Front Royal, Virginia
|Front Royal, Virginia|
|Town of Front Royal|
|Nickname(s): Canoe Capital of Virginia, The Royal|
|• Mayor||Timothy W. Darr|
|• Total||9.5 sq mi (24.6 km2)|
|• Land||9.3 sq mi (24.0 km2)|
|• Water||0.2 sq mi (0.6 km2)|
|Elevation||568 ft (173 m)|
|• Density||1,464.9/sq mi (565.6/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1498480|
Front Royal is roughly 76 miles (122 km) west of Washington, D.C.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 9.5 square miles (24.6 km²), of which 9.3 square miles (24.0 km²) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.6 km²) of it (2.52%) is water. The city is located at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River.
The entire Shenandoah Valley including the area to become Front Royal was annexed and claimed for hunting by the Iroquois Confederation during the later Beaver Wars, by 1672. Some bands of the Shawnee settled in the area as client groups to the Iroquois and alternately to the Cherokee after 1721. The Iroquois formally sold their entire claim east of the Alleghenies to the Virginia Colony at the Treaty of Lancaster in 1744. Front Royal, originally settled in 1754 under the name LeHewtown, had been known to European explorers as early as the 1670s, and the nearby settlement of Chester's Ferry was in existence by 1736. The town also had a well-known nickname by the 1790s, "Helltown," due to the many livestock wranglers and boatmen on the Shenandoah coming through the area, who came into town looking for alcohol. It was incorporated as "Front Royal" in 1788.
The origin of the name "Front Royal" remains uncertain. One version holds that, in early decades of European settlement, the area was referred to in French as "le front royal," meaning the British frontier. French settlers, trappers, and explorers in the Ohio Territory of the mid-18th century were referring to the land grant made by King Charles II, then in control of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, Baron of Cameron. In English, "le front royal" is translated to the "Royal Frontier." The British themselves may have called the area "Front Royal" after 1763, when they set the so-called Proclamation Line along the spine of the Alleghenies to demarcate the settled portion of the colonies from the Indian Reserve in the interior.
However, another legendary version of the origin of the name has it that, during colonial days, a giant oak tree - the "Royal" Tree of England - stood in the public square where Chester and Main Streets now join. It was there that the local militia, composed of raw recruits slow to learn military commands and maneuvers, were drilled. On one occasion, the sorely tired drill sergeant became so exasperated by the clumsy efforts of his troops and their failure to follow his command that he hit upon a phrase that all could understand and shouted, "front the Royal Oak!" Among the spectators was a former professional soldier. He was so amused by the officer's coined order that he and his friends found much sport in telling the story, repeating "front the Royal Oak" until Front Royal was the resulting derivation.
Still a third account holds that when local militia were stationed around the town during the American Revolution, the sentry would call out "Front", to which the required entry password was to respond "Royal". Eventually their military post became known as "Camp Front Royal".
Rail service was established in 1854 with the construction of the Alexandria, Orange and Manassas Gap Railroad between Manassas and Riverton. This line was soon extended to Strasburg in time to become a factor in the Battle of Front Royal on May 23, 1862 and throughout the Civil War. Lumber, agriculture, manufacturing and grain mills provided employment in the region for decades after the Civil War.
The Balthis House, Erin, Fairview Farm, Flint Run Archeological District, Front Royal Historic District, Front Royal Recreational Park Historic District, Killahevlin, Mountain House, Riverside, Riverton Historic District, Rose Hill, Sonner Hall, and Warren County Courthouse (Virginia) are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Front Royal is governed by a Mayor and six-member town council with four-year terms.
- Timothy M. Darr, 2010
Hollis L. Tharpe
Thomas H. Sayre
Bret W. Hrbek
Daryl L. Funk
Eugene R. Tewalt
N. Shae Parker
Points of interest
Front Royal is the home of Randolph-Macon Academy (founded 1892) which features an Air Force JROTC program. Front Royal is also the home of Christendom College and the Smithsonian's Conservation and Research Center. Along with these universities are the two rival high schools, Skyline High School and Warren County High School.
Commercially, it is the home to a Virginia Inland Port situated on U.S. Route 522.
Like many outer suburbs, Front Royal is facing the challenge of providing jobs to its community and preventing a slide into being a bedroom community. It also faces tensions between long-time residents, recent (10–20 years ago) arrivals and more affluent newly arrived residents, many of whom commute daily to Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. This struggle was reflected in Centex's huge 1,862-home "The Villages at Twin Rivers" proposal, which sought to transform 579 agriculturally-zoned acres just outside the town into a residential district. The proposal was large enough that Centex is offering to build a new interchange on Interstate 66 and help fund a new elementary school. However in late 2006, Centex scaled back its plans and is no longer offering to build an elementary school.
