"" Writer's Wanderings: Wytheville, Virginia

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wytheville, Virginia

On our way to Raleigh, NC, last weekend, we stopped for the night in a small town called Wytheville, VA (pronounced, we learned, as with-ville). We were very impressed. So much so that we canceled one night in Raleigh and spent another night in Wytheville on our return trip. And made reservations to eat at the Log House Restaurant which had a distinctive Williamsburg flair to its menu.

Besides the beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the town has a fascinating history. The Battle of Wytheville, or Toland's Raid as it is also known, took place along Tazewell Street in town. Toland took 872 Union soldiers into the town to destroy the railroad bridge and disrupt the flow of Confederate supplies. He was shot and killed in the raid.

Wythe County is named in honor of George Wythe, the famous Virginia lawyer and signer of the Declaration of Independence. The town was originally called Evansham but the name was changed in 1839 to Wytheville because it was the county seat.

Wytheville is very proud of its history. There are blocks of homes that all sport an historical placard out front--most of which date back to the days of the Civil War. The homes appear to have been restored at least on the outside and are private residences. It is a beautiful walk or drive as we did it because of the heat.

In the downtown area, there are several placards and signs describing significant landmarks in the little town. The Millwald Theatre was built in 1928. The basement of the building was a bomb shelter in the 1950's. The other more recent historical building is the one pictured with Skeeter's hot dogs on it. Originally it was the law offices and upper residence of the Bolling family. Edith Bolling was born in the upstairs flat and later became the wife of Woodrow Wilson and one of our country's first ladies.

The giant pencil is not historical (I don't believe) but I did think it was. . .unique.

(Coming next: Sunset at Big Walker lookout)

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