Prince William County, Virginia

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Prince William County, Virginia
Prince William County, VA, Courthouse IMG 4347.JPG
The Prince William County Courthouse in Manassas in July 2011
Flag of Prince William County, Virginia
Seal of Prince William County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Prince William County
Location in the state of Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded 1731
Named for Prince William, Duke of Cumberland
Seat Manassas
Largest town Dumfries
 • Total 348 sq mi (901 km2)
 • Land 336 sq mi (870 km2)
 • Water 12 sq mi (31 km2), 3.5%
Population (Est.)
 • (2014)


density_km2 = 450.7
Congressional districts 1st, 10th, 11th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Prince William County is a county located on the Potomac River in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 402,002,[1] in 2014, the population was estimated to be 437,636,[2] making it the second-most populous county in Virginia. Its county seat is the independent city of Manassas.[3]

A part of Northern Virginia, Prince William County is included in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area and is one of the highest-income counties in the United States.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the independent cities of Manassas and Manassas Park with Prince William County (within which the two cities are enclaves) for statistical purposes:

Name Area (km²) Population
2000 Census
2010 Census
1 July 2013
Manassas (city) 25.59 35,135 37,821 41,705
Manassas Park (city) 6.55 10,290 14,273 16,149
Prince William County 871.27 280,813 402,002 438,580
Totals 903.41 326,238 454,096 486,434


The old county courthouse in March 2007.

At the time of the European encounter, the inhabitants of the area that became Prince William County were an Algonquian-speaking sub-group of the Powhatan tribal confederation called the Doeg. When John Smith and other English explorers ventured to the upper Potomac River beginning in 1608, they recorded the name of a village they inhabited as Pemacocack (meaning "plenty of fish"), which sat on the west bank of the Potomac River about 30 miles south of the City of Alexandria.[4] The Doeg maintained several villages in this area into the 1650s, when colonists began to patent the land.[citation needed]

Prince William County was created by an act of the General Assembly of the colony of Virginia in 1731, largely from the western section of Stafford County as well as a section of King George County.[5] The area encompassed by the Act creating Prince William County originally included all of what later became the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun; and the independent cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park. The County was named for Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, the third son of King George II.[6]

The county was a rural community for years and the population was centered in two areas, one at Manassas (home to a major railroad junction), the other near Occoquan and Woodbridge along the Potomac River. Beginning in the late 1930s, a larger suburban population was attracted to new housing that was developed near the existing population centers, particularly in Manassas.

Beginning in the late 1960s, the County and its population expanded dramatically to the point where, by the end of the 20th century, it was the third-most populous local jurisdiction in Virginia. Much of this growth has taken place since 1990. The county recently opened the Marine Corps Heritage Museum and the Hylton Performing Arts Center. The American Wartime Museum is also to be located in this county. During the commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the famous First and Second Battles of Manassas will be re-enacted.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 348 square miles (900 km2), of which 336 square miles (870 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (3.5%) is water.[7] It is bounded on the north by Loudoun and Fairfax counties; on the west by Fauquier County; on the south by Stafford County; and on the east by the Potomac River (Charles County, Maryland lies across the river).

Adjacent jurisdictions[edit]

National protected areas[edit]


The county is divided into seven magisterial districts: Brentsville, Coles, Potomac, Gainesville, Neabsco, Occoquan, and Woodbridge. The magisterial districts each elect one supervisor to the Board of Supervisors which governs Prince William County. There is also a Chairman elected by the county at-large, bringing total Board membership to 8. A Vice-Chairman is selected by the Board from amongst its membership. The current Chairman is Corey A. Stewart, who previously served as the Occoquan District Supervisor. The current Vice-Chairman is Maureen S. Caddigan, the Potomac District Supervisor. The County operates under the county form of the County Executive system of government, with an elected Board of Supervisors. The Board then appoints a professional, nonpartisan County Executive to manage government agencies.

