Location of Yorktown in Virginia
|• Total||0.6 sq mi (1.7 km2)|
|• Land||0.6 sq mi (1.7 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||13 ft (4 m)|
|• Density||330/sq mi (110/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1500081|
Yorktown is a census-designated place (CDP) in York County, Virginia, United States. It is the county seat of York County, one of the eight original shires formed in colonial Virginia in 1682. The CDP's population was 195 as of the 2010 census, while the county's population was 66,134 in the 2011 census estimate.
The town is most famous as the site of the siege and subsequent surrender of General Cornwallis to General George Washington, and the French Fleet during the American Revolutionary War on October 19, 1781. Although the war would last for another year, this British defeat at Yorktown effectively ended the war. Yorktown also figured prominently in the American Civil War (1861–1865), serving as a major port to supply both northern and southern towns, depending upon who held Yorktown at the time.
Today, Yorktown is part of an important national resource known as the Historic Triangle of Yorktown, Jamestown and Williamsburg, and is the eastern terminus of the Colonial Parkway. Yorktown is also the eastern terminus of the TransAmerica Trail, a bicycle touring route created by the Adventure Cycling Association.
One of Yorktown's historic sister cities is Zweibrücken in Germany. In the time of the American War of Independence, the Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment was commanded by Comte Christian de Forbach (son of Christian IV, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken, deputy commander was his brother Philippe Guillaume (later renamed to Wilhelm), and was one of the four regiments that arrived at Newport with Rochambeau in 1780 and went on to participate in the Battle of Yorktown on the side of the Americans in 1781. Since that time Yorktown is in very close friendship to the German city of Zweibrücken.
Yorktown, named for the ancient city of York in Yorkshire, Northern England, was founded in 1691 as a port for shipping tobacco to Europe. The lawyer Thomas Ballard was the principal founder of the city along with Joseph Ring. It was called "York" until after the American Revolutionary War, when the name "Yorktown" came into common use.
The town reached the height of its success around 1750 when it had 250 to 300 buildings and a population of almost 2,000 people. It was the base of British General Charles Cornwallis during the 1781 siege, which was the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War.
During the 1862 Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War (1861–1865), the town was captured from the Confederacy following the Siege and Battle of Yorktown and was then used as a base by the Union Army of the Potomac under General George B. McClellan.
The Yorktown Victory Monument – commemorating the victory, the alliance with France that brought it about and the resulting peace with England – is located just outside the current town. Designed by New York architect Richard Morris Hunt, the monument was originally topped by a figure of victory sculpted by John Quincy Adams Ward, but that figure was destroyed by lightning in 1942. It was replaced by a figure of Liberty by Oskar J. W. Hansen in 1957. A memorial to the French war dead of the Yorktown campaign is being planned for construction at the French cemetery on the site of the battle.
Yorktown is situated along the York River in southeastern Virginia. Yorktown has several distinct areas. Yorktown Village or Historic Yorktown is set on the York River, near the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge that spans said river to reach Gloucester Point. Historic Yorktown is comprised first of a small strip along the beach of the York River, Water Street, which contains several small restaurants, a park, a hotel, a pier, an antique shop, and as of May 2005 completed a building project that has small shops and restaurants. Next, Main Street sits above Water Street on a bluff, around which the architecture is almost exclusively original. The old court house, several small shops, the Nelson House, and the Yorktown Monument all sit along this road. Around the center of the town are residential streets. Also, architecturally of note is Grace Episcopal Church, situated on Church Street near the old courthouse of Yorktown. Shops and eateries making up the "Riverwalk" section on the waterfront opened in May 2005. Colonial National Historical Park, which contains Yorktown National Battlefield and Yorktown National Cemetery, is located on the outskirts of the town.
U.S. Route 17, also known as George Washington Memorial Highway, is the primary thoroughfare of Yorktown, and cuts past Yorktown by way of the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge across the York River. York County has grown rapidly, and over recent years, the stretch of U.S. 17 that passes through the area has grown from semi-rural highway going through mostly wooded areas to a heavily traveled route on which numerous strip malls and commercial areas are situated. Many of the residential areas of York County branch off of Route 17 or are near Interstate 64. Very little of the recent growth of York County has occurred close to Yorktown, which at this point is becoming much more of a historical colonial village, much like Williamsburg, under the guidance of the National Park Service.
