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Grundy, Virginia
Buchanan County Courthouse (2009)
Buchanan County Courthouse (2009)
Location in Virginia
Location in Virginia
Country United States
State Virginia
County Buchanan
Founded 1858
 • Total 5.04 sq mi (13.05 km2)
 • Land 4.99 sq mi (12.91 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.14 km2)
1,050 ft (320 m)
 • Total 1,021
 • Estimate 
 • Density 180.30/sq mi (69.62/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 276 Exchange: 935
FIPS code 51-33648
GNIS feature ID 1498485

Grundy is a town in Buchanan County, Virginia, United States, an area of the Appalachian Mountains. The population was 1,105 at the 2000 census and 1,021 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Buchanan County. The town has two higher educational institutions Appalachian School of Law and Appalachian College of Pharmacy.

Legislation establishing Buchanan County in 1858 designated a plat of land at the confluence of the Levisa Fork River and Slate Creek as the seat of government for the county and directed the erection of the county courthouse on the plat, which marked the beginnings of what would be Grundy.

Although originally developed along the Levisa Fork River, which provided a transportation and power waterway, the town suffered from nine major floods since 1929 that caused extensive damage, the last in 1977. It is notable for having major businesses relocated in the 21st century to higher ground to prevent such damage in the future. A mountain opposite the historic town was blasted to provide a kind of plateau where much of the town was relocated and redeveloped. The federal project included construction of bridges and a flood wall, and relocation of some roadways.

During the American Civil War, the town served as a stopover for Union troops on their way to the Battle of Saltville.


The town, founded in 1858 upon the formation of Buchanan County, was named for Felix Grundy (1777–1840), United States Attorney General (1838–1839) and United States Senator from Tennessee (1839–1840). It was incorporated in 1876. The present courthouse dates from 1905.

On the way to Saltville

In October 1864, Union raiders under Brigadier General Stephen G. Burbridge passed through Grundy on their way to destroy the saltworks near Saltville in Smyth County, where they were met by Confederate troops commanded by Brigadier General Alfred E. Jackson at the Battle of Saltville. The Union troops were defeated in the battle, but returned later and succeeded in destroying the saltworks.

Grundy flood control project

Grundy Virginia flood 1984
Aerial view of flooding on the Levisa Fork River in Grundy, Virginia in 1984

Since 1929, Grundy has suffered nine major floods of the adjoining Levisa Fork River. After the inundation of April 4, 1977, many businesses did not reopen, and the buildings that housed them were abandoned.

A project to relocate much of the town to higher ground has been completed. The project started in 2001 and consisted of blasting the mountain across the Levisa Fork to create 13 acres (53,000 m2) of land. After a few years of blasting, utilities were placed and new bridges across the river were built. A new downtown is planned that will include a multi-level Wal-Mart with a parking deck. Buildings backing on the river have been demolished and a new flood wall protects the county courthouse. U.S. Route 460 has been relocated to the top of the flood wall. Businesses formerly located downtown were relocated to an industrial building located just outside town. State Route 83 will be rerouted to meet U.S. Route 460 down the street where U.S. Route 460 originally took a directional split to go through downtown Grundy. Additional work under study upstream reroutes U.S. Route 460 inland from its current path.

Start of a regional grocery store chain

Grundy was the home of the predecessor to the Food City Stores when Jack Smith opened a Piggly Wiggly franchise in 1955. The store was Smith's first and the chain has now grown to 107 stores in Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee. The chain is best known for sponsoring the Food City 500 NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway. That store remained open one day short of 50 years as it was closed in November 2005 and a new replacement store opened up just outside the town limits in Vansant.

The store was re-opened on June 29, 2011 as one of K-VA-T food stores Super Dollar Discount Foods locations.

Education as a new sustaining industry

Grundy is home to the Appalachian School of Law, which opened in 1997, and the Appalachian College of Pharmacy, which opened in 2005. Buchanan County chose Grundy as the site for the ASL to revitalize the town, which had been in a steady economic decline since the Flood of 1977. The presence of ASL has brought $12 million to the local economy, and is credited with construction of rental homes and the opening of additional businesses in the area. Additionally, ASL has successfully demonstrated the concept of creating institutions of higher education as an economic development tool. This success led to the creation of the Appalachian College of Pharmacy, located in Oakwood, which, like the Appalachian School of Law, was created as part of a continuing economic redevelopment effort. ACP is forecast to add $20 million per year to the local economy.


WV plateau
Grundy is located in the Cumberland Mountains portion of the Appalachian range, just east of the Cumberland Plateau. The town is located towards the center left portion of the map.

Grundy is located at 37°16′36″N 82°5′42″W / 37.27667°N 82.09500°W / 37.27667; -82.09500 (37.276760, −82.095038). The town is located at intersection of U.S. Route 460 and State Route 83 directly on the banks of the Levisa Fork River. Grundy is located in the coalfields of the Appalachian Mountains.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.0 square miles (13.1 km²), all land.

Grundy is located in the Cumberland Plateau Region. The town is tightly tucked within the mountains in little valleys called hollows or 'hollers'. It is located near Poplar Gap Park.


Grundy is served by the Grundy Municipal Airport located in Vansant. The airport serves general aviation air traffic. Commercial air traffic can be found at Beckley Raleigh County Memorial Airport in West Virginia and at the Tri-Cities Regional Airport in Tennessee.

Four County Transit maintains a local trolley system that services downtown locations. Stops include the courthouse, Grundy Church of Christ, the former Food City parking lot, the Grundy Community Center, the Appalachian School of Law, and the former downtown parking lot.

Grundy is at the corner of the Levisa Fork and Slate Creek. The Norfolk Southern Railway maintains tracks and runs trains through the town but no trains stop in Grundy.

Grundy is served by U.S. Route 460. The Coalfields Expressway will be built just to the north and east of town. State Route 83 is also a major highway in the area.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 123
1900 200
1910 264 32.0%
1920 394 49.2%
1930 815 106.9%
1940 1,476 81.1%
1950 1,947 31.9%
1960 2,287 17.5%
1970 2,054 −10.2%
1980 1,699 −17.3%
1990 1,305 −23.2%
2000 1,105 −15.3%
2010 1,021 −7.6%
2019 (est.) 899 −11.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
USA Buchanan County, Virginia age pyramid
Age distribution of Buchanan County, Virginia

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,105 people, 405 households, and 249 families residing in the town. The population density was 219.3 people per square mile (84.7/km2). There were 519 housing units at an average density of 103.0 per square mile (39.8/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 79.19% White, 17.92% African American, 0.45% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 1.81% from other races, and 0.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.81% of the population.

There were 405 households, out of which 22.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.9% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.3% were non-families. 36.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.72.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 32.2% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 21.4% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $37,411, and the median income for a family was $47,143. Males had a median income of $40,236 versus $24,821 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,531. About 10.5% of families and 17.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.8% of those under age 18 and 14.0% of those age 65 or over.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Grundy has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.


In 2016, Grundy was claimed by Swedish television to be the most Donald Trump friendly city in the US, and was portrayed in several TV-shows.


The Appalachian School of Law is located in Grundy. The school opened its doors to students in 1997.

Grundy is the home of two public institutions where students living in the town proper attend if they choose to go to the public schools. As an additional option, the town is home to a private, Christian academy. Additionally, the town is home to two, graduate-level colleges: one granting law degrees and the other granting pharmacy degrees.

Public schools

  • Grundy Senior High School
  • Riverview Elementary/Middle School

Private Institutions

  • Mountain Mission School

Post-Secondary Education

  • Appalachian School of Law
  • Appalachian College of Pharmacy

Notable people

Images for kids

See also

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