Republicans hold six of the eight seats on the Board of Supervisors as well as the offices of County Sheriff and Clerk of the Court. No Democrat has chaired the Board of County Supervisors since Kathleen Seefeldt left office in January 2000. Republicans hold two of the three U.S. Congressional seats (VA-1 and VA-10). that include parts of Prince William County and control six of the eight Virginia House of Delegates seats that include parts of the County. Republican delegates include Robert G. Marshall, Scott Lingamfelter, Tim Hugo, Jackson Miller, Rich Anderson, and David Ramadan. Luke Torian and Michael Futrell are the Democratic members of the House. The three of five Virginia State Senate seats that include parts of the County are held by Democrats, including Democratic Sen. Charles Colgan, the President pro tempore of the Senate, Toddy Puller and George Barker (Virginia politician). Republicans Richard Stuart and Dick Black (politician) also represent portions of the County. In 2005, Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Timothy M. Kaine won the county with 49.95% of the vote. In 2006, Democratic U.S. Senator candidate Jim Webb carried the county with 50.51% of the vote. The Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney, Paul Ebert, is also a Democrat. The Sheriff, Glen Hill, is a Republican as is the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Michèle McQuigg.

In 2006, the then-Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Sean Connaughton, was appointed as head of the U.S. Maritime Administration by President George W. Bush. A special election to fill the vacancy was called for the same day as the U.S. Senate election between Jim Webb and George F. Allen. Occoquan District Supervisor Corey Stewart won the election and a special election was called for January 2007 to fill the vacancy in the Occoquan District. Mr. Stewart's successor for the Occoquan District was Michael C. May, a fellow Republican.

In the United States presidential election, 2008, Democrat Barack Obama carried Prince William with 57.51% of the vote, compared to Republican John McCain who received 41.62%. Obama's final rally the night before the election was held at the Prince William County Fairgrounds, just outside the city of Manassas.[8] Demographic changes in the county were cited by The New York Times with respect to Obama's success in the United States presidential election, 2012[9] Time listed Prince William as one of five critical counties for the election. Obama ended up defeating Romney soundly with a margin of 57%-42%.[10]

Board of County Supervisors
Name Party First Election District
  Corey Stewart, Chairman Rep 2003 At-Large
  W.S. Wally Covington, III Rep 2003 Brentsville
  Martin E. Nohe Rep 2003 Coles
  Peter Candland Rep 2011 Gainesville
  John D. Jenkins Dem 1982 Neabsco
  Michael C. May Rep 2007 Occoquan
  Maureen S. Caddigan Rep 1995 Potomac
  Frank J. Principi Dem 2007 Woodbridge
Constitutional Officers
Position Name Party First Election
  Sheriff Glendell Hill Rep 2004
  Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert Dem 1968
  Clerk of Circuit Court Michèle McQuigg Rep 2008
Representatives to the Virginia House of Delegates
Name Party First Election District
  Michael Futrell Dem 2013 2
Bob Marshall Rep 1991 13
  Scott Lingamfelter Rep 2001 31
  Tim Hugo Rep 2001 40
  Jackson Miller Rep 2006 50
  Richard Anderson Rep 2009 51
  Luke Torian Dem 2009 52
  David Ramadan Rep 2011 87
Representatives to the Virginia State Senate
Name Party First Election District
Richard "Dick" Black Rep 2011 13
Richard Stuart Rep 2007 28
Chuck Colgan Dem 1975 29
Toddy Puller Dem 2000 36
George Barker Dem 2007 39


Top employers[edit]

According to the County's 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[11] the top employers in the county are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Prince William County Public Schools 1,000 and over
2 U.S. Department of Defense 1,000 and over
3 County of Prince William 1,000 and over
4 Walmart 1,000 and over
5 Morale, Welfare and Recreation 1,000 and over
6 Sentara Healthcare/Potomac Hospital Corporation 1,000 and over
7 Wegmans Food Markets 500 to 999
8 Minnieland Private Day School 500 to 999
9 Northern Virginia Community College 500 to 999
10 Target Corporation 500 to 999


Public schools[edit]

Prince William County Public Schools is the second largest school system in Virginia (having recently overtaken Virginia Beach City Public Schools).[12] The system consists of 57 elementary, 16 middle, and 12 high schools, as well as a virtual high school, two traditional schools, three special education schools, and two alternative schools. The Superintendent of Prince William County Public Schools is Dr. Steven L. Walts.

