Virginia

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Posted by kaori 02/27/2009 @ 23:40

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Morey rebounds on mound to help Virginia top Ole Miss - ESPN
On the verge of elimination, Virginia players were waiting for an opportunity. Just like always. The Cavaliers took advantage of a throwing error in a two-run eighth inning and staved off elimination with a 4-3 win over Mississippi on Saturday,...
Candidates Recognize Needs in Rural Areas - Washington Post
By Michael Laris One in a series of articles about issues being discussed by the Democratic candidates for governor of Virginia, who will stand for the primary Tuesday. It's a problem that has been documented over the past decade by state researchers,...
Virginia AAA Girls' Soccer Chantilly Tops Kempsville in Semifinal - Washington Post
By BJ Koubaroulis With five minutes left before halftime of Chantilly's 3-0 Virginia AAA state semifinal victory at Westfield yesterday, three Kempsville defenders spread themselves across a six-yard gap between Chantilly senior midfielders Katie...
Virginia AA Baseball Crockett, Poquoson Shut Out Potomac Falls in ... - Washington Post
By Matt Brooks PULASKI, Va., June 6 -- Kyle Crockett threw a complete game five-hitter and Poquoson ended Potomac Falls's season with a 3-0 defeat in Saturday's Virginia AA state semifinal at Calfee Park. The Islanders (27-1) chased Potomac Falls...
Close Races in Virginia, New Jersey May Be Indicators for 2010 - Washington Post
That's why Democratic and Republican leaders will be closely watching the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and especially Virginia between now and November. The lineup is almost set. In New Jersey, Republicans have nominated Christopher Christie,...
Virginia AA Tennis Handley Tops Spotswood For Third Title in a Row - Washington Post
By Bucky Dent RADFORD, Va., June 6 -- Handley's girls' tennis team won its third straight Virginia AA state championship Saturday morning in style with a 5-0 sweep of Spotswood at Radford University. Moments after junior Katie Gordon supplied the...
Virginia: Life Sentence for Inmate in Retardation Case - New York Times
By AP A death row inmate whose case led to the national ban on executing the mentally retarded will spend life in prison because prosecutors withheld evidence in his 1998 trial, the State Supreme Court ruled. In a 5-to-2 decision Thursday, the justices...
Virginia A Soccer Mustangs Return to Final - Washington Post
By BJ Koubaroulis In the Virginia A girls' soccer semifinals, defending state champion George Mason defeated Wilson Memorial, 3-0, to advance to today's championship at 10 am at Radford University. The Mustangs got goals from sophomore Violet Miller,...
Virginia AAA Tennis Shane Gives Stuart a State Crown - Washington Post
By Stephen F. Ball Down two games in the third and decisive set of the Virginia AAA championship, Justin Shane found himself in an uncomfortable position. Forget giving up a second-set tiebreak to Mills Godwin senior Kyle Parker, Shane had never even...
Virginia AA Girls' Soccer - Washington Post
By Paul Tenorio RADFORD, Va., June 6 -- Throughout the first half of Saturday's Virginia AA state semifinal against Courtland, No. 2 Broad Run had been unable to find the back of the net and entered the final 40 minutes determined to be more effective...

List of United States Representatives from Virginia

This is a list of Members of the United States House of Representatives from Virginia in alphabetical order.

Article I of the United States Constitution mandates the minimum age for a Representative to be 25 years old.

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Fairfax County, Virginia

Seal of Fairfax County, Virginia

Fairfax County is a county in Northern Virginia, in the United States. As of January 2007, the estimated population of the county is 1,077,000, making it by far the most populous jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the most populous jurisdiction in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Fairfax was the first county to reach a six-figure median household income, and has the second highest median household income of any jurisdiction in the United States after neighboring Loudoun County.

Fairfax County was formed in 1742 from the northern part of Prince William County. It was named for Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron (1693–1781), proprietor of the Northern Neck.

The oldest settlements in Fairfax County were located along the Potomac River. George Washington settled in Fairfax County and built his home, Mount Vernon, facing the river. Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason is located nearby. Modern Fort Belvoir is partly located on the estate of Belvoir Manor, built along the Potomac by William Fairfax in 1741. Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, the only member of the British nobility ever to reside in the colonies, lived at Belvoir before he moved to the Shenandoah Valley. The Belvoir mansion and several of its outbuildings were destroyed by fire immediately after the Revolutionary War in 1783, and George Washington noted the plantation complex gradually deteriorated into ruins.

In 1757, the northwestern two-thirds of Fairfax County became Loudoun County. In 1789, part of Fairfax County was ceded to the federal government to form Alexandria County of the District of Columbia. Alexandria County was returned to Virginia in 1846, reduced in size by the secession of the independent city of Alexandria in 1870, and renamed Arlington County in 1920. The Fairfax County town of Falls Church became an independent city in 1948. The Fairfax County town of Fairfax became an independent city in 1961.

Located near Washington, D.C., Fairfax County was an important region in the Civil War. The Battle of Chantilly or Ox Hill, during the same campaign as the second Battle of Bull Run, was fought within the county; Bull Run straddles the border between Fairfax and Prince William County. For most of the Civil War, Union troops occupied the county, though the population remained sympathetic to the Confederacy.

