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Prince William County, Virginia
Seal of Prince William County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Prince William County
Location in the state of Virginia
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded 1731
Seat Manassas
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

348 sq mi (901 km²)
338 sq mi (875 km²)
11 sq mi (28 km²), 3.04%
 - (2010)
 - Density

1,167/sq mi (450.7/km²)

Prince William County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States, and is part of the Washington Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 United States Census, Prince William County had a population of 402,002.[1]. Its county seat is the independent city of Manassas[2]. It is part of Northern Virginia and is one of the highest-income counties in the United States.

History[edit | edit source]

When Captain John Smith and other English explorers came to the upper Potomac beginning in 1608, they reported that the area within present Prince William County was occupied by the Doeg tribe. The Doeg Indians maintained several villages in this area into the 1650s, when colonists began to patent the land.

Prince William County was created by an act of the General Assembly of the colony of Virginia in 1731, largely from the western section of Stafford County as well as a section of King George County.[3] The area encompassed by the Act creating Prince William County originally included all of what later became Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, the City of Falls Church, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, the City of Manassas, and the City of Manassas Park (and the various incorporated towns therein). The County was named for Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, the third son of King George II.

The County was a rural community for years and the population was centered in two areas, one at Manassas (home to a major railroad junction), the other near Occoquan and Woodbridge along the Potomac River. Beginning in the late 1930s, a larger suburban population grew up near the existing population centers, particularly in Manassas. Beginning in the late 1960s, the County and its population expanded dramatically to the point where, by the end of the 20th century, it was the third most populous local jurisdiction in Virginia. Much of this growth has taken place in the last twenty years. Recently Prince William County has seen the opening of the Marine Corps Heritage Museum, the Hylton Performing Arts Center, the announcement of the coming American Wartime Museum and the 150th commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War and the famous First and Second Battles of Manassas.

Geography[edit | edit source]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 348 square miles (902 km²), of which 338 square miles (875 km²) is land and 11 square miles (27 km²) (3.04%) is water. It is bounded on the north by Loudoun and Fairfax counties; on the west by Fauquier County; on the south by Stafford County; and on the east by the Potomac River (Charles County, Maryland lies across the river).

Adjacent jurisdictions[edit | edit source]

National protected areas[edit | edit source]

Government and politics[edit | edit source]

The county is divided into seven magisterial districts: Brentsville, Coles, Dumfries/Potomac, Gainesville, Neabsco, Occoquan, and Woodbridge. The magisterial districts each elect one supervisor to the Board of Supervisors which governs Prince William County. There is also a Chairman elected by the county at-large, bringing total Board membership to 8. A Vice-Chairman is selected by the Board from amongst its membership. The current Chairman is Corey A. Stewart, who previously served as the Occoquan District Supervisor. The current Vice-Chairman is Maureen S. Caddigan, the Dumfries/Potomac District Supervisor. The County operates under the county form of the County Executive system of government, with an elected Board of Supervisors. The Board then appoints a professional, nonpartisan County Executive to manage government agencies.

The county earned a "B-" transparency score for disclosure of its government data from Sunshine Review.[4]

Republicans hold six of the eight seats on the Board of Supervisors as well as the offices of County Sheriff and Clerk of the Court. No Democrat has chaired the Board of County Supervisors since Kathleen Seefeldt left office in January 2000. Republicans hold two of the three U.S. Congressional seats (VA-1 and VA-10). that include parts of Prince William County and control four of the five Virginia House of Delegates seats that include parts of the County. Republican delegates include Robert G. Marshall, Scott Lingamfelter, Rich Anderson, and Jackson Miller. Luke Torian is the Democratic member of the House. The three of county's Virginia State Senate seats are held by Democrats and one by a Republican, including Democratic Sen. Charles Colgan, the President pro tempore of the Senate. In 2005, Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Timothy M. Kaine won the county with 49.95% of the vote. In 2006, Democratic U.S. Senator candidate Jim Webb carried the county with 50.51% of the vote. The Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney, Paul Ebert, is also a Democrat. The Sheriff, Glen Hill, is a Republican as is the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Michèle McQuigg.

