Bristol, Virginia

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This article is about the southwest Virginia city of Bristol. For the northern Virginia town of Bristow, see Bristow, Virginia.
Bristol, Virginia
A sign welcomes visitors to the twin city ties of Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee.
A sign welcomes visitors to the twin city ties of Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee.
Flag of Bristol, Virginia
Official seal of Bristol, Virginia
Nickname(s): The Birthplace of Country Music
Motto: A Good Place To Live
Coordinates: 36°36′N 82°11′W / 36.600°N 82.183°W / 36.600; -82.183
Country United States
State Virginia
 • Type Council-manager
 • Mayor Archie Hubbard III
 • Vice Mayor Bill Hartley
 • City Manager Tabitha Crowder
 • City 13.3 sq mi (34 km2)
 • Land 13.2 sq mi (34 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 1,680 ft (512 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 17,835
 • Density 1,372/sq mi (530/km2)
 • Metro 500,901
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 24201 and 24202
Area code(s) 276
FIPS code 51-09816[1]
GNIS feature ID 1492633[2]
State Street separates Virginia (left) and Tennessee (right)

Bristol is an independent city in the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,835.[3] It is bounded by Washington County, Virginia, Bristol, Tennessee, and Sullivan County, Tennessee.

It is the twin city of Bristol, Tennessee, just across the state line, which runs down the middle of its main street, State Street. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Bristol, Virginia with Washington County for statistical purposes. Bristol is a principal city of KingsportBristol–Bristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.


Originally named Goodson, it was renamed Bristol (after Bristol, England) in 1890.

The Grove, Solar Hill Historic District, and Walnut Grove are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[4]


Bristol is located at 36°36′N 82°11′W / 36.600°N 82.183°W / 36.600; -82.183 (36.6111, -82.1762).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.2 square miles (34 km2), of which 12.9 square miles (33 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) (2.05%) is water.

The city is served by Interstates 81 and 381, U.S. Routes 11, 19, 58, and 421.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 4,579
1910 6,247 36.4%
1920 6,729 7.7%
1930 8,840 31.4%
1940 9,768 10.5%
1950 15,954 63.3%
1960 17,144 7.5%
1970 14,857 −13.3%
1980 19,042 28.2%
1990 18,426 −3.2%
2000 17,367 −5.7%
2010 17,835 2.7%
Est. 2013 17,341 −2.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2012[3]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 17,367 people, 7,678 households, and 4,798 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,346.4 people per square mile (519.8/km²). There were 8,469 housing units at an average density of 656.6 per square mile (253.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.54% White, 5.57% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.37% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. 0.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 7,678 households out of which 24.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the city, the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,389, and the median income for a family was $34,266. Males had a median income of $28,420 versus $20,967 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,311. About 13.2% of families and 16.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.8% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.

Sales Tax: Non-grocery 5.3%; Grocery 2.5%; Restaurant Meal 12%


July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016:


  • Mayor: Archie Hubbard III
  • Vice Mayor: Bill Hartley
  • Council Member: Guy Odum
  • Council Member: Jim Steele
  • Council Member: Catherine Brillhart
  • City Manager: Tabitha Crowder
  • Assistant City Manager: Andrew Trivette
  • City Attorneys: Pete Curcio and Ed Stout
  • City Clerk: Pamela Venable
  • Circuit Court Clerk: Kelly Duffy
  • Commissioner of Revenue: Terry Frye
  • Commonwealth Attorney: Jerry Wolfe
  • City Treasurer: Angel Harris
  • General Registrar: Penny Limburg

Emergency Services

  • Sheriff: Jack Weisenburger
  • Police Chief: John S. Austin
  • Fire Chief:Mike Armstrong (effective - March 2015)
  • Fire Marshall: Eric Blevins

School System

  • School Board Chairman: Beth Rhinehart
  • School Board Vice Chairman: Randy Alvis
  • School Board Member: Ronald Cameron
  • School Board Member: Tyrone Foster
  • School Board Member: Randy White
  • School Superintendent: Rex Gearheart
  • School Assistant Superintendent: Gary Ritchie

Past Mayors[edit]

  • Catherine Brillhart, 2014-2015 (First Female Mayor)[1]
  • Guy Odum, 2013-2014
  • Jim Steele, 2012-2013
  • Ed Harlow, 2011-2012
  • Don Ashley, 2010-2011
  • James Rector, 2007-2010
  • C. Farnham Jarrard, 2006-2007
  • Dr. Douglas R. Weberling, 2005-2006
  • Paul W. Hurley, 2004-2005
  • Jerry Wolfe, 2003-2004
  • Dr. Douglas R. Weberling, 2001-2003
  • Jerry Wolfe, 2000-2001
  • Farham Jarrard, 1997-2000
  • Jerry Wolfe, 1992-1997

The City of Bristol, Virginia is served by two law enforcement agencies. They are the City Police and the City Sheriff's Department.

