Colonial Heights, Virginia

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Colonial Heights
Boulevard, in Colonial Heights, Virginia
Boulevard, in Colonial Heights, Virginia
Official seal of Colonial Heights
Colonial Heights is located in Virginia
Colonial Heights
Colonial Heights
Location in the State of Virginia
Colonial Heights is located in the United States
Colonial Heights
Colonial Heights
Colonial Heights (the United States)
Coordinates: 37°14′38″N 77°24′38″W / 37.24389°N 77.41056°W / 37.24389; -77.41056Coordinates: 37°14′38″N 77°24′38″W / 37.24389°N 77.41056°W / 37.24389; -77.41056
CountryUnited States
CountyNone (Independent city)
Incorporated (town)1926
Incorporated (city)1948
 • MayorC. Scott Davis
 • Independent city7.79 sq mi (20.19 km2)
 • Land7.52 sq mi (19.48 km2)
 • Water0.27 sq mi (0.71 km2)  3.7%
95 ft (29 m)
 • Independent city17,411
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,310.15/sq mi (891.90/km2)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)804
FIPS code51-18448[3]
GNIS feature ID1496852[4]

Colonial Heights is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,411.[5] The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the City of Colonial Heights (along with the City of Petersburg) with Chesterfield County for statistical purposes.

Colonial Heights is located in the Tri-Cities area of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).


Like much of eastern Virginia, the site of Colonial Heights was located within the Algonquian-speaking confederation known as Tenakomakah, ruled by Chief Powhatan, when the English colonists arrived at Jamestown on May 14, 1607. Captain John Smith's early map of Virginia testifies that the present area of Colonial Heights included the principal town of the Appamattuck subtribe, led by their weroance, Coquonasum, and his sister, Oppussoquionuske. In the aftermath of the Indian attacks of 1622 and 1644, the Appamattuck became tributary to England and relocated to nearby Ettrick, and its opposite bank, near Fort Henry (within modern-day Petersburg, Virginia).

The area including present-day Colonial Heights was made a part of "Henrico Cittie", one of 4 huge "incorporations" formed in the Virginia Colony in 1619 by the London Company. English colonists first settled in the Colonial Heights area in 1620. A small group sailed up the Appomattox River looking for clear land, and finally settled in an area where Swift Creek runs into the Appomattox River, which they named Conjurer's Neck. This confluence was formerly the residence of a Native American healer (known as a "conjurer") who was thought to have cast spells over the waters.

Shortly thereafter, Charles Magnor registered the first land patent in the area for 650 acres (2.6 km2), which he later developed into a plantation before selling it in 1634. That same year, by order of King Charles I of England, the Virginia Colony was divided into the 8 original shires of Virginia by the House of Burgesses, one of which was Henrico County, which included the future land of Colonial Heights.

In 1635, the English had a small town called Appamattucks near the "Old Towne" Creek,[6] thought to be located near the intersection of Temple Avenue and Dimmock Parkway.[7] Also in that year, Captain Henry Fleet and Francis Poythress built a small fort nearby, on "Fleet's Hill" just west of the current city, now occupied by the campus of Virginia State University.

During the period from 1677 to 1685, one of the area's historic landmarks was constructed with the building of the Old Brick House. Richard Kennon came to Virginia prior to 1670, and became a merchant of Bermuda Hundred. He represented Henrico County in the House of Burgesses. His son, Richard Kennon, Jr., was also a member of the House of Burgesses and married the daughter of Col. Robert Bolling, the emigrant, and his second wife, the former Anne Stith. Richard's sister, Mary Kennon, was married to Major John Fairfax Bolling, half-brother of Richard's wife. Major Bolling was the son of Col. Robert Bolling and his first wife Jane Rolfe, who was granddaughter of the early colonist John Rolfe and his Native American wife, Pocahontas. The Bollings lived at Cobb's, a plantation in eastern Chesterfield near Point-of-Rocks.

The plantation house built by Richard Kennon (later known as the "Brick House") is now thought to be the oldest permanent structure in Colonial Heights. One wall of the house survived a disastrous fire in 1879, and the rest was rebuilt.[8]

In 1749, an area south of the James River was divided from Henrico County by the House of Burgesses, and named Chesterfield County. The area which became Colonial Heights was to remain in Chesterfield County for almost 200 more years, until 1948.

The name "Colonial Heights" results from an incident during the American Revolutionary War. In May 1781, the French troops of General Marquis de Lafayette, known as the Coloniels, advanced south from Richmond and deployed artillery on the heights overlooking Petersburg from across the Appomattox River. The area thereafter came to be known as "Colonial Heights", and the name was given to a subdivision of the Oak Hill tract in 1906.