The County has had several special elections since 2006. That year, the then-Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Sean Connaughton, was appointed as head of the U.S. Maritime Administration by President George W. Bush. Recently Sean Connaughton was appointed as Virginia Secretary of Transportation by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. A special election to fill the vacancy was called for the same day as the U.S. Senate election between Jim Webb and George F. Allen. Occoquan District Supervisor Stewart won the election and a special election was called for January 2007 to fill the vacancy in the Occoquan District. Mr. Stewart's successor for the Occoquan District was Michael C. May, a fellow Republican.

In the United States presidential election of 2008, Democrat Barack Obama carried Prince William with 57.51% of the vote, compared to Republican John McCain who received 41.62%. Obama's final rally the night before the election was held at the Prince William County Fairgrounds, just outside the city of Manassas.[5]

Board of County Supervisors
Position Name Affiliation First Election District
  Chairman Corey A. Stewart Republican 2003 At-Large
  Supervisor W.S. Wally Covington, III Republican 2003 Brentsville
  Supervisor Martin E. Nohe Republican 2003 Coles
  Supervisor Maureen S. Caddigan Republican 1995 Dumfries
  Supervisor John T. Stirrup, Jr. Republican 2003 Gainesville
  Supervisor John D. Jenkins Democrat 1982 Neabsco
  Supervisor Michael C. May Republican 2007 Occoquan
  Supervisor Frank J. Principi Democrat 2007 Woodbridge
Constitutional Officers
Position Name Affiliation First Election District
  Sheriff Glendell Hill Republican 2004 County-Wide
  Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert Democrat 1968 County-Wide
  Clerk of Circuit Court Michèle B. McQuigg Republican 2008 County-Wide

Education[edit | edit source]

Public schools[edit | edit source]

Prince William County Public Schools is the second largest school system in Virginia (having recently overtaken Virginia Beach City Public Schools).[6] The system consists of 57 elementary, 16 middle, and 12 high public schools, as well as a virtual high school, two traditional schools, three special education schools, and two alternative schools. The Superintendent of Prince William County Public Schools is Dr. Steven L. Walts.

The system has a television station called PWCS-TV. It is programmed and operated by Prince William County Public Schools' Media Production Services Department and is accessible to Comcast and Verizon subscribers in Prince William County.

Edulink Intouch Online is a parent-school communication system that allows secure access to student information such as school attendance and grades.

Colleges[edit | edit source]

Universities[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1900 11,112
1910 12,026 8.2%
1920 13,660 13.6%
1930 13,951 2.1%
1940 17,738 27.1%
1950 22,612 27.5%
1960 50,164 121.8%
1970 111,102 121.5%
1980 144,636 30.2%
1990 215,686 49.1%
2000 280,813 30.2%
2010 402,002 43.2%

As of the census[[7]] of 2010, there were 402,002 people, 137,115 housing units, and 130,785 households residing in the county. The population density was 1,186 people per square mile (458/km²). There were 137,115 housing units at an average density of 405 per square mile (156/km²). The racial makeup of the county (reporting as only one race) was 60.9% White, 21.3% Black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 7.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 9.1% from other races, and 5.1% from two or more races. 20.3% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. In recent decades, the population of Prince William County increasingly has become racially and ethnically diverse. The census also indicates that Prince William County is now a “minority-majority” community, meaning that less than half of the population (48.7%) is reported as non-Hispanic and of one race--White. Between 2000 and 2010, according to the census, the population of Hispanics of any race in the County grew by 198.8%; Asian/Pacific Islanders grew by 188.8%. American Indian/Alaskan Natives, a relatively small segment of the total population grew by 89.5%, while Black/African Americans increased by 53.6% and Whites increased by 20.4%. Also according to census figures, there were 130,785 households in Prince William County as of April 1, 2010. According to the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey[8], 76.1% of the County’s households are occupied by families, (compared to 66.5% in the United States). This represents a decrease of 4.6 percentage points since 1990, when 80.7% of households in the County were families. Approximately 42.2% of Prince William County’s households are family households occupied by parents with their own children under 18 years of age. According to the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey, 29.3% of the total County population is under 18 years of age; approximately 6.5% is aged 65 and over. The median age of the population is 33.2 years. The 2009 American Community Survey also indicated that 50.0% of the County’s population is male and 50.0% is female. According to the 2009 American Community Survey, the 2009 median household income in Prince William County was $89,785. The per capita income for the county was $35,890. The 2009 American Community Survey reported that in 2009, 6.0% of Prince William County’s population was living below the poverty line, including 7.7% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.

