Big Stone Gap in Wise County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Big Stone Gap
—The Crooked Road — Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail —
Big Stone Gap. Big Stone Gap takes its name from a large stone, visible in a gap. Wagoners who followed Daniel Boone’s trail said: “It’s a day's ride from the Big Stone Gap to Cumberland Gap.” Fiddlers, banjo players, and singers came in those wagons, and their descendants were joined by a diverse population during the boom and bust cycles of mineral extraction and logging. The Irish railroaders were very musical, and the Italians, eastern Europeans, and others added zest to the musical stew. There were “busking” musicians in Big Stone Gap and other coal towns. They performed outside workplaces and on the street, especially on paydays. Good tunes were kept and traded, and many of the high flying bands of the 1920s had Big Stone Gap as a favorite stop. The song mix was attuned to the coalfields: ditties carried by the railroaders, ancient ballads, tragic songs and religious songs of many kinds.
Among the legendary musicians from here were the children of “Fiddling” Martin, an African-American blacksmith with a large family. Among his children were Roland Martin, a blind multi-instrumentalist and singer who made 78 rpm recordings, and mandolinist Carl Martin, a bluesman noted for his impassioned singing, zany songs, and a sense of humor. Big Stone Gap was home
The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Coalfields region, southwest Virginia is blessed with historic and contemporary music venues, musicians, and fretted instrument markers. Historically isolated, the region retained its strong musical legacy by passing traditions down through musical families to an appreciative community.
Old time mountain music, bluegrass, and gospel can be enjoyed all year long and several museums are devoted to showcasing the area’s rich musical heritage.
The Crooked Road winds through the ruggedly beautiful Appalachian Mountains and leads you to the major hotspots of old time mountain, music country music, and bluegrass. Alive and kickin’ for today’s fans, these venues preserve and celebrate musical traditions passed down through generations. Annual festivals, weekly concerts, radio shows, and jam sessions ring out to large audiences and intimate gatherings. Please visit the Crooked Road website to
Erected by The Crooked Road.
Marker series. This marker is included in the The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail marker series.
Location. 36° 51.941′ N, 82° 46.198′ W. Marker is in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, in Wise County. Marker is on Gilley Avenue East (Alternate U.S. 58) east of Hamblen Street South, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. It is at the Tourist Information Center next to the Country Inn. Marker is in this post office area: Big Stone Gap VA 24219, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Origins of Big Stone Gap (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Big Stone Gap (approx. 0.4 miles away); Carl Martin (approx. 0.4 miles away); Southwest Virginia Museum (approx. 0.6 miles away); Appalachia (approx. 2.8 miles away); Donelson’s Indian Line (approx. 3.8 miles away); Seminary United Methodist Church (approx. 5.2 miles away); Turkey Cove (approx. 5.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Big Stone Gap.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Categories. • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 24, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 174 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 24, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.