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Fredericksburg, Virginia

Fredericksburg, Virginia
City
City of Fredericksburg
Historic downtown Fredericksburg
Historic downtown Fredericksburg
Official seal of Fredericksburg, Virginia
Seal
Coat of arms of Fredericksburg, Virginia
Coat of arms
Motto: America's Most Historic City
Location in Virginia
Location in Virginia
Location of Virginia in the United States
Location of Virginia in the United States
Coordinates:
Country United States
State Virginia
County None (Independent city)
Founded 1728
Incorporated 1781
Government
 • Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw
Area
 • Total 10.5 sq mi (27 km2)
 • Land 10.4 sq mi (27 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 59 ft (18 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 24,286
 • Estimate (2013)[2] 28,132
 • Density 2,335/sq mi (902/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 22401-22408 (9 total)
Area code(s) 540
FIPS code 51-29744[3]
GNIS feature ID 1494947[4]
Website City of Fredericksburg
Independent from Spotsylvania County in 1879

Fredericksburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2013, the population was 28,132.[5] The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Fredericksburg with neighboring Spotsylvania County for statistical purposes.

Located 49 miles (79 km) south of Washington, D.C. and 58 miles (93 km) north of Richmond, Fredericksburg is part of the Northern Virginia region[6][7] and is included in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Located near where the Rappahannock River crosses the Fall Line, Fredericksburg was a prominent port in Virginia during the colonial era. During the Civil War, the town, located halfway between the capitals of the opposing forces, was the site of the Battle of Fredericksburg and Second Battle of Fredericksburg, preserved in part as the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Tourism is a major part of the economy, with approximately 1.5 million people visiting the Fredericksburg area annually, including the battlefield park, the downtown visitor center, events, museums and historic sites.[8]

Fredericksburg is home to several major commercial centers including Central Park (as of 2004, the second-largest mall on the East Coast) and Spotsylvania Towne Centre, located in Spotsylvania County adjacent to the city line. Major employers include the University of Mary Washington, Mary Washington Healthcare, and GEICO. Many Fredericksburg-area residents commute to work by car, bus, and rail to Washington DC and Richmond, as well as the counties of Fairfax, Prince William, and Arlington. There has been continuous debate about whether or not Fredericksburg is culturally a part of the rest of Northern Virginia.[9][10][11][12]

Contents

  • History 1
    • Colonial 1.1
    • 19th century 1.2
    • 20th century 1.3
  • Geography and climate 2
  • Demographics 3
    • Crime 3.1
  • Politics 4
  • Culture and recreation 5
    • Architecture and historic sites 5.1
    • Parks 5.2
  • Education 6
    • Primary and secondary schools 6.1
    • Higher education 6.2
  • Media 7
  • Sports 8
  • Transportation 9
  • Notable people 10
    • 18th century and before 10.1
    • 19th century to present 10.2
  • Sister cities 11
  • Footnotes 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14

History

At the time of European encounter, the inhabitants of the area that became Fredericksburg were a Siouan-speaking tribe called the Manahoac. English colonists recorded the name of the Manahoac village there as Mahaskahod.[13]

Colonial

Located on the Rappahannock River near the head of navigation at the fall line, Fredericksburg developed as the frontier of colonial Virginia shifted west out of the coastal plain. The land on which the city was founded was part of a tract patented in 1671. The Virginia General Assembly established a fort on the Rappahannock in 1676, just below the present-day city. In 1714, Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood sponsored a German settlement called Germanna on the Rapidan River, a tributary of the Rappahannock upstream from the future site of the city, and led an expedition westward over the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1716.

As interest in the frontier grew, the colonial assembly responded by forming a new county named county seat until 1780, when the courthouse was moved closer to the county center in Spotsylvania County. In 1781, Fredericksburg was incorporated as a town, with its own court, council, and mayor. It received its charter as a city in 1879, and under Virginia law was separated from Spotsylvania County. The city adopted its present city manager/council form of government in 1911.

The city has close associations with John Paul Jones, and future U.S. president James Monroe. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in Fredericksburg.

19th century

During the 19th century, Fredericksburg sought to maintain its sphere of trade but with limited success. It promoted the development of a canal on the Rappahannock and construction of a turnpike and plank road to bind the interior country to the market town. By 1837, a north-south railroad, which became the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, linked the town to Richmond, the state capital. A much-needed railroad joining the town to the farming region to the west was not finished until after the Civil War.

Fredericksburg, Virginia, March 1863. View from across the Civil War, Fredericksburg gained strategic importance due to its location midway between Washington and Richmond, the opposing capitals of the Union and the Confederacy. During the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 11–15, 1862, the town sustained significant damage from bombardment and looting by the Union forces. A Second Battle of Fredericksburg was fought in and around the town on May 3, 1863, in connection with the Chancellorsville campaign (April 27, 1863 – May 6, 1863). The battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House were fought nearby in May 1864.

