Rocky Mount, Virginia

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Rocky Mount, Virginia
Official seal of Rocky Mount, Virginia
Rocky Mount is located in Virginia
Rocky Mount
Rocky Mount
Rocky Mount is located in the US
Rocky Mount
Rocky Mount
Location within Franklin county
Coordinates: 36°59′44″N 79°53′20″W / 36.99556°N 79.88889°W / 36.99556; -79.88889Coordinates: 36°59′44″N 79°53′20″W / 36.99556°N 79.88889°W / 36.99556; -79.88889
Country United States
State Virginia
County Franklin
Founded 1786
 • Mayor Steve Angle
 • Total 6.87 sq mi (17.79 km2)
 • Land 6.84 sq mi (17.72 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.07 km2)
Elevation 1,200 ft (400 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 4,799
 • Density 701/sq mi (270.8/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 24151
FIPS code 51-68496
GNIS feature ID 1499983

Rocky Mount is the county seat of Franklin County, Virginia, United States.[1] The town is part of the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area, and had a population of 4,799 as of the 2010 census.[2] It is located in the Roanoke Region of Virginia.[3]


Franklin County courthouse, built 1909, Rocky Mount

The first English colonists arrived here in 1760, and they named Rocky Mount for a steep cliff near the town. The area originally consisted of two adjacent villages, Rocky Mount and Mount Pleasant. The first court was held at Rocky Mount in 1786 following the Revolutionary War. The first courthouse, made of logs, was replaced in 1831. By 1836 the town consisted of 30 homes and several businesses.

During the Civil War, numerous planter families from the Tidewater region sought refuge in Rocky Mount, and many brought substantial numbers of slaves with them. Among these were the immediate past governor, Henry A. Wise, who settled his family here before he served in the military. The Confederate General Jubal Anderson Early, born on a farm nearby, practiced law in Rocky Mount before and after the war.

In 1873, Rocky Mount absorbed the smaller village of Mount Pleasant, creating the present boundaries of the town, and it was incorporated that year.[4] The present Franklin County courthouse was constructed in 1909 at Rocky Mount.

The Booker T. Washington National Monument, Evergreen-Callaway-Deyerle House, The Farm, Greer House, Rocky Mount Historic District, Washington Iron Furnace, and Woods-Meade House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[5]


Rocky Mount is located at the center of Franklin County at 36°59′59″N 79°53′23″W / 36.99972°N 79.88972°W / 36.99972; -79.88972 (36.999855, -79.889673).[6] U.S. Route 220 passes through the east side of town as a limited-access bypass, leading north 23 miles (37 km) to Roanoke and south 26 miles (42 km) to Martinsville. Virginia State Route 40 passes through the center of Rocky Mount as Pell Avenue and Franklin Street, leading east 32 miles (51 km) to Gretna and southwest 10 miles (16 km) to Ferrum.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 6.9 square miles (17.8 km2), of which 0.03 square miles (0.07 km2), or 0.39%, is water.[2] The Pigg River, an east-flowing tributary of the Roanoke River, forms the southern border of the town. The 1,934-foot (589 m) summit of Grassy Hill is in the northern part of town.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Rocky Mount has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[7]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 315
1890 628 99.4%
1900 612 −2.5%
1910 967 58.0%
1920 1,076 11.3%
1930 1,339 24.4%
1940 1,366 2.0%
1950 1,432 4.8%
1960 1,412 −1.4%
1970 4,002 183.4%
1980 4,198 4.9%
1990 4,098 −2.4%
2000 4,066 −0.8%
2010 4,799 18.0%
Est. 2015 4,799 [8] 0.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
State historical marker for Rocky Mount

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 4,066 people, 1,698 households, and 1,018 families residing in the town. The population density was 886.5 people per square mile (342.0/km²). There were 1,796 housing units at an average density of 391.6 per square mile (151.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 74.50% White, 22.26% African American, 0.27% Native American, 1.11% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 0.49% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.67% of the population.

There were 1,698 households out of which 26.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.2% were married couples living together, 15.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 36.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the town the population was spread out with 21.4% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 23.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 85.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $26,927, and the median income for a family was $38,688. Males had a median income of $30,947 versus $22,472 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,207. About 16.6% of families and 14.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 14.0% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Fussell, Fred C. (2003). Blue Ridge Music Trails: Finding a Place in the Circle. North Carolina Folklife Institute. 080785459X. 
  • Watman, Max (2010). Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw's Adventures in Moonshine. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-7178-0. 
  • Greer, T. Keister. The Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935, History House Press, 2003
  • Bondurant, Matt. The Wettest County in the World (2008)


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Rocky Mount town, Virginia". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved October 20, 2016. 
  3. ^ Roanoke Region of Virginia
  4. ^ Frank H. Gille (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Virginia 1999; Volume One. Somerset Publishers. p. 329. ISBN 0-403-09753-3. 
  5. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ Climate Summary for Rocky Mount, Virginia
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]