Galax, Virginia
—  City  —
Central Galax

Galax, Virginia is located in Virginia
Galax, Virginia
Location within the state of Virginia
Coordinates: 36°39′53″N 80°55′13″W / 36.66472, -80.92028
Country United States
State Virginia
 • Total 8.2 sq mi (21.3 km2)
 • Land 8.2 sq mi (21.3 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 2,372 ft (723 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 7,042
 • Density 830.9/sq mi (320.8/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 24333
Area code(s) 276
FIPS code 51-30208[1]
GNIS feature ID 1483573[2]

Historical marker at Galax

Galax (play /ˈɡlæks/) is an independent city in the southwestern part of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is bounded to the northeast by Carroll County and to the southwest by Grayson County. The population was 7,042 as of 2010.[3] The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Galax with neighboring Carroll county for statistical purposes.


Map showing City of Galax, Virginia

Galax is located at 36°39′52″N 80°55′12″W / 36.66444, -80.92 (36.664675, -80.920275)[4].

The United States Census Bureau says the city has a total area of 8.2 square miles (21.3 km²), all of it land.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 6,837 people, 2,950 households, and 1,843 families residing in the city. The population density was 830.9 people per square mile (320.8/km²). There were 3,217 housing units at an average density of 391.0 per square mile (150.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.11% White, 6.26% Black or African American, 0.45% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 5.51% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 11.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,950 households out of which 27.6% had children under the living with them, 46.0% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.0% under the , 7.9% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 19.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,236, and the median income for a family was $36,832. Males had a median income of $24,013 versus $18,393 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,447. About 13.6% of families and 18.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.8% of those under age 18 and 21.4% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2010 Galax had a population of 7,042 people. Its racial makeup was 78.12% Non-Hispanic white, 6.23% black, 0.10% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 0.10% Non-Hispanics of some other race, 1.29% Non-Hispanics reporting one or more races and 14.04% Hispanic.


Downtown Galax, Virginia

Located in the Appalachian region of the United States, Galax has long been famous for its traditional, or "old-timey" music and musicians. Although the entire Appalachian region is known for its music, the region around Mount Airy, North Carolina and Galax is one of the few areas of the United States where this music has remained strongest, even among young people. The Old Fiddler's Convention, one of the most prominent traditional music contests in the United States, has been held annually in Galax since 1935.[3] It has long attracted the best up-and-coming musicians in the bluegrass firmament. The Blue Ridge Music Center with its amphitheather and music museum of old-time music is just a few miles away on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 213.


The southern end of New River Trail State Park is in Galax.

Climate and Geography[]

Galax sits in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. It is an independent city that sits between Carroll County and Grayson County on the North Carolina Border. To the north, the land drops into the Great Valley of Virginia, to the south, the Piedmont of North Carolina. Galax sits in a valley, at roughly 2500' elevation. To the East, Carroll and Floyd counties rise to 3,000' in elevation on average, with peaks topping 4,000'. To the West, lie the highest mountains in Virginia. Mount Rogers and Whitetop both eclipse 5200'. Galax City, Carroll County, and Grayson County, are often considered part of the North Carolina High Country due to their proximity, as well as very similar geographic and climatic characteristics.

Summers in Galax are often mild and humid. Average highs are in the low 80's, about 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding lowlands. Fall is often rainy and cool, with snowflakes not uncommon before Halloween. Winters average between 30-40" of snow per year. Much, much more than the surrounding areas to the South. Temperatures struggle to hit 40 from December to March, with many nights in the single digits.

The Blue Ridge Mountains are home to some unique Microclimates. For instance, many times when the winds turn from the east, we are inundated with moisture off of the Atlantic Ocean resulting in fog and drizzle for days on end. This is a climate characteristic of the Pac NW.

To the west, in the winter time, the highest mountains of SWVA experience lake effect snowfall when the winds turn from the NW.

Frequent temperature drops and vastly changing weather conditions occur of this portion of the state. This is caused by not only the elevation difference, but orographic lift, making it easier for the atmosphere to produce precipitation. Often in the winter, the area will receive several inches of snow, while many places to the north in the New River Valley, and to the South in the Piedmont of NC get only rain.

It is old folklore that in the late 19th century and early 1920s, people would cut chunks of ice out of the rivers in the wintertime, cover them with sawdust, and refrigerate their meat through the warm seasons.


Galax was founded along the watercourse of Chesnut Creek which has provided an abundant water supply for the city as well as furnishing an early source of power. The Norfolk and Western Railway extended a spur into the village, then called Blairs, with the first train arriving in 1904. The town itself was incorporated in 1906. It was named after Galax, an evergreen plant growing in the area.[5] The railroad provided both freight and passenger transportation that facilitated the growth of industry and provided many of the necessities of life for the people. The manufacture of furniture, textiles, mirrors, garments, and hardwood flooring formed the economic backbone for the area. The processing of condensed milk also enabled many small farms to sell limited quantities of milk that were processed in Galax.

During the 1950s, Galax chose to separate from the two counties into whose territory it extended and became an independent city. That status fueled initial economic growth and provided a strong tax base for a number of years. While cooperating with both Grayson and Carroll Counties, Galax was able to chart an independent course to better respond to the needs of its citizens.

With the decline in economy, Galax has seen the closing of all but one of its furniture factories leaving much of the population unemployed.

Galax has been claimed as the 'bluegrass capital of the world.'

The building of an Open Access Network called "The Wired Road" began in 2007 by a consortium consisting of the City of Galax along with Carroll and Grayson counties. Consisting of both optical fiber and wireless broadband networks, it is projected to reach 80% of regional homes and businesses by 2012.[6]


Galax is served by the Galax City Public School Division
High School: Galax High School (serving grades 8 through 12)
Middle School: Galax Middle School (serving grades 5 through 7)
Elementary School: Galax Elementary School (serving grades PreK through 4)

See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places in Galax, Virginia


External links[]

Coordinates: 36°39′53″N 80°55′13″W / 36.664675, -80.920275

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Galax, Virginia. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.