Warrenton, Virginia

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Warrenton, Virginia
Courthouse Square in Old Town Warrenton
Courthouse Square in Old Town Warrenton
Official seal of Warrenton, Virginia
Location in Virginia
Location in Virginia
Coordinates: 38°43′6″N 77°47′50″W / 38.71833°N 77.79722°W / 38.71833; -77.79722Coordinates: 38°43′6″N 77°47′50″W / 38.71833°N 77.79722°W / 38.71833; -77.79722[1]
Country United States
State Virginia
County Fauquier
Founded 1810
 • Mayor Powell Duggan
 • Total 4.51 sq mi (11.67 km2)
 • Land 4.50 sq mi (11.65 km2)
 • Water 0.004 sq mi (0.01 km2)
Elevation 643 ft (196 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 9,611
 • Estimate (2015) 9,897
 • Density 2,200/sq mi (849.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 20186-20188
Area code(s) 540, 703, 571
FIPS code 51-83136[2]
GNIS feature ID 1500278[3]
Website www.warrentonva.gov

Warrenton is a town in Fauquier County, Virginia, United States. The population was 9,611 at the 2010 census,[4] up from 6,670 at the 2000 census. The estimated population in 2015 was 9,897.[5] Warrenton is the county seat of Fauquier County.[6] It is at the junction of U.S. Route 15, U.S. Route 17, U.S. Route 29, and U.S. Route 211. The town is in the Piedmont region of Virginia, east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The well-known Airlie Conference Center is 3 miles (5 km) north of Warrenton, and the historic Vint Hill Farms military facility is 9 miles (14 km) east. Fauquier Hospital is located in the town. Surrounded by Virginia wine and horse country, Warrenton is a popular destination outside of Washington, D.C.

Like many incorporated towns in Virginia, the town of Warrenton has government and taxation separate from the county. The town and the county do share some services, such as schools and the county landfill.[7]


Street scene, Warrenton, Virginia, ca. 1862

The settlement which would grow into the town of Warrenton began as a crossroads at the junction of the Falmouth-Winchester and Alexandria-Culpeper roads,[8] where a trading post called the Red Store was located. In the 1790s, a courthouse was built in the area, and the location was known as "Fauquier Courthouse".[9]

The Town of Warrenton was incorporated on January 5, 1810,[10] and named for General Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary War hero.[11] Richard Henry Lee donated the land for the county seat. John S. Horner, Secretary of Wisconsin Territory and Acting Governor of Michigan Territory, was born in Warrenton. John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was from Germantown, modern-day Midland, 10 miles (16 km) south of Warrenton.

Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby made raids in the town during the Civil War and later made his home and practiced law in Warrenton. The Warren Green Hotel building hosted many famous people, including the Marquis de Lafayette, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, President Theodore Roosevelt, and divorcée Wallis Simpson.[12] Union General George B. McClellan bade farewell to his officers November 11, 1862, from the steps of the hotel.[12] It now hosts some offices of the Fauquier County government.

Arthur Jordan, an African-American man, was lynched by a mob of approximately 60-75 men in white hoods in the early hours of January 19, 1880. Jordan had been accused of miscegenation and bigamy for eloping with Elvira (Lucille) Corder, the daughter of his white employer, Nathan Corder, a landowner and farmer in the upper part of the county along the Rappahannock River. A group of local men hunted the pair down near Williamsport, Maryland, captured Mr. Jordan and returned him to Fauquier, whereupon he was delivered to the town jail. Later that night, the masked lynch mob gained access to the jail and dragged Jordan to the nearby town cemetery, where he was hanged from a small locust tree. Ms. Corder remained in Maryland, estranged from her family, until her death a few years later.[13] News of the lynching was reported in papers across the nation. Some foreign papers, such as Australia's Sydney Morning Herald, even reprinted articles of the account.[14][15][16][17][18]

In 1909, a fire destroyed almost half the structures in the town, and was halted with the use of dynamite to create a firebreak to stop the flames from spreading.[9]

In 1951, the federal government established the Warrenton Training Center just outside Warrenton. The center is a secret Central Intelligence Agency communications facility, which also houses an underground relocation bunker containing communications infrastructure to support continuity of government in the event of a nuclear attack on Washington, DC.[19][20][21]

A bypass route around the town was built in the early 1960s, which attracted restaurants, gas stations, and shopping centers, but also drew businesses away from the center of town.[10]

The Warrenton Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Other listings in or near Warrenton include Brentmoor, Dakota, Hopefield, Loretta, Monterosa, North Wales, The Oaks, the Old Fauquier County Jail, and Yorkshire House.[22]


