From the pioneer days when our nation's earliest citizens journeyed to the West, to a 20th century First Lady, Wytheville and Wythe County has had a unique role in history.
Founded in 1790, Wythe County was named for the first signer of the Declaration of Independence for Virginia – George Wythe. Early settlement can be credited to the access to water (the New River and many creeks) and the abundance of natural resources, including lead. One hundred acres was selected as the county seat in 1792 and Evansham, now Wytheville, became the central town.
Over the last 200 years, Wytheville's "great roads" have been a driving force in its progress and attraction. From the days of the western migration, the area's accessibility, convenience, and range of travel-related businesses have made Wytheville an ideal stop. Today, two federal highways, Interstates 77 & 81, make it a modern-day junction.
The history of the area patterns the history of our nation with many interesting events, legends, and characters along the way. Let your historical visit begin at Wytheville's Heritage Center at 115 West Spiller Street for an orientation to our two historical museums, the Haller-Gibboney Rock House and Thomas J. Boyd Museums. Medicine, war battles, and First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson are just a few of the topics covered. You can also begin the self-guided Wytheville's Historic Walking Tour from this location and learn many interesting facts about local history, pre-Civil War to today. Additionally, the African American Heritage Driving Tour takes a closer look at this aspect of history through examples of places where people lived, learned, and worshipped.