Sports[edit | edit source]

The Potomac Nationals are a Minor League Baseball team located in Woodbridge, Virginia. The Nationals play in the high-A Carolina League and are an affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Northern Virginia Royals are an American minor league soccer team, also located in Woodbridge, Virginia. The Royals have minor league affiliation with D.C. United, Washington, DC Major League Soccer franchise.

Located in Manassas is the historic Old Dominion Speedway. Opened in 1948, it was the location of the first commercial drag race held on the East Coast. It was also a stop on the NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup Series) schedule in the late 50's and early 60's. It still holds weekly drag races and NASCAR-sanctioned races.

Museums[edit | edit source]

National Museum of the Marine Corps.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is the new historical museum of the United States Marine Corps. It is located in Triangle, Virginia and is free to the public. The Historic Preservation Division of Prince William County also operates five museums, Rippon Lodge Historic Site, Brentsville Historic Centre, Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park, Lucasville Historic Site, and Ben Lomond Historic Site.

National Parks[edit | edit source]

Prince William Forest Park[edit | edit source]

Prince William Forest Park was established as Chopawamsic Recreational Demonstration Area in 1936 and is located in eastern Prince William County, Virginia. The park is the largest protected natural area in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region at over 15,000 acres (6,070 ha).

Manassas National Battlefield Park visitors center.

Manassas National Battlefield Park[edit | edit source]

Manassas National Battlefield Park, located north of Manassas in Prince William County, Virginia, preserves the site of two major American Civil War battles: the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861, and the Second Battle of Manassas which was fought between August 28 and August 30, 1862. These battles are commonly referred to as the first and second battles of Bull Run outside the South.

County Parks[edit | edit source]

Prince William County Park Authority[edit | edit source]

The Prince William County Park Authority,[9] founded in 1977 by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, provides the residents and visitors with recreational programs, parks and facilities. The park authority is an autonomous organization governed by an eight member board appointed by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and funded by a tax transfer and revenue producing facilities. The park board appoints an executive director to act as the Chief Administrative Officer and to execute the board's policies and programs.

Transportation[edit | edit source]

Airports[edit | edit source]

The following commercial or civil facilities are located in adjacent or nearby counties:

Public Bus Service[edit | edit source]

Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) is the public transportation system in Prince William County. Services provided by PRTC include OmniRide, OmniLink, and OmniMatch.

Commuter Rail Service[edit | edit source]

Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is a commuter rail service that connects the Northern Virginia area with Washington, DC. Both VRE lines have three stations each in Prince William County. The Manassas line has the Manassas Park, Manassas, and Broad Run / Airport stations. The Fredericksburg line has the Woodbridge, Rippon, and Quantico stations.[10] The Manassas , Quantico and Woodbridge stations are also served by Amtrak.

Major highways[edit | edit source]

Towns and other localities[edit | edit source]

Incorporated towns[edit | edit source]

Four incorporated towns are located within Prince William County:

Census Designated Places and Unincorporated Communities[edit | edit source]

Extinct towns/communities[edit | edit source]

Independent cities[edit | edit source]

The independent cities of Manassas and Manassas Park are surrounded by Prince William County. The Prince William County Circuit, District, Juvenile and Domestic Relations courts (County of Prince William, City of Manassas, and City of Manassas Park are combined for purposes of criminal, traffic, civil, and juvenile and domestic relations courts within 31st Judicial District), Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney's Office, Prince William County Adult Detention Center, Prince William County Sheriff's Office, and other County agencies are located at Prince William County Courthouse Complex. The Courthouse Complex itself is located in a Prince William County enclave surrounded by the City of Manassas.

Other important features[edit | edit source]

Potomac Mills

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 38°42′N 77°29′W / 38.70, -77.48

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