Pax, WV (West Virginia), a community in southwestern Fayette County, was incorporated in 1920 and named for Pack’s Branch, a tributary of Paint Creek. The abbreviation “Pax” may derive from railroading days when Pax was an important point on the Virginian Railway. A branch of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, formerly the Kanawha, Glen Jean & Eastern Railroad, joined the Virginian there.
The town was first a trading center for farms along the creek and grew as coal was mined in the surrounding mountains. An estimated 631 persons resided in the town in 1940 when its population was at its highest. Its population was estimated at 167 in 2010 by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The West Virginia Turnpike was completed through the valley of Paint Creek in 1954, opening the community to interstate commerce. Today the town is popularly known as a bedroom community of the nearby city of Beckley.
The Paint Creek Warpath
A prehistoric village of indigenous peoples was located near the mouth of the branch on Paint Creek where two overland trails intersected, including the prehistoric Paint Creek Trail. Nearby Town Creek, also a tributary of Paint Creek, may have been named for the village, which would have been abandoned, though still evident, by the time of European settlement.
Lodging near Pax, West Virginia
Parks & Recreation
Plum Orchard Lake Wildlife Management Area is located five miles northwest of Pax, and the Paint Creek Scenic Trail travels along the Paint Creek through the community. The Paint Creek is an important West Virginia trout stream and is stocked at Pax in spring.
Pax is located on expressways I-64 and I-77 approximately six miles north of Mossy, West Virginia, and 13 miles north of Beckley, West Virginia. Packs Branch Road (Fayette County Route 27) provides an alternate seven-mile rural route between the expressway at Pax and the US-19 expressway at Mount Hope, West Virginia.
Packs Branch Road is also a popular alternate route of access for the Bechtel National Scouting Reserve near Mount Hope.
Pax’s location along the expressway has made it particularly desirable for residents in search of rurality with fast access to city amenities.
Map of Pax, West Virginia