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Chilhowie, Virginia

Town of Chilhowie, Virginia
Official seal of Town of Chilhowie, Virginia
Chilhowie is located in Virginia
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Chilhowie is located in the United States
Chilhowie (the United States)
Coordinates: 36°48′0″N 81°40′52″W / 36.80000°N 81.68111°W / 36.80000; -81.68111
CountryUnited States
 • MayorGary Heninger
 • Total2.57 sq mi (6.66 km2)
 • Land2.53 sq mi (6.56 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)
1,952 ft (595 m)
 • Total1,781
 • Estimate 
 • Density671.67/sq mi (259.32/km2)
 U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 Population Estimates
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code276
FIPS code51-16480[3]
GNIS feature ID1464850[4]

Chilhowie /ɪlˈhi/ is a town in Smyth County, Virginia, United States, on the Middle Fork of the Holston River. The population was 1,781 at the 2010 census. The name Chilhowie is said to come from a Cherokee word meaning "valley of many deer".[5] It is also notable for having only one traffic light in the entire city. I-81 runs through Chilhowie. It is located at exit 35.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2), all of it land.

The Chilhowie Baptist Church on U.S. Route 11 in Chilhowie, Virginia.


Chilhowie was often the starting point of longhunter expeditions in the 1700s. In 1748 the area was visited by Colonel James Patton and Dr. Thomas Walker.[6]: 108  They constructed a small fort, likely just a blockhouse.[7] An early settler was Samuel Stalnaker (1715-1769) who converted Patton's fort into a tavern known as the Town House,[8][9] and lived there until the late 1760s.[10] The town sustained severe damage from an EF-2 tornado during the 2011 Super Outbreak.[11][12]

A.C. Beatie House, H.L. Bonham House, Chilhowie Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Downtown Chilhowie Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[13]


Historical population
2020 (est.)1,698[2]−4.7%

As of the 2000 census,[3] there were 1,827 people, 708 households, and 462 families living in the town. The population density was 704.6 people per square mile (272.4/km2). There were 775 housing units at an average density of 298.9 per square mile (115.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 94.47% White, 3.07% African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 1.48% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.13% of the population.

Out of a total of 708 households, 24.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.7% were non-families. 31.5% of households were made up of individuals, and 15.4% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.76.

The age distribution was 17.2% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 28.8% 65 or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females, there were 78.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.0 males.

The median household income was US$28,266, and the median family income was US$34,375. Males had a median income of US$24,306 compared with US$18,080 for females. The per capita income for the town was US$16,657. About 10.3% of families and 13.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.5% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people


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, Chilhowie has a marine west coast climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps.[15]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 27, 2021. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Town History". Town of Chilhowie. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  6. ^ Hale, John P. Trans-Allegheny Pioneers (West Virginia and Ohio): Historical Sketches of the First White Settlers West of the Alleghenies, 1748 and After. (1886) Heritage Books, reprint, 2009.
  7. ^ Carole Hammett, "Doctor Thomas Walker's Journal (6 Mar 1749/50 - 13 Jul 1750) A Record of His Travels in Present-day Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky," introduction. The Tennessee Genealogical Network, Inc. 2001
  8. ^ George C. Davis Photography, "Davis2 8.22 Town House in Chilhowie," Roanoke Public Library, Virginia Room Digital Collection accessed December 23, 2022
  9. ^ "Town House landmark, Chilhowie, VA," Stalnaker Family Association
  10. ^ M. Lisa deGruyter, "A History of Early Stalnakers," Stalnaker Family Association, June 29, 2006
  11. ^ "National Weather Service confirms eight tornadoes in our region," Archived October 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine April 30, 2011.
  12. ^ Cameron Crapps, "Chilhowie, Virginia hit by tornado; people feel 'forgotten,'" Archived October 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, April 29, 2011.
  13. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  14. ^ "Population Finder: Chilhowie, Virginia". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 10, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  15. ^ Climate Summary for Chilhowie, Virginia
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