Galax – James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States, was issued a land grant in 1756 by the British Crown in the area now known as Galax, VA. The Cripple Creek Extension arrived here at last in 1906. The town was first named Bonaparte, but it was changed to Galax when it was incorporated in 1906 due to the abundance of the plant by the same name in the area. Galax is an evergreen plant that was collected and shipped by train to cities where it was used by florists in Christmas arrangements. The town’s biggest claim to fame in recent years is its title as the “World Capital of Old-Time Mountain Music.” The Old Fiddlers Convention has been held in August in Galax since 1935.
The lead, zinc, and iron ore mines in Austinville closed in 1981, cutting the number of cars on the 50-mile Cripple Creek Extension from 2,000 per year to 300 per year. The track was abandoned in 1985 and donated to the State of Virginia in 1986. The New River Trail opened in 1987.