In 1882 the county seat of newly formed Dickenson County was moved from Ervinton to Clintwood, a small village in the northwestern area of the county. The town was named in honor of Major Henry Clinton Wood, a state senator from nearby Russell County, whose political support influenced the passage of the bill creating Dickenson County in 1880. The town was incorporated in 1894, and with the arrival of the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway in 1915, Clintwood began to grow. The town's most architecturally significant buildings are located along Main Street.
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