The name Chilhowie is derived from a Cherokee word that means "valley of many deer." It was first known as Indian Fields, then (back in its stagecoach days) as simply Town House, and later, after the coming of the railroad in 1856, Greever's Switch after its first station master.
The first permanent settlement in the county was the 1747 Royal Oak Survey. The area was renamed Marion in 1832, honoring General Francis Marion, "the Swamp Fox" of Revolutionary War fame.
Smyth County was formed in 1832 from parts of Washington and Wythe counties. It was named after General Alexander Smyth, a former area congressman. During the Civil War, Saltville was attacked twice as one of the main sources of salt.
Branches of the Holston River divide Smyth County into 3 fertile valleys, an important factor in the development of industry and agriculture. The river was given its present name in honor of Stephen Holston. The famous Wilderness Road, also known as the Great Road, and the Stage Road, now traverses Smyth County from the northeast to the southeast as Lee Highway (Route 11).
Over the years lumber, pottery, brick, furniture, textiles, fertilizers and equipment have contributed to the area's growth. Cattle farms and apple production have also been mainstays.
Among various events and festivals in Smyth County are the Chilhowie Apple Festival, Woolly Mammoth Day, the Saltville Labor Day Celebration, Hungry Mother Arts and Crafts Festival, Saltville Summer Fun, the Rich Valley Fair and Horse Show, Adwolfe Summer Fun Festival, the Salt Fest Music Festival, Independence Day celebrations and more. Other regional attractions include the Art Place in Chilhowie, the Glade Mountain Museum, the Settler's Museum, Smyth County Museum, the Mountain Empire Aviation/Airport, Salt Park, the historic Staley/Collins House, the Museum of the Middle Appalachians, the Saltville Digs, Well Fields, Civil War sites and fortifications, and others.
Local educational needs are provided by Chilhowie Middle School and Chilhowie High School. Nearby colleges and universities include Southwest Virginia Community College, Appalachian State University, Bluefield State College, Concord College, New River Community College and others.
Hospitals and medical centers near Chilhowie include Smyth County Community Hospital and Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute.
Area recreational needs are met by nearby Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, which features 5,729-ft Mt. Rogers, the highest peak in the state plus over 300 miles of trails including about 58 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
The Hungry Mother State Park provides camping facilities, fishing, boating, picnicking, hiking, biking and horseback riding. The 25,000-acre Clinch Mountain Wildlife Area features the Big Tumbling Creek, a trout fisherman's dream that flows down the mountain in a gorgeous cascade of falls that settle into deep trout pools.
Clinch Mountain Wildlife Area also features a 300-acre mountaintop lake and is the site of the state's first fee fishing program.
Area golf lovers will also fall in love with the Scenic View Golf Course, Holston Hills Golf Course and the Saltville Golf Course.
As you can tell, Chilhowie and Smyth County offer a wealth of history, attractions and amenities. If you're ready to live a simpler life, come visit our United Country office soon and let us help you find your freedom from today's busy world.