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Burkes Garden in Tazewell County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Burke’s Garden

 
 
Burke’s Garden Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 28, 2011
1. Burke’s Garden Marker
Inscription. Known for its fertility and great natural beauty, the bowl shaped Burke’s Garden is the highest valley in Virginia. James Burke discovered it during the 1740s while hunting and settled here about 1754. After four years Burke and his family moved to North Carolina, where he died in 1783. The threat of Indian attack and the remoteness of the area discouraged permanent white settlement until the early 19th century.
 
Erected 1993 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number X-12-a.)
 
Location. 37° 7.5′ N, 81° 21.417′ W. Marker is in Burkes Garden, Virginia, in Tazewell County. Marker is at the intersection of Burkes Garden Road (County Route 623) and Back Road (Route 666), on the left when traveling south on Burkes Garden Road. Touch for map. This crossroads is known as Gose Mill. Burkes Garden Road starts at State Route 61 and crosses Rich and Garden Mountains from the north. Marker is in this post office area: Burkes Garden VA 24608, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Site of James Burke’s Garden (approx. 1.5 miles away); Shawver Mill (approx. 2 miles away); a different marker also named Burke’s Garden
Burke’s Garden Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 28, 2011
2. Burke’s Garden Marker
(approx. 6 miles away); Molly Tynes’s Ride (approx. 6 miles away but has been reported missing); First Court for Tazewell County (approx. 7.3 miles away); Henry C. Groseclose (approx. 7.4 miles away); William Wynne’s Fort (approx. 7.6 miles away); Battle of Wytheville (approx. 9 miles away).
 
More about this marker. Marker is in Burke’s Garden valley at the foot of Garden Mountain on the only paved road into the valley.

This marker replaced a previous marker at this location with the same title and number which read “Burke’s Garden was first settled about 1754 by James Burke who had been hunting in the area during the previous decade. Burke lived here until 1774 when he and his wife were killed by Indians. Two years later a fort was erected here as a defense from the Indians. The area around Burke’s Garden is known for its great natural beauty.” The present marker corrects the tale of Burke’s death.
 
Regarding Burke’s Garden. At 3100 feet above sea level, the valley is maybe 9 miles long east to west by 4 or 5 miles wide north to south, completely ringed by Garden Mountain. There are maybe 250 households living
First Glimpse of Burke’s Garden image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 28, 2011
3. First Glimpse of Burke’s Garden
Seen through the trees from the serpentine switchbacks on Burkes Garden Road as it begins to drop into the valley.
in the valley. Route 623 runs through the valley north to south between State Routes 61 and 42. The northern mountain crossing is paved and crosses Rich Mountain first, without the benefit of a gap, and continues descending through the immediately adjacent Garden Mountain gap and into the valley. The southern crossing is not paved. The southern crossing crosses both Garden Mountain and Brushy Mountain before reaching Route 42.

There is an elementary school and one small grocery and convenience store in the valley. The old combination post office, general store and gasoline station is shuttered and weathering. The nearest large town is Tazewell, the county seat, 14 miles north and west. The valley is served by its own independent telephone and Internet access company, Burke’s Garden Telephone Company, established in 1899. Subscribers dial 4 digits to call each other.

Burkes Garden, VA, retains its own zip code, but no longer has a post office. This zip code is now served from Tazewell.

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail follows the southern rim of Garden Mountain on its run between Georgia and Maine.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. Burke’s Garden, Virginia. Wikipedia entry. “The oval, bowl-like valley (or ‘cove’) is known for
Directional Signs Unique to Burke’s Garden image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 28, 2011
4. Directional Signs Unique to Burke’s Garden
Every crossroads in the valley has directions showing mileage to houses and farms. These ones are across from the marker.
its fertile land and was once the bed of an ancient sea. About 8.5 miles long and 4 miles wide, it resembles a large volcanic crater in satellite photographs and on topographic maps; however, it was actually formed when underground limestone caverns collapsed.” (Submitted on July 17, 2011.) 

2. Burke’s Garden, Virginia — God’s Thumbprint. 2008 article by Chris Myers in RoadRUNNER magazine. “While riding through Burke’s Garden, it’s hard not to become absorbed in the peacefulness and serenity. Time seems irrelevant. The ring of mountains, a natural barrier to the outside world, has given residents reason to see to it that their unique way of life stays protected. There are no real services in the valley. The Burke’s Garden General Store does have a small grill that dishes up ‘the best burger in town,’ but we feel the real attractions there are the cold Cokes and the porch swing. Just down the road, you’ll find the post office. Postmistress Colleen Cox, a lifelong resident, will be happy to fill you in on the local history, but she’s only got the doors open between 10:00 and 1:00. Other than that, don’t expect more than pleasant rolling hills, quiet, pastoral lanes, and the sprawling beauty of age-old farms that have earned the valley a National Rural Historic District designation. It’s a quiet
Burke’s Garden Post Office and General Store image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 28, 2011
5. Burke’s Garden Post Office and General Store
It is now shuttered. There is a more modern convenience store in the valley, but the nearest post office is now Tazewell 15 miles away.
place where the land is the attraction, and that's how the 300 year-round residents like it.” (Submitted on July 17, 2011.) 
 
Categories. Natural FeaturesSettlements & Settlers
 
Burke’s Garden Telephone Company image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 28, 2011
6. Burke’s Garden Telephone Company
Since 1899 and still independent. The smallest telephone company in Virginia.
Gose Mill Dam and Millpond on Burkes Garden Creek image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 28, 2011
7. Gose Mill Dam and Millpond on Burkes Garden Creek
This view is a few steps from the marker. Burke’s Garden Valley opens up in the distance with the southern ridge of Garden Mountain at the horizon. Gose Mill is no longer standing. Burkes Garden Creek drains the valley, taking the pass through Garden Mountain to the north.
Satellite View of Burke’s Garden image. Click for full size.
By Google Maps
8. Satellite View of Burke’s Garden
The gap in Garden Mountain is visible to the left of center at the top of the image, with Rich Mountain blocking the way. It's been called “God’s Thumbprint,” a resemblance more evident on a topological maps.
A Burke’s Garden Home image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 28, 2011
9. A Burke’s Garden Home
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 17, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,232 times since then and 62 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week July 31, 2011. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on July 17, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.
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