Dickenson County Wayside

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Dickenson County Wayside

Venue Information



About the Wayside Exhibits

The traditional music of Dickenson County has a special sound. Based upon tones from the Primitive Baptist and “Dunkard” churches, this sound has influenced singers in the string bands of the region. The most famous of these singers is Ralph Stanley. With his brother Carter, Ralph Stanley created a band in 1946 that riveted the world’s attention on the coalfields of Virginia and adjacent areas. The Stanley Brothers and their “Clinch Mountain Boys” began touring the nation and made notable recordings. Ralph Stanley continued the band after his brother’s death in 1966. Many honors have come to him, including a National Heritage Fellowship and the America’s Medal for the Arts, presented to him in 2006 at the White House by President George W. Bush. The Ralph Stanley Museum and Traditional Mountain Music Center in Clintwood celebrates his many contributions, tells of the boyhood of the brothers, and is a rich source of information about the music of the region. The Tri-State Singing Convention is held annually at Breaks Interstate Park on Labor Day. The Ralph Stanley Festival held on Memorial Day weekend at the Hills of Home Park between McClure and Coeburn attracts devotees from all over the world, well-known bluegrass bands, as well as Stanley and noted performers who have worked in his bands.

Four rivers arise in Dickenson County and nearby: the Pound, Cranesnest, Russell Fork, and McClure. They join and assault Pine Mountain, breaking through in a torrent of whitewater that attracts river rafting and kayak enthusiasts from distant places. The beautiful Breaks Interstate Park is named for this unusual geographic feature. John W. Flanagan Dam and Reservoir is another natural resource prized for swimming, boating, fishing, and the purity of its water.

Other Nearby Wayside Exhibits

Town of Wise Wayside

12.52 miles