The system has a television station called PWCS-TV. It is programmed and operated by Prince William County Public Schools' Media Production Services Department and is accessible to Comcast and Verizon subscribers in Prince William County.




Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 11,615
1800 12,733 9.6%
1810 11,311 −11.2%
1820 9,419 −16.7%
1830 9,330 −0.9%
1840 8,144 −12.7%
1850 8,129 −0.2%
1860 8,565 5.4%
1870 7,504 −12.4%
1880 9,180 22.3%
1890 9,805 6.8%
1900 11,112 13.3%
1910 12,026 8.2%
1920 13,660 13.6%
1930 13,951 2.1%
1940 17,738 27.1%
1950 22,612 27.5%
1960 50,164 121.8%
1970 111,102 121.5%
1980 144,636 30.2%
1990 215,686 49.1%
2000 280,813 30.2%
2010 402,002 43.2%
Est. 2014 437,636 8.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
1790-1960[14] 1900-1990[15]
2013 Estimate

As of the census[17] of 2010, there were 402,002 people, 137,115 housing units, and 130,785 households residing in the county. The population density was 1,186 people per square mile (458/km²). There were 137,115 housing units at an average density of 405 per square mile (156/km²). The racial makeup of the county (reporting as only one race) was:

  • 57.8% White
  • 20.2% Black or African American
  • 0.6% Native American
  • 7.5% Asian (1.5% Indian, 1.2% Filipino, 1.2% Korean, 0.8% Vietnamese 0.6% Chinese, 0.1% Japanese, 2.1% Other Asian)
  • 0.1% Pacific Islander
  • 9.1% from other races
  • and 5.1% from two or more races
  • 20.3% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race (6.8% Salvadorian, 3.7% Mexican, 1.8% Puerto Rican, 1.1% Guatemalan, 1.0% Peruvian, 0.9% Honduran, 0.7% Bolivian, 0.4% Colombian, 0.3% Nicaraguan, 0.3% Dominican)

In recent decades, the population of Prince William County increasingly has become racially and ethnically diverse. The census also indicates that Prince William County is now a “minority-majority” community, meaning that less than half of the population (48.7%) is reported as non-Hispanic and of one race—White. Between 2000 and 2010, according to the census, the population of Hispanics of any race in the County grew by 198.8%; Asian/Pacific Islanders grew by 188.8%. American Indian/Alaskan Natives, a relatively small segment of the total population grew by 89.5%, while Black/African Americans increased by 53.6% and Whites increased by 20.4%.

Also according to census figures, there were 130,785 households in Prince William County as of April 1, 2010. According to the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey,[18] 76.1% of the County’s households are occupied by families, (compared to 66.5% in the United States). This represents a decrease of 4.6 percentage points since 1990, when 80.7% of households in the County were families. Approximately 42.2% of Prince William County’s households are family households occupied by parents with their own children under 18 years of age.

According to the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey, 29.3% of the total County population is under 18 years of age; approximately 6.5% is aged 65 and over. The median age of the population is 33.2 years. The 2009 American Community Survey also indicated that 50.0% of the County’s population is male and 50.0% is female.

According to the 2009 American Community Survey, the 2009 median household income in Prince William County was $89,785. The per capita income for the county was $35,890. The 2009 American Community Survey reported that in 2009, 6.0% of Prince William County’s population was living below the poverty line, including 7.7% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.


The Potomac Nationals are a Minor League Baseball team located in Woodbridge, Virginia. The Nationals play in the high-A Carolina League and are an affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Northern Virginia Royals are an American minor league soccer team, also located in Woodbridge, Virginia. The Royals have minor league affiliation with D.C. United, Washington, DC Major League Soccer franchise.

The historic Old Dominion Speedway was located in Manassas. Opened in 1948, it was the location of the first commercial drag race held on the East Coast. It was also a stop on the NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup Series) schedule in the late 50's and early 60's. Old Dominion Speedway closed in the Fall of 2012. Hemmed in by residential development has led to frequent noise complaints from neighbors, which convinced ownership to search for new locations along 95 between Stafford County and Richmond.