The growth of the Federal Government in the years during and after World War II spurred rapid growth in the county. As a result, the once rural county began to become increasingly suburban. Other large businesses continued to settle in Fairfax County and the opening of Tysons Corner Center spurred the rise of Tysons Corner itself. The technology boom and a steady government-driven economy also created rapid growth and an increasingly growing and diverse population. The economy has also made Fairfax County one of the wealthiest counties in the nation.

Fairfax County is bounded on the north and southeast by the Potomac River. Across the river to the northeast is Washington, D.C., across the river to the north is Montgomery County, Maryland, and across the river to the southeast are Prince George's County, Maryland and Charles County, Maryland. The county is partially bounded on the north and east by Arlington County and the independent cities of Alexandria and Falls Church. It is bounded on the west by Loudoun County, and on the south by Prince William County.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 407 square miles (1,053 km²), of which, 395 square miles (1,023 km²) of it is land and 12 square miles (30 km²) of it (2.85%) is water.

Eleven square miles of the county are known to be underlain with natural asbestos. Much of the asbestos is known to emanate from fibrous tremolite or actinolite. Approximately 20 years ago, when the threat was discovered, the county established laws to monitor air quality at construction sites, control soil taken from affected areas, and require freshly developed sites to lay 6 inches (150 mm) of clean, stable material over the ground. For instance, during the construction of Centreville High School a large amount of asbestos-laded soil was removed and then trucked to Vienna for the construction of the I-66/Nutley Street interchange. Fill dirt then had to be trucked in to make the site level. Marine clays can be found in widespread areas of the county east of Interstate 95, mostly in the Lee and Mount Vernon Districts. These clays contribute to soil instability, leading to significant construction challenges for builders.

The county is governed by a Board of Supervisors, composed of nine members elected from single-member districts and a Chairman elected at-large. The districts are named Braddock, Dranesville, Hunter Mill, Lee, Mason, Mount Vernon, Providence, Springfield, and Sully.

Fairfax County was once considered a strong Republican bastion in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. However, Democrats have in the past decade made significant inroads, gaining control of the Board of Supervisors and the School Board (officially nonpartisan) as well as the offices of Sheriff and Commonwealth Attorney. Democrats also control the majority of Fairfax seats in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate.

Following the election of November 2008, Republicans hold just one of the three congressional seats that include parts of Fairfax County. Communities closer to Washington, D.C. generally favor Democrats by a larger margin than do the outlying communities. In elections in 2000, 2001, and 2005, Fairfax County supported Democrats for U.S. Senate and governor. In 2004, John Kerry won the county, becoming the first Democrat to do so since Lyndon B. Johnson in his 1964 landslide (the last time Democrats carried the state until 2008). Kerry defeated George W. Bush in the county 53% to 46%.

Democratic Governor Tim Kaine carried Fairfax County with over 60% of the vote in 2005, leading him to win 51.7% of votes statewide. On November 7, 2006, U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D) carried the county with about 58.9% of the votes (from the Virginia Commonwealth site).

In the state and local elections of November 2007, Fairfax Democrats picked up one seat in the House of Delegates, two seats in the Senate, and one seat on the Board of Supervisors, making their majority there 8-2.

On November 4, 2008, Fairfax County continued its shift towards the Democrats, with Barack Obama and Mark Warner each garnering over 60% of the vote for President and U.S. Senate, respectively. Also, the Fairfax-anchored 11th District United States House of Representatives seat held by Thomas M. Davis for 14 years was won by Gerry Connolly, the Democratic Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Braddock supervisor Sharon Bulova won a special election on February 3, 2009 to succeed Gerry Connolly as chairman of the Board of Supervisors, continuing a Democratic hold on the office of chairman that dates back to 1995.

As of the census of 2000, there were 969,749 people, 350,714 households, and 250,409 families residing in the county. The population density was 2,455 people per square mile (948/km²). There were 359,411 housing units at an average density of 910 per square mile (351/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 72.91% White, 8.83% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 13.00% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 4.54% from other races, and 3.65% from two or more races. 11.03% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Like many of the most affluent areas of the United States in the 21st century, Fairfax County is home to people from diverse backgrounds, including significant numbers of people of Korean, Indian, Pakistani, Vietnamese and Jewish ancestry.

In 2000 there are 350,714 households, of which 36.30% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.40% were married couples living together, 8.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.60% were non-families. 21.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.40% under the age of 18, 7.50% from 18 to 24, 33.90% from 25 to 44, 25.30% from 45 to 64, and 7.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 98.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $81,050, and the median income for a family was $92,146 (these figures had risen to $102,460 and $120,804 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $60,503 versus $41,802 for females. The per capita income for the county was $36,888. About 3.00% of families and 4.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.20% of those under age 18 and 4.00% of those age 65 or over. A more recent report from the 2007 American Community Survey indicated that poverty in Fairfax County, Virginia had risen to 4.9%.

