Rockbridge County
Church Hill (Lexington, Virginia)
Official seal of Rockbridge County
Map of Virginia highlighting Rockbridge County
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 37°49′N 79°27′W / 37.81°N 79.45°W / 37.81; -79.45
Country United States
State Virginia
FoundedOctober 1777 (established)
1778 (organized)
Named forNatural Bridge
SeatLexington
Largest townLexington
Area
 • Total601 sq mi (1,560 km2)
 • Land598 sq mi (1,550 km2)
 • Water3.4 sq mi (9 km2)  0.6%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total22,650
 • Density38/sq mi (15/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district6th
Websitewww.co.rockbridge.va.us

Rockbridge County is a county in the Shenandoah Valley on the western edge of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2020 census, the population was 22,650.[1] Its county seat is the city of Lexington.[2] Rockbridge County completely surrounds the independent cities of Buena Vista and Lexington. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the independent cities of Buena Vista and Lexington with Rockbridge County for statistical purposes.

History

Maple Hall, antebellum home in Rockbridge County north of Lexington
Maple Hall, antebellum home in Rockbridge County north of Lexington

Rockbridge County was established in October 1777, from parts of now neighboring Augusta and Botetourt counties, and the first county elections were held in May 1778. Rockbridge County was named for Natural Bridge, a notable landmark in the southern portion of the county. Rockbridge County was formed during an act of assembly intended to reduce the amount of travel to the nearest courthouse, and to ensure trials were held fairly, and among friends rather than strangers. The first court session in Rockbridge County was held at the home of Samuel Wallace on April 7, 1778. Slaves were far fewer in Rockbridge County than in many parts of Virginia, and, thus, the anti-slavery movement was stronger in Rockbridge than in other Virginia areas. For instance, several faculty members at Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) vigorously opposed slavery. However, many of the wealthiest residents of Rockbridge County owned slaves and passed down those slaves to their widows and children.[3]

Cyrus McCormick invented the reaper near Steele's Tavern at the northern end of the county.

Geography

The hilly terrain of Rockbridge County was densely wooded in the eighteenth century. Its more level areas have now been cleared and turned to agriculture. The county is bordered by high ridges along its NW and SE borders, with the crests running NE-SW. The terrain's highest point (4,072 feet/1241 meters ASL) is Rocky Mountain on its SE border with Amherst County.[4]

View of the Maury River, near Lexington
View of the Maury River, near Lexington

According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 601 square miles (1,560 km2), of which 598 square miles (1,550 km2) is land and 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2) (0.6%) is water.[5]

Adjacent counties

Raphine, Virginia

National protected areas

Major highways

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
17906,548
18008,94536.6%
181010,31815.3%
182011,94515.8%
183014,24419.2%
184014,2840.3%
185016,04512.3%
186017,2487.5%
187016,058−6.9%
188020,00324.6%
189023,06215.3%
190021,799−5.5%
191021,171−2.9%
192020,626−2.6%
193020,9021.3%
194022,3847.1%
195023,3594.4%
196024,0392.9%
197016,637−30.8%
198017,9117.7%
199018,3502.5%
200020,80813.4%
201022,3077.2%
202022,6501.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790–1960[7] 1900–1990[8]
1990–2000[9] 2010[10] 2020[11]

2020 census

Rockbridge County, Virginia - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[10] Pop 2020[11] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 20,915 20,357 93.76% 89.88%
Black or African American alone (NH) 585 565 2.62% 2.49%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 99 85 0.44% 0.38%
Asian alone (NH) 103 181 0.46% 0.80%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 3 6 0.01% 0.03%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 15 82 0.07% 0.36%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 291 861 1.30% 3.80%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 296 513 1.33% 2.26%
Total 22,307 22,650 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

2000 Census

As of the 2000 United States census,[12] there were 20,808 people, 8,486 households, and 6,075 families in the county. The population density was 35 people per square mile (13/km2). There were 9,550 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.42% White, 2.97% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 0.12% from other races, and 0.78% from two or more races. 0.58% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,486 households, out of which 29.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.50% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.40% were non-families. 23.90% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.84.

The county population contained 22.20% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 27.20% from 25 to 44, 27.10% from 45 to 64, and 15.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 100.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,035, and the median income for a family was $41,324. Males had a median income of $28,217 versus $19,946 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,356. About 6.60% of families and 9.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.40% of those under age 18 and 9.60% of those age 65 or over.

Media

Communities

The independent cities of Buena Vista and Lexington (incorporated 1892 and 1966 respectively) are enclaves within the boundaries of Rockbridge County, and are not a part of the county. Lexington is the county seat, despite its independent status, and shares three constitutional officers with Rockbridge County: Sheriff, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Commonwealth's Attorney. Buena Vista does not share constitutional officers with either Rockbridge County or Lexington.

Towns

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Notable people

Politics

United States presidential election results for Rockbridge County, Virginia[14]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 8,088 65.37% 4,086 33.02% 199 1.61%
2016 6,680 61.88% 3,508 32.50% 607 5.62%
2012 5,898 57.95% 4,088 40.17% 191 1.88%
2008 5,732 56.22% 4,347 42.64% 116 1.14%
2004 5,412 58.95% 3,627 39.51% 142 1.55%
2000 4,522 57.77% 2,953 37.73% 352 4.50%
1996 3,274 44.98% 3,116 42.81% 889 12.21%
1992 3,228 43.02% 2,908 38.76% 1,367 18.22%
1988 3,541 58.41% 2,412 39.79% 109 1.80%
1984 4,067 65.66% 2,098 33.87% 29 0.47%
1980 2,784 49.04% 2,475 43.60% 418 7.36%
1976 2,157 43.66% 2,525 51.11% 258 5.22%
1972 3,009 74.28% 956 23.60% 86 2.12%
1968 2,280 56.80% 845 21.05% 889 22.15%
1964 2,200 45.78% 2,599 54.08% 7 0.15%
1960 2,170 60.53% 1,405 39.19% 10 0.28%
1956 2,273 66.50% 1,039 30.40% 106 3.10%
1952 2,068 65.90% 1,059 33.75% 11 0.35%
1948 1,062 46.50% 994 43.52% 228 9.98%
1944 961 36.85% 1,638 62.81% 9 0.35%
1940 902 35.58% 1,618 63.83% 15 0.59%
1936 868 34.50% 1,635 64.98% 13 0.52%
1932 811 30.97% 1,764 67.35% 44 1.68%
1928 1,206 47.91% 1,311 52.09% 0 0.00%
1924 680 31.89% 1,394 65.38% 58 2.72%
1920 1,054 43.34% 1,365 56.13% 13 0.53%
1916 601 36.18% 1,049 63.15% 11 0.66%
1912 433 26.81% 949 58.76% 233 14.43%


See also

References

  1. ^ "Rockbridge County, Virginia". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ See, e.g., Alfred L. Brophy & Douglas Thie, "'Land, Slaves, and Bonds': Trust and Probate in the Pre-Civil War Shenandoah Valley," West Virginia Law Review vol. 119 (2016):345. Archived 8 February 2018 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Rocky Mountain, Virginia (PeakBagger.com, accessed 10 September 2020)
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". US Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  6. ^ "Census of Population and Housing from 1790-2000". US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 15, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). US Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  10. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Rockbridge County, Virginia". United States Census Bureau.
  11. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Rockbridge County, Virginia". United States Census Bureau.
  12. ^ "US Census website". US Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  13. ^ a b c Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Marquis Who's Who. 1967.
  14. ^ David Leip. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved December 8, 2020.

Media related to Rockbridge County, Virginia at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 37°49′N 79°27′W / 37.81°N 79.45°W / 37.81; -79.45