Harrisonburg, Virginia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Harrisonburg, Virginia
Independent city
City of Harrisonburg
Rockingham County Courthouse in Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg
Rockingham County Courthouse in Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg
Official seal of Harrisonburg, Virginia
Seal
Nickname(s): The Friendly City, H'Burg, The Burg
Location in Virginia
Location in Virginia
Coordinates: 38°26′58″N 78°52′08″W / 38.44944°N 78.86889°W / 38.44944; -78.86889Coordinates: 38°26′58″N 78°52′08″W / 38.44944°N 78.86889°W / 38.44944; -78.86889
Country United States
State Virginia
Founded 1779
Government
 • Type Council-manager government
 • City Manager Kurt Hodgen[1]
 • Mayor Ted Byrd (R)[2]
 • Vice Mayor Charles Chenault (I)[3]
 • City Council
Area
 • Total 17.4 sq mi (45 km2)
 • Land 17.3 sq mi (45 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 1,325 ft (404 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 48,914
 • Density 2,827/sq mi (1,092/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 22801-22803, 22807
Area code(s) 540
FIPS code 51-35624[9]
GNIS feature ID 1498489[10]
Website HarrisonburgVa.gov

Harrisonburg is an independent city in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 48,914.[11] Harrisonburg is the county seat of Rockingham County[12], although the two are separate jurisdictions. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Harrisonburg with Rockingham County for statistical purposes. Harrisonburg is home to James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University.

Harrisonburg is the core city of the Harrisonburg, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area which has a 2011 estimated population of 126,562[13]

History[edit]

Harrisonburg was named for Thomas Harrison (1704–1785), an early settler.[14]

The earliest documented English exploration of the area prior to settlement was the "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe Expedition", led by Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood, who reached Elkton, and whose rangers continued and in 1716 likely passed through what is now Harrisonburg.

Harrisonburg, previously known as Rocktown, was named for Thomas Harrison, a son of English settlers.[15] In 1737, Harrison settled in the Shenandoah Valley, eventually laying claim to over 12,000 acres (49 km2). This was situated at the intersection of the Spotswood Trail and the main Native American road through the Valley.[16]

In 1779, Harrison deeded 2.5 acres (10,000 m2) of his land to the "public good" for the construction of a courthouse. In 1780, Harrison deeded an additional 50 acres (200,000 m2).[17] This is the area now known as "Historic Downtown Harrisonburg."

In 1849, trustees chartered a mayor-council form of government, although Harrisonburg was not officially incorporated as an independent city until 1916. Today, a council-manager government administers Harrisonburg.[18]

Newtown[edit]

Interstate 81, a main roadway in Harrisonburg.

When the slaves of the Shenandoah Valley were freed in 1865, they set up near modern-day Harrisonburg a town called Newtown.[19] This settlement was eventually annexed by the independent city of Harrisonburg some years later, probably around 1892. Today, the old city of Newtown is still the home of the majority of Harrisonburg's predominantly black churches, such as First Baptist and Bethel AME. The modern Boys and Girls Club of Harrisonburg is located in the old Lucy Simms schoolhouse used for the black students in the days of segregation.[citation needed]

A large portion of this black neighborhood was dismantled in the 1950s when – in the name of urban renewal – the city government used federal redevelopment funds from the Housing Act of 1949 to force black families out of their homes and then bulldozed the neighborhood. This effort, called "Project R4," focused on the city blocks east of Main, north of Gay, west of Broad, and south of Johnson. The city later sold the land to commercial developers.[20]

Downtown Renaissance[edit]

In early 2002, the Harrisonburg community discussed the possibility of creating a pedestrian mall downtown. Public meetings were held to discuss the merits and drawbacks of pursuing such a plan. Ultimately, the community decided to keep its Main Street open to traffic. From these discussions, however, a strong voice emerged from the community in resounding support of downtown revitalization.

On July 1, 2003, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit with the mission of rejuvenating the downtown district.[21]

In 2004, downtown was designated as the Harrisonburg Downtown Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places and a designated Virginia Main Street Community,[22] with the neighboring Old Town Historic District residential community gaining historic district status in 2007. Several vacant buildings have been renovated and re-purposed for new uses, like the Hardesty-Higgins House and City Exchange, used for the Harrisonburg Tourist Center and high-end loft apartments, respectively.

