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Buchanan County, Virginia facts for kids

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Buchanan County
Buchanan County Courthouse in Grundy
Buchanan County Courthouse in Grundy
Official seal of Buchanan County
Map of Virginia highlighting Buchanan County
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Virginia
Founded 1858
Named for James Buchanan
Seat Grundy
Largest town Grundy
 • Total 504 sq mi (1,310 km2)
 • Land 503 sq mi (1,300 km2)
 • Water 1.1 sq mi (3 km2)  0.2%
 • Total 20,355
 • Density 40.39/sq mi (15.593/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 9th

Buchanan County is a United States county in far western Virginia, the only Virginia county to border both West Virginia and Kentucky. The county is part of the Southwest Virginia region and lies in the rugged Appalachian Plateau portion of the Appalachian Mountains. Its county seat is Grundy.

Buchanan County was established in 1858 from parts of Russell and Tazewell counties, and it was named in honor of then-President James Buchanan; however, the pronunciation of the county's name differs from that of the 15th president's surname, with locals saying "Buh-can-nin". In 1880, part of Buchanan County was taken to form Dickenson County.

As of the 2020 census, the county population was 20,355 and had a double-digit percentage population decrease over the last four censuses. In addition, as of 2012, Buchanan was the fifth-poorest county in Virginia, when ranked by median household income and has been consistently in bottom 5% over the past decade.


George Peter Alexander Healy - James Buchanan - Google Art Project
President James Buchanan, for whom the county was named

The county was formed in 1858 from parts of Russell County and Tazewell County. It was named for James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States. In 1880 the southwestern part of Buchanan County was combined with parts of Russell County and Wise County to become Dickenson County.

Helen Timmons Henderson (1877–1925) helped participate in the work of the Buchanan Mission School at Council, Va. She and Sarah Lee Fain (1888–1962) of Norfolk became the first two women to be elected into the Virginia General Assembly. They were both Democrats in the House of Delegates. When Helen was in office, the delegates agreed to let 6.2 miles (10.0 km) of improved road to be placed from Russell County, across Big "A" Mountain, to Council. Route 80 is also known as "Helen Henderson Highway, In 1876, Grundy was chosen and became the county seat of Buchanan County, it was named in honor of Felix Grundy, a Senator from Tennessee.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 503.8 square miles (1,304.8 km2), of which 502.7 square miles (1,302.0 km2) is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2) (0.2%) is water. It is home to Poplar Gap Park.


The county is divided into seven supervisor districts: Garden, Hurricane, Knox, North Grundy, Prater, Rock Lick, and South Grundy.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 460
  • SR 80
  • SR 83


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 2,793
1870 3,777 35.2%
1880 5,694 50.8%
1890 5,867 3.0%
1900 9,692 65.2%
1910 12,334 27.3%
1920 15,441 25.2%
1930 16,740 8.4%
1940 31,477 88.0%
1950 35,748 13.6%
1960 36,724 2.7%
1970 32,071 −12.7%
1980 37,989 18.5%
1990 31,333 −17.5%
2000 26,978 −13.9%
2010 24,098 −10.7%
2020 20,355 −15.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010 2020

2020 census

Buchanan County, Virginia - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 23,205 19,210 96.29% 94.37%
Black or African American alone (NH) 614 613 2.55% 3.01%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 18 15 0.07% 0.07%
Asian alone (NH) 53 49 0.22% 0.24%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 2 1 0.01% 0.00%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 4 10 0.02% 0.05%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 107 280 0.44% 1.38%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 95 177 0.39% 0.87%
Total 24,098 20,355 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.



Census-designated place

Other unincorporated communities



  • Appalachian School of Law, Grundy
  • Appalachian College of Pharmacy, Oakwood

Private schools

  • Mountain Mission School, Grundy
  • Keen Mountain Christian Academy, Oakwood

Public high schools

All public schools in Buchanan County are operated by Buchanan County Public Schools system.

  • Grundy Senior High School, Grundy
  • Twin Valley High School, Pilgrims Knob
  • Council High School, Council
  • Hurley High School, Hurley

Public elementary and middle schools

  • Twin Valley Elem/Middle School
  • Council Elementary School
  • Riverview Elementary Middle School
  • Hurley Elementary/Middle School

Former schools

  • Harman Elementary (Demolished: 2009; site is now a baseball field.)
  • Vansant Elementary (Demolished: 2007)
  • Big Rock Elementary (Demolished: 2009)
  • Grundy Jr. High School (Now the Appalachian School of Law)
  • Garden Elementary (Demolished)
  • Garden Middle School
  • Garden High School (Now the Appalachian College of Pharmacy)
  • Jewell Valley Elementary School (Demolished: ?)
  • J.M. Bevins Elementary School (Closed: 2018)
  • Whitewood Elementary School (Demolished)
  • Whitewood High School (Demolished: 2010)
  • D.A. Justus (Demolished)
  • P.V. Dennis (Now the ASL Library)
  • Russell Prater Elementary (Closed: 2014)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Buchanan (Virginia) para niños

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