Judged by household median income, Fairfax County is among the highest-income counties in the country, and was first on that list for many years. However, in the 2000 census it was overtaken by Douglas County, Colorado. According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2005, it had the second-highest median household income behind neighboring Loudoun County, at $94,610. In 2007, Fairfax County reclaimed its position as the richest county in America, in addition to becoming the first jurisdiction in American history to have a median household income in excess of $100,000. In 2008, Loudoun County reclaimed the first position, with Fairfax County a close second (although the U.S. Census Bureau notes that the difference is statistically insignificant).

The county is served by the Fairfax County Public Schools system, to which the county government allocates 52.2% of its fiscal budget. Including state and federal government contributions, along with citizen and corporate contributions, this brings the 2008 fiscal budget for the school system to $2.2 billion. The school system has estimated that, based on the 2008 fiscal year budget, the county will be spending $13,407 on each student.

The Fairfax County Public School system contains the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a Virginia Governor's School. TJHSST consistently ranks at or near the top of all United States high schools due to the extraordinary number of National Merit Semi-Finalists and Finalists, the high average SAT scores of its students, and the number of students who annually perform nationally recognized research in the sciences and engineering.

George Mason University is located just outside Fairfax City, near the geographic center of Fairfax County. Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) serves Fairfax County with campuses in Annandale and Springfield a center in Reston which is a satellite branch of the Loudoun campus. The NVCC Alexandria campus borders Fairfax County.

The economy of Fairfax County is a robust service economy. Many residents work for the government or for contractors of the Federal Government. Defense contractors in particular are prominent. The government is the largest employer with Fort Belvoir in southern Fairfax being the county's single largest employer.

The top five largest private employers are the Inova Health System, Northrop Grumman, Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) and Freddie Mac. Fairfax County also is home to large companies such as CSC (formerly Computer Sciences Corporation), Gannett, Capital One, General Dynamics, and NVR. The county has seven Fortune 500 company headquarters, more than the rest of Northern Virginia or the neighboring state of Maryland, and nearly as many as the state capital Richmond. In recent years Volkswagen of America, CSC, and Hilton Hotels Corporation have announced plans to move to Fairfax County after the county lost homegrown company headquarters AOL and Nextel. ExxonMobil has various industry operations at 3225 Gallows Road in the Annandale CDP of the county, formerly the headquarters of Mobil Oil.

The economy of the county is supported by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, which provides services and information designed to promote Fairfax County as a leading business and technology center. The FCEDA is the largest non-state economic development authority in the nation. Fairfax County is also home to the Northern Virginia Technology Council, a trade association for local technology companies. It is the largest technology council in the nation and has received notable technology industry figures such as Bill Gates and Meg Whitman as speakers in their various local banquets.

The Tysons Corner CDP of Fairfax County is Virginia's largest office market and one of the leading business centers in the nation, with 25,700,000 square feet (2,390,000 m2) of office space. It is the country's 12th largest business district, and is expected to grow substantially in the decades to come. The county's total office space inventory totaled 105,200,000 square feet (9,770,000 m2) at year-end 2006, which is about the size of Lower Manhattan.

Every weekday Tysons Corner draws over 100,000 workers from around the region. It also draws 55,000 shoppers every weekday as it is home to neighboring super-regional malls Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria. In comparison, Washington, D.C. draws 15 million visitors annually, or the equivalent of 62,500 per weekday.

After years of stalling and controversy, the $5.2 billion expansion of Washington Metro in Virginia from Washington, D.C. to Dulles International Airport received funding approval from the Federal Transit Administration in December 2008. The new line, informally dubbed the Silver Line, will add four stations in Tysons Corner, including a station between Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria.

The average weekly wage in Fairfax County during the first quarter of 2005 was $1,181. By comparison, the average weekly wage was $1,286 for Arlington - the Washington metropolitan area's highest, $1,277 for Washington, D.C., and $775 for the United States as a whole—52% above the national average. The types of jobs available in the area make it very attractive to highly-educated workers. The relatively high wages may be partially due to the high cost of living in the area.

In early 2005, Fairfax County had 553,107 total jobs, up from 372,792 in 1990. In the area, this is second to Washington's 658,505 jobs in 2005 (down from 668,532 in 1990).

As of the 2002 Economic Census, Fairfax County has the largest professional, scientific, & technical service sector in the Washington, D.C. area in terms of the number of business establishments; total sales, shipments, and receipts; payrolls; and number of employees, exceeding the next largest, Washington, D.C., by roughly a quarter overall, and double that of neighboring Montgomery County.

The annual "Celebrate Fairfax!" festival is held in June at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax City.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts features a performing arts center situated outside the town of Vienna.

Several major highways run through Fairfax County, including the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495), Interstate 66, Interstate 95, and Interstate 395. The American Legion Bridge connects Fairfax to Montgomery County, Maryland. The George Washington Memorial Parkway, Dulles Toll Road, and Fairfax County Parkway are also major arteries. Other notable roads include Braddock Road, Old Keene Mill Road, Little River Turnpike, State Routes 7, 28, and 123, and US Routes 1, 29, and 50.

The county is in the Washington D.C. metro area, the nation's third most congested area.

Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, is the third worst congested traffic area in the nation, in terms of percentage of congested roadways and time spent in traffic. Of the lane miles in the region, 44 percent are rated “F” or worst for congestion. Northern Virginia residents spend an average of 46 hours a year stuck in traffic.