Geography makes Yorktown a strategic place in control of upstream portions of the York River and its tributaries and their access to the Chesapeake Bay. In his Notes on the State of Virginia published in 1781–82, Thomas Jefferson noted that the York River at Yorktown "affords the best harbour in the state for vessels of the largest size. The river there narrows to the width of a mile, and is contained within very high banks, close under which the vessels may ride."  During World War I, the western shore above Yorktown became a location of choice for the U.S. Navy, as about 13,000 acres (53 km2), which straddled York, Warwick County and James City County were appropriated to create what was originally termed a "naval mine depot". The Navy continues to use it 90 years later.
Many military installations are located in the area around Yorktown :
- Naval Weapons Station Yorktown serves as the point at which United States Navy vessels load and unload ordnance. There have been reports of nuclear weapons stored there. Cheatham Annex, a facility which includes the former town of Penniman, is also included as part of the base, which replaced the original mine depot.
- United States Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown serves as a training school for the United States Coast Guard.
- Also close to Yorktown are Camp Peary (in York County), the expansive Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipbuilding yards and facilities, and Fort Eustis Army base (both in Newport News) as well as Naval Station Norfolk at Norfolk and Langley Air Force Base in Hampton.
As of the census of 2000, there were 203 people, 117 households, and 45 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 314.9 people per square mile (122.5/km2). There were 129 housing units at an average density of 200.1/sq mi (77.8/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 92% White, 6% Black or African American, and <1% from two or more races.
There were 117 households out of which 9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33% were married couples living together, 7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 61% were non-families. 54% of all households were made up of individuals and 16% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.7 and the average family size was 2.6.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 9% under the age of 18, 6% from 18 to 24, 29% from 25 to 44, 33% from 45 to 64, and 23% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.9 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $30,804, and the median income for a family was $74,000. Males had a median income of $26,964 versus $16,923 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $24,748. 0% of the population or families were below the poverty line.
The state's senior member of the United States Senate is Democrat Mark Warner, elected in 2008. The state's junior member of the United States Senate is Democrat Tim Kaine, elected in 2012. The Governor of Virginia is Democrat Terry McAuliffe, elected in 2013.
Yorktown's daily newspaper is the Daily Press. Other papers include the Port Folio Weekly, the New Journal and Guide, and the Hampton Roads Business Journal. Hampton Roads Magazine serves as a bi-monthly regional magazine for Yorktown and the Hampton Roads area. Hampton Roads Times serves as an online magazine for all the Hampton Roads cities and counties. Yorktown is served by a variety of radio stations on the AM and FM dials, with towers located around the Hampton Roads area.
Yorktown is also served by several television stations. The Hampton Roads designated market area (DMA) is the 42nd largest in the U.S. with 712,790 homes (0.64% of the total U.S.). The major network television affiliates are WTKR-TV 3 (CBS), WAVY 10 (NBC), WVEC-TV 13 (ABC), WGNT 27 (CW), WTVZ 33 (MyNetworkTV), WVBT 43 (Fox), and WPXV 49 (ION Television). The Public Broadcasting Service station is WHRO-TV 15. Yorktown residents also can receive independent stations, such as WSKY broadcasting on channel 4 from the Outer Banks of North Carolina and WGBS-LD broadcasting on channel 11. Yorktown is served by Cox Cable which provides LNC 5, a local 24-hour cable news network. DirecTV and Dish Network are also popular as an alternative to cable television in Yorktown. Part of TNT's 1993 telefilm The Broken Chain was shot here.
Yorktown is served by two airports. Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, located in Newport News, and Norfolk International Airport, in Norfolk, both cater to passengers from Hampton Roads. The primary airport for the Virginia Peninsula is the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (IATA: PHF, ICAO: KPHF, FAA LID: PHF). The Airport is experiencing a 4th year of record, double-digit growth, making it one of the fastest growing airports in the country. As of May 2010, the airport offers four airlines offering nonstop services throughout the east coast and Denver, Colorado. In January 2006, the airport reported having served 1,058,839 passengers. Norfolk International Airport (IATA: ORF, ICAO: KORF, FAA LID: ORF), serves the region. The airport is located near Chesapeake Bay, along the city limits of Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Seven airlines provide nonstop services to twenty five destinations. ORF had 3,703,664 passengers take off or land at its facility and 68,778,934 pounds of cargo were processed through its facilities. The Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport provides general aviation services and is located in Williamsburg.
Amtrak serves nearby Newport News, Virginia and Williamsburg, Virginia with three trains a day. The line runs west along the Virginia Peninsula to Richmond and points beyond. Connecting buses are available to Norfolk and Virginia Beach. A high-speed rail connection at Richmond to both the Northeast Corridor and the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor are also under study.
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