Beckley: A Town with a Mine of It's Own
Beckley, the seat of Raleigh County, was founded on General Alfred Beckley's land and was originally called Beckleyville. Charted by the Virginia General Assembly in 1838, some historians claim that the town was named for General Alfred Beckley's father, John Beckley. He was the first Clerk of the Congress during the administration of Presidents George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and later served as the first Librarian of Congress. Others claim that the town was named for General Alfred Beckley. In either case, the town had a very slow start. The first business did not locate in the town until 1850 and prior to that time the local settlers sarcastically referred to Beckley's land as " Beckley's Paper Town. " By 1860 the town's population had grown to only 160, with another 160 living in the vicinity. From 1881 to 1897, the town was called Beckleyville, Town of Beckley, and Raleigh Court House. The name Beckley finally won out around 1897. It was incorporated by the West Virginia state legislature on April 26, 1927.
Today Beckley is the thriving commercial center for southern West Virginia. Although the city counts only 18,000 residents, it is the heart of a metropolitan area of around 80,000, and also the major shopping area for several surrounding counties. The Leading industries and chief agricultural products are health, tourism, coal and coal related products, timber, mining equipment, electronic parts, building blocks, cattle, potatoes, peppers, corn, strawberries, and show horses.