20th century

After the war, Fredericksburg recovered its former position as a center of local trade and slowly grew beyond its prewar boundaries. The Dahlgren naval base, respectively.

The power chord of modern guitar was first developed by Link Wray in Fredericksburg in 1958 during his first improvisation of the instrumental piece "Rumble", a single released by Wray & His Ray Men.[15] The local music scene includes a wide variety of genres.

Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.5 square miles (27.2 km2), of which 10.4 square miles (26.9 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2) (0.7%) is water.[16] The city is part of the boundary between the Piedmont and Tidewater regions, and as such is located on the fall line, as evidently seen on the Rappahannock River. US-1, US-17, and I-95 all pass through the city, which is located approximately 49 miles (79 km) from Washington, D.C.

The city is bounded on the north and east by the Rappahannock River; across the river is Stafford County. The city is bounded on the south and west by Spotsylvania County.

Fredericksburg has a four-season humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with cool winters and hot, humid summers. Daytime temperatures for much of the year average slightly higher than in Washington, DC due to the southerly aspect, although the inland location and distance from the urban heat island present in the nation's capital make for significantly cooler low temperatures.

Climate data for Fredericksburg, Virginia (downtown, 1981−2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 45.3
(7.4)
48.7
(9.3)
56.9
(13.8)
67.5
(19.7)
75.9
(24.4)
84.5
(29.2)
87.8
(31)
86.5
(30.3)
80.0
(26.7)
69.9
(21.1)
59.4
(15.2)
49.0
(9.4)
67.7
(19.8)
Average low °F (°C) 24.3
(−4.3)
26.1
(−3.3)
33.2
(0.7)
43.0
(6.1)
52.4
(11.3)
62.5
(16.9)
67.1
(19.5)
65.7
(18.7)
58.0
(14.4)
44.9
(7.2)
35.6
(2)
27.3
(−2.6)
45.1
(7.3)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.90
(73.7)
2.51
(63.8)
3.99
(101.3)
3.35
(85.1)
4.08
(103.6)
3.97
(100.8)
4.53
(115.1)
3.39
(86.1)
4.32
(109.7)
3.38
(85.9)
3.75
(95.3)
3.18
(80.8)
43.35
(1,101.2)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.5 10.1 11.4 11.7 12.5 10.2 13.1 10.0 9.4 8.8 9.8 11.2 127.7
Source: NOAA (precipitation days at Fredericksburg National Battlefield Park)[17][18]

Demographics

Fredericksburg City Hall
Fredericksburg Museum

As of the census[25] of 2000, there were 19,279 people, 8,102 households, and 3,925 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,833.0 people per square mile (707.6/km²). There were 8,888 housing units at an average density of 845.0 per square mile (326.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.18% White, 20.41% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 1.51% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 2.56% from other races, and 1.95% from two or more races. 4.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,102 households out of which 21.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.8% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 51.6% were non-families. 39.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.81.

In the city the population was spread out with 17.8% under the age of 18, 23.8% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 81.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,585, and the median income for a family was $47,148. Males had a median income of $33,641 versus $25,037 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,527. 15.5% of the population and 10.4% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 19.9% of those under the age of 18 and 8.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Crime

The Fredericksburg Police Department tracks crime information under the state-level system of the Uniform Crime Reporting program.[note 1] Per state code, the central repository for crime statistics rests with the Department of State Police, which compiles data from all of the participating agencies into an annual publication.[26]

Politics

By long-standing tradition (dating back to the Federal "Hatch Act" which prohibited government employees from participating in 'partisan' politics'), local elections in Fredericksburg are officially non-partisan. The mayoral and council elections nor local constitutional positions (sheriff, Commissioner of Revenue, Commonwealth Attorney, for example) do not have candidates with a party label.

Like the rest of Northern Virginia, Fredericksburg has trended strongly Democratic in recent years. In the 2008 Presidential election, voters in Fredericksburg gave Barack Obama a total of 64.33% of the vote.[27] Only Arlington County, Alexandria, and Falls Church had a higher percentage of votes for Obama in Northern Virginia.[27] According to Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, no Republican presidential candidate has carried Fredericksburg since 1988.

Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw won election in 2012.[28]

Culture and recreation

Architecture and historic sites

Fredericksburg Historic District
Location Roughly bounded by Rappahannock River, Hazel Run, Prince Edward and Canal Sts.,
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Area 200 acres (81 ha)
NRHP Reference #

71001053

[29]
VLR # 111-0132
Significant dates
Added to NRHP September 22, 1971
Designated VLR March 2, 1971[30]
Kenmore Plantation

Despite recent decades of suburban growth, reminders of the area's past abound. The 40-block Fredericksburg Historic District, on the National Register of Historic Places, embraces the city's downtown area and contains more than 350 buildings dating to the 18th and 19th centuries. Crowds of tourists are drawn to the historic district of Fredericksburg during the summer months.

St. George's Episcopal Church in downtown Fredericksburg was established in 1720.

Within the historic district, four 18th-century historic sites have been managed by Betty and her husband patriot Fielding Lewis.

The area's Civil War battles are commemorated in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Formed by an act of Congress in 1927, the national military park preserves portions of the battlefields of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House. The Fredericksburg National Cemetery, also part of the park, is located on Marye's Heights on the Fredericksburg battlefield and contains more than 15,000 Union burials from the area's battlefields.

Notable 20th-century sites and structures include the campus of the University of Mary Washington (begun in 1908), and Carl's Ice Cream, an Art Moderne roadside ice cream stand on the National Register of Historic Places on U.S. Route 1.

Nearby points of interest include Westmoreland County. The historic community of Falmouth lies across the Rappahannock to the north and includes the historic house Belmont, home of American Impressionist artist Gari Melchers.

Parks

Public parks run by the city include:[31]

Education

Monroe Hall, built in 1911, at the University of Mary Washington.

Primary and secondary schools

The Fredericksburg City Public Schools are run independent of the surrounding counties. The public primary and secondary schools include:[33]

Private schools include:

  • Fredericksburg Academy
  • Fredericksburg Christian School
  • Saint Michael the Archangel High School
  • Lighthouse Academy

Higher education

The University of Mary Washington, established in 1908 and opening in 1911, is a four-year public university within the city.

Media

Fredericksburg's daily newspaper is The Free Lance–Star. The Free Lance was first published in 1885, and competed with two twice-weekly papers in the city during the late 19th century, the Fredericksburg News and The Virginia Star. While the News folded in 1884, the Star moved to daily publication in 1893. In 1900, the two companies merged, with both newspapers continuing publication until 1926, when they merged as a single daily newspaper under the current title. Until June 19, 2014, the Free Lance–Star was owned and operated by members of the Rowe family of Fredericksburg. At that time, Sandton Capital Partners purchased the paper.

Fredericksburg and the nearby region have several radio stations, including (on the FM dial) WYAU (89.5, Public Radio), WJYJ (90.5, Christian), WFLS (93.3, country), WGRQ (95.9, "SuperHits", licensed to nearby Fairview Beach), WWUZ (96.9, classic rock, licensed to nearby Bowling Green), WVBX (99.3, "The Vibe", rhythmic contemporary, licensed to nearby Spotsylvania), WBQB ("B-101.5", adult contemporary) and WGRX ("Thunder 104.5", country, licensed to nearby Falmouth). Fredericksburg AM stations include WFVA (1230, nostalgia) and WNTX (1350, talk, news, and sports). WGRQ and WGRX are owned locally by Telemedia Broadcasting. WFLS, WWUZ, WVBX, and WYSK are owned by Alpha Media.

In 2001, the Arbitron media service began listing the Fredericksburg area as a nationally rated radio market. As of the fall of 2014, the area ranked 146th out of 272 markets surveyed, with a total market population of more than 325,000. Large broadcast companies like Clear Channel Communications and Cumulus Broadcasting are not active in the local market; almost all of its stations remain locally or regionally owned.

In television, Fredericksburg is part of the Washington market.

Sports

There are no professional sports teams in Fredericksburg. In October 2013, the Hagerstown Suns minor league baseball team formally applied to relocate there for the 2015 season,[34] but plans fell apart by November 2014.[35]

Sports at the secondary education level are run through the Virginia High School League. On the collegiate level are the University of Mary Washington Eagles. Other amateur athletics include the Fredericksburg Hotspur[36] of United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL); the Virginia Badgers of American Indoor Football (AIF); and the Rappahannock Rugby Club, a senior men's rugby club competing in Division III of the Potomac Rugby Union.

Transportation

Fredericksburg is traversed by a series of rural and suburban four-lane highways and a multitude of small, two-lane roads. Among the major arterial roads is Route 301 with the large shopping centers, Spotsylvania Town Center and Central Park. To the west, Route 3 reaches Culpeper, where it meets Route 29 and Route 15.

Most of Fredericksburg's traffic flow is to or from the north (Washington D.C. metropolitan area) during peak commuting hours, primarily via Interstate 95 and US-1. The US-1 bridge over the Rappahannock River is often a traffic bottleneck, and Route 3 has become increasingly jammed as residential development has grown west, along with a major regional shopping center.

