Climax, Virginia:
How It Was Named

By Henry H. Mitchell, 1995.

After the Civil War, Episcopalian minister Chiswell Dabney took the initiative in helping to organize a number of community schools in the area. One school was about two miles south of the Five Forks community west of Chatham. There, after much searching, the Rev. Dabney obtained permission from a Giles family to use a log building on their farm, and one of the Giles women volunteered to serve as teacher.

At a community gathering to announce the formation of the school, the Rev. Dabney rose and said something along the lines of: “We have reached the apex, but I guess we'll call it [the] climax [of our efforts].”

So the school came to be known as the Climax school. The school was moved twice, finally to Five Forks. After World War I the highway department moved one of the roads which formed the five forks, making the name Five Forks meaningless. At that time, the community took the name of the school, Climax.


This website is sponsored by Mitchells Publications and the Sims-Mitchell House, Chatham, Virginia.