Front Royal is home to the Avtex Fibers Superfund Site. Once Virginia's largest Superfund site, this former rayon manufacturing facility is being recovered to provide a 175-acre (0.71 km2) eco-friendly office park, 30 acres (120,000 m2) of soccer fields, and 240 acres (0.97 km2) of conservancy park along the Shenandoah River. One of the assumed reasons why Avtex shut down was because of the pollution the plant emitted into the nearby Shenandoah River.
Front Royal is also home to the Canine Enforcement Training Center (CETC), which trains dogs in various detection abilities for numerous Federal Agencies.
Important tourist attractions include Skyline Caverns, the northern entrance to Shenandoah National Park, and Skyline Drive, which were both created during the Great Depression. It also has a large number of American Civil War attractions, both in the town and the surrounding Shenandoah Valley.
The Front Royal Cardinals baseball team joined the Valley League in 1984. Games are played in Bing Crosby Stadium. Bing Crosby donated the land and money to build the original stadium when he became aware of Front Royal in 1953 as a result of a fellow Irish Catholic named Frank Nesbitt. In 1953, Frank Nesbitt coached a Little League team from Front Royal which came in 3rd in the world tournament. Freddie Moore was one of the players on that team. Freddie Moore later became active in Front Royal Little League. After Moore died of cancer one of Front Royal's Little League fields was named in his honor.
The Confederate Museum on Chester Street has many interesting artifacts from the 1860s, as has the museum buildings of the Warren Heritage Society, the Ivy Lodge (c. 1859), the Belle Boyd Cottage (c. 1836) and the Balthis House (c. 1788).
Front Royal has been designated the canoe capital of Virginia.
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,589 people, 5,425 households, and 3,585 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,464.9 people per square mile (565.4/km²). There were 5,752 housing units at an average density of 620.1 per square mile (239.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 88.31% White, 8.68% African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.66% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.13% of the population.
There were 5,425 households out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.8% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.9% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the town the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.0 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $34,786, and the median income for a family was $42,675. Males had a median income of $32,373 versus $24,182 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,901. About 9.1% of families and 14.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.2% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over.
Three radio stations and two weekly newspapers are based and licensed to Front Royal.
On Radio, FM stations WZRV and WFQX are licensed to the town. WZRV is actually based in Front Royal, while WFQX is based in nearby Winchester. Also, on radio, AM station WFTR is based and licensed to the town.
The Northern Virginia Daily is a daily newspaper serving the area both in print and online at nvdaily.com. Weekly newspapers The Sherando Times and The Warren County Report are based in Front Royal. The Warren County Report serves Warren County, while The Sherando Times serves the Stephens City, Middletown, and Kernstown areas of nearby Frederick County, Virginia. The Warren Sentinel is the county's oldest newspaper, dating back over 150 years. It is published each Thursday.
- Front Royal Area Transit (FRAT) provides weekday transit for the town of Front Royal.
- Page County Transit The People Movers provides weekday transit for the town of Luray and weekday service between Luray and Front Royal.
- Shenandoah Valley Commuter Bus previously offered weekday commuter bus service from Northern Shenandoah Valley including Shenandoah County and Warren County to Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. including Arlington County and Fairfax County. Origination points in Shenandoah County include Woodstock. Origination points in Warren County included Front Royal and Linden. This service was terminated in January 2011 due to declining revenues.
- C.E. Byrd, Virginia-born educator who established C.E. Byrd High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, began his teaching career in the 1880s in Front Royal.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Shenandoah River - South Fork". Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Virginia.gov. Accessed 26 Dec. 2012.
- Hofstra, Warren (2005). The Planting of New Virginia: Settlement and Landscape in the Shenandoah Valley. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 10–12. ISBN 0801882710.
- Kercheval, Samuel (1833). A History of the Valley of Virginia.
- Carrie Hunter Willis and Etta Belle Walker, 1937, Legends of the Skyline Drive and the Great Valley of Virginia, p. 35-36.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- *Tewalt and Hrbek lose bids for re-election in Front Royal - Local News
- Front Royal Chamber of Commerce. October 10, 2008.
- Front Royal Tourism Info
- Town of Front Royal
- Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce
- Warren Heritage Society
-  News story about the forefathers of Front Royal