Washington Dulles International Airport lies partly within Fairfax County and provides most air service to the county. Fairfax is also served by two other airports in the Washington area, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Manassas Regional Airport, in neighboring Prince William County, is also used for regional cargo and private jet service.

Fairfax County contracts its bus service called the Fairfax Connector to Veolia Transportation. It is also served by WMATA's metrobus service. Fairfax County is served by the Washington Metro trains. The Orange, Blue, Yellow and the planned Silver lines all serve Fairfax County. In addition, VRE (Virginia Railway Express) provides commuter rail service with stations in Lorton and Franconia-Springfield.

The county maintains many miles of bike trails running through parks, adjacent to roads and through towns such as Vienna and Herndon. The Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail runs through Fairfax County, offering one of the region's best, and safest, routes for recreational walking and biking. In addition, nine miles (14 km) of the Mount Vernon Trail runs through Fairfax County along the Potomac River.

However, compared to other regions of the Washington area, Fairfax County has a dearth of designated bike lanes for cyclists wishing to commute in the region. On May 16, 2008, Bike-to-Work Day, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation released the first countywide bicycle route map.

The Fairfax Cross County Trail runs from Great Falls National Park in the northern end of the county to Occoquan Regional Park in the southern end. Consisting of mostly dirt paths and short asphalt sections, the trail is used mostly by recreational mountain bikers, hikers, and horse riders.

In addition to the Fairfax County Park Authority, Fairfax County is part of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.

Fairfax County contains large amounts of park land, a total of over 390 parks on more than 23,000 acres (93 km2).

The Reston Zoo is near Reston, Virginia, in Fairfax County.

Three incorporated towns, Clifton, Herndon, and Vienna, are located within Fairfax County.

The independent cities of Falls Church and Fairfax were formed out of areas formerly under the jurisdiction of Fairfax County, but are politically separate, despite the status of the City of Fairfax as county seat. Fairfax County contains an exclave located in the central business district of the City of Fairfax, in which many county facilities (including the courthouses and jail) are located.

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Arlington County, Virginia

Seal of Arlington County, Virginia

Arlington County is an urban county of about 206,800 residents in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is located directly across the Potomac River to the west of Washington, D.C. Formerly part of the District of Columbia, the land now composing the county was retroceded to Virginia on July 9, 1846, in an act of Congress that took effect in 1847.

Despite being organized politically as a "county" in Virginia, it is considered a Central City of the Washington Metropolitan Area by the Census Bureau, along with the adjacent cities of Washington and Alexandria, Virginia. At a land area of 26 square miles (67 km2), it is geographically the smallest self-governing county in the United States.

In 2005 Arlington was ranked first among walkable cities in the United States by the American Podiatric Medical Association. CNN Money ranked Arlington as the most educated city in 2006 with 35.7% of residents having held graduate degrees. In October 2008, BusinessWeek ranked Arlington as the safest city in which to weather a recession, with a 49.4% share of jobs in 'strong industries'. Along with five other Northern Virginia counties, Arlington ranked among the twenty U.S. counties with the highest median household income in 2006.

Arlington is the location of Arlington National Cemetery, National Airport, the Pentagon, the USMC War Memorial, the US Air Force Memorial, and numerous other monuments.

As of January 1, 2008, the estimated population was 206,800. All cities within the Commonwealth of Virginia are independent of counties, though towns may be incorporated within counties. Considering this, it is inaccurate to refer to Arlington County as a city. However, Arlington has no existing incorporated towns because Virginia law prevents the creation of any new municipality within a county that has a population density greater than 1,000 persons per square mile. Its county seat is the census-designated place (CDP) of Arlington, which is coincident with the Census Boundary of Arlington County; however, the county courthouse and most governmental offices are located in the Courthouse neighborhood.

Arlington County was within the very large area defined in several early British land grants in the colonial period in the Colony of Virginia (1607-1776) which was known as the Northern Neck of Virginia (not to be confused with a smaller eastern portion of it still known by that name in modern times).

Land grants, generally to prominent Englishmen, were various combinations of political favors and efforts at development. Perhaps the best known of the grantees was Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron (Lord Fairfax), whose name is seen in many places in what is now known as Northern Virginia, notably Fairfax County and the independent city of Fairfax. Also notable among the land grants was one in 1673 from King Charles II to Thomas Colepeper, 2nd Baron Colepeper (Lord Culpeper) and Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington (Earl of Arlington) whose names eventually were applied to several community features, and were the original source of the naming of Culpeper County and Arlington County.

The current Arlington County as it is now known in Virginia was the result of a renaming in 1920. However, the name of the 17th century Earl of Arlington had been applied much earlier to a plantation on the Potomac River which became the Arlington National Cemetery as a result of the American Civil War.

Once part of Fairfax County in the Colony of Virginia, the area that contains Arlington County was ceded to the new U.S. government by the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1791, the U.S. Congress formally established the limits of the federal territory that would be the nation's capital as a square of 10 miles (16 km) on a side, the maximum area permitted by Article I, Section 8, of the United States Constitution. However, the legislation (an amendment to the Residence Act of 1790) that established these limits specifically prohibited the "erection of the public buildings otherwise than on the Maryland side of the river Potomac.

