Two local attractions have been voted "BEST OF THE MOUNTAINS 2013"
in Blue Ridge Country Magazine (July/August 2013).
Blue Ridge Country in an international award-winning magazine with a readership of over 425,000!
Best Inn or B&B: MacArthur Inn won Gold
Best Hike to Take the Dog Along: Mill Creek won Silver
There were a total of 19 Giles County attractions that received awards.
Congratulations to all the winners! Visit http://blueridgecountry.com to see the complete list.
Geologists say Giles County was a high plateau with a slow-moving river passing through headed north. This river wore down barriers that laid in its way. One of the areas was named The Narrows of the New River because of the narrow slice the river made through there. Eventually this area simply became known as Narrows. Among the early settlers in this area was Matthew French who built his home several miles up Wolf Creek in about 1775. Soon after in 1776, Thomas Ingles settled in this area, and again in 1778, Moredock McKensey settled at the mouth of Wolf Creek. The next year two soldiers from the Revolutionary War, Joseph Hare and Edmund Hale, were granted land on what is now the south portion of today's town.
Charles Hale built the first dwelling house in Narrows; it was a two-story log building with the kitchen built a short distance from the house. In the Civil War, Narrows was of strategic importance. From Tannery Hill the Confederates were able to keep a lookout in three directions. On this hill the old breast-works, which were built to guard the approach from the North, can be seen. Southern soldiers were quartered here to guard against Union soldiers passing through to cut the railroad line between Dublin and Bristol and also to prevent the capture of salt works at Saltville.
General McCausland's Confederate soldiers numbering about 1000 or more were encamped in the fields near the high-school campus in the winter of 1863. The signs of these camps are visible to this day. In the 1870s Franklin N. Priddy from Lynchburg built a tobacco factory in Narrows. After it was built the name almost changed to North View, but the name was already in use somewhere in Virginia. Also during this time, the lumbering industry began to flourish. Logs were floated down Wolf Creek and caught at a boom; this became known as the Merceau Lumber Company.
During this time period, however, few buildings of any size existed in Narrows. In 1891, the residents of Narrows predicted an industrial boom in their near future. This idea prompted them to change the name of Narrows to Intermont. They thought this name would spur business because it sounded more distinguished. Later when the prediction did not come true, the name was changed back to Narrows.
Development was slow with only a few houses being added here and there. As the 19th century came to a close, railroad tracks gave this area access to the outside, including a way to the coalfields in West Virginia. The Snowflake Tannery also started around this time bringing in many citizens who played important roles in the growth of Narrows. The tannery was the chief industry for 35 years and employed about 100 men at its close in 1930.
Old timers in Narrows talk about the winter of 1917-18 when ice became so thick on the New River that cattle could be driven across it safely. The flood of 1916 that washed away the New River Bridge is also a well-known event of the past. The old ferry was used in place of the bridge until a new one was finished two years later.
These days, Narrows is a bird sanctuary and a haven for flocks of wild geese and ducks every year. Upstream is the Narrows Town Park, which offers picnic facilities, playgrounds, and free swimming. The swimming area at the park and the concession stand are operated during the summer season. However, the park area is open to the public throughout the year. The park receives heavy use, particularly during the summer, with attendance averaging about 600 per day and almost doubling on the weekends. State Route 61 also offers a scenic view of Wolf Creek.