About BluefieldFounded in 1889 as the regional headquarters of the Norfolk & Western Railway, remnants of the natural-gravity switching yards remain in Bluefield. Named for the many chicory flowers growing wild along the hillsides, the town attracted many industries in addition to the railroad, such as coal mining.
South of town, the border between the two Virginias is on the crest of East River Mountain. Some of the best views can be found at the East River Mountain Scenic Overlook (1780 Stadium Dr.); phone (304) 327-2448. A sister city, Bluefield, Va., lies to the southwest.
The West Virginia city's original municipal building, built in 1924, now houses The Bluefield Performing Arts Center, an active center for visual and performing arts that hosts regular concerts at Bluefield High School, Bluefield College and Harman Chapel; phone (304) 325-9117.
The Granada Theater, featuring 1920s Spanish-Moorish design, was one of several theaters built in the early 20th century when Bluefield was a popular railroad stopover and known as “Little New York.” (The city received a nod in the 1934 film, “Red Dust,” when the character, played by Jean Harlow, revealed she had lived in Bluefield.) Note: The 1928 theater is closed for renovations; it will feature live performances as well as classic and indie movies; phone Bluefield Preservation Society at (304) 589-0239 for updates.
Bluefield is the southern anchor of the 187-mile Coal Heritage Trail which winds its way past company stores, miners' houses, railroad yards, coal tipples and 500 small company towns on its way north to Beckley; phone (304) 465-3720 or (855) 982-2625. Follow US 52 northwest to SR 16, which meanders north and east to Beckley; mile markers along the way indicate points of interest.
Baseball comes to Bluefield in mid-June when the minor league Bluefield Blue Jays, part of the Appalachian League, play ball at Bowen Field in City Park; phone (304) 324-1326.
Visitor Centers Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau 621 Commerce St. Bluefield, WV 24701. Phone:(304)325-8438 or (800)221-3206
Self-guiding ToursExamples of historic Victorian architecture can be seen on a walking tour of downtown Bluefield. Brochures are available at the convention and visitors bureau and chamber of commerce offices on Bland Street.
ShoppingMercer Mall, 261 Mercer Mall Rd. at US 460 and SR 25, has more than 40 services and stores, including Belk and JCPenney. There are a number of antiques shops and art galleries on Bluefield Avenue and Mercer Street.
Things to Do Eastern Regional Coal Archives
In-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. All hotels must meet the same basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to be AAA Approved. A rating of one to five AAA Diamonds tells members what type of experience to expect, from no-frills to highly personalized.