During 1791 and 1792, Andrew Ellicott led a team of surveyors that determined the boundaries of the federal territory. The team placed along the boundaries forty markers that were approximately one mile from each other. Fourteen of these markers were in Virginia. Many of these still remain.

When Congress moved to the new District of Columbia in 1801, it enacted legislation (the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801) that divided the District into two counties: (1) the county of Washington, which lay on the east side of the Potomac River, and (2) the county of Alexandria, which lay on the west side of the River. Alexandria County contained the present area of Arlington County, then mostly rural, and the settled town of Alexandria (now "Old Town" Alexandria), a port located on the Potomac River in the southeastern part of the area of the present City of Alexandria.

Residents of Alexandria County had expected the federal capital's location would result in land sales and the growth of commerce. Instead the county found itself struggling to compete with the town of Georgetown, a port located in Washington County adjacent to the capital city (Washington City).

As the federal government could not establish any offices in the County, and as the economically important Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O Canal) on the north side of the Potomac River favored Georgetown, Alexandria's economy stagnated. It didn't help that some Georgetown residents opposed federal efforts to maintain the Alexandria Canal, which connected the C&O Canal in Georgetown to Alexandria's port. Moreover, as residents of the District of Columbia, Alexandria's citizens had no representation in Congress and could not vote in federal elections.

The town of Alexandria had been a port and market for the slave trade. With growing talk of abolishing slavery in the nation's capital, some Alexandrians feared the local economy would suffer if the federal government took this step. At the same time, there arose in Virginia an active abolitionist movement that created a division on the question of slavery in Virginia's General Assembly (subsequently, during the Civil War, Virginia's division on the slavery issue led to the formation of the state of West Virginia by the most anti-slavery counties). Pro-slavery Virginians recognized that Alexandria County could provide two new representatives who favored slavery in the General Assembly if the County returned to the Commonwealth.

Largely as a result of these factors, a movement grew to separate Alexandria County from the District of Columbia. After a referendum, the county's residents petitioned the U.S. Congress and the Virginia legislature to permit the County to return to Virginia. The area was retroceded to Virginia on July 9, 1846.

In 1852, the independent city of Alexandria was incorporated from a portion of Alexandria County. This led to occasional confusion, as the adjacent county and municipal entities continued to share the name of "Alexandria". Alexandria County renamed itself in 1920 as Arlington County. The new name was borrowed from Arlington National Cemetery.

The incorporated town of Potomac (1908-1930) was located in Arlington County. However, it was annexed by the adjacent City of Alexandria in 1930, and thus, joined the lost towns of Virginia. Although "lost" as a political subdivision, the former town of Potomac is now a historic district of the City of Alexandria, and includes 1,840 acres and 690 buildings. The Town of Potomac was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

It is worthy to note that areas in the present City of Alexandria in addition to the former Town of Potomac were added by annexations from both Arlington and Fairfax counties over the years. However, all of the present Arlington County was once part of the District of Columbia, thus providing the county's claim, not only to being the state's smallest county in land area, but also the only one in Virginia to have both left and rejoined the Commonwealth.

Arlington now has no incorporated towns within its borders. A Virginia law adopted after the formation of the Town of Potomac prevents the creation of any new municipality within a county that has a population density greater than 1,000 persons per square mile.

Arlington National Cemetery is an American military cemetery established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's home, Arlington House (also known as the Custis-Lee Mansion). It is directly across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., north of the Pentagon. With nearly 300,000 people buried there, Arlington National Cemetery is the second-largest national cemetery in the United States.

Arlington House was named after the Custis family's homestead on Virginia's Eastern Shore. It is associated with the families of Washington, Custis, and Lee. Begun in 1802 and completed in 1817, it was built by George Washington Parke Custis. After his father died, young Custis was raised by his grandmother and her second husband, the first US President George Washington, at Mount Vernon. Custis, a far-sighted agricultural pioneer, painter, playwright, and orator, was interested in perpetuating the memory and principles of George Washington. His house became a "treasury" of Washington heirlooms.

In 1804, Custis married Mary Lee Fitzhugh. Their only child to survive infancy was Mary Anna Randolph Custis, born in 1808. Young Robert E. Lee, whose mother was a cousin of Mrs. Custis, frequently visited Arlington. Two years after graduating from West Point, Lieutenant Lee married Mary Custis at Arlington on June 30, 1831. For 30 years, Arlington House was home to the Lees. They spent much of their married life traveling between U.S. Army duty stations and Arlington, where six of their seven children were born. They shared this home with Mary's parents, the Custis family.

When George Washington Parke Custis died in 1857, he left the Arlington estate to Mrs. Lee for her lifetime and afterwards to the Lees' eldest son, George Washington Custis Lee.

The U.S. government confiscated Arlington House and 200 acres (81 hectares) of ground immediately from the wife of General Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. The government designate the grounds as a military cemetery on June 15, 1864, by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. In 1882, after many years in the lower courts, the matter of the ownership of Arlington National Cemetery was brought before the United States Supreme Court. The Court decided that the property rightfully belonged to the Lee family. The United States Congress then appropriated the sum of $150,000 for the purchase of the property from the Lee family.

