Farmville, Virginia

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Farmville, Virginia
Location of Farmville, Virginia
Location of Farmville, Virginia
Coordinates: 37°17′52″N 78°23′45″W / 37.29778°N 78.39583°W / 37.29778; -78.39583Coordinates: 37°17′52″N 78°23′45″W / 37.29778°N 78.39583°W / 37.29778; -78.39583
Country United States
State Virginia
Counties Prince Edward, Cumberland
 • Type Local
 • Mayor David Whitus
 • Total 7.3 sq mi (19.0 km2)
 • Land 7.2 sq mi (18.7 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 351 ft (107 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 8,216
 • Density 1,140/sq mi (440.3/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 23901, 23909, 23943
Area code(s) 434
FIPS code 51-27440[1]
GNIS feature ID 1498477[2]

Farmville is a town in Prince Edward and Cumberland counties in the U.S. state of Virginia. The population was 8,216 at the 2010 census.[3] It is the county seat of Prince Edward County.[4]

The Appomattox River traverses Farmville, along with the High Bridge Trail State Park, a more than 30-mile-long (48 km) rail trail park. At the intersection of US 15, VA 45 and US 460, Farmville is the home of Longwood University and is the town nearest to Hampden-Sydney College.


Near the headwaters of the Appomattox River, the town of Farmville was formed in 1798 and incorporated in 1912.

In the 1850s, the Southside Railroad from Petersburg to Lynchburg was built through Farmville between Burkeville and Pamplin City. The route, which was subsidized by a contribution from Farmville, required an expensive crossing of the Appomattox River slightly downstream, which became known as the High Bridge.

Civil War history[edit]

High Bridge
Photo by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, 1865

Farmville was the object of the Confederate Army's desperate push to get rations to feed its soldiers near the end of the American Civil War. The rations had originally been destined for Danville, but an alert quartermaster ordered the train back to Farmville. Despite an advance of the cavalry commanded by Fitzhugh Lee, the Confederate Army was checked by the arrival of Union cavalry commanded by Gen. Philip Sheridan and two divisions of infantry. General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia found itself soon surrounded. He surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.

The Prince Edward county seat was moved from Worsham to Farmville in 1871.

Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County[edit]

Farmville and Prince Edward County Public Schools were the source of Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County (1952-54), a case incorporated into Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the landmark case that overturned school segregation in the United States. Among the cases consolidated into the Brown decision, the Davis case was the only one involving student protests.

R.R. Moton High School, an all-black school in Farmville named for Robert Russa Moton, suffered from terrible conditions due to underfunding by white officials in the segregated state. The school did not have a gymnasium, cafeteria, or teachers' restrooms. Teachers and students did not have desks or blackboards, and due to overcrowding, some students had to take classes in a school bus parked outside. The school's requests for additional funds were denied by the all-white school board. Students had protested against the poor conditions.

As a result of the Brown decision, in 1959 the Board of Supervisors for Prince Edward County refused to appropriate any funds for the County School Board; in massive resistance, it effectively closed all public schools rather than integrate them. Wealthy white students usually attended all-white private schools called segregation academies that formed in response. Black and poorer white students had to go to school elsewhere or forgo their education altogether. Prince Edward County's public schools remained closed for ten years. When they finally reopened, the system was fully integrated.

Prince Edward Academy was the longest-surviving of the segregation academies, still teaching students in the 1990s. Although technically integrated at that point, the school had few students of color. Prince Edward Academy was renamed the Fuqua School in honor of J.B. Fuqua, a wealthy businessman who was raised nearby and who has endowed the school.

The former R.R. Moton High School building has been recognized as a community landmark. In 1998, it was designated as a National Historic Landmark for its significance to the African American Civil Rights Movement. It houses the Robert Russa Moton Museum, a center for the study of civil rights in education.[5] In 2015, Longwood University and Moton Museum entered into a formal affiliation to advance understanding of the history of the struggle for civil rights.

