Warrenton, Virginia
Courthouse Square
Courthouse Square
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; -77.79722[1]
CountryUnited States
Named forJoseph Warren
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • MayorCarter Nevill[2]
 • Town ManagerFrank Cassidy (interim) [3]
 • Total4.38 sq mi (11.34 km2)
 • Land4.37 sq mi (11.33 km2)
 • Water0.01 sq mi (0.01 km2)
643 ft (196 m)
 • Total10,057
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,296.1/sq mi (885.01/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s)540, 703, 571
FIPS code51-83136[6]
GNIS feature ID1500278[7]

Warrenton is a town in Fauquier County, Virginia,[8] of which it is the seat of government. The population was 10,057 as of the 2020 census,[9][10] an increase from 9,611 at the 2010 census[11] and 6,670 at the 2000 census.[6] The estimated population in July 2021 was 10,109.[9] 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 just 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 Washington, D.C.

Warrenton shares some services with the county, such as schools and the county landfill.[12] The area was home to Bethel Military Academy.


18th Century and Founding

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,[13] 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".[14]

19th Century and the American Civil War

The Town of Warrenton was incorporated on January 5, 1810,[15] and named for General Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary War hero.[16] 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.

August 1862 stereograph of the railroad depot in the Town of Warrenton taken by Timothy H. O'Sullivan.[17]
July 14, 1862 Illustration of the Town of Warrenton by Edwin Forbes.[18]

Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby made raids in the town during the American 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.[19] Union General George B. McClellan bade farewell to his officers November 11, 1862, from the steps of the hotel.[19] It now hosts some offices of the Fauquier County government.

August 5, 1963 Illustration of a slave cabin near the Town of Warrenton by Edwin Forbes.[20]

Arthur Jordan, an black 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.[21] News of the lynching was reported in papers across the nation. Even some foreign newspapers, such as Australia's Sydney Morning Herald, reprinted accounts of the event.[22][23][24][25][26]

20th Century

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.[14]

In 1939, Washington Times-Herald journalist Count Igor Cassini wrote a column piece that upset several members of Virginia high society. While covering a horse show in Warrenton, Cassini was kidnapped and tarred and feathered by three disgruntled individuals related to one mentioned in his column piece.[27] Cassini was treated for burns at the Fauquier County Hospital in the early morning,[28] with the three individuals being arrested and placed on probation.[27]

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.[29][30][31]

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.[15]

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.[32]

1887 Confederate Dead Monument obelisk with the 1998 addition in the Warrenton Cemetery

In 1998, Warrenton's "Black Horse" chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy erected and dedicated a monument in the Warrenton Cemetery to 520 Confederate soldiers buried there, many of whom died during the First and Second Battles of Bull Run.[33] This new monument altered a pre-existing Confederate obelisk built in 1877 by building a granite wall around the obelisk engraved with those 520 names.[34] The then-mayor's wife spearheaded fundraising for the monument from private organizations and the United Daughters of the Confederacy itself, of which she was a member.[33][34] This monument still remains.


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 U.S. 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.[11] 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.


Primary and Secondary Schools

Fauquier County Public Schools serves Warrenton. The elementary schools within the town serve Kindergarten to Fifth grades and consist of James G. Brumfield Elementary, Carson M. Bradley Elementary, and Peter. B. Smith Elementary.

The only public middle school that serves Warrenton is Taylor Middle School. Taylor Middle School serves grades six through eight. Warrenton Middle School was closed following the 2022–2023 school year and temporarily merged with Taylor Middle School during the construction of a new middle school also to be named Taylor Middle School.[35]

The front façade of Fauquier High School.

The high school that serves Warrenton is Fauquier High School, which educates grades Nine through 12. The Fauquier County Public School system also operates an extremely small alternative learning school at Southwest Alternative School. This school serves both middle and high school students throughout the county, including Warrenton.[36]

There are three private schools in the town of Warrenton: Highland School, St. John The Evangelist's Catholic School, and St. James' Episcopal School.

Colleges and Universities

The Fauquier campus of Laurel Ridge Community College resides just south of the town limits.

In 2022, Hazel Hall, a science, engineering and health professions building, was opened and construction begun on a Center for Skilled Trades.

Public Libraries

Warrenton Middle School with a public bookshelf sponsored by the school's library.

The Fauquier Public Library's Warrenton Library is located within the Warrenton Historic District. Despite being located within the town, the library is actually run by the county government's Library Board.[37] Each public school also has an internal library that students can access. Additionally, public bookcases adorn the town, often on the property of private citizens, acting in a manner similar to Little Free Library

Arts & Culture

May 1941 Photograph of the Gold Cup Race by Marion Post Wolcott.[22]

Steeplechases have had a large impact on the culture within Fauquier County as well as the Town of Warrenton. This is largely due to the 1922 organization of the first Virginia Gold Cup race within the town. This event, along with the Maryland Hunt Cup, were two of the most prominent horse races at the time and remained prominent throughout the 20th century. Following the 1984 race, the event was moved to the nearby city, The Plains, where it has remained. The Virginia Gold Cup and International Gold Cup Race have drawn upwards of 50,000 attendees per year, assuring its cultural impact in the surrounding communities.[38]

On the first Friday of each month between May and October, the Town of Warrenton hosts a themed street fair called "First Friday" within the Warrenton Historic District. Each month is typically themed to a different topic, affecting what local vendors and activities are available during the event.[39]

The Town of Warrenton owns and operates four public parks and one recreation center.[40]

