“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Virginia Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on November 23, 2020

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Virginia ranks second among states and provinces with markers in this database. The Commonwealth of Virginia is a state in the United States of America located in the American South. It is also in the Mid-Atlantic region. Virginia is some 43 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 8.5 million people. The state is divided into 133 counties and independent cities and all of them have entries in this database. In Virginia we have discovered historical markers in 952 cities and towns lying in 732 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 9,234 historical markers in Virginia, by our count. We have cataloged 9,156 historical markers and 431 war memorials—each individually presented on 9,512 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 6.5% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 78 historical markers in Virginia that we don’t yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

The first Virginia marker in the database, Lee Chapel Church, was added July 4, 2005 while the database was being designed and tested (the Historical Marker Database went live January 1, 2006). It was photographed near Burke in Fairfax County. The last one added was submitted on November 15, 2020, and titled Rife-Loth Dam. It is in Waynesboro. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in Virginia was erected in 1834. It was this one: Arnold’s Picket Driven In, and one of our correspondents found it in Richmond on February 13, 2009.

Virginia Historical Topics
3,849 • Civil War
1,250 • Colonial Era
1,158 • Settlements and Settlers
987 • Industry and Commerce
923 • African Americans
807 • Churches and Religion
653 • Revolutionary War
632 • Waterways and Vessels
623 • Education
491 • Cemeteries and Burial Sites
    ... and others ...

Virginians don’t want to forget their Civil War history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Virginia about the Civil War—3,849 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Colonial Era with 1,250 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Civil War topic was Burke Station, added October 30, 2005. It had been erected in 1986 in Burke in Fairfax County. The last one submitted was submitted on November 15, 2020, and titled Civil War Outpost. It had been erected in 1969 in Arlington in Arlington County. The earliest marker erected with the Civil War topic that we have listed was erected in 1865. It is The Army of the James Monument, found in Hopewell on March 15, 2009.

What is the most interesting historical marker in Virginia? What we know is that Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park is the most viewed entry in the database from Virginia since it was added in 2011. It is located in Leesburg in Loudoun County. It is also the most viewed entry so far this year.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Virginia county or independent city with the most historical markers listed in this database is Prince William County, with 502 of them. It is followed closely by Fairfax County with 474 markers. The Manassas area of Prince William County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 203. In Fairfax County the area with the most markers, 39, is Fort Belvoir.

Historical Markers in These
Virginia Counties and independent cities
502 • Prince William County
474 • Fairfax County
457 • Richmond
392 • Fredericksburg
383 • Spotsylvania County
368 • Arlington County
307 • Henrico County
297 • Alexandria
273 • Hanover County
252 • Loudoun County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Virginia with the most markers we find the independent city of Fredericksburg at the top of the list with 392 markers in or near it. It is followed by the independent city of Richmond in Richmond with 368 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 22401 at the top of the list with 395 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 22401 is assigned to Fredericksburg VA including the Enon, Fred, and Fredericksbrg delivery areas.) It is followed by ZIP Code 23803 with 228 markers. (23803 is assigned to Petersburg VA including the Matoaca, North Dinwiddie, and South Chesterfield delivery areas.)

Historical Markers Near These
Virginia Cities and Towns
392 • Fredericksburg
368 • Richmond
203 • Manassas
197 • Arlington
162 • Arlington National Cemetery
159 • Mechanicsville
156 • Petersburg
151 • Yorktown
143 • Historical District
109 • Williamsburg
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Prince William County, the first marker added to the database from there, The Carolina Road, was added February 16, 2006. It was erected in 1987 near Haymarket. The last one submitted was uploaded on July 5, 2020, and is titled Haislip-Hall House, in Brentsville. The earliest marker erected in Prince William County that we have listed was erected in 1906. It was 5th Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry, found near Manassas on August 2, 2008.

Latest entry from Virginia. Click to go there
By Jim Wilson, November 8, 2020
Latest Entry from Virginia
“Rife-Loth Dam”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Fredericksburg. The first: Shiloh Baptist Church (New Site), was added December 3, 2006. The last: Sgt. 1st Class Michael Lynn Russell added on May 3, 2020. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1901: The Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac, added on July 14, 2007.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources is currently in charge of the familiar silver and black official historical markers found all over the state. You will also find official markers erected by the Conservation and Development Commission, a predecessor. They erected their first marker in 1927, and we have 2,245 of their markers in the database.

In addition, Virginia Civil War Trails—not government affiliated—also erected numerous historical markers, and we have 1,409 of their Virginia markers in the database. Also, a number of counties and independent cities have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some other cities and towns.

Latest entry from Virginia. Click to go there
By Bernard Fisher
A Department of Historic Resources Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of Virginia have been marked with history. Check out Buena Vista, Buchanan County and Poquoson. We've only found, respectively, 2, 2, and 1 historical markers there. Visiting one or more of these counties or independent cities in Virginia might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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Nov. 23, 2020