Bristol, Virginia

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Bristol, Virginia
A sign welcomes visitors to the twin cities of Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee.
A sign welcomes visitors to the twin cities of Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee.
Flag of Bristol, Virginia
Official seal of Bristol, Virginia
Nickname(s): The Birthplace of Country Music
Motto: A Good Place To Live
Coordinates: 36°36′N 82°11′W / 36.600°N 82.183°W / 36.600; -82.183
Country United States
State Virginia
 • Type Council-manager
 • Mayor Guy Odum
 • Vice Mayor Catherine Brillhart
 • City 13.2 sq mi (34 km2)
 • Land 13.0 sq mi (34 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 1,680 ft (512 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 17,835
 • Density 1,372/sq mi (530/km2)
 • Metro 500,901
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Zip Codes 24201 and 24202
Area code(s) 276
FIPS code 51-09816[1]
GNIS feature ID 1492633[2]
State Street separates Virginia (left) and Tennessee (right)

Bristol is an independent city in the U.S. state of Virginia As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,835.[3] It is bounded by Washington County, Virginia, Bristol, Tennessee, and Sullivan County, Tennessee.

It is the twin city of Bristol, Tennessee, just across the state line, which runs down the middle of its main street, State Street. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Bristol, Virginia with Washington County for statistical purposes. Bristol is a principal city of KingsportBristol–Bristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.


Originally named Goodson, it was renamed Bristol (after Bristol, England) in 1890.

The Grove, Solar Hill Historic District, and Walnut Grove are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[4]


Bristol is located at 36°36′N 82°11′W / 36.600°N 82.183°W / 36.600; -82.183 (36.6111, -82.1762)[5].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.2 square miles (34 km2), of which 12.9 square miles (33 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) (2.05%) is water.

The city is served by Interstate 81, U.S. Routes 58, 421 and 11.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 4,579
1910 6,247 36.4%
1920 6,729 7.7%
1930 8,840 31.4%
1940 9,768 10.5%
1950 15,954 63.3%
1960 17,144 7.5%
1970 14,857 −13.3%
1980 19,042 28.2%
1990 18,426 −3.2%
2000 17,367 −5.7%
2010 17,835 2.7%
Est. 2012 17,662 −1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2012[3]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 17,367 people, 7,678 households, and 4,798 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,346.4 people per square mile (519.8/km²). There were 8,469 housing units at an average density of 656.6 per square mile (253.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.54% White, 5.57% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.37% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. 0.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 7,678 households out of which 24.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the city, the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,389, and the median income for a family was $34,266. Males had a median income of $28,420 versus $20,967 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,311. About 13.2% of families and 16.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.8% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.


As of Jan 2014:

  • Mayor: Guy Odum
  • Vice Mayor: Catherine Brillhart
  • Council Member: Ed Harlow
  • Council Member: Don Ashley
  • Council Member: Jim Steele
  • City Manager: Tabitha Crowder (Interim)
  • Assistant City Manager: Andrew Trivette
  • City Attorneys: Ed Stout and Pete Curcio
  • City Clerk: Steve Allen
  • Sheriff: Jack Weisenburger
  • Circuit Court Clerk: Terry Rohr
  • Commissioner of Revenue: Terry Frye
  • Commonwealth Attorney: Jerry Wolfe
  • City Treasurer: Angel Harris
  • Voter Registrar: Penny Limburg
  • School Board Chairman: Ronald Cameron
  • School Board Vice Chairman: Randy White
  • School Board Member: Randy Alvis
  • School Board Member: Tyrone Foster
  • School Board Member: Beth Rhinehart


Despite its relatively small size, Bristol, Virginia boasts one of the most advanced broadband networks in the country. Bristol Virginia Utilities (BVU) started planning a fiber optic deployment in the city in the late 1990s. By the year 2001, BVU had been granted approval by the City Council of Bristol for a full deployment of a Fiber to the premises (FTTP or FTTU, fiber to the user) project. This project was to offer competition to local incumbents and provide broadband Internet, cable TV, and telephone service to the residents of Bristol. This deployment was one of the first of its kind in the United States and was widely watched by the telecommunications industry. A system known as Passive optical network (PON) was successfully deployed to over 6000 customers in a matter of 2 years.

Today, Bristol Virginia is still one of only a few FTTP deployments in the country with a significant number of customers online. Bristol’s twin, Bristol, Tennessee, is also deploying an FTTP system similar to its neighbor across the state line.


Top employers[edit]

According to Bristol's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[11] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 City of Bristol 676
2 Electro-Mechanical Corporation 600
3 OfficeMax 500
6 Strongwell 350
7 Commonwealth of Virginia 250
8 Shearer's Foods 225
9 Ball 218
10 Aerus 201
11 United Parcel Service 193


In 2007 and 2008, Bristol was named one of the Best 100 Communities for Music Education[12][13][14]


High School[edit]

Middle School[edit]

Elementary Schools[edit]

Private Schools[edit]

  • St Anne Catholic School (Pre-K - 8)
  • Sullins Academy Private School (Preschool - 8th Grade)
  • Morrison Private School (1st - 12th Grade)


"Birthplace of Country Music"[edit]

Bristol was recognized as the "Birthplace of Country Music," according to a resolution passed by the US Congress in 1998; residents of the city had contributed to early country music recordings and influence.

In 1927 record producer Ralph Peer of Victor Records began recording local musicians in Bristol to attempt to capture the local sound of traditional 'folk' music of the region. One of these local sounds was created by the Carter Family. The Carter Family got their start on July 31, 1927, when A.P. Carter and his family journeyed from Maces Spring, Virginia, to Bristol, Tennessee, to audition for Peer who was seeking new talent for the relatively embryonic recording industry. They received $50 for each song they recorded.

Since 1994, the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance has promoted the city as a destination to learn about the history of the region and its role in the creation of an entire music genre. The Alliance is organizing the building of a new Cultural Heritage Center to help educate the public about the history of country music in the region.[15][16]

Professional sports[edit]

Bristol hosts the Bristol Pirates baseball team of the Appalachian League.

Former NASCAR driver Kelly Denton is from the city.

On the Tennessee side, Bristol is home to Bristol Motor Speedway, the "world's fastest half mile", which hosts two races per year on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit, two races per year on the NASCAR Nationwide Series circuit, one race per year on the Camping World Truck Series circuit, and various other racing events. The complex includes the Bristol Dragway, nicknamed "Thunder Valley," referencing the hills that echo the engine noise back toward the crowd.



  • WCYB-TV in Bristol, VA (NBC Channel 5)
  • WEMT-TV in Bristol, VA (Fox Channel 39)
  • WJHL-TV in Johnson City, TN (CBS Channel 11)



Public Library[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°36′40″N 82°10′34″W / 36.6111°N 82.1762°W / 36.6111; -82.1762