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

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on February 22, 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 817 cities and towns lying in 725 different ZIP Codes.

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How many historical markers are there in Virginia? There are least 8,534 of them, by our count. We have cataloged 8,452 historical markers and 305 war memorials—each individually presented on 8,703 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 6.6% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 82 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 February 13, 2020, and titled Pamunkey Indians In The Civil War. It is in Manquin in King William County and had been erected in 2016. 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 Categories
3,620 • Civil War
1,163 • Colonial Era
1,008 • Settlements and Settlers
826 • African Americans
761 • Industry and Commerce
711 • Churches and Religion
641 • Revolutionary War
567 • Waterways and Vessels
556 • Education
437 • Cemeteries and Burial Sites
    ... and more ...

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—3,620 of them—than about any other historical category. It is followed by Colonial Era with 1,163 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Civil War category was Burke Station, added October 30, 2005 while the database was being designed and tested (the Historical Marker Database went live January 1, 2006). It had been erected in 1986 in Burke in Fairfax County. The last one submitted also was submitted on February 13, 2020, and titled Pamunkey Indians In The Civil War. It had been erected in 2016 in Manquin in King William County. The earliest marker erected with the Civil War category that we have listed was erected in 1865. It was The Army of the James Monument, found in Hopewell on March 15, 2009.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Virginia county or independent city with the most historical markers listed in this database is Prince William County, with 462 of them. It is followed closely by Fairfax County with 444 markers. The Manassas area of Prince William County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 200. In Fairfax County the area with the most markers, 50, is Alexandria.

Historical Markers in These
Virginia Counties and independent cities
462 • Prince William County
444 • Fairfax County
425 • Richmond
365 • Arlington County
350 • Spotsylvania County
316 • Henrico County
262 • Hanover County
258 • Alexandria
233 • Loudoun County
196 • James City County
    ... and more ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Virginia with the most markers we find Richmond in Richmond at the top of the list with 425 markers in or near it. And Alexandria shows up again in next place, with 258 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 23219 at the top of the list with 207 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 23219 is assigned to Richmond VA including the Capitol delivery area.) It is followed closely by ZIP Code 23803 with 204 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
425 • Richmond
258 • Alexandria
200 • Manassas
194 • Arlington
183 • Fredericksburg
162 • Arlington National Cemetery
159 • Mechanicsville
154 • Spotsylvania
150 • Yorktown
143 • Petersburg
    ... and more ...

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 December 1, 2019, and is titled Effingham, in Nokesville. 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 Bernard Fisher, February 13, 2020
Latest Entry from Virginia
“Pamunkey Indians In The Civil War”

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: Bloody Run added on February 11, 2020. It had been erected in 1924. 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 2,220 of their markers in the database.

In addition, Virginia Civil War Trails—not government affiliated—also erected numerous historical markers, and we have 1,381 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 Buchanan County, Buena Vista and Poquoson. We've only found two historical markers in the first and one in each of the other two. 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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