As an alternative to I-95, commuters also use the Virginia Railway Express rail service to Washington. Long-distance rail service is available on Amtrak, which serves Fredericksburg via the Northeast Regional and Carolinian/Piedmont routes. FRED is a recently started bus service in Fredericksburg which serves most area communities, retail shopping centers, two VRE stations, and downtown Fredericksburg.

Notable people

Wounded soldiers being tended at Marye's House in Fredericksburg in May 1864.[note 2]
American Civil War: Union Army Soldiers of 6th Corps, Army of the Potomac, in trenches before storming Marye's Heights at the Second Battle of Fredericksburg during the Chancellorsville campaign, Virginia, May 1863. (#B-157).[note 3]
Another look at downtown Fredericksburg.
James Monroe Museum in downtown Fredericksburg.

18th century and before

19th century to present

Sister cities

Footnotes

  1. ^ The Uniform Crime Reporting program was developed and is administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It provides a nationwide view of crime based on the submission of statistical data from law enforcement agencies across the country. The crime information is collected under the National Incident Based Reporting System format
  2. ^ Sometimes mistakenly labeled as taken in the field after the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 2, 1863.
  3. ^ Sometimes mistakenly labeled as taken at siege of Petersburg, Virginia.

References

  1. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  2. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  3. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  5. ^ "State & County QuickFacts: Fredericksburg city, Virginia". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  6. ^ "METROPOLITAN AND NECMA COUNTIES IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER, BY STATE, WITH AREA TITLES".  
  7. ^ "Fredericksburg Overview". Virginia Tourism Corporation. Retrieved 2015-01-10. 
  8. ^ Official web site of the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia
  9. ^ Owen, Karen (May 11, 2008). "Are we Northern Virginia?".  
  10. ^ Kelly, Matthew (May 11, 2008). "We can avoid the circle of Hell".  
  11. ^ Connors, Hap (May 11, 2008). "A 'tweener': We must play smart".  
  12. ^ Farley, Catherine A. (May 11, 2008). "Robert E. Lee might not recognize the place".  
  13. ^ Swanton, John R. (1952), The Indian Tribes of North America, Smithsonian Institution, pp. 61–62,  
  14. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 131. 
  15. ^ Harrington, Richard (November 22, 2005). "Prophet of the Rock Guitar".  
  16. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  17. ^ "Station Name: VA FREDERICKSBURG SEWAGE". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  18. ^ "Station Name: VA FREDERICKSBURG NP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  19. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  20. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  24. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  25. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  26. ^ Crime in Virginia 2011
  27. ^ a b "2008 Presidential Election Results By County".  
  28. ^ Sidersky, Robyn (May 1, 2012). "Greenlaw, Kelly, Devine win Fredericksburg elections". The Free Lance-Star (The Free Lance-Star Publishing). Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  29. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  30. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  31. ^ "map of parks in Fredericksburg VA" (PDF). Fredericksburg City Parks and Recreation. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  32. ^ Historypoint.org
  33. ^ "homepage". Fredericksburg City Public Schools. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  34. ^ Freehling, Bill (1 October 2013). "Hagerstown Suns apply to relocate to Fredericksburg". Business Insider. Fredericksburg.com. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  35. ^ Gould, Pamela (November 25, 2014). "Baseball deal out in city". Fredericksburg.com. Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  36. ^ The Gunners were founded 2006 and folded in 2010, Fredericksburg Hotspur
  37. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1298&dat=19671118&id=uc1NAAAAIBAJ&sjid=RooDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6038,4648029
  38. ^ "Al Bumbry Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  39. ^ "Jermon Bushrod". SI.com. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  40. ^ "George Webster Coghill". databaseFootball.com. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  41. ^ "John Maine Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  42. ^ Hedelt, Rob (January 24, 2008). "Movie, TV projects fall in line for local native". fredericksburg.com. The Free Lance-Star. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  43. ^ "Why Italian Flags Downtown?".  
  44. ^ Larson, Susan (December 17, 2012). "City Adds Schwetzingen, Germany as Sister City". Fredericksburg Patch. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 

External links

  • Official website
  • General Interest Information about Fredericksburg Virginia
  • Local history resources from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library
  • Fredericksburg.com, the website of the Free Lance-Star newspaper
  • Daily Star, Google news archive. —PDFs for 7,659 issues, dating from 1893 through 1926.
  • U.S. National Slavery Museum
  • Central Rappahannock Heritage Center a nonprofit all volunteer historical archive in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
  • U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Fredericksburg, Virginia

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