National Register of Historic Places[edit]

The First Baptist Church, Farmville Historic District, Longwood House, Robert Russa Moton High School, Sayler's Creek Battlefield, and Worsham High School are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[6][7]


Farmville is located in northern Prince Edward County, with the town center situated south of the Appomattox River. A portion of the town extends north across the river into Cumberland County.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town covers a total area of 7.3 square miles (19.0 km2), of which 7.2 square miles (18.7 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 1.77%, is water.[3]

Farmville is located between Richmond and Lynchburg on U.S. Route 460. Richmond is 64 miles (103 km) to the east, and Lynchburg is 48 miles (77 km) to the west.

Volunteer fire fighting[edit]

The Farmville Volunteer Fire Department is designated as Company 1[8] in Prince Edward County after being the first fire department established in the county in 1870. FFD provides services to nearly 10,000 people in their first due,[9] which comprises the entire town of Farmville, and into the immediately surrounding area of Prince Edward County, Buckingham County, and Cumberland County.

Firefighting apparatus include 1250-, 1000-, 750- and 270-gallon engine/pump trucks, chief-use SUV, and a support pick-up truck, along with a hazmat, decontamination, and spill/leak supply trailer.

Notable event in September 12th, 1912 the first fire that took the life of Henry L. Lee at Jefferys Bologna market on present day Main Street. Where three volunteer fire fighters extinguished the flames.

Water quality[edit]

The town of Farmville is located within the Piedmont Region and has many tributaries which filter into the Appomattox River. After the water is carried into the Appomattox River it drains into the James River and then is distributed into the Chesapeake Bay. Within Farmville there are several different areas which are a concern due to high amounts of heterotrophic bacteria and Escherichia coli, classified as coliform bacteria they live within the intestines of warm blooded animals. The strain of E. coli which is of most concern is the 0157 H7 strain because it can produce dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, and in extreme cases even death. There are a couple of drains which are located within Farmville and its neighboring counties which are of concern, including Gross Creek, which usually exceeds the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).[10]

Farmville's water and sewer services are publicly owned and operated by the Town of Farmville work crew.[11] The town's water treatment plant draws its water supplies from the Appomattox River. Water from the river is treated to kill any waterborne pathogens. After that process all sedimentation is removed through a series of filtration tanks. The water plant sells a portion of this removed sedimentation to be mixed with topsoil and then to be made ready for farm use. The excess sedimentation is recycled back into the Appomattox. The water plant can store 200,000 gallons of fresh water which can be transferred to Farmville's water towers when needed. Currently Farmville averages 1 million gallons of water usage per day, and its water plant is capable of producing up to 3 million gallons. The water is used by the majority of the town and the Prince Edward schools.[12]

The wastewater plant covers a more extensive area which includes all residents of Farmville, Prince Edward schools, Hampden Sydney and north to the Cumberland County Court area. The plant treats approximately 1.7 million gallons a day and is capable of handling 2.4 million gallons.[13] The wastewater undergoes an extensive treatment process based on parameters set by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality[14] before being released back into the Appomattox River downstream of Farmville. All residents of Farmville are required to use the public sewage line. The only exception is granted to residents who have been using a private septic system prior to being annexed to the town. Both the water plant and the water treatment plant undergo a consumer confidence test every spring and have never received any violations. Contamination levels in the town's waterways are currently being checked bimonthly to monitor the water quality of creeks and streams leaving Farmville. Tests are conducted to see if the town's water pipes are leaching any pollutants into the environment and to detect any other sources of contamination. The information from test results is available at the Virginia DEQ website.[15]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,536
1870 1,543 0.5%
1880 2,058 33.4%
1890 2,404 16.8%
1900 2,471 2.8%
1910 2,971 20.2%
1920 2,586 −13.0%
1930 3,133 21.2%
1940 3,475 10.9%
1950 4,375 25.9%
1960 4,293 −1.9%
1970 4,331 0.9%
1980 6,067 40.1%
1990 6,046 −0.3%
2000 6,845 13.2%
2010 8,216 20.0%
Est. 2014 8,229 [16] 0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]

As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 8,216 people, 2,634 households, and 1,162 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,140.3 people per square mile (x379.2/km²). There were 2,885 housing units at an average density of x329.3 per square mile (x127.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 72.3% White, 23.8% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.3% of the population.

There were 2,634 households out of which 19.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.0% were husband-wife couples living together, 3.5% had a male householder with no wife present, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 55.9% were non-families. 49.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 26.9% 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 2.90.

