TENNIS ANYONE? | Why ain’t we made Southwest Virginia a state yet?

TENNIS ANYONE? | Why ain’t we made Southwest Virginia a state yet?

021223-bhc-fea-tenniscolumnmug-p1   Joe Tennis mug

Joe Tennis

We’ve got West Virginia.

And then there is Southwest Virginia.

Why ain’t we made this a state yet?

Southwest Virginia stands culturally and geographically diverse from the rest of Virginia, though, many will tell you, it’s more akin to our cousins in West Virginia than what’s happening in Northern Virginia or traffic-tied Hampton Roads.

This is farm country — rural, yet crisscrossed by interstate highways at Wytheville.

That’s where I would place the state capitol: Wytheville. It’s at the center of virtually everything in Southwest Virginia, and it even has a history of being a place where the Virginia General Assembly would meet during steamy summer months before the advent of air-conditioning.

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So where would our boundaries be?

Well, let’s first look at the 17 geologically distinct counties that define the true Southwest Virginia. Here, most of the water flows to the Gulf of Mexico — unlike the rest of Virginia.

These are the counties of Montgomery, Floyd, Pulaski, Giles, Carroll, Wythe, Grayson, Bland, Washington, Smyth, Tazewell, Russell, Scott, Lee, Wise, Buchanan and Dickenson.

Now, mix in Franklin and Patrick — just because they were adopted into the region when The Crooked Road was established.

Patrick is a lovely and romantic region with lots of mountains — and the stunning Primland Resort.

Franklin is the Moonshine Capital of the World.

Let’s also add Craig County to the State of Southwest Virginia — just in case we need a buffer zone to defend what will now be called Southwest Virginia Tech at Blacksburg.

But, now, let’s talk about Roanoke.

About 33 years ago, when I was a student at Radford University, which will be part of the new state, by the way, I was told “the state stops at Roanoke.”

I mean, hey — I love Roanoke. But if we take it into the new state, it will become just another “Northern Virginia” that the folks down here in Southwest Virginia will bash and say, “I don’t want this place to look like that!”

But, in this case, if it were included, Roanoke would be known as “Northern Southwest Virginia,” which kind of gets me dizzy with so many directions.

Still, let’s seize Salem.

I love that little city on the shoulder of Roanoke.

We could split the line down a main road, too, and make it like the division on State Street at Bristol.

And, yes, Bristol, Galax, Norton and Radford — the four cities — will all be part of the new state.

That is, of course, if this is ever done.

In Wise, we must make the college there the University of Southwest Virginia.

Then, we could also seize the crumpled campus of Virginia Intermont College — and make it a branch of what’s in Wise but call it the University of Southwest Virginia’s College at Bristol.

But maybe there’s likely too much red tape to do that.

Actually, there’s probably too much red tape to do any of this.

But, if we do, remember this plan: Create the State of Southwest Virginia from Salem to Stuart — and west to Cumberland Gap.