Town of Marion, Virginia
The Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia.
The Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia.
Official seal of Town of Marion, Virginia
America's Coolest Hometown
Marion is located in Virginia
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Marion is located in the United States
Marion (the United States)
Coordinates: 36°50′N 81°31′W / 36.833°N 81.517°W / 36.833; -81.517
CountryUnited States
 • MayorDavid Helms
 • Town5.16 sq mi (10.76 km2)
 • Land5.13 sq mi (10.69 km2)
 • Water0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)
2,500 ft (800 m)
 • Town6,022
 • Density1,347.31/sq mi (537.98/km2)
 • Metro
Approximately 14,500 total population
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code276
FIPS code51-49464[2]
GNIS feature ID1498513[3]

Marion is a town in, and the county seat of, Smyth County, Virginia, United States. It is positioned upon Interstate 81, in the Blue Ridge portion of the Southern Appalachian mountains in Southwest Virginia.[4] The town is named for American Revolutionary War officer Francis Marion. The town limits had a population of approximately 6,000, per 2020 Census estimates. However, together with the neighborhoods, an additional 9,000 residents residing in unincorporated Smyth County have Marion mailing addresses, granting the Marion, VA ZIP code (24354) a total population of about 14,500, which is around half of the county's total population.


Marion, Virginia is the location of two large side-by-side ground storage water tower tanks, which are separately labeled "HOT" (in red letters) and "COLD" (in blue). The landmarks, positioned just off of Marion exit 47, are visible to both north and south bound Interstate 81 traffic lanes.[citation needed]

Marion is located at 36°50′N 81°31′W / 36.833°N 81.517°W / 36.833; -81.517 (36.8370, −81.5165).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.2 square miles (10.7 km2), all of it land.

Marion is home to Hungry Mother State Park, one of the six original Virginia State Parks from the 1930s.


Historical population
source:[6] [7]

2020 census

Marion Racial Composition[9]
Race Num. Perc.
White 5,213 87.17%
Black or African American 261 4.54%
Native American 12 0.21%
Asian 59 1.03%
Pacific Islander 1 0.02%
Other/Mixed 224 3.89%
Hispanic or Latino 181 3.15%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 6,022 people, 2,573 households, and 1,394 families residing within the town limits.

2000 census

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 6,500 people, 2,677 households, and 1,648 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,528.3 people per square mile (590.7/km2). There were 2,865 housing units at an average density of 689.6 per square mile (266.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.98% White, 5.94% African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.38% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.13% of the population.

There were 2,677 households, out of which 24.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% were non-families. 36.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.76.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 19.4% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 20.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.1 males. For every 100 females aged 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.

The current (2020) median income for a household in the town is $54,652.


Marion College, a two-year Lutheran women's college, operated from 1873 to 1967. Marion Hall, constructed in 1968 and named in honor of Francis Marion, is a residence hall at Roanoke College.

Marion is also home to Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute.

Marion is the birthplace of the soft drink Mountain Dew.[10] Although Mountain Dew was first marketed under that name in Knoxville, TN, the original soft drink's formula changed drastically from Knoxville's formula to the syrup mixture that constitutes today's drink, which is Marion's version. In 1961, the rights to Mountain Dew were purchased by the Marion-based Tip Corporation. The Mountain Dew flavor was reworked by Marion resident William H. "Bill" Jones. Due to the success of the revised formulation, the Pepsi Corporation purchased the Tip Corporation in 1964.[11][12] Marion also hosted the Mountain Dew Festival for more than 50 years.[13]

Back of the Dragon, a segment of SR16 popular among motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts for its sharp turns and scenic overlooks, begins in Marion, Virginia.

R. T. Greer and Company, Henderson Building, Hotel Lincoln, Hungry Mother State Park Historic District, Lincoln Theatre, Marion Historic District, Marion Male Academy, Norfolk & Western Railway Depot, Preston House, and the Abijah Thomas House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[14]

Notable people


The climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Marion has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps. Marion's normal temperature numbers are typically at or near 45/25 F in January (coldest month), and 85/65 F in July (warmest month).[17]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  6. ^ "Population Finder: Marion, Virginia". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 10, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  7. ^ "Marion town Virginia, United States". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved February 12, 2022.
  8. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 27, 2021. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  9. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  10. ^ Jessica Fuller (July 19, 2019). "Johnson City, Marion or Knoxville: Where did Mountain Dew begin?". News Channel 11 Nexstar Media. Archived from the original on July 20, 2019. Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  11. ^ Maddry, Larry (August 6, 1994). "Reprinted Article: Soft drink finally gets its Dew from small Virginia town". Virginian Pilot. Norfolk, VA. Archived from the original on December 17, 2018. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  12. ^ Byrd, Kimberly; Williams, Debra (2005). Smyth County, Virginia (Images of America Series). Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9780738517568.
  13. ^ Glenna Elledge (July 27, 1994). "Town of Marion recognizes 'Home of Mountain Dew'". Smyth County News. Archived from the original on February 5, 2016. Retrieved December 23, 2014 – via William H. Jones Mountain Dew.
  14. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  15. ^ United States Congress. "W. Pat Jennings (id: J000098)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  16. ^ Davis, Henry Blaine Jr. (1998). Generals In Khaki. Raleigh, NC: Pentland Press. p. 316. ISBN 978-1-5719-7088-6 – via Google Books.
  17. ^ "Marion, Virginia Köppen Climate Classification". Weatherbase.