Steve Britt, principal owner of the Old Dominion Speedway, is under contract to purchase land just north of Mudd Tavern Road from a man who lives outside the Fredericksburg area. The sale is contingent on various government approvals, including a rezoning and special-use permit from Spotsylvania County.

The new facility will be called the Dominion Raceway and will be easily visible from I–95. The main entrance will be off Mudd Tavern Road near the northbound ramp onto 95.[19]


The National Museum of the Marine Corps in November 2010.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is located in Triangle, Virginia and is free to the public. The Historic Preservation Division of Prince William County also operates five museums: Rippon Lodge Historic Site, Brentsville Historic Centre, Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park, Lucasville Historic Site, and Ben Lomond Historic Site.


The Manassas National Battlefield Park visitors center in July 2003.

Two National Park Service parks lie within the county. Prince William Forest Park was established as Chopawamsic Recreational Demonstration Area in 1936 and is located in eastern Prince William County, Virginia. The park is the largest protected natural area in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region at over 15,000 acres (6,070 ha). Manassas National Battlefield Park, located north of Manassas in Prince William County, Virginia, preserves the site of two major American Civil War battles: the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861, and the Second Battle of Manassas which was fought between August 28 and August 30, 1862. These battles are commonly referred to as the first and second battles of Bull Run outside the South.

The Prince William County Department of Parks & Recreation operates fifty parks, two water parks, two recreation centers (Birchdale Rec. Center and Sharron Baucom Dale City Rec. Center), two community centers, six sports complexes, and an ice skating rink.


The county is traversed by many major highways and roads including the following:

Manassas Regional Airport lies near its namesake city; for commercial passengers, both Dulles Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are located nearby.

Public busing in the county is provided by the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission. Services provided by PRTC include OmniRide, OmniLink, and OmniMatch.

The county is served by both Virginia Railway Express (VRE) lines. The Manassas line has the Manassas Park, Manassas, and Broad Run / Airport stations. The Fredericksburg line has the Woodbridge, Rippon, and Quantico stations.[20] The Manassas, Quantico and Woodbridge stations are also served by Amtrak.



Unincorporated communities[edit]

Former communities[edit]

Independent cities[edit]

The independent cities of Manassas and Manassas Park are surrounded by Prince William County. Before becoming interdependent cities, both were officially part of the county. The Prince William County Circuit, District, Juvenile and Domestic Relations courts (Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park are combined for purposes of criminal, traffic, civil, and juvenile and domestic relations courts within 31st Judicial District), Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney's Office, Prince William County Adult Detention Center, Prince William County Sheriff's Office, and other County agencies are located at Prince William County Courthouse Complex. The Courthouse Complex itself is located in a Prince William County enclave surrounded by the City of Manassas.

Other important features[edit]

Potomac Mills in August 2005.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  2. ^ [1]. Virginia State 2014 Population Estimates Retrieved February 5, 2015
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Swanton, John R. (1952), The Indian Tribes of North America, Smithsonian Institution, p. 69, ISBN 0-8063-1730-2, OCLC 52230544 
  5. ^ "Legislation creating Prince William County, Virginia". Historic Prince William. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  6. ^ "Commemorating the 275th anniversary of Prince William County, Virginia". Sunlight Foundation. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  8. ^ Kiser, Uriah (November 1, 2008). "Thousands gathering for Obama's final rally". Retrieved February 18, 2010. 
  9. ^ Michael D. Shear (November 7, 2012). "Demographic Shift Brings New Worry for Republicans". The New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  10. ^ "The White House - Obama's Path to Victory", Time, November 19, 2012: 16–17 
  11. ^ "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2013". County of Prince William, Virginia. 
  12. ^ "Northern Virginia rises to dominance". The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Virginia). December 31, 2007. Retrieved September 20, 2008. 
  13. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  17. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  18. ^ American Community Survey, US Census Bureau 
  19. ^ Old Dominion Speedway plans to relocate to Spotsylvania County - Business Insider
  20. ^ Station Map, Virginia Railway Express (VRE), retrieved August 9, 2009 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°42′N 77°29′W / 38.70°N 77.48°W / 38.70; -77.48