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Kingwood is the county seat of Preston County. Overlooking the Cheat River Valley at an elevation of 1,862 feet, Kingwood was settled in 1807 and chartered by the Virginia legislature in 1853. It was named for a grove of tall, stately trees. Kingwood, with a 2020 population of 2,980, is governed by a mayor and city council. Kingwood is the site of Preston County’s hospital (now part of Mon Health), chamber of commerce, sheriff’s office and jail, a large volunteer fire department, library, civic groups, two radio stations, several churches, and various businesses.

Once a coal and timber town, Kingwood’s current largest private industry is the Matthews International Corporation (formerly Sheidow Bronze), a foundry employing 260 people. Kingwood is the site of the annual Buckwheat Festival. The town has two newspapers, the Preston County Journal and the Preston County News. The 646th Quartermaster Company’s Army Reserve Training Center is less than a mile southeast of Kingwood, and the National Guard’s sprawling Camp Dawson, a year-round military training site, is just northeast. An 18-hole golf course adjoins the camp. Deer, bear, and turkey hunting and whitewater rafting attract visitors to the area. The Kingwood Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

Read the National Register nomination.

Written by Peggy Ross