Police Department[edit]

501 Scott Street, Bristol, VA 24201; Department Line: (276) 645-7400, Tips Line: (276) 466-TIPS

The Bristol, Virginia Police Department is a full service law enforcement agency providing police field services twenty-four (24) hours a day. The department has 53 sworn police officer positions, and a non-sworn support staff of 21 full-time members for a total of 74 members. Included in the support staff is the city's E-911 Central Dispatch Emergency Communication Center which provides call taking and dispatch service for police, fire and EMS needs.

The men and women of the Bristol Police Department are dedicated to the department's mission -

   Preservation of the peace
   Protection of life and property
   Prevention of crime
   Apprehension of criminals
   Recovery of lost and stolen property
   Enforcement of the law, fairly and impartially
  • Police Chief: John S. Austin
  • Animal Control Officer: Deena Bouton

Sheriff Department[edit]

417 Cumberland Street, Bristol, VA 24201; Department Line: (276) 645-7430

It is an objective of the Bristol Virginia Sheriff's Office to operate and administer to all courts serving the City of Bristol, Virginia by providing courtroom security for all facets of these courts' operations as well as carrying out all court orders directed to the Sheriff, to serve civil process issued by the courts, making all levies, attachments, and services as described in the process, and to operate the Bristol Virginia City Jail by providing the public of this locality with protection from societal offenders, by assisting the courts regarding offender dispositions, by providing assistance to adult and juvenile offenders, to promote law abiding behavior and by providing just and humane care in the management of these offenders. The effective performance of these duties will ensure this department of efficiency and economic balance as well as motivation for improved employee performance through the promotion of training and education opportunities in these areas.

In addition, the Bristol Virginia Sheriffs Office is committed to every citizen of our city. The Sheriff’s Office will provide drug education for our cities youth through our participation in Project D.A.R.E., in cooperation with the Bristol Virginia School System, and make available crime prevention programs to all citizens in our community.

  • Sheriff: Jack Weisenburger

Fire Department[edit]

211 Lee Street, Bristol, Virginia 24201; Department Line: (276) 645-7304

  • Station 1: 211 Lee Street, Bristol, Virginia 24201; Station Line: (276) 645-7305
  • Station 2: 1603 Euclid Avenue, Bristol, Virginia 24201; Station Line: (276) 645-7307
  • Station 3: 105 Suncrest Drive, Bristol, Virginia 24201; Station Line: (276) 645-7309
  • Fire Training Center: 2216 Shakesville Road, Bristol, Virginia 24201; Department Line: (276) 645-7305

Special Operations

  • Regional Hazardous Materials Response Team: Sergeant Scotty Sproles
  • Division 4 Heavy Technical Rescue Team: Sergeant Stacey Farley

Our efforts were recognized by the Insurance Services Office in 1994 when the Bristol Virginia Fire Department was evaluated as an ISO Class 4 Fire Department under the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). The FSRS is the manual ISO uses in reviewing the fire-fighting capabilities of individual communities. The schedule measures the major elements of a community's fire-suppression system and develops a numerical grading called a Public Protection Classification.


Despite its relatively small size, Bristol, Virginia boasts one of the most advanced broadband networks in the country. Bristol Virginia Utilities (BVU) started planning a fiber optic deployment in the city in the late 1990s. By the year 2001, BVU had been granted approval by the City Council of Bristol for a full deployment of a Fiber to the premises (FTTP or FTTU, fiber to the user) project. This project was to offer competition to local incumbents and provide broadband Internet, cable TV, and telephone service to the residents of Bristol. This deployment was one of the first of its kind in the United States and was widely watched by the telecommunications industry. A system known as Passive optical network (PON) was successfully deployed to over 6000 customers in a matter of 2 years.

Today, Bristol Virginia is still one of only a few FTTP deployments in the country with a significant number of customers online. Bristol’s twin, Bristol, Tennessee, is also deploying an FTTP system similar to its neighbor across the state line.