In 2008, downtown Harrisonburg spent over $1 million in cosmetic and sidewalk infrastructure improvements (also called streetscaping and wayfinding projects). The City Council appropriated $500,000 for custom street signs to be used as "wayfinding signs" directing visitors to areas of interest around the city. Another $500,000 was used to upgrade street lighting, sidewalks, and landscaping along Main Street and Court Square.[23]

Creative & Cultural Class[edit]

Larkin Arts

The creative class of Harrisonburg has grown significantly alongside the revitalization of the downtown district. Formidably contributing to Harrisonburg's cultural capital are a collection of education and art centers, residencies, studios, and artist-facilitated businesses, programs, and collectives.[24]

OFAR Founder Jon Henry

Larkin Arts: Larkin Arts is a community art center located in downtown Harrisonburg that is owned and operated by Valerie Smith and Scott Whitten.[25] It opened in 2012 and has “4 symbiotic components: an art supply store, a fine arts gallery, a school comprised of 3 classrooms, and 5 private studio spaces.”.[26]

Old Furnace Artist Residency (OFAR)[27] and SLAG Mag: Artist residency and arts&culture quarterly zine focused on community engagement and social practice projects started in 2013 by activist Jon Henry. According to OFAR’s mission statement, the residency “seeks to expose/engage artists to/with (rural) communities” giving special attention to practices that “focus on social justice.[28]” Recent resident artists include Walker Tufts, Amanda Hunt, Dana Ollestad, and Peter Christenson.

Super Gr8 Film Festival: The Super Gr8 Film Festival founded in 2009 by Tim Estep and Paul Somers showcases films in downtown Harrisonburg, VA. The 2013 festival featured more than 50 locally produced films. All films in the festival were shot using vintage cameras and Super 8 film.[29]

Little Free Library (437 E. Wolfe St)

Little Free Libraries in Harrisonburg, VA: 437 East Wolfe Street (Stewards: Mary Lou Wylie and Lennis Echterling, Stewards #8171) and Maple Ave and S. Main St. Timberville, VA 22853 (Steward: Ned O.) The Little Free Library program was started in 2009 by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin and promotes micro-libraries to “take a book, return a book” gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.[30]

ACV, Darrin-McHone Gallery, and Court Square Theater: The Arts Council of the Valley (ACV) located at 311 South Main Street champions diverse artistic expression and promotes the arts as fundamental to a vibrant community. ACV provides memorable arts experiences for individuals in the City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County through our visual, literary, and performing arts programs, educational opportunities, and grants.[31] The Court Square Theater was once the home of the Rockingham Motor Company (RMC), but in 1998, the RMC was renovated into a theater as part of the Harrisonburg downtown revitalization effort. the Arts Council has grown into a multi-faceted community resource that offers Advancing the Arts grants to artists and art educators, coordinates Harrisonburg’s First Fridays events, produces the Art in the Park program for families, runs a creative theater space for performing arts, and houses monthly exhibitions in its Darrin-McHone Gallery.[32]

Southerners on New Ground, Harrisonburg Chapter (SONG): SONG is a home for LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender, and sexuality in the South.

Virginia Quilt Museum: The Virginia Quilt Museum is located at 301 South Main Street and dedicated to preserving, celebrating, and nurturing Virginia's quilting heritage. The museum was established in 1995 and features a permanent collection of nearly 300 quilts, a Civil War Gallery, antique and toy sewing machines, and rotating exhibits from across the United States.[33]

Historic sites[edit]

In addition to the Thomas Harrison House, Harrisonburg Downtown Historic District, and Old Town Historic District, the Anthony Hockman House, Rockingham County Courthouse, Lucy F. Simms School, Whitesel Brothers, and Joshua Wilton House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[34]

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.4 square miles (45.1 km2), of which 17.3 square miles (44.8 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2) (0.3%) is water.[35]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 2,792
1900 3,521 26.1%
1910 4,879 38.6%
1920 5,875 20.4%
1930 7,232 23.1%
1940 8,768 21.2%
1950 10,810 23.3%
1960 11,916 10.2%
1970 14,605 22.6%
1980 19,671 34.7%
1990 30,707 56.1%
2000 40,468 31.8%
2010 48,914 20.9%
Est. 2012 50,981 4.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[36]
1790-1960[37] 1900-1990[38]
1990-2000[39] 2010-2012[11]
This graph, using information from the 2000 federal census, illustrates the uneven distribution of age due to the two universities in Harrisonburg

As of the census[40] of 2000, there were 40,468 people, 13,133 households, and 6,448 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,304.4 people per square mile (889.8/km²). There were 13,689 housing units at an average density of 779.5 per square mile (301.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.84% White, 5.92% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 3.11% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 3.35% from other races, and 2.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.85% of the population.