A historic site, Oak Hill, on Carroll Avenue, also called Archer's, Hector's, or Dunn's Hill, consisted of two one-story weatherboarded structures connected by a deep inside porch that extends from an uncovered section toward the street. From the lawn of this house, in May 1781, General Lafayette — with cannon behind a boxwood hedge that still fringes the hill — shelled Petersburg, then occupied by British troops under Major-General William Phillips (who died of typhoid during this bombardment).

The area also became involved in operations during the American Civil War. General Robert E. Lee made his headquarters at Violet Bank from June through September during the Siege of Petersburg in 1864.

In 1926, Colonial Heights became an incorporated town in Chesterfield County. Originally seeking to be annexed by the City of Petersburg, in the face of overwhelming public support, a judges ruling instead saw Colonial Heights designated an incorporated town.[9]

It was incorporated as a city in 1948; under Virginia law, it separated from Chesterfield County and became an independent city. Its current charter was granted in 1960. From 1960 to 1970, Colonial Heights experienced a period of rapid growth as the population jumped from 9,587 to 15,097.

In the mid-1980s, completion of the State Route 144 (Temple Avenue Connector) and a new bridge across the Appomattox River provided access to State Route 36 near Fort Lee. The new road and bridge effectively opened a large previously isolated tract of land along the southeastern edge of the city for commercial development. There, the regional Southpark Mall and many other retail businesses and offices were built.

On August 6, 1993, an F4 tornado (max. wind speeds 207-260 mph) passed through Colonial Heights. It caused extensive damage to the Southpark Mall and collapsed the roof of an old Wal-Mart (now Sam's Club) store. It also did extensive damage in Petersburg and Hopewell. In the Tri-Cities area, the tornado killed four people (three in Wal-Mart and one in Prince George), injured 246, and caused an estimated $50 million in property damage.

On April 28, 2008, an EF1 tornado (max. wind speeds 86-110 mph) produced a near two miles (3.2 km) long, though discontinuous, path through Colonial Heights. The tornado first touched down near the Colonial Heights Middle School football field, damaging the field clubhouse roof, then causing roof damage and spill onto I-95 from Medallion Pool business. The tornado then jumped I-95 and touched down again in the Dimmock Square Shopping Center. Several cars were flipped and piled in the parking lot of a strip mall (which had extensive roof damage) that is less than a tenth of a mile from the site of the old Wal Mart which was destroyed by an F4 tornado on August 6, 1993. The tornado then continued across Temple Avenue, causing tree and roof damage in the neighborhood near Fine Drive and Puddledock Road (in Prince George County) before lifting for good. The tornado injured 21 and caused an estimated $10 million in property damage.

Historical attractions[edit]

Two area attractions with historic roots are Violet Bank and Swift Creek Mill. There are also several parks in the area, including Fort Clifton Park and White Bank Park.


Colonial Heights is located at 37°15′44″N 77°24′9″W / 37.26222°N 77.40250°W / 37.26222; -77.40250 (37.262257, -77.402728).[10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.8 square miles (20.2 km2), of which 7.5 square miles (19.4 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km2) of it (3.7%) is water.[10]

Colonial Heights is located on just north of the Appomattox River across from the modern-day City of Petersburg at the river's fall line It is located south of Chesterfield County (practically surrounded by it except for a south border with Petersburg) and in some areas, Swift Creek divides the city from the county.

Adjacent county / Independent city[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)17,370[2]−0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
1790-1960[12] 1900-1990[13]
1990-2000[14] 2010-2019[5]

As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 16,897 people, 7,027 households, and 4,722 families living in the city. The population density was 2,260.3 people per square mile (872.2/km2). There were 7,340 housing units at an average density of 981.9 per square mile (378.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.66% White, 13.81% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 3.24% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.64% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. 4.67% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 17,411 people living in the city of Colonial Heights. Of those 17,411 people, 76.2% of them were white, 16% were African American, 4.1% were Asian, and 5.9% were Hispanic. The population density of the city was recorded as 2315.3 people per square mile. There were 7,735 housing units measured during the years 2012-2016 within the city limits. There were 7,206 households residing in those housing units, of which the average family per household during the same years, 2012–2016, was 2.41.[16]

There were 7,027 households, out of which 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.3% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.6% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $52,529, and the median income for a family was $66,381. Males had a median income of $39,900 versus $28,875 for females. The per capita income for the city was $28,282. About 7.42% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.3% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over.

