We all love geographic oddities and Smyth County, Virginia, is certainly home to more than its fair share. Below are seven geographic facts about Smyth County that we’re willing to bet our entire bottle of Mountain Dew (wink wink) that you didn’t know:
1. Smyth County is west of the entire continent of South America
Remarkably, neighboring Wythe County is not. South America’s most western point is located east of the Mountain Empire Airport, just before the Wythe County line.
2. Saltville is closer to 5 other state capitals than its own in Richmond, Virginia… 243 miles away.
Charleston, West Virginia (101 miles)
Raleigh, North Carolina (190 miles)
Frankfurt, Kentucky (194 miles)
Columbia, South Carolina (202 miles)
Columbus, Ohio (222 miles)
3. Chilhowie is four miles closer to Lake Erie than Virginia Beach
Turns out Chilhowie is approximately four miles closer to Lake Erie (317 miles), on the northeastern shore of Ohio than Virginia Beach, on the other side of the Commonwealth (321).
4. The closest beach to Smyth County is Myrtle Beach.
The closest beach to Smyth County isn’t Virginia Beach, but South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach.
5.The 37th Parallel cuts through northeastern Smyth County near Little Brushy Mountain
Great news for Smyth County, not so great news for Bland and Tazewell Counties, as for whatever reason, Americans who live north of the 37th parallel are twice as likely to develop multiple sclerosis than those who live south of this imaginary line.
Interestingly, the 37th parallel also forms what many conspiracy theorists refer to as the “UFO Belt”, as residents along this latitude have reported an extremely high number of UFO sightings compared to elsewhere in the nation… the 37th defines as the north-south border of the Four Corners and also cuts through Nevada.
6. Marion is south of the following California cities:
Santa Cruz, San Jose, San Francisco.
7. The original maps of West Virginia included Smyth County.
Smyth County, West Virginia. Like the sound of this? If certain delegates of the August 1861 Wheeling Convention had their way, the Smyth County, along with nearly every other Virginia county along the modern-day I-81 corridor would have been part of the Mountain State.
Fortunately… or unfortunately, depends on how you look at it, a competing resolution which called for a much smaller State of West Virginia passed the assembly on August 9th and the Salt Capital of the Confederacy remained… in the Confederacy.
And you thought geography was boring!
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