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Pocahontas, Virginia facts for kids

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Pocahontas, Virginia
Pocahontas, Virginia Post Office
Pocahontas, Virginia Post Office
Location of Pocahontas, Virginia
Location of Pocahontas, Virginia
Country United States
State Virginia
County Tazewell
 • Total 0.58 sq mi (1.50 km2)
 • Land 0.57 sq mi (1.48 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
2,329 ft (710 m)
 • Total 389
 • Estimate 
 • Density 619.30/sq mi (239.14/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 276
FIPS code 51-63288
GNIS feature ID 1493440

Pocahontas is a town in Tazewell County, Virginia, United States. It was named for Chief Powhatan's daughter, Pocahontas, who lived in the 17th-century Jamestown Settlement. She married John Rolfe, and they were among the ancestors of many of the First Families of Virginia.

The population was 389 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Bluefield, WV-VA micropolitan area, which has a population of 107,578.


Pocahontas was the location of the start of this region's coal boom with a spur line that launched the Norfolk and Western Railroad (now Norfolk Southern) into national prominence during the 1880s. The large two-state coal region bears the town's name.

The Pocahontas Historic District and Pocahontas Mine No. 1 are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Pocahontas is located at 37°18′18″N 81°20′23″W / 37.304997°N 81.339802°W / 37.304997; -81.339802 (37.304997, -81.339802).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.6 square mile (1.6 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 2,953
1900 2,789 −5.6%
1910 3,561 27.7%
1920 3,775 6.0%
1930 2,293 −39.3%
1940 2,673 16.6%
1950 2,410 −9.8%
1960 1,313 −45.5%
1970 891 −32.1%
1980 703 −21.1%
1990 513 −27.0%
2000 441 −14.0%
2010 389 −11.8%
2019 (est.) 353 −9.3%

As of the census of 2000, there were 441 people, 190 households, and 122 families residing in the town. The population density was 729.1 people per square mile (283.8/km2). There were 230 housing units at an average density of 380.3 per square mile (148.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.15% White, 2.04% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.91% from other races, and 0.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 1.81% of the population.

There were 190 households, out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.3% were married couples living together, 16.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.7% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 21.1% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $22,917, and the median income for a family was $30,357. Males had a median income of $22,232 versus $17,321 for females. The per capita income for the town was $12,124. About 19.8% of families and 17.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.4% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.


The Town of Pocahontas owns and operates the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum, a National Historic Landmark and Virginia's official "coal heritage zone." The "show mine," as many locals call it, features tours from retired coal miners into the real mine that served as the birthplace of the world-famous Pocahontas #3 coal that heated homes across the United States and was the chosen fuel of the United States Navy. The exhibition mine, open from April–August annually, features a 13-foot-tall (4.0 m) coal seam. There is also a museum and education center located in the mine's former powerhouse.

The town also features a registered Virginia Historic site, the Pocahontas Cemetery. The cemetery features graves that are over 100 years old and a mass grave of coal miners killed in a mine explosion in Pocahontas on March 13, 1884. Each year, the town holds a ceremony at the cemetery to remember the more than 114 coal miners killed in the explosion.

The town is also home to St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic Church which features ten life-sized murals on the ceiling and walls of the church. The church also holds an annual Hungarian cabbage roll dinner to honor the European heritage of the coalfields.


On the last Saturday in April, the town hosts the annual Pocahontas Indian Run, a 5-mile run through the historic town and scenic community that brings runners from across the United States. The event also features a 3-mile Indian Walk and a Papoose Run for children 6-12. In the evening, there is a memorial ceremony at the Pocahontas Cemetery for the miners killed in the 1884 mine explosion, which killed 114 coal miners.

The Pocahontas Lions Club hosts a Car Show and Flea Market along with the Pumpkin Festival in October.

Pocahontas celebrates July 4 with a fire works celebration. The combination of a small town atmosphere, street dance, bands, home cooking, and sparklers for the children provides for a unique experience.

On Labor Day each year, Pocahontas is home to the Coal Miners Reunion, which brings together retired coal miners and railroad workers from across the United States to be honored by the town with a parade and luncheon. The festival also includes special recognition of the oldest and longest-serving miners or railroad workers present and stump speeches from local political candidates.

Recent development

The Pocahontas State Correctional Center was completed in the summer of 2007, and officially opened on September 5, 2007. The medium-security prison can house around 1,000 inmates.

Future development

Plans are currently in place to develop a "tourist train" from nearby Bramwell, West Virginia in Mercer County, to the coal community. Railroad has recently been donated towards the project, and the project is endorsed by former Democrat U.S. Congressman Frederick "Rick" Boucher from Virginia's Ninth District. Virginia also created a "Tourist Train Commission," for the project.

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development awarded the Town of Pocahontas with a $1,000,000.00 grant to help fund their Downtown Revitalization. In 2012 Thomas Burns Childress, Tazewell County Northern District Supervisor filed a lawsuit on behalf of Historic Pocahontas, Inc. The lawsuit stopped the Revitalization Project and was never completed.In 2016 the lawsuit that was file against the Town of Pocahontas was dismissed, due to the fact the building where a danger to republic and the Town had no choice but to remove the danger.

The Pocahontas ATV Spearhead Trail System was opened in 2014. It will eventually encompass fifty-seven miles of ATV trails and will be connected to the Hatfield and McCoy trail system in West Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Transportation awarded the Town funding to complete a walking trail. The new walking trail will link the Pocahontas Exhibition Coal Mine to the Laurel Meadows Park. Future plans are being developed to link the walking trail to Boissevain, Virginia.


Pocahontas was the setting and filming location of the 1992 film, The Turning, starring Gillian Anderson, Academy Award nominee Tess Harper, Karen Allen, Michael Dolan and Raymond J. Barry. It was written and directed by L.A. Puopolo, and co-written by Chris Ceraso, the author of the play "Home Fires Burning," which was the basis of the film. Scenes were filmed in various locations in Pocahontas, and in the neighboring communities of Abbs Valley, Virginia and Nemours, West Virginia. The drama's plot is based on a Neo-Nazi that returns to his home of Pocahontas, Virginia only to find his family falling apart before he decides to take matters into his own hands.

Notable people

Pocahontas in 2014
Pocahontas in 2014
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