Disputanta, along U.S. Route 460
|Elevation||115 ft (35 m)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
Disputanta is an unincorporated community in Prince George County, Virginia, United States in the Richmond-Petersburg region and is a portion of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The postal ZIP Code of Disputanta, Virginia is 23842.
Popular legend has it that William Mahone (1826–1895), builder of the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad (now part of the Norfolk Southern railway), and his cultured wife, Otelia Butler Mahone (1837–1911), traveled along the newly completed Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad naming stations. Otelia was reading Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. From his historical Scottish novels, Otelia chose the place names of Wakefield as well as Windsor and Waverly. She tapped the Scottish Clan "McIvor" for the name of Ivor, a small town in neighboring Southampton County.
As they continued west, they reached a station just west of the Sussex County line in Prince George County where they could not agree on a suitable name from the books. Instead, they became creative, and invented a new name in honor of their dispute. This is how the tiny community of Disputanta was named.
The N&P railroad was completed in 1858. William Mahone later became a Major General in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, and later, a Senator in the United States Congress. A large portion of U.S. Highway 460 between Petersburg and Suffolk is named General Mahone Highway in his honor.
Disputanta was a thriving rail town for much of the first half of the twentieth century. It was an important stop along the Norfolk and Western Railroad due to its two 50,000 gallon water tanks that supplied water to steam locomotives. Disputanta once had several hundred residents, two schools, the Disputanta school for whites, and the Jack Cole School for Negroes; nine stores, three banks, two peanut warehouses, a saw mill, and a number of other businesses. In the mid twentieth century as Norfolk and Western replaced their last steam locomotives with modern diesel locomotives and ended passenger rail service, trains no longer stopped at the Disputanta station anymore and its population declined as rail workers left. Today the railroad depot and most of the businesses are long gone and the tiny community consists of approximately 75 homes, a fire station, an elementary school built in the late 1960s, and a post office built in the 1990s, and a Dollar General store that opened in the early 2010s. A large Food Lion warehouse and an auto parts factory operated by Standard Motor Products are located along Highway 460 a few miles west of Disputanta.
In the late 19th Century a large number of Czech and Slovak immigrants moved to Prince George County due to the availability of cheap farmland. The area is still very rural and many of the descendants of these Czech and Slovak immigrants continue to farm the land around Disputanta.
The historic Chester Plantation located on U.S. Route 460 just west of Disputanta and Cedar Ridge located just east of Disputanta in Surry County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Disputanta, Virginia
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.