Beckley, West Virginia

Comprehensive Plan

Beckley among the 20 Best Small Towns
in America


In 2012, Smithsonian Magazine ranked small
communities across the nation. Unlike other
“best places lists,” Smithsonian Magazine
focused on culture, and used data provide by
ESRI to fi nd places with high concentrations
of museums, historic sites, botanical gardens,
resident orchestras, art galleries and other
cultural assets more common to big cities. The search was limited to towns with populations less than 25,000 across the lower 48 states. The point of this effort was to fi nd high concentrations of cultural features in small-town America. Beckley was listed as number 19 on Smithsonian’s list, and some of the factors that led to its selection included the ability to take a tour of coal seams under the City at the Exhibition Coal Mine. Attention was also drawn to Tamarack as an enormous arts center, market and theatre, and the fact that the Beckley area off ers a full
schedule of various cultural events. Other nearby cities included on this list were Butler, Pennsylvania and Staunton, Virginia.

Steering Committee Members

Ann Worley, Chairperson

Mayor Emmett Pugh

Charles Turner

Chris Hall

Dr. Jerry Forster

Ellen Taylor

Rev. James Cox

Jeff Miller

Jeremiah Johnson

Jill Moorefield

Kevin Taylor

Leslie Gray Baker

Linda Sumner

Margaret Ann O'Neal

Robert Cannon        

Tim Berry

Tom Hughes

Tom Sopher

Susan Landis

Rachel Hopkins

Elder Carlos Smith

Colleen McCulloch

Gavin Ward

Beckley, West Virginia – CNN/Money Best Places to Live Contender (2007).


Since 2005, CNN/Money Magazine have produced an annual ranking of “Best Places to Live” in the United States. Using many variables, this annual ranking identifi es 100 “best places” based on many attributes. These variables include home prices,
tax burden, commuting patterns, job growth, weather, education, etc. While Beckley did not make the top 100, it was identifi ed as a “contender” in 2007. This ranking may be somewhat subjective,
but it does indicate that Beckley has many attributes that contribute to community livability and attractiveness. Similarly, in past years other West Virginia cities have also made the
“contender” lists.