Dayton, Virginia

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Dayton, Virginia
Main Street, Dayton
Main Street, Dayton
Official seal of Dayton, Virginia
Location of Dayton, Virginia
Location of Dayton, Virginia
Coordinates: 38°24′59″N 78°56′22″W / 38.41639°N 78.93944°W / 38.41639; -78.93944Coordinates: 38°24′59″N 78°56′22″W / 38.41639°N 78.93944°W / 38.41639; -78.93944
Country United States
State Virginia
County Rockingham
Incorporated 1879
 • Type Mayor and Town Council
 • Mayor Charles T. Long
 • Vice Mayor Josh O. Lyons
 • Total 0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)
 • Land 0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 1,204 ft (367 m)
Population (2009 U.S. Census estimate)
 • Total 1,360
 • Density 1,700/sq mi (647.6/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 22821
Area code(s) 540
FIPS code 51-21648[1]
GNIS feature ID 1492844[2]

Dayton is a town in Rockingham County, Virginia, United States. The population is 1,530 as of the 2010 census. It is included in the Harrisonburg, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Dayton is located at 38°24′59″N 78°56′22″W / 38.41639°N 78.93944°W / 38.41639; -78.93944 (38.416323, -78.939440).[3] The town is approximately two miles southwest of Harrisonburg and two miles northeast of Bridgewater.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.1 km²), all of it land.


The town of Dayton is one of the oldest settled communities in Rockingham County, and is the county's second oldest incorporated town, after Bridgewater. The first settler in Dayton was Daniel Harrison (c. 1702-1770), whose family settled along Cooks Creek, north of downtown. Daniel was the eldest son of Isaiah Harrison and second wife Abigail and was born in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York. Daniel's brother Thomas Harrison founded Harrisonburg several miles to the northeast. They and their three brothers had migrated from New York to Delaware and then to Orange County Virginia before settling in the Shenandoah Valley.[4]

The family homestead, a two-story stone house, as been owned and maintained since 1977 by a private, non-profit organization, Fort Harrison, Inc.[5] The town was known as Rifeville or Rifetown[6] until 1833.[7]

Shenandoah University has its roots in Dayton, when it was known as the Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music. The college was organized in 1875 under the leadership of Rev. A.P. Funkhouser. This was a major institution in Dayton until 1960, when it moved to Winchester. College Street was named after the school and many of the street's buildings served as part of the campus.[7]

The Dayton Historic District, Daniel Harrison House, and Peter Paul House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 258
1900 425
1910 516 21.4%
1920 482 −6.6%
1930 537 11.4%
1940 632 17.7%
1950 788 24.7%
1960 930 18.0%
1970 978 5.2%
1980 1,017 4.0%
1990 921 −9.4%
2000 1,344 45.9%
2010 1,530 13.8%
Est. 2015 1,588 [9] 3.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

As of the census[1] of 2000, 1,344 people, 542 households, and 383 families resided in the town. The population density was 1,657.2 people per square mile (640.6/km²). There were 565 housing units at an average density of 696.6 per square mile (269.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.20% White, 0.67% African American, 0.37% Asian, 2.90% from other races, and 1.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.62% of the population.

Of 542 households, 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.6% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.2% were not families. About 24.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the town, the population was distributed as 24.1% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 33.6% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $35,958, and the median income for a family was $44,732. Males had a median income of $30,109 versus $23,906 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,600. About 3.5% of families and 8.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.7% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Dayton has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[11]

In popular culture[edit]

The city is a setting in the music video for "Cheer Up" by the Korean pop group Twice.[12] The video depicts a member of the group performing outside of Dayton while dressed as a cowgirl.


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ Harrison, J. Houston (1975), Settlers by the Long Grey Trail, Genealogical Publ. Co.
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ James-Henderson, Yvonne. "VA Towns and Cities". Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  7. ^ a b [2][dead link]
  8. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  9. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Dayton, Virginia Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  12. ^ jypentertainment (24 April 2016). "TWICE "CHEER UP" M/V". Retrieved 21 April 2017 – via YouTube.