Ranson (formerly Corporation of Ranson) is a city in Jefferson County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 2,951 at the 2000 census. Although the Census Bureau listed it as a town in 2000, it is classified (along with all other municipalities with populations between two and ten thousand) as a city by state law.
The Charles Town Mining, Manufacturing, and Improvement Company played an instrumental role in creating this new town. In 1890, the company bought 850 acres (3.4 km²) adjoining the western and northern corporate limits of Charles Town and commissioned D.G. Howell, a civil engineer and architect, to lay out the town. The largest tract of land purchased was from the Ranson family. The Corporation of Ranson in Jefferson County, West Virginia, was officially incorporated in 1910 when residents decided to form their own town by a vote of 67-2. It was named in honor of Dr. James Ranson, a dentist and farmer living in the area. The 2006 Census estimate claims Ranson's population is 3,957, up just over 1,000 people since 2000.
The early growth and development of Ranson reflects the late 19th century boom of the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding areas associated with the rise of the railroads, mining, and manufacturing. Early photographs of Ranson show the offices of the Charles Town Mining, Manufacturing & Improvement Company and the Hotel Powhatan, along with a few residential structures nearby. The community grew north from Lancaster Circle. Some of the companies that located in Ranson early on included the Hotel Powhatan, the Goetz Saddlery, the Shenandoah Brass and Iron Works, the Elemer E. Beachley Saw and Planing Mill, the John Farrin Boiler and Machine Shop, and the Vulcan Road Machine Company.