The age distribution, strongly influenced by the presence of Longwood University, is: 12.9% under the age of 18, 46.1% from 18 to 24, 14.9% from 25 to 44, 14.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females there were 68.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 64.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $26,343, and the median income for a family was $33,000. Males had a median income of $30,974 versus $20,764 for females. The per capita income for the town was $13,552. About 19.9% of families and 22.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.8% of those under age 18 and 11.7% of those age 65 or over.

College and university[edit]

Longwood University is a public school located in the heart of town with an enrollment of about 5,000. It is one of the oldest public institutions in the country, founded as a female seminary. Longwood is mainly known as a teachers school and was once called State Female Normal School. This school is known as the mother of sororities: Sigma Sigma Sigma, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Zeta Tau Alpha, and Kappa Delta were founded here. Longwood University opened a new recreational complex, and in 2007 finished construction on a 36,000-square-foot (3,300 m2), four-story multi-use complex, with retail stores on the lower floor with dorms above. It is steadily expanding as a university.

Hampden-Sydney College is the 10th oldest college in America, an all-male private school founded in 1775. Hampden-Sydney is located 6 miles (10 km) southwest of the center of Farmville and has an enrollment of 1,200 students.


Farmville is a growing community mainly because of economic growth in the Lynchburg and Richmond areas. Many residents use Farmville as a bedroom community to take advantage of the low cost of living. Many Longwood alumni are staying in the community after growing up elsewhere.

Farmville made headlines in September 2015 after being selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates to host the 2016 vice-presidential debate. The debate will be held at Longwood University on October 4, 2016.[18][19]

Furniture and mattress destination[edit]

The historic downtown has become a destination for those looking to purchase premium furniture and mattresses. With luxury furniture stores like Green Front Furniture and Main Street Mattress lining both sides of Main Street, patrons are driving from all over the state to purchase their wares.[20]

In 2008 a new YMCA was opened behind the recently built Lowe's. It includes an indoor swimming pool, locker rooms, six large HD TVs overlooking a gym, a child care center, and athletic fields. Family locker rooms, a teen center and aerobics room are included.

Robert E. Lee retreated through Farmville as he escaped the Union Army in the Civil War. The town is crossed by the High Bridge Trail State Park which extends 4 miles (6 km) east to the historic High Bridge.

Services include the Farmville Police Department, Prince Edward County Sheriff's Office, and Longwood University Police Department. The Virginia State Police also has a strong presence in the town of Farmville. Piedmont Regional Jail, serving a six-county area, is located in Farmville.

Heart of Virginia Festival[edit]

The Heart of Virginia Festival happens in Farmville the first weekend in May and has grown every year since it was established in 1978. "Heart of Virginia" refers to Farmville's location in the central part of the state. (The actual geographic center of the state is 20 miles (32 km) north at the intersection of Route 24 and 60 outside of Dillwyn in Buckingham County). The festival includes all the traditional fare and concludes with a fireworks show at the Farmville airport.

First Fridays[edit]

First Fridays, held on the first Friday of every month from May to September, feature bands and family events at Riverside Park.

Notable people[edit]

Longwood University students[edit]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Farmville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[21]


  1. ^ a b "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 "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Farmville town, Virginia". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved August 26, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ [1], Moton Museum official website Archived November 7, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  7. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 2/25/13 through 3/01/13. National Park Service. 2013-03-08. 
  8. ^ Prince Edward Fire & Ems Agencies
  9. ^
  10. ^ Web.
  11. ^ "Water/Sewer." Welcome to the Town of Farmville. Web. 05 Mar. 2010. <>.
  12. ^ Stutler, Tim. water treatment operator. Personal INTERVIEW. 12 February 2010
  13. ^ Meador, Sandy. Superintendent at Farmville waste water treatment plant. Personal INTERVIEW. 12 February 2010
  14. ^ "Wastewater Treatment." Virginia DEQ. Web. 05 Mar. 2010. <>.
  15. ^ Virginia DEQ. "Monitoring Sites." Virginia Volunteer/Nonagency Monitoring Data. . . March 14, 2010. <>.
  16. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Heart & Soul of VA Magazine June 2013
  21. ^ Climate Summary for Farmville, Virginia

External links[edit]