Bluefield can trace its origin to 1780 when John Davidson and Richard Bailey built a fort in this area.
In the 1880s coal was discovered in Pocahontas, Virginia. Later the Norfolk and Western Railway extended lines up East River from Glen Lyn, Virginia. The first carload of coal was delivered to Norfolk, Virginia, in 1883, from Higginbotham Summit.
In 1884, the name was shortened to Summit. A post office was established in 1886-1887, and the name was changed to Bluefield. Supposedly Mrs. Hattie Hannah is responsible for this name change because of the luxurious growth of chicory and bluegrass in the region. Bluefield was incorporated in 1889, and is the highest city in the state at 2,655 feet above sea level. Coal was the chief business here from the 1880s to the 1970s.
Bluefield's Building Boom
Bluefield's first building booms began in 1895. The 1920's period was one of the greatest booms in residential development. The second residential boom followed the Depression. Bluefield boomed again during World War II and the post-war era and reached its highest point in 1950.
Many of the stockholders and officers of the West Virginia Cole Realty Corporation made their residences in South Bluefield and here will be found many of the premier residential structures of the early 20th century.
Alex B. Mahood, an architect, contributed immensely to Bluefield's development. Mr. Mahood studied at the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France. Many of his residential works are in the South Bluefield area.
On September 29, 1992, Bluefield was notified that 250 residential homes were listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.
The four areas are Country Club Hill Historic District, Jefferson Street Historic District, South Bluefield Historic District, and the Upper Oakhurst Historic District. These four residential districts are in addition to the Downtown Historic District. Since that time, and with its later revitalization, the Bluefield Historical Society has sought to promote this area.