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 cities of Bristol, Virginia, and Bristol, Tennessee.
A sign welcomes visitors to the twin cities 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 13.2 sq mi (34.1 km2)
 • Land 13.0 sq mi (33.7 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 1,680 ft (512 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 17,835
 • Density 1,371/sq mi (529.2/km2)
 • Metro 500,901
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 24201, 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 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 neighboring Washington County, Virginia, for statistical purposes. Bristol is a principal city of the 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 in southwestern Virginia at 36°36′N 82°11′W / 36.600°N 82.183°W / 36.600; -82.183 (36.6111, -82.1762).[5] It is bordered to the west, north, and east by Washington County, Virginia, and to the south by the city of Bristol in Sullivan County, Tennessee.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.2 square miles (34.1 km2), of which 13.0 square miles (33.7 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 1.07%, is water.[6] Little Creek and Beaver Creek flow south through the city; Little Creek flows into Beaver Creek two blocks south of the state line in Tennessee. Beaver Creek is a tributary of the South Fork Holston River.

The city is served by Interstates 81 and 381, and by U.S. Routes 11, 19, 58, and 421. I-81 leads northeast 149 miles (240 km) to Roanoke, Virginia, and southwest 113 miles (182 km) to Knoxville, Tennessee. US 11 and US 19, running parallel to I-81, lead northeast 15 miles (24 km) to Abingdon, Virginia. US 11 splits into routes 11W and 11E in Bristol; US 11W leads west-southwest 23 miles (37 km) to Kingsport, Tennessee, while US 11E and US 19 lead south-southwest 25 miles (40 km) to Johnson City, Tennessee. US 58 runs with I-81 northeast for 17 miles (27 km) before splitting off to the east just beyond Abingdon; US 58 and 421 together lead west 27 miles (43 km) to Weber City, Virginia. US 421 leads southeast 33 miles (53 km) to Mountain City, Tennessee.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,562
1890 2,902 85.8%
1900 4,579 57.8%
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. 2014 17,184 [7] −3.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790-1960[9] 1900-1990[10]
1990-2000[11] 2010-2012[3]

As of the census[12] 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 Marshal: 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)[13]
  • 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: 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 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.

  • Police Chief: John S. Austin
  • Animal Control Officer: Deena Bouton

Fire department[edit]

211 Lee Street, Bristol, Virginia 24201

  • 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


Despite its relatively small size, Bristol, Virginia, boasts one of the more advanced broadband networks in the country.[14] Bristol Virginia Utilities (BVU) started planning a fiber optic deployment in the city in the late 1990s. By 2001, BVU had been granted approval by the city council 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 6,000 customers in a matter of two 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 city in Tennessee is deploying an FTTP system similar to its neighbor across the state line.


Top employers[edit]

According to Bristol's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[15] 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


In 2007 and 2008, Bristol was named one of the Best 100 Communities for Music Education[16][17][18]


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]

  • Highland View Elementary School

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

  • Washington Lee Elementary School

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.[19]

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; ABC on DT2)



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. ^ Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Bristol city, Virginia". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved August 20, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  13. ^ "Brillhart named Bristol, Virginia mayor". Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  14. ^ "Broadband at the Speed of Light". Institute for Local Self-Reliance. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2015. 
  15. ^ City of Bristol CAFR
  16. ^ American Music Conference
  17. ^ NAMM Foundation Names the 'Best Communities for Music Education' — NAMM, The International Music Products Association
  18. ^
  19. ^ "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