History

Our small-town charm and genuine hometown atmosphere prevails year round. It’s a relaxed community where local merchants often call customers by their first names and a friendly wave from a passing motorist is an everyday thing. Many people, after visiting Pearisburg, have said, "Small town, good people... this is just the place we were looking for!"
  1. About Our Town
  2. Things To Do
Situated in the center of Giles County, the town of Pearisburg is located on a plateau above the New River at the intersection of U.S. Route 460 and State Route 100. It is bounded by Angels Rest and Pearis Mountain on the West; the New River on the North and East. Pearisburg is the County seat for Giles County.

While surrounded by beauty, Pearisburg is a safe community with a dedicated police department, low cost living, an award winning hospital and a state accredited elementary and high school.  Seasonal festivals, a newly created Community Market coupled with strong family values and community pride makes Pearisburg an ideal place for those who long for small town living.

Pearisburg is an outdoor enthusiasts dream.  The Appalachian Trail is located nearby.  Pearisburg prides itself on being a hiker friendly town and enjoys its designation as an AT Trail Community.  The north flowing river is nearby with newly renovated boat landing and prime fishing opportunities.  A walking path, picnic area and primitive camping can be found at Whitt Riverbend Park.

Artists have painted murals on several building throughout the Town and a sculpture park resides near the community center.

The original name of this town was Giles Court House. Pearisburg was established when Capt. George Pearis donated 53 acres in 1806. This was surveyed and platted into a public square surrounded by 36 lots. By 1810, a two story stone courthouse sat at the intersection of Main St. and Wenonah Ave. and homes and stores were located on the lots. In 1811, the Giles Court House Post Office was approved.

By 1832 the town contained thirty stone and timber homes, taverns, churches, public and private schools, general mercantiles, tanyards, a shoe factory, shops of hatters, cabinet and chair makers, and professional offices for two attorneys and a doctor. In 1836, the stately brick courthouse still in use replaced the stone courthouse today. In 1854, the name of the town was changed from Giles Court House to Pearisburg in honor of George Pearis. By 1880 the population was 285 residents.

Progress came to Appalachia in the form of highway construction. However, the unintended consequence of increased mobility was the decimation of the business districts of small towns. Pearisburg was no exception. Downtown struggled to stay alive and many storefronts sat empty in the last half of the 20th century.

In 1992, the seventeen building historic district in Pearisburg was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. Nearby stands the 1829 Andrew Johnston House, a Federal- style brick house that is owned and operated as a museum by the Giles Historical Society.

Historical structures and sites around town include the King House, Densmore House, Hale House, King Johnston School-now the Community Center, Eastern Cemetery, Bunker Hill Civil War Cemetery, Pearis Cemetery and Fort Branch Neighborhood.

The historical designation of these buildings began the revitalization for Pearisburg . Building facades have been returned to their original design. Fresh paint, awnings and attractive doors have been incorporated as well as new sidewalks and streetlights. Business is returning and the town is on its way to recapturing the vitality it once knew.