Brief History of Wise, Virginia
Edward L. "Buck" Henson
a new county was established in Southwest Virginia in 1856,
it was named for Henry A. Wise, who had just become Governor
of Virginia. The name of the county seat would evolve
from Big Glades to Gladesville to Gladeville, when it was
officially incorporated in 1874. Lying on the main
road from the Union state of Kentucky to the vital railroad
through Abingdon, it was the site of constant conflict during
the Civil War."
influx of the coal industry into Wise County after 1880,
the county seat became a busy place as thousands of acres
of land changed hands each month. It was also the
place where justice was dispensed as many were jailed and
three men were hanged in the 1890's."
store, founded in 1870, was to make Gladeville a commercial
center as mining operations grew just northwest of town.
The establishment of Gladeville College would give the town
an important role in education. In 1924, the name
of the town was changed to Wise. It continued as a
commercial and legal center, reaching its peak in the coal
boom of the 1970's. In the early 1950's, it became
the site of the first of the modern hospitals in the area.
The resulting prosperity made possible the building of many
fine houses in the Town of Wise."
Clinch Valley College of the University of Virginia was
founded to meet growing educational needs. In 1966,
it became the only state-supported four-year college west
of Radford, adding enormously to the cultural and educational
life of Wise. In 1999, the college was renamed The
University of Virginia's College at Wise.
government, beautiful scenery, good hunting and fishing,
many cultural and athletic activities, low crime-rate ,
and a mountain people's respect for the elderly, Wise is
a great place for retirement."