Prince William County, Virginia
|Prince William County, Virginia|
The Prince William County Courthouse in Manassas, Virginia, in July 2011.
Location in the state of Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
|Named for||Prince William, Duke of Cumberland|
348 sq mi (901 km²)
338 sq mi (875 km²)
11 sq mi (28 km²), 3.04%
1,167/sq mi (450.7/km²)
Prince William County is a county located on the Potomac River in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States, and is part of the Washington Metropolitan Area. As of 2012, Prince William County had a population of 421,164. Its county seat is the independent city of Manassas. It is part of Northern Virginia and is one of the highest-income counties in the United States.
At the time of 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. The Doeg maintained several villages in this area into the 1650s, when colonists began to patent the land.
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. 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.
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 grew up 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 in the last twenty years. Recently the county has been enhanced by the opening of the Marine Corps Heritage Museum and the Hylton Performing Arts Center. It is to be the site of the coming American Wartime Museum. During the 150th 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 (902 km²), of which 338 square miles (875 km²) is land and 11 square miles (27 km²) (3.04%) is water. 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).
- Loudoun County, Virginia - North
- Fairfax County, Virginia - North-East
- Charles County, Maryland - South-East
- Stafford County, Virginia - South
- Fauquier County, Virginia - West
- Manassas, Virginia - Center (enclave)
- Manassas Park, Virginia - Center (enclave)
||Loudoun County||Fairfax County|
|Stafford County||Charles County, Maryland|
National protected areas
- Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge
- Manassas National Battlefield Park
- Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge
- Prince William Forest Park
Government and Politics
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 seven 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, Mark Dudenhefer and David Ramadan. Luke Torian is the Democratic member 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.
The County has had several special elections since 2006. That year, 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. Recently Sean Connaughton was appointed as Virginia Secretary of Transportation by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. 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 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. 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 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%.
|Chairman||Corey A. Stewart||Republican||2003||At-Large|
|Supervisor||W.S. Wally Covington, III||Republican||2003||Brentsville|
|Supervisor||Martin E. Nohe||Republican||2003||Coles|
|Supervisor||John D. Jenkins||Democrat||1982||Neabsco|
|Supervisor||Michael C. May||Republican||2007||Occoquan|
|Supervisor||Maureen S. Caddigan||Republican||1995||Potomac|
|Supervisor||Frank J. Principi||Democrat||2007||Woodbridge|
|Commonwealth's Attorney||Paul B. Ebert||Democrat||1968||County-Wide|
|Clerk of Circuit Court||Michèle B. McQuigg||Republican||2008||County-Wide|
|Delegate||Mark Dudenhefer||Republican Party||2011||2|
|Delegate||Bob Marshall||Republican Party||1991||13|
|Delegate||Scott Lingamfelter||Republican Party||2001||31|
|Delegate||Tim Hugo||Republican Party||2001||40|
|Delegate||Jackson Miller||Republican Party||2006||50|
|Delegate||Richard Anderson||Republican Party||2009||51|
|Delegate||Luke Torian||Democratic Party||2009||52|
|Delegate||David Ramadan||Republican Party||2011||87|
|Senator||Richard "Dick" Black||Republican Party||2011||13|
|Senator||Richard Stuart||Republican Party||2007||28|
|Senator||Chuck Colgan||Democratic Party||1975||29|
|Senator||Toddy Puller||Democratic Party||2000||36|
|Senator||George Barker||Democratic Party||2007||39|
According to the County's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the county are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Prince William County Public Schools||9,656|
|2||U.S. Department of Defense||1,000 and over|
|3||County of Prince William||3,232|
|4||Walmart||1,000 and over|
|5||Potomac Hospital Corporation||1,000 and over|
|6||Morale, Welfare and Recreation||1,000 and over|
|7||Wegmans Store #07||500-999|
|9||Northern Virginia Community College||500-999|
|10||Minnieland Private Day School||500-999|
Prince William County Public Schools is the second largest school system in Virginia (having recently overtaken Virginia Beach City Public Schools). 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.
As of the census 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% Salvadoran, 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, 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.
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.
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:
- Interstate 66
- Interstate 95
- U.S. Route 1
- U.S. Route 15
- U.S. Route 29
- State Route 28
- State Route 123
- State Route 234
- Prince William Parkway
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. The Manassas, Quantico and Woodbridge stations are also served by Amtrak.
Towns and other localities
Four incorporated towns are located within Prince William County:
Census-designated places and unincorporated communities
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 (County of Prince William, City of Manassas, and City of 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
- Prince William Forest Park, the largest National Park Service property in the Washington, D.C., region
- Leesylvania State Park, the ancestral home of the Lee family. The park offers a range of recreational activities and beautiful views of the river.
- Marine Corps Base Quantico, a large military installation
- Manassas National Battlefield Park, an important Civil War battlefield
- Hylton Performing Arts Center, state-of-the-art venues
- Jiffy Lube Live, a large concert venue
- Potomac Mills, the 10th most popular tourist destination in Virginia and largest outlet mall in the region.
- Old Dominion Speedway, A race track near Manassas featuring a 1/8 mile drag strip, and a NASCAR sanctioned 3/8 mile high banked oval track
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Prince William County, Virginia
- Prince William Chamber of Commerce
- Prince William County Police Department
- Prince William County Sheriff's Office
- Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue
- Splash Down Waterpark
- "Weldon Cooper Center 2012 State of Virginia Population Estimate Retrieved February 25, 2013". Coopercenter.org. February 25, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Swanton, John R. (1952), The Indian Tribes of North America, Smithsonian Institution, p. 69, ISBN 0-8063-1730-2, OCLC 52230544
- "Legislation creating Prince William County, Virginia". Historic Prince William. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- "Commemorating the 275th anniversary of Prince William County, Virginia". Sunlight Foundation. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
- Chumley, Cheryl (July 8, 2010). "Prince William County earns B-minus from Sunshine group". insidenova.com.
- Kiser, Uriah (November 1, 2008). "Thousands gathering for Obama's final rally". insidenova.com. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
- Michael D. Shear (November 7, 2012). "Demographic Shift Brings New Worry for Republicans". The New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- "The White House - Obama's Path to Victory", Time, November 19, 2012: 16–17
- "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2010". County of Prince William, Virginia.
- "Northern Virginia rises to dominance". The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Virginia). December 31, 2007. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
- Prince William County Fact Sheet, US Census Bureau
- American Community Survey, US Census Bureau
- Old Dominion Speedway plans to relocate to Spotsylvania County - Business Insider
- Station Map, Virginia Railway Express (VRE), retrieved August 9, 2009