Originally founded by Alfred Beckley in 1838, the city of Beckley has a long-standing history with many twists and turns. The town only existed on paper in its early history, and it wasn’t until 1850 that the Virginia legislature named Beckley the seat of Raleigh County. Since then, the city’s culture has grown exponentially.
The town of Beckley began its progress with the establishing of the local post office in July 1839. City founder Alfred Beckley was appointed the first postmaster. Just two years later, he went on to build a small school house for some 20 students.
It wasn’t long before merchants before merchants and businesses began to make their way to Beckley. The town saw its first merchant open up shop in 1844. In 1850, a blacksmith opened its doors to the community.
1852 saw the completed construction of the Raleigh County Court House. In 1858, Beckley was officially incorporated, but it wasn’t smooth sailing just yet.
The American Civil War struck Beckley in full force in December 1861 when Union forces took over the Raleigh Court House. During that time, future presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley were assigned to Beckley.
Beckley is no stranger to famous political figures. During the 1960 West Virginia primary, rivals John F. Kennedy and Hubert H. Humphrey took part in what was later dubbed the Stoplight Meeting. Both politicians recognized one another at a stoplight and chatted for a short time before continuing their respective campaigns.
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