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Marion, Virginia facts for kids

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Town of Marion, Virginia
The Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia.
The Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia.
Official seal of Town of Marion, Virginia
America's Coolest Hometown
Marion, Virginia is located in Virginia
Marion, Virginia
Marion, Virginia
Location in Virginia
Marion, Virginia is located in the United States
Marion, Virginia
Marion, Virginia
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Virginia
County Smyth
 • Town 4.16 sq mi (10.76 km2)
 • Land 4.13 sq mi (10.69 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)
2,435 ft (742 m)
 • Town 5,751
 • Density 1,347.31/sq mi (537.98/km2)
 • Metro
Approximately 15,500 total population
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 276
FIPS code 51-49464
GNIS feature ID 1498513

Marion is a town in and the county seat of Smyth County, Virginia, United States. Conveniently positioned upon Interstate 81, Marion is easily accessible. Located in the Blue Ridge portion of the Southern Appalachian mountains in Southwest Virginia, the general Marion area is well known for its scenic beauty. The town is named for American Revolutionary War officer Francis Marion. The town limits had a population of approximately 6,000, per 2020 Census estimates. However, together with the neighborhoods, an additional 9,000 residents in unincorporated Smyth County have Marion mailing addresses, giving the Marion, VA ZIP code (24354) a population of over 15,000, which is about half of the county's total population.


Marion is one of a few towns to be designated as an official Virginia Main Street Community and National Main Street Community. The Lincoln Theatre, a meticulously renovated Art-Deco Mayan Revival-style performing arts center in Marion, is the home of the nationally syndicated bluegrass music program Song of the Mountains. The General Francis Marion Hotel has been completely restored. It is a boutique hotel that has received an AAA Three-Diamond ranking. The town hosts a monthly ArtWalk with local artists and musicians, held on the second Friday of each month in May through December.


Marion is located at 36°50′N 81°31′W / 36.833°N 81.517°W / 36.833; -81.517 (36.8370, -81.5165).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.2 square miles (10.7 km²), all of it land.

Marion is near Hungry Mother State Park.

Marion holds the state record low for the month of May at 15 degrees and the second lowest recorded April temperature in the state at 10.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 445
1870 368 −17.3%
1880 919 149.7%
1890 1,651 79.7%
1900 2,045 23.9%
1910 2,727 33.3%
1920 3,253 19.3%
1930 4,156 27.8%
1940 5,177 24.6%
1950 6,982 34.9%
1960 8,385 20.1%
1970 8,158 −2.7%
1980 7,287 −10.7%
1990 6,858 −5.9%
2000 6,500 −5.2%
2010 6,350 −2.3%
2020 5,751 −9.4%

2020 census

Marion Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 5,013 87.17%
Black or African American 261 4.54%
Native American 12 0.21%
Asian 59 1.03%
Pacific Islander 1 0.02%
Other/Mixed 224 3.89%
Hispanic or Latino 181 3.15%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 5,751 people, 2,373 households, and 1,194 families residing in the town.


Marion College, a two-year Lutheran women's college, operated from 1873 to 1967. Marion College, constructed in 1968 and named in honor of Francis Marion, is a women's residence hall at Roanoke College.

Marion is known for being the birthplace of the soft drink Mountain Dew, but the original drink was created in Knoxville, Tennessee. Although Mountain Dew was first marketed under that name in Knoxville, the original soft drink’s formula changed drastically from Knoxville’s formula to the syrup mixture that constitutes today’s drink. In 1961, the rights to Mountain Dew were purchased by the Marion-based Tip Corporation. The Mountain Dew flavor was reworked by Marion resident William H. "Bill" Jones. Due to the success of the revised formulation, the Pepsi Corporation purchased the Tip Corporation in 1964. Marion also hosted the Mountain Dew Festival for more than 50 years.

In 1965, after graduating from Alvin High School, one of Major League Baseball's Hall of Famer pitchers, Nolan Ryan, signed a professional baseball contract with the New York Mets, and was assigned to a minor league team in the Appalachian League called the Marion Mets (1965–1976) in Marion, Virginia. Three years later Ryan pitched in the major leagues, debuting with the Mets in 1968.

R. T. Greer and Company, Henderson Building, Hotel Lincoln, Hungry Mother State Park Historic District, Lincoln Theatre, Marion Historic District, Marion Male Academy, Norfolk & Western Railway Depot, Preston House, and the Abijah Thomas House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


The climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Marion has a marine west coast climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps.

See also

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