Beckley is a city in Raleigh County, West Virginia, United States, which was founded on April 4, 1838. The 2007 population was estimated to be 16,830 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Early in its history, the town was known as Beckleyville and Raleigh Court House. The city is sometimes called the “Smokeless Coal Capital” “The City of Champions” and the “Gateway To Southern West Virginia.” The population of the Beckley area is roughly 77,000 including Raleigh County and parts of Fayette County. It is the county seat of Raleigh County.
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Beckley was named in honor of John James Beckley, who was the first Clerk of the House of Representatives and the first Librarian of Congress. It was founded by his son Alfred Beckley (US Army general and Confederate militia commander, born in Washington, D.C.). The current mayor (2007) is Emmett S. Pugh, III.
Beckley is well known for two major tourist attractions: The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine (newly renovated opening to the public April 1, 2008) and Tamarack. The Exhibition Coal Mine is a preserved coal mine that offers daily tours and a history lesson on coal mining in Appalachia. Tamarack, originally built at a cost of $10 Million and dedicated to former Governor Gaston Caperton, is the home to many artisan crafts from around West Virginia and a dining area featuring meals prepared by chefs trained at The Greenbriar.
Beckley has been the subject of intense growth along Eisenhower Drive. This growth has led to increasing traffic problems which the city is attempting to alleviate by building the “Z” way, which would bypass major congestion. The amount of growth the city has experienced has also led to Beckley/Raleigh County considering the formation of a Metro Government which could potentially reduce government operation overhead. The city is the regional hub for over 200,000 Southern West Virginia residents. It is the eighth largest city in West Virginia, succeeded by Fairmont and followed by Martinsburg.