There were 13,133 households out of which 23.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.4% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.9% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 15.4% under the age of 18, 40.9% from 18 to 24, 21.2% from 25 to 44, 13.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,949, and the median income for a family was $45,159. Males had a median income of $29,951 versus $22,910 for women. The per-capita income for the city was $14,898. About 11.5% of families and 30.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.7% of those under age 18 and 11.4% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

School systems[edit]

Serving about 4,400 students (K–12) Harrisonburg City Public Schools comprises five elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school. Eastern Mennonite School, a private school, serves grades K–12 with an enrollment of about 386 students.[41]

High schools[edit]

Middle schools[edit]

  • Thomas Harrison Middle School (Public)
  • Skyline Middle School (Public)

Elementary schools[edit]

  • W.H. Keister Elementary (Public)
  • Smithland Elementary School (Public)
  • Spotswood Elementary (Public)
  • Spring Elementary (Public)
  • Waterman Elementary (Public)

Higher education[edit]

Points of interest[edit]

Events[edit]

  • The Alpine Loop Gran Fondo road-cycling event hosted by professional cyclist Jeremiah Bishop starts and finishes in downtown Harrisonburg.[42]
  • The first annual Super Gr8 Film Festival was held in Harrisonburg in November 2010.[43][44]
  • The annual Harrisonburg International Festival celebrates international foods, dance, music, and folk art.[45]

Sports[edit]

Climate[edit]

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Harrisonburg has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[46]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ City Manager Kurt Hodgen
  2. ^ Term: 2011–2015; Mayor Ted Byrd
  3. ^ Term 2011–2015; Vice Mayor Charles Chenault
  4. ^ Term: 2013–2017; Council Member Richard Baugh
  5. ^ Term: 2011-2015 Council Member Ted Byrd
  6. ^ Term: 2013–2017; Council Member Kai Degner
  7. ^ Term 2011–2015; Council Member Charles Chenault
  8. ^ Term 2013–2017; Council Member Abe Shearer
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ "Harrisonburg – Populated Place". Geographic Names Information System. USGS. Retrieved May 8, 2008. 
  11. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  13. ^ "Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011" (CSV). 2011 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. April 20, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  14. ^ Kane, Joseph Nathan, Aiken, Charles Curry (2004). The American Counties. Scarecrow Press. p. 130. ISBN 0-8108-5036-2. 
  15. ^ Harrison, J. Houston (1935). Settlers by the Long Grey Trail J.K. Ruebush. p 214-249
  16. ^ Julian Smith, 2007, Moon Virginia p. 246
  17. ^ A Brief History of Harrisonburg
  18. ^ Government Structure of Harrisonburg
  19. ^ Stephens City, Virginia was also called Newtown at this time.
  20. ^ Remembering Project R4
  21. ^ Bolsinger, Andrew Scot (October 28, 2002). "Downtown, Andrew Scot Bolsinger". Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, VA). Retrieved July 3, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Harrisonburg Downtown Historic District". Virginia Main Street Community: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary. National Park Service. Retrieved July 3, 2009. 
  23. ^ Creswell, Kelly (Aug 14, 2007). "Harrisonburg Streetscape". WHSV TV 3 (Gray Television, Inc.). Retrieved July 3, 2009. 
  24. ^ Austin, Luanne. "An Opportunity To Change For The Better". DNR Harrisonburg. 
  25. ^ SCCF. "SCCF OUT & ABOUT: LARKIN ARTS, HARRISONBURG". 
  26. ^ Stacy, Sarah. "Larkin Arts hosts second annual juried art show". DNR Harrisonburg. 
  27. ^ "2014 Open Engagement Program". Open Engagement. 
  28. ^ "Chicago Artists Resources (OFAR Residency)". CAR Online. 
  29. ^ Jenkins, Jermiah. "Lurid Pictures + Super Gr8 Film Fest = Awesome Harrisonburg". Old South High. 
  30. ^ Durst, Kristen. "'Little Free Libraries' Hope For Lending Revolution". NPR Online. 
  31. ^ http://www.valleyarts.org/about-us
  32. ^ http://www.valleyarts.org/history
  33. ^ "Virginia Quilt Museum". VQM. 
  34. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  35. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  36. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  40. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  41. ^ Eastern Mennonite School profile.
  42. ^ "Alpine Loop Gran Fondo". Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  43. ^ Bowser, Heather (June 14, 2011). "Super Gr8 Movie Fest Debuts Tuesday: Fest Challenges Filmmakers To Get It Right In One Take". Retrieved June 14, 2007. 
  44. ^ "Fun On the Square: Downtown Hosts Movices, Music Every Friday". June 9, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2007. 
  45. ^ "Harrisonburg International Festival". Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  46. ^ Climate Summary for Harrisonburg, Virginia
  47. ^ "Howard Stevens". databaseFootball.com. Retrieved December 10, 2012. 
  48. ^ Camille, Powell. The Washington Post. March 6, 2009. "Kristi Toliver"
  49. ^ "John Wade". databaseFootball.com. Retrieved December 10, 2012. 

External links[edit]