The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Bluefield, West Virginia

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A community in Mercer County, Bluefield, WV was incorporated in 1889. Bluefield was so named because of the luxuriant growth in that section at the time of a weed, with a dark blue flower, which is a species of chicory, and also because of the blue grass which grows in such abundance in the county.

Bluefield is often called Nature's Air Conditioned City because of the city's moderate temperatures during the summer months. On days when temperatures exceeds 90 degrees, the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce serves free lemonade.

The Two Bluefields refers to two neighboring cites that share the same name, located in two different states -- Bluefield, West Virginia and Bluefield, Virginia (VA) (map).

Bluefield, WV

Bluefield, WV is located about: 9 miles southeast of Bramwell, WV; 12 miles southwest of Princeton, WV; 25 miles west of Glen Lyn, VA; and 38 miles northwest of Wytheville, VA.


Mercer County Airport is the nearest commercial airport. (map)
Commercial and private heliports and airports near Bluefield, WV(map).


Bluefield, WV Hotels: Find nearby hotels and make online reservations


Bluefield, WV: Current conditions, forecasts, weather alerts, and more


Map of Athens and Vicinity

View a larger version of this map (best viewed full-screen) with links to driving directions and additional mapping options.


Bluefield Downtown Commercial Historic District
Winterplace Ski Resort, West Virginia's most accessable ski resort, is located just off I-77 between Beckley and Bluefield, WV.
Pinnacle Rock State Park, on Rt. 52, northwest of Bluefield, WV.
Bramwell Historic District, on Rt. 52, 15 minutes from Bluefield, in Bramwell, WV.

Bluefield State College
Bluefield Medical Center
Brushfork Armory


City of Bluefield (Official Website) : Bluefield City Hall (map)


Bluefield Regional Medical Center (map)
Saint Luke's Hospital (map)


Craft Memorial Library (map)


Radio Stations
WKEZ (AM 1240,) : WHIS (AM 1440) : WPIB (FM 91.1) : WHAJ (FM 104.5)

Television (TV) Stations
WVVA (TV 6, NBC) : LFB (TV 40, Christian)

Bluefield Daily Telegraph


Colleges and Universities
Bluefield, WV is the location of Bluefield State College, a traditionally black college, originally established in 1895 by act of Legislature as Bluefield Colored Institute.

Concord University, formerly Concord College, is located about 20 miles from Bluefield, in Athens, WV.

Bluefield College (map) is located just over the West Virginia-Virginia state line, in Bluefield, VA.

Public Schools
Mercer County Schools




Map of Bluefield, WV showing streets and highways, and nearby airports, parks, hospitals, buildings, churches, cemeteries, trails and other points of interest; with link to driving directions.

Topo map of Bluefield, WV and vicinity displaying terrain features, etc.

Perspective map of Bluefield, WV - early 1900's

Census Data

Population: 11,451
(2000 Census)


Elevation: 2611 feet
Longitude: -81.2225
Latitude: 37.2697

The Appalachian Divide is imaginary line, running from Keyser in the north to Bluefield in the south, dividing the two different types of river systems that exist within West Virginia.


Development of Bluefield, WV

In 1883 the first shipment of coal from the Flat Top - Pocahontas Coal Field occurred at a mine in Pocahontas, Virginia (VA) via the newly completed Norfolk and Western Railroad (N&W). By the following year the N&W had extended its rail line into West Virginia, reaching several new mines near Bramwell, WV.

In 1884, Bluefield was merely a flag stop on the farm of John B. Higginbotham located along the N&W mainline, with one short siding where one locomotive and three or four railroad cars could be stored. Soon afterwards, the N&W began construction of maintenance and support facilities at a location called Higginbotham's Summit. This point, the highest point on the N&W mainline, allowed for construction of a hump yard, a gravity-operated switching yard for the railroad's freight cars. By the early-1900's, 75-miles of track were located within the city limits of Bluefield.

As the expansion of the area's vast coalfield continued the town developed rapidly as an office and residential town for the mining industry and railroad. In December of 1889, Bluefield was incorporated as a town, with Joseph M. Sanders as its first mayor. Bluefield attracted several new business firms during the 1890's, including the Bluefield Telephone Company, in 1883, and Bluefield Hardware, in 1898. In about 1892, the Bluefield Inn opened, offering European-styled lodging accommodations and dining.

Bluefield's population grew quickly during its developing years, increasing from 600 in 1890 to 4,644 in 1900, to 11,188 in 1910. By 1930 Bluefield was the 7th largest city in West Virginia, with a population of more than 20,000.

Bluefield's post office, established in September, 1886, was advanced to first-class rank in 1911. During the same time period, Bluefield was the official seat of the Appalachian Power Company, which then owned five separate power sites on the New River near Pulaski, Virginia, and an electric railroad line provided transportation within the city and interurban service to Princeton and into Virginia.

The industrial awakening around Bluefield, WV naturally produced some agitation in favor or removing the county seat from Princeton to the center of greater activities. In November, 1898, on petition of 1257 persons residing principally at Bluefield, Bramwell and neighboring places, the question was submitted to popular election, resulting in the defeat of the proposition by a large majority. In March, 1906, the question was again submitted to election, resulting in of 2,098 for removal and 5,174 against removal.

Variant Name(s) for Bluefield, WV

Beaver Pond Spring, Beaver Pond Springs