A monument to Confederate Soldiers stands on the grounds of the stately Smyth County Courthouse in Marion, VA.
is one of the towns to receive designation as an official Virginia Main Street Community and National Main Street Community. These designations stem from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which developed and coordinated programs to help communities revitalize their downtown and neighborhood business districts.
Several significant Marion buildings date from the early part of the twentieth century, notably a train depot (1905) built by the Norfolk and Western Railroad; note its distinctive bracket eave support system illustrated above. A classical revival courthouse designed by Frank Milburn was erected in 1905 (photo at top of post), and the General Francis Marion Hotel (1927) and the Lincoln Theatre (1929) catered to tourists traveling along the modernized Route 11. These two structures have their own post (click on their entries in the sidebar at right). A clutch of Art Deco and Art Moderne structures survives, mostly in varying states of decay. The downtown Marion Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Southwestern Lunatic Asylum opened in Marion in 1887 in a massive brick complex that featured a central spire (vintage postcard above). Harvey Black (1827-1888), a native of Blacksburg and grandson of town founder John Black, was the institution’s first superintendent. During the Civil War Harvey Black served as regimental surgeon for the Stonewall Brigade, and he assisted with the amputation of Stonewall Jackson's arm on May 3, 1863. Prior to his arrival in Marion, Black had been Superintendent of the Eastern Lunatic Asylum in Williamsburg and served in the Virginia House of Delegates. The asylum’s facilities were enlarged in 1908, 1930 and 1935, when the name was changed to Southwestern State Hospital. By 1964 the institution’s staff numbered more than 500 people. In 1986, demolition of the original complex commenced, and construction of the modern Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute began.
Open 9:00a to 10:00p daily.