Veterans from all the nation's wars are buried in the cemetery, from the American Revolution through the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pre-Civil War dead were re-interred after 1900.

The Tomb of the Unknowns, also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, DC. President John F. Kennedy is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with his wife and some of their children. His grave is marked with an "Eternal Flame." His brother Senator Robert F. Kennedy is also buried nearby. Another President, William Howard Taft, who was also a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, is the only other President buried at Arlington.

Other frequently visited sites near the cemetery are the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, commonly known as the "Iwo Jima Memorial", the U.S. Air Force Memorial, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, the Netherlands Carillon and the U.S. Army's Fort Myer.

The Pentagon in Arlington is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense. It was dedicated on January 15, 1943 and it is the world's largest office building. Although it is located in Arlington, the United States Postal Service requires that "Washington, D.C." be used as the place name in mail addressed to the ZIP codes assigned to The Pentagon.

The building is pentagon-shaped in plan and houses about 23,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel. It has five floors and each floor has five ring corridors. The Pentagon's principal law enforcement arm is the United States Pentagon Police, the agency that protects the Pentagon and various other DoD jurisdictions throughout the National Capital Region.

Built during the early years of World War II, it is still thought of as one of the most efficient office buildings in the world. It has 17.5 miles (28 km) of corridors, yet it takes only seven minutes or so to walk between any two points in the building.

It was built from 680,000 tons of sand and gravel dredged from the nearby Potomac River that were processed into 435,000 cubic yards (330,000 m³) of concrete and molded into the pentagon shape. Very little steel was used in its design due to the needs of the war effort.

The open-air central plaza in the Pentagon is the world's largest "no-salute, no-cover" area (where U.S. servicemembers need not wear hats nor salute). The snack bar in the center is informally known as the Ground Zero Cafe, a nickname originating during the Cold War when the Pentagon was targeted by Soviet nuclear missiles.

During World War II, the earliest portion of the Henry G. Shirley Memorial Highway was built in Arlington in conjunction with the parking and traffic plan for the Pentagon. This early freeway, opened in 1943, and completed to Woodbridge, Virginia in 1952, is now part of Interstate 395.

The population density was 7,323 people per square mile (2,828/km²), the highest of any county in Virginia. There were 90,426 housing units at an average density of 3,495/sq mi (1,350/km²).

The racial makeup of the county was 68.94% White, 9.35% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 8.62% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 8.33% from other races, and 4.34% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.62% of the population.

28% of Arlington residents were foreign-born.

In 2005 Arlington's population was 64.7% non-Hispanic whites. 8.8% of the population was African-American. Native Americans constituted 0.4% of the population. Asians now outnumbered African-Americans, constituting 8.9% of the population. Latinos were 16.1% of the population.

There were 86,352 households out of which 19.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.30% were married couples living together, 7.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.50% were non-families. 40.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county, the population was spread out with 16.50% under the age of 18, 10.40% from 18 to 24, 42.40% from 25 to 44, 21.30% from 45 to 64, and 9.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 101.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.70 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the county was $90,047, and the median income for a family was $120,556. Males had a median income of $51,011 versus $41,552 for females. The per capita income for the county was $37,706. About 5.00% of families and 7.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.10% of those under age 18 and 7.00% of those age 65 or over. In 2004 the average single-family home sales price passed $600,000, approximately triple the price less than a decade before, and the median topped $550,000.

Arlington Economic Development maintains regional economic data and statistics.

Arlington has won awards for its smart growth development strategies. For over 30 years, the government has had a policy of concentrating much of its new development near transit facilities, such as Metrorail stations and the high-volume bus lines of Columbia Pike. Within the transit areas, the government has a policy of encouraging mixed-use and pedestrian- and transit-oriented development. Outside of those areas, the government usually limits density increases, but makes exceptions for larger projects that are near major highways, such as in Shirlington, near I-395 (the Shirley Highway).

Much of Arlington's development in the last generation has been concentrated around 7 of the County's 11 Metrorail stations. However, infill development elsewhere in the County has recently replaced many undeveloped lots and small single-family dwellings with row houses and larger homes.

Increasing land values and re-development (most of which is by-right development) has diminished Arlington's tree canopy and reduced the supply of existing affordable housing. To address x coverage and the construction of larger homes the County has recently limited the allowable coverage on some single-family lots.

The County focuses its efforts to preserve, create and maintain for-sale and rental affordable housing units to households whose income is not greater than 80% of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area Median Income (AMI); rental units are committed for no fewer than 30 years at no greater than 60% AMI. AMI tables are published annually by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Arlington County Planning Research and Analysis Team (PRAT) maintains detailed data about current and historical development in Arlington County.

Arlington is governed by a five person County Board, whose members are elected to four year terms. They appoint a county manager, who is the chief executive of the County Government. Like all Virginia Counties, Arlington also has five elected constitutional officers: a sheriff, a clerk of court, a commonwealth's attorney, a treasurer, and a commissioner of the revenue. Starting in 1996, the County switched from a School Board appointed by the County Board to an elected School Board.

