The Smyth County Historical Society was organized in 1961 by a small group of local citizens who wanted to preserve our county’s history before valuable artifacts and information were lost. This group organized and created a board of directors under president and founding member Clara Hill Carner to oversee the project. The organization became designated as a 501-C-3 non-profit group, and actions were taken immediately to find a building that would be suitable as a museum. They located a small structure that had been one of the first schools in Marion, convinced the Bank of Marion to donate it to the society when the building went up for auction, and raised enough money to have it moved from downtown Marion to a site near the present-day Marion Senior High School
Since then, the Smyth County Museum has moved homes several times due to the need to accommodate its growing collection and other needs. Currently we are located in Downtown Marion in the old Parks-Belk department store building.
History of Building (old Parks-Belk Department Store)
The Parks-Belk department store was built in 1940-1941 on the site of the 1871 Christ Episcopal Church which was raised in order to construct the new Parks-Belk building. This is the second site of Parks-Belk in Marion, the former location being on West Main Street in Marion next to the Bank of Marion.