Top employers[edit]

According to Bristol's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[11] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 City of Bristol 676
2 Electro-Mechanical Corporation 600
3 OfficeMax 500
4 Sprint PCS 428
5 US Solutions 367
6 Strongwell 350
7 Commonwealth of Virginia 250
8 Shearer's Foods 225
9 Ball 218
10 Aerus 201
11 United Parcel Service 193


The Bristol Public Library in Bristol Virginia takes an active role in the development of our city and community, providing residents a place to learn, read and meet—or just relax with the daily newspaper.

Bristol, VA and Bristol, TN share a library system together called the Bristol Public Library. There are two locations for the library.

  • Main Branch is located at 701 Goode Street, Bristol, VA 24201, (276) 645-8780
  • Avoca Branch is located at 1550 Volunteer Parkway, Bristol, TN 37620, (423) 968-9663

The library's website is

Bristol Public Library offers special areas of interest for children, teens and literacy. We offer many special events like movies, genealogy workshops, reading programs and adult education classes.

The Bristol Library Association began as the inspiration of the 1900 Club – the first women’s study club in Bristol. In 1929 this group’s hard work bore fruit when the ladies convinced the cities of Bristol, Tennessee, and Bristol, Virginia, to come together for their first co-owned property: the Bristol Public Library.

Today, we celebrate the women and men, who, with compassion, energy and vision, assist the Bristol Public Library in fulfilling its mission of “Expanding Minds and Building Community.”

The library staff is committed to meeting your needs for reading, learning and information. We encourage you to join us by volunteering your time at the Bristol Public Library. You may also assist by serving on one of several library committees.

The Bristol Public Library is breastfeeding friendly. All bathrooms have changing tables available.


Bristol - The Place for Education

The belief that all children can learn and standardized test scores above state and national averages are characteristic of the Bristol Virginia Public School System.

In 2007 and 2008, Bristol was named one of the Best 100 Communities for Music Education[12][13][14]


High School[edit]

1200 Long Crescent Drive; Phone: (276) 821-5858; Principal: Ronnie Collins

Middle School[edit]

501 Piedmont Avenue; Phone: (276) 821-5660; Principal: Bo Love

Elementary Schools[edit]

1405 Eads Avenue; Phone: (276) 821-5710; Principal: Pam Smith

  • Stonewall Jackson Elementary School

2045 W. Euclid Avenue; Phone: (276) 821-5740; Principal: Dr. Linda Brittle

200 Springhill Terrace; Phone: (276) 821-5770; Principal: Steve Bonney

900 Washington Lee Drive; Phone (276) 821-5800; Principal: Faith Mabe

Private Schools[edit]

  • St Anne Catholic School (Pre-K - 8)
  • Sullins Academy Private School (Preschool - 8th Grade)
  • Morrison Private School (1st - 12th Grade)


"Birthplace of Country Music"[edit]

Bristol was recognized as the "Birthplace of Country Music," according to a resolution passed by the US Congress in 1998; residents of the city had contributed to early country music recordings and influence.

In 1927 record producer Ralph Peer of Victor Records began recording local musicians in Bristol to attempt to capture the local sound of traditional 'folk' music of the region. One of these local sounds was created by the Carter Family. The Carter Family got their start on July 31, 1927, when A.P. Carter and his family journeyed from Maces Spring, Virginia, to Bristol, Tennessee, to audition for Peer who was seeking new talent for the relatively embryonic recording industry. They received $50 for each song they recorded.

Since 1994, the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance has promoted the city as a destination to learn about the history of the region and its role in the creation of an entire music genre. The Alliance is organizing the building of a new Cultural Heritage Center to help educate the public about the history of country music in the region.[15]

Professional sports[edit]

Bristol hosts the Bristol Pirates baseball team of the Appalachian League.

Former NASCAR driver Kelly Denton is from the city.

On the Tennessee side, Bristol is home to Bristol Motor Speedway, the "world's fastest half mile", which hosts two races per year on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit, two races per year on the NASCAR Nationwide Series circuit, one race per year on the Camping World Truck Series circuit, and various other racing events. The complex includes the Bristol Dragway, nicknamed "Thunder Valley," referencing the hills that echo the engine noise back toward the crowd.



  • WCYB-TV in Bristol, VA (NBC Channel 5)
  • WEMT-TV in Bristol, VA (Fox Channel 39)
  • WJHL-TV in Johnson City, TN (CBS Channel 11)



International Relations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  11. ^ City of Bristol CAFR
  12. ^ American Music Conference
  13. ^ NAMM Foundation Names the 'Best Communities for Music Education' — NAMM, The International Music Products Association
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Birthplace of Country Music". Retrieved 16 April 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°36′40″N 82°10′34″W / 36.6111°N 82.1762°W / 36.6111; -82.1762