Starting in 2008, for the first time in many years, all elected officials in Arlington were either nominated by or, in the case of School Board members, endorsed by the Democratic Party. However, starting in the early 1980s, the Democratic Party was the predominant party in the County. The Republican Party controlled a School Board seat from 1999 until 2007, held a majority on the County Board from 1977 to 1982, and controlled at least one County Board seat until 1995 (and again briefly in 1999).

Arlington also elects four Members of the 100 Member Virginia House of Delegates and two Members of the Virginia Senate. State Senators are elected to four year terms, while Delegates are elected to two year terms.

Arlington has an elected five person School Board, whose members are elected to four year terms. Virginia law does not permit political parties to place school board candidates on the ballot, but as in many other Virginia jurisdictions, most Arlington school board candidates run with an explicit party endorsement.

Arlington also has several Constitutional Officers, all of whom are elected County-wide.

Each year's winner in the general election is listed first below.

Arlington is the home of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (IATA: DCA, ICAO: KDCA, FAA LID: DCA) , which provides domestic services to the Washington, D.C. area.

Nearby airports with international services include Washington Dulles International Airport (IATA: IAD, ICAO: KIAD, FAA LID: IAD) , located in Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia, and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (IATA: BWI, ICAO: KBWI, FAA LID: BWI) , located in unincorporated Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

Arlington is served by the Orange, Blue and Yellow lines of the Washington Metro. Additionally, it is served by Virginia Railway Express (commuter rail), Metrobus (regional public bus), and a local public bus system, Arlington Transit (ART).

The street names in Arlington generally follow a unified countywide convention. The streets are alphabetical starting with one-syllable names, then two-, three- and four-syllable names for streets going north / south. (The "lowest" alphabetical street is Ball Street. The "highest" is Arizona.) The east / west streets are numbered and are divided by Route 50 with all numbered streets labeled as North above Route 50 and all numbered streets labeled as South below. Arlington County is traversed by two interstate highways, Interstate 66 in the northern part of the county and Interstate 395 in the eastern part, both with high-occupancy vehicle lanes or restrictions. In addition, the county is served by a number of multi-lane urban arterial roads and the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

Arlington has 86 miles (138 km) of on-street and paved off-road bicycle trails (map). Off-road trails travel along the Potomac River or its tributaries, abandoned railroad beds, or major highways. Many of the county's major streets designate bicycle lanes near their curbs or parking lanes. Green route signs help cyclists navigate the routes while yellow warning signs alert drivers to the many street crossings.

Several regional paved off-road trails originate in Arlington and extend well beyond its boundaries. The Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail (W&OD Trail) rail trail travels 45 miles (72 km) northwest from Shirlington through Falls Church, Vienna, Herndon, and Leesburg to the town of Purcellville in western Loudoun County, Virginia. The Mount Vernon Trail runs for 17 miles (27 km) along the Potomac, continuing through Alexandria to George Washington's plantation home.

Smaller, intra-county trails connect the larger trials. In Arlington's southeast corner, immediately south of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the Mount Vernon Trail connects to the Four Mile Run Trail, which travels westward through Arlington in a stream valley. A planned extension of the trail will connect it to the W&OD. The hilly Custis Trail begins at the Mount Vernon Trail in Rosslyn and travels westward beside Interstate 66 to the W&OD. The Bluemont Junction Trail, another rail trail, travels between the W&OD Trail and the Custis Trail in Ballston.

A partially off-road bike route bisects the County while traveling westward from Arlington National Cemetery, the Iwo Jima Memorial and Rosslyn to Falls Church while travelling as a paved trail near or adjacent to Arlington Boulevard (U.S. Route 50) or within the boulevard's service road.

Arlington County is the smallest self-governing county in the United States (the largest county-level jurisdiction being North Slope Borough, Alaska). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 26 square miles (67 km²), of which about 4.6 square miles (12 km²) is federal property. There are two counties that are geographically smaller than Arlington in the United States (but which have no form of self-government): Kalawao, Hawaii (13.2 square miles) and Bristol, Rhode Island (24.7 square miles).

Arlington is located at 38°52′49″N 77°6′30″W / 38.88028°N 77.10833°W / 38.88028; -77.10833 (38.880344, -77.108260). It is adjacent along its northwest border and part of its southwest border to Fairfax County; along the remainder of its southwest and southern borders to the City of Falls Church and the City of Alexandria; and along the Potomac River north and east of it to Washington, D.C..

Arlington County includes a large selection of Sears Catalog Homes, which were offered between 1908 and 1940, Considered to be of exceptional quality, in modern times, these houses are sought after by many home buyers. As well, Arlington features some of the first and among the best examples of post-World War II garden style apartment complexes in the U.S., some of which were designed by architect Mihran Mesrobian. Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) is the dividing line in the county.

A number of the county's residential neighborhoods and larger garden-style apartment complexes are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and/or designated under the County government's zoning ordinance as local Historic Preservation Districts. These include Arlington Village, Arlington Forest, Ashton Heights, Buckingham, Cherrydale, Claremont, Colonial Village, Fairlington, Lyon Park, Lyon Village, Maywood, Penrose, Waverly Hills and Westover.