Warrenton is located in central Fauquier County at 38°43′06″N 77°47′50″W / 38.71833°N 77.79722°W / 38.71833; -77.79722 (38.718307, -77.797085).[1] U.S. Route 29 leads northeast 12 miles (19 km) to Gainesville and 47 miles (76 km) to Washington, D.C., and southwest 25 miles (40 km) to Culpeper. U.S. Route 15 follows US 29 out of town in both directions, but leads north-northeast 34 miles (55 km) to Leesburg. U.S. Route 17 leads northwest 42 miles (68 km) to Winchester and southeast 44 miles (71 km) to Fredericksburg, and U.S. Route 211 leads west 34 miles (55 km) to Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Warrenton has a total area of 4.5 square miles (11.7 km2), of which 0.004 square miles (0.01 km2), or 0.13%, is water.[4] The eastern, southern, and northern parts of the town drain east to Cedar Run, a tributary of the Occoquan River and part of the Potomac River watershed, while the western part of town drains south via Great Run to the Rappahannock River.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 604
1870 1,256 107.9%
1880 1,464 16.6%
1890 1,346 −8.1%
1900 1,627 20.9%
1910 1,427 −12.3%
1920 1,545 8.3%
1930 1,450 −6.1%
1940 1,651 13.9%
1950 1,797 8.8%
1960 3,522 96.0%
1970 4,027 14.3%
1980 3,907 −3.0%
1990 4,830 23.6%
2000 6,670 38.1%
2010 9,611 44.1%
Est. 2015 9,897 [5] 3.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[23]

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 6,670 people, 2,683 households, and 1,591 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,574.8 people per square mile (607.4/km²). There were 2,856 housing units at an average density of 674.3 per square mile (260.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 80.04% White, 16.49% African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.00% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.63% from other races, and 1.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.25% of the population.

There were 2,683 households out of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.6% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.7% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the town the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 84.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $50,760, and the median income for a family was $59,744. Males had a median income of $40,405 versus $31,689 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,552. About 6.7% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.3% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.


Fauquier County Public Schools serves Warrenton. Public schools in the town include Fauquier High School, Warrenton Middle School, Taylor Middle School, and two elementary schools. There are three private schools in the town of Warrenton: Highland School, St. John The Evangelist's Catholic School, and St. James' Episcopal School.

Notable people[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, Warrenton has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[24]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Warrenton town, Virginia". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved October 18, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  7. ^ "Tax Information" on the Warrenton, Virginia website
  8. ^ "History" Town of Warrenton. Accessed April 17, 2010.
  9. ^ a b "What you should know about Fauquier History: Town of Warrenton" Fauquier Historical Society. Accessed April 17, 2010.
  10. ^ a b "Warrenton Historic District Design Guidelines" Town of Warrenton. Accessed April 17, 2010.
  11. ^ Dyson, Cathy (July 20, 2003). "History and legend unlock origins of unusual names". The Free Lance-Star. pp. A7. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "Norris Tavern / The Warren Green Historical Marker". Hmdb.org. Retrieved 2016-09-01. 
  13. ^ Corder, Shawn, Research: Last Will and Testament of Nathan Corder (PDF), retrieved February 19, 2015 
  14. ^ "Crime and Its Results," New York Times, 20 January, 1880
  15. ^ The Mirror (Leesburg, VA), 22 January, 1880, as cited in reference to Gustavus Richard Brown Horner, The Horner Papers (University of Virginia Library: Special Collections)
  16. ^ "Virginian Vengeance. Lynching a Negro for a Social Indiscretion," St. Louis Post Dispatch, 22 January 1880
  17. ^ Brenner, Kate (2014). Images of America: Warrenton. Arcadia. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-4671-2167-5. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  18. ^ "A Lynch-law Hanging". The Sydney Morning Herald. (via Weekly Alta California). March 24, 1880. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Warrenton Training Center: Current Site Information". Environmental Protection Agency. May 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  20. ^ Pincus, Walter (September 24, 1994). "CIA: Ames Betrayed 55 Operations; Inspector General's Draft Report Blames Supervisors for Failure to Plug Leak". Washington Post. p. A1. 
  21. ^ "Bunkers Beyond the Beltway: The Federal Government Backup System". The Lay of the Land. Center for Land Use Interpretation. Spring 2002. Retrieved March 19, 2013. 
  22. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  23. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  24. ^ Climate Summary for Warrenton, Virginia

External links[edit]

Media related to Warrenton, Virginia at Wikimedia Commons