Major highways[edit]


Elementary and secondary[edit]

Colonial Heights Middle School

The City of Colonial Heights is served by Colonial Heights Public Schools. There are three elementary schools, Lakeview Elementary School, North Elementary School, Tussing Elementary School; one middle school, Colonial Heights Middle School; and one high school, Colonial Heights High School. All of the schools are accredited by the Virginia Board of Education and by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Private schools[edit]

There is one private Christian school in Colonial Heights: Evangel Christian School.

Higher education[edit]

The area is served by three schools of higher education:

Parks and recreation[edit]

The city of Colonial Heights has nine parks composed of 75 acres that they must maintain. Those nine parks include White Bank Park, Floral Avenue Park, Edinborough Park, Flora Hill Park, Appamattuck Park, Fort Clifton Park, Lakeview Park, Roslyn Landing Park, and Wakefield Park. In addition to these nine parks, the city also maintains many other recreational facilities such as ballfields (including Shephard Stadium), a soccer complex, and tennis courts.[17]


The climate in and around the city of Colonial Heights is described as a humid subtropical climate where the summers are very hot and humid while the winters are moderately cold. The coldest weather is seen from December to February, January's daily average temperature is 37.9 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest weather is seen from June through August, July's daily average temperature is 79.3 degrees Fahrenheit. The total annual precipitation normal for the city is approximately 43.6 inches. The month with the highest normal precipitation is August with 4.66 inches on average while February is the month with the least amount of precipitation on average with 2.76 inches. [18]


Top employers[edit]

According to the City of Colonial Height's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[19] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Walmart 650
2 Colonial Heights Public Schools 615
3 City of Colonial Heights 348
4 VDOT 250
5 Randstad 235
6 Colonial Heights Health Care and Rehabilitation Center 229
7 Red Lobster & Olive Garden 200
8 J. C. Penney 189
9 Martin's Food Markets 187
10 Care Advantage 169


Colonial Heights has one weekly periodical, a free publication:

  • Colonial Heights Patriot, published by the Hopewell Publishing Company.

It is also served by a daily newspaper of record for the area

  • The Progress-Index, published by Gatehouse Media.

Notable people[edit]


Unlike most independent cities in the state of Virginia, Colonial Heights has consistently voted Republican in presidential elections since its date of incorporation. All GOP presidential candidates since 1952 have carried the city, with the 13 most recent campaigns each garnering over 60% of the vote. In 1972, and again in 1980, Colonial Heights gave the GOP nominee the largest percentage of the vote of any county or incorporated city in Virginia.

Presidential Elections Results[20]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2020 65.7% 6,007 32.5% 2,972 1.8% 167
2016 67.2% 5,681 28.0% 2,367 4.8% 409
2012 68.9% 5,941 29.5% 2,544 1.6% 139
2008 69.6% 6,161 29.0% 2,562 1.4% 126
2004 74.5% 6,129 25.0% 2,061 0.5% 41
2000 70.9% 5,519 27.0% 2,100 2.1% 163
1996 66.6% 4,632 25.6% 1,782 7.8% 539
1992 63.1% 5,298 20.5% 1,721 16.4% 1,381
1988 78.6% 6,001 20.7% 1,581 0.7% 56
1984 83.7% 6,387 16.0% 1,218 0.3% 25
1980 71.0% 5,012 24.0% 1,692 5.1% 359
1976 61.9% 4,291 34.7% 2,409 3.4% 234
1972 88.0% 5,304 9.0% 541 3.0% 183
1968 49.0% 2,650 12.0% 650 39.0% 2,113
1964 66.9% 2,420 33.1% 1,198 0.1% 2
1960 53.2% 1,372 46.4% 1,198 0.4% 11
1956 47.7% 1,037 44.0% 956 8.2% 179
1952 51.7% 896 48.2% 835 0.1% 1

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  6. ^ "Friends of Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR) Newsletter, 2006" (PDF). Retrieved Aug 1, 2020.
  7. ^ Progress Index article, May 13, 2007[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2007-03-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "How Colonial Heights came to be". Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  10. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  11. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  12. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  13. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  14. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  15. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Colonial Heights city, Virginia (County)". Retrieved Aug 1, 2020.
  17. ^ "Parks & Facilities | Colonial Heights, VA - Official Website". Retrieved Aug 1, 2020.
  18. ^
  19. ^ City of Colonial Heights CAFR
  20. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved December 9, 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hawkins, David W., History of Colonial Heights (August, 1947) Virginia Municipal Review.

External links[edit]