Many of Arlington County's neighborhoods participate in the Arlington County government's Neighborhood Conservation Program (NCP). Each of these neighborhoods has a Neighborhood Conservation Plan that describes the neighborhood's characteristics, history and recommendations for capital improvement projects that the County government funds through the NCP.

The three-digit zip code prefix 222 uniquely identifies Arlington. Delivery areas north of Arlington Boulevard have odd-numbered ZIP codes (22201, 22203, 22205, 22207, 22209, and 22213), while delivery areas south of Arlington Boulevard have even-numbered ZIP codes (22202, 22204, and 22206). ZIP codes that are assigned to post office boxes, large mailers, and military facilities do not always follow that rule.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Pentagon, both within the boundaries of Arlington County, are assigned with Washington, D.C., ZIP codes.

Arlington County is served by the Arlington Public Schools system. The public high schools in Arlington County are Yorktown High School, Washington-Lee High School, Wakefield High School, and the H-B Woodlawn program. Arlington County is also home to Bishop O'Connell, a Roman Catholic high school.

Arlington County spends about half of its revenue on education, making it one of the top ten per-pupil spenders in the nation (as of 2004, over $13,000, the second highest amount spent on education in the United States, behind New York City).

Through an agreement with Fairfax County Public Schools approved by the school board in 1999, up to 26 students residing in Arlington per grade level may be enrolled at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax at a cost to Arlington of approximately $8000 per student. For the first time in 2006, more students (36) were offered admission in the selective high school than allowed by the previously established enrollment cap.

Marymount University is the only university with its main campus located in Arlington. Founded in 1950 by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary as Marymount College of Virginia located on North Glebe Road. The school has expanded into offering complete 4 year undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees and recently doctorial degrees in Fall 2004. The school expanded in the early 1990s and opened an additional campus in Ballston. They also have a Reston Center located in Reston, Virginia.

George Mason University operates an Arlington campus in the Virginia Square area between Clarendon and Ballston. The campus houses the School of Law, School of Public Policy and other programs. The University is commencing construction on a new building in October 2007, which is expected to open in 2010. This new building will provide additional space for the School of Law and other graduate programs.

DeVry University operates a campus for undergraduate classes along with the Keller School of Management for its graduate classes, in Crystal City. The University established the campus in 2001.

Institute for the Psychological Sciences is a regionally accredited institution offering postgraduate programs in Psychology with a Roman Catholic perspective. Its campus is in the Crystal City neighborhood.

University of Management and Technology is a distance learning university that is headquartered in Rosslyn.

The Art Institute of Washington, a local branch of The Art Institutes is located in the Ames Center across from the Rosslyn Metro Station.

Strayer University has a campus in Arlington as well as its corporate headquarters.

In addition, Argosy University, Banner College, Everest College, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Northern Virginia Community College, Troy University, the University of New Haven, the University of Oklahoma, and Westwood College all have campuses in Arlington.

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Richmond, Virginia

Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Prior to 1071 - Richemont: a small settlement in Haute Normandie, France. 1071 to 1501 - Richmond: a castle settlement and town in Yorkshire, England. 1501 to 1742 - Richmond: a royal palace, then a town, near London, England. 1742 to present - Richmond: a town, then city and state capital of Virginia.

Richmond (IPA: /ˈrɪtʃmənd/) is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. Like all Virginia municipalities incorporated as cities, it is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Greater Richmond area. Surrounded by Henrico and Chesterfield counties, the city is located at the intersections of Interstate 95 and Interstate 64, and surrounded by Interstate 295 and Route 288 in central Virginia. The population was 200,123 in 2007, with an estimated population of 1,212,977 for the Richmond Metropolitan Area — making it the third largest in Virginia.

The site of Richmond, at the fall line of the James River in the Piedmont region of Virginia, was briefly settled by English settlers from Jamestown in 1609, and in 1610-11, near the site of a significant native settlement. The present city of Richmond was founded in 1737. It became the capital of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia in 1780. During the Revolutionary War period, several notable events occurred in the city, including Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech in 1775 at St. John's Church, and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1779--the latter of which was written by Thomas Jefferson in the city. During the American Civil War, Richmond served as the capital of the Confederate States of America, and many important American Civil War landmarks remain in the city today, including the Virginia State Capitol and the White House of the Confederacy, among others.

Richmond's economy is primarily driven by law, finance, and government with several notable legal and banking firms, as well as federal, state, and local governmental agencies, located in the downtown area. Richmond is one of twelve cities in the United States to be home to a Federal Reserve Bank. There are also nine Fortune 500, and thirteen Fortune 1000 companies in the city. Tourism is also important, as many historic sights are in or nearby the city.

Before 1607, the Powhatan tribe had lived in the region. For centuries, the tribe recognized the value of this site, rich in natural beauty, and had one of their capitals here, also known as Powhatan. They knew it as a place to hunt, fish, play, and trade, and they also called it Shocquohocan, or Shockoe.

In 1606, James I granted a royal charter to the Virginia Company of London to settle colonists in North America. After the first permanent English-speaking settlement was established in April, 1607, at Jamestown, Captain Christopher Newport led explorers northwