mine Photo Tour
Uptown Beckley, WV
Raleigh County Courthouse, Beckley, WV
C&O Station - Beckley, WV