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Virginia Counties

The Commonwealth of Virginia is divided into ninety-five counties and thirty-eight independent cities, which are considered county-equivalents for census purposes.

City of Buena Vista, Virginia

City of Buena Vista Education, Geography, and HistoryBuena Vista, Virginia Courthouse

Buena Vista is an independent city located in the Blue Ridge Mountains region of Virginia in the United States. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 6,650.Formerly named "Hart's Bottom", "Green Forest" or "Green Valley" until 1888, and chartered as a town in 1890, Buena Vista was granted a city charter on February 15, 1892

 The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the independent cities of Buena Vista and Lexington, along with surrounding Rockbridge County, for statistical purposes.

Etymology - Origin of City of Buena Vista Name

Buena Vista, in Rockbridge County, was built on the site of the abandoned Buena Vista iron furnace. This furnace, which was in operation as late as 1855, probably was named of the Mexican village near which General Zachary Taylor was an important battle in the Mexican War in 1847.


County QuickFacts: City of Buena Vista

Buena Vista City History

The founding of Buena Vista was done primarily by one man, Benjamin C. Moomaw in the late 1800s. Mr. Moomaw had originally founded a town named Green Forest with only a tannery. After the railroads had been built in 1880, he began to dream of a much larger city.

Mr. Moomaw soon secured several other businesses including a pulp mill and a canning factory but still needed more to become a sizable city. Then in 1882, the first industry was built... it was Appold & Sons Tannery. Several other industries would open by 1888.

At the end of 1888, the Buena Vista Company was organized and began selling stock. Within 30 days all of the stock was sold for a total of $400,000. After the sale, it was time to lay out the town and begin recruiting both people and industries. It was then that the town was to be named Buena Vista. It would initially consist of 13,140 acres.

Buena Vista was granted its Charter as a town from the State in January 1890. Buildings were popping up everywhere... hotels, churches, businesses, railroads, and homes After much prosperity, the state granted a Charter for Buena Vista to become a city on February 15, 1892.

Buena Vista, Virginia established in 1889. [Virginia Genealogy, Sources & Resources, by Carol McGinnis, Genealogical Publishing Inc., Baltimore, MD, 1993.]

Buena Vista, Virginia was incorporated as a town in 1890. Incorporated as a city in 1892. Located in Rockbridge County, Virginia. Established in 1889. [Virginia Genealogy, Sources & Resources, by Carol McGinnis, Genealogical Publishing Inc., Baltimore, MD, 1993.]

Historical Events

  • 1880 - Two railroads, forming a junction, are run through Buena Vista.
  • 1882 - Buena Vista's first industry open, the Tannery.
  • 1885 - The first public school is built. It is a one room log building.
  • December 1888 - B. C. Moomaw writes the historic Buena Vista Prospectus. The Buena Vista Company was formed and all shares were sold within 30 days.
  • Feb. 22, 1889 - It is reported that Buena Vista has a large amount of iron ore.
  • 1889 -The major "boom" occurs in Buena Vista. Building begins at an amazing rate.
  • March 7, 1889 - The Town is named Buena Vista as opposed to Green Forest.
  • May 22, 1889 - The drawing of lots begins.
  • Jan. 24, 1890 - Town gets charter.
  • 1890 - Buena Vista Lodge No. 186 (A.F. & A.M.) founded.
  • Jan. 26, 1890 - Epworth Hall Church, the first church in Buena Vista, is dedicated. It was located on the site of the existing Stone Church of the Brethren.
  • March 9, 1890 -The first Presbyterian Church dedicated (2nd church in Buena Vista). It was replaced on April 26, 1913 with the existing church on 23rd and Chestnut.
  • May 9, 1890 - The City begins building a new brick school that will host 240 children. It is opened on October 12, 1890. The Principal is Mr. McCluer.
  • May 1890 - The Buena Vista Company moved into it's new office. This is now known as the old courthouse.
  • July 17, 1890 - The local Buena Vista baseball tem beats Lexington's team 28-15.
  • Dec. 12, 1890 - The Buena Vista Iron Company opened. It ran until December 1924.
  • June 6, 1891 - The Buena Vista Opera House opens.
  • Oct. 1891 - The new Hotel Buena Vista is completed. It would later become Main Hall for Southern Seminary College.
  • Feb. 15, 1892 - The State issues Buena Vista a charter as a City.
  • 1892 - Mayor White is elected Buena Vista's first Mayor.
  • March 4, 1892 - The "boom" time comes to an end.
  • Sept. 1894 - The Female Seminary opened under the name of "Young Ladies College." Classes were held in the Hotel Buena Vista, which the school would buy in 1901 and then name Southern Seminary and Junior College.
  • 1905 - Buena Vista Fire Company founded.
  • 1915 - Buena Vista Women's Club founded.
  • 1920 - American Legion Post 126 founded.
  • 1922 - American Legion Auxiliary founded.
  • 1922 - Buena Vista's Rotary Club Founded.
  • Jan. 24, 1924 - Parry McCluer School building completed.
  • Sept. 8, 1924 - Death of Parry McCluer.
  • 1927 - Buena Vista's Boy Scouts first organized.
  • 1931 - Buena Vista's American Red Cross chapter founded.
  • 1933 - Junior Women's Club founded.
  • 1935 - Buena Vista's Lion's Club founded.
  • 1939 - Buena Vista Rescue Squad founded.
  • Aug. 10, 1935 - Construction begins on Camp Oronoco, a work camp designed to provide jobs during the Great Depression.
  • 1941 - Camp Oronoco dismantled.
  • Jan. 10, 1941 - Buena Vista's first draftee is sent off to war.
  • 1941 - The local baseball team is broken up after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Many players would be entering the war.
  • Dec. 5, 1950 - Citizens vote to change charter to be run by a City Manager and a 5 man council; The existing council was composed of 12 men.
  • 1952 - Beta Sigma Phi Sorority founded.
  • Jan. 1955 - American Legion War Memorial Building opens. This building is still used for many community events.
  • Fall 1963 - Modine Manufacturing locates its heater manufacturing facilities in Buena Vista.
  • 1964 - Buena Vista Jaycess founded.
  • 1969 - Disastrous flood after hurricane.
  • 1971 - Buena Vista purchases Glen Maury Park.
  • 1972 - Blue Bird East opens bus manufacturing facility.
  • 1973 - Buena Vista Jaycettes founded.
  • 1977 - The Fighting Blues win Buena Vista's first state football championship. They finished the season undefeated.
  • 1985 - Disastrous flood.
  • Jan. 1987 - Everbrite, Inc. begins making signs in Buena Vista.
  • 1988 - The DANA Corporation locates in Buena Vista.

Geography: Land and Water

The Maury River bisects Buena Vista, with the city proper to the east and Glen Maury Park to the west.

As reported by the Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.8 square miles (17.7 km2), all of it land.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Buena Vista  is an independent city located within the confines of Rockbridge County in the state of Virginia.


Buena Vista is home to Southern Virginia University, which had an enrollment of 804 full-time students in the autumn of 2011. Students adhere to an honor code including dress and moral standards.

Buena Vista runs its own independent school district. Residents within the city are under Buena Vista City Public Schools (BVCPS).

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