Warrenton has several pieces of public art adorning the town. In 2001, watercolor painter Stewart Burgess White painted three murals on a single building depicting scenes from the American Civil War. Additionally, these murals included several hidden details such as faces of 19th century American leaders, references to the September 11th attacks, and the name of the painter's daughter.[41] Artists Ross Trimmer and Michael Broth collaborated on a mural that emulates classic large-letter postcards.[16] In 2021, a group of local National Honor Society students from Kettle Run High School painted a small mural on a neglected wall lining a parking lot.[18]


US 15/US 29 northbound in Warrenton

Warrenton is served by four U.S. Routes; U.S. Route 15, U.S. Route 17, U.S. Route 29 (which collectively form the Eastern Bypass) and U.S. Route 211. US 15 extends north and south, heading towards Leesburg in the north and Orange to the south. US 17 is oriented northwest to southeast, connecting to Winchester to the northwest and Fredericksburg to the southeast. US 29 is oriented northeast to southwest, reaching Washington, D.C. to the northeast and Charlottesville to the southwest. Finally, US 211 begins north of the downtown area and extends westward, passing through Luray and the Shenandoah Valley. All four highways originally passed directly through the center of town and now follow bypasses. However, downtown Warrenton is now served by U.S Route 15 Business, U.S Route 17 Business, U.S Route 29 Business and U.S Route 211 Business.

Virginia Regional Transit operates the Circuit Rider bus in Warrenton.[42] Academy Bus operates a commuter bus from Warrenton to Washington, D.C.

Notable people


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.[44]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[45]

2020 Census.

As of the 2020 Census, there were 10,057 individuals,[9] 4,016 households,[9] and 2,159 families[10] living in the Town of Warrenton. Population density is 2,296.1 people per square mile (885.01/km2).[10]

The racial makeup of the town is 77.0% White, 10.0% African American, 0.1% American Indian or Native Alaskan, 1.7% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 9.9% from two or more races.[9] Hispanic or Latino of any race are 8.9% of the population.

Of the town's residents, 56.4% were female, 43.6% were male,[10] 8.0% were under five years of age, 22.7% were under 18 years of age, and 16.7% were 65 years or older.[9] The population pyramid (below) shows the percentage of individuals of each sex within each age group, with a rectangular shape.[10] 6.9% were foreign born persons, 7.2% had a disability, 94.9% of adults were high school graduates, and 39.2% of adults had a bachelor's degree or graduate degree.[9]

Population pyramid 2021

The 2020 Census stated that the Town of Warrenton had 4,014 households, of which 2,159 were family households and 1,857 are non-family households, with an average of 2.43 residents per household. 92.0% of households had access to a computer and 87.1% had a broadband internet subscription. 11.1% of households spoke a language other than English at home.[9] 63.1% of households own their housing units while 36.9% rent.[10] The median household income was $78,275 while per capita income was $41,385.[9] 6.2% of the town's residents live in poverty.[9][10]

In Warrenton 74.7% of the population drives alone to work, 12.4% carpool, 3.3% walk to work, 0.0% via public transportation, 0.0% bicycle to work, 0.5% commute via other means, and 9.1% work from home.[10] Additionally, the average commute time for Warrenton residents was 33.1 minutes.[9][10]


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  19. ^ a b "Norris Tavern / The Warren Green Historical Marker". Hmdb.org. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  20. ^ Forbes, Edwin (August 5, 1863). "Slave cabin near Warrenton, Va". www.loc.gov. Retrieved June 24, 2023.
  21. ^ Corder, Shawn, Research: Last Will and Testament of Nathan Corder (PDF), retrieved February 19, 2015
  22. ^ a b "Crime and Its Results," New York Times, 20 January, 1880
  23. ^ 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)
  24. ^ "Virginian Vengeance. Lynching a Negro for a Social Indiscretion," St. Louis Post Dispatch, 22 January 1880
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  26. ^ "A Lynch-law Hanging". The Sydney Morning Herald. (via Weekly Alta California). March 24, 1880. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
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  28. ^ "TAR AND FEATHERS LAID ON COLUMNIST; Count Cassini of Washington Reports Attack on Him at Warrenton, Va., for Item ABDUCTED BY MEN IN AUTO He Says They Stripped and Smeared Him--Asks for Arrest of 3 Youths". The New York Times. p. 7. Retrieved August 24, 2023.
  29. ^ "Warrenton Training Center: Current Site Information". Environmental Protection Agency. May 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ "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.
  32. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
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  34. ^ a b Ordonez, Jennifer (February 18, 1998). "ONE MAN'S QUEST GIVES 520 MEN NAMES AGAIN". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved August 12, 2023.
  35. ^ "Warrenton Middle School to Close - Commemorative Event Set for May 19". www.fcps1.org. Retrieved June 25, 2023.
  36. ^ "Is PBL For Me? / PBL Programs". www.fcps1.org. Retrieved June 25, 2023.
  37. ^ "Board of Trustees". Fauquier Public Library. June 12, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  38. ^ "International Gold Cup - History". www.vagoldcup.com. Retrieved June 24, 2023.
  39. ^ "1st Friday". Experience Old Town Warrenton. Retrieved June 24, 2023.
  40. ^ "Parks & Trails | Warrenton, VA". www.warrentonva.gov. Retrieved June 24, 2023.
  41. ^ Sirene, Walt (2019). Three Murals by Stewart Burgess White in Warrenton Virginia (1 ed.). Google LLC. pp. 1–42.
  42. ^ "Culpeper – Virginia Regional Transit". Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  43. ^ Lyon Gardiner Tyler, ed. (1915). Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. Vol. 5. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. pp. 730–731.
  44. ^ Climate Summary for Warrenton, Virginia
  45. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.