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

Virginia Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database

 

on December 5, 2022

 
1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Virginia ranks third 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 801 cities and towns lying in 766 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 11,437 historical markers in Virginia, by our count. We have cataloged 11,317 historical markers and 916 war memorials—each individually presented on 12,053 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 6.2% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 120 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.

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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 December 3, 2022, and titled In Memory of an African-American Family. It is in Alexandria. 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
4,379 • Civil War
1,522 • Colonial Era
1,456 • Settlements and Settlers
1,438 • African Americans
1,385 • Industry and Commerce
1,019 • Churches and Religion
965 • Education
908 • Waterways and Vessels
773 • Revolutionary War
635 • 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—4,379 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Colonial Era with 1,522 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 26, 2022, and titled Historic Routes. It had been erected near Dumfries in Prince William County. One of the earliest marker erected with the Civil War topic that we have listed was erected in 1865. More than one was erected in 1865. This is one of them: 1st Battle of Bull Run Memorial, was found near Manassas in Prince William County on April 8, 2022.

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. This year so far, the most viewed Virginian entry is located in Farmville in Prince Edward County. It is Free Blacks of Israel Hill.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Virginia county or independent city with the most historical markers listed in this database is Fairfax County, with 689 of them. It is followed closely by Prince William County with 647 markers. The Alexandria area of Fairfax County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 114. In Prince William County the area with the most markers, 191, is Manassas.

Historical Markers in These
Virginia Counties and independent cities
689 • Fairfax County
647 • Prince William County
490 • Richmond
416 • Arlington County
394 • Spotsylvania County
345 • Alexandria
330 • Henrico County
326 • Fredericksburg
312 • Loudoun County
275 • Hanover County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Virginia with the most markers we find the independent city of Richmond at the top of the list with 490 markers in or near it. It is followed by Arlington in Arlington County with 415 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 22401 at the top of the list with 326 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 22314 with 262 markers. (22314 is assigned to Alexandria VA.)

Historical Markers Near These
Virginia Cities and Towns
490 • Richmond
415 • Arlington
345 • Alexandria
326 • Fredericksburg
270 • Newport News
254 • Spotsylvania Courthouse
235 • Lynchburg
227 • Hampton
191 • Manassas
188 • Richmond
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Fairfax County, the first marker added to the database from there, Lee Chapel Church, was added July 4, 2005, and was also the first one submitted in all of Virginia. near Burke. The last one submitted was uploaded on November 26, 2022, and is titled The Company House, near McLean. The earliest marker erected in Fairfax County that we have listed was erected in 1904. It was Monument to John Q. Marr, found near Fairfax on October 15, 2006.

Latest entry from Virginia. Click to go there
By Sean C Bath, July 10, 2022
Latest Entry from Virginia
“In Memory of an African-American Family”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Richmond. The first: Barton Heights Cemeteries, was added May 18, 2007. It had been erected in 1998. The last: Native Markets added on July 29, 2022. It had been erected in 2011. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1834: Arnold’s Picket Driven In, added on February 13, 2009.

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 2,484 of their markers in the database.

In addition, Virginia Civil War Trails—not government affiliated—also erected numerous historical markers, and we have 1,533 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 Norton. We've only found, respectively, 4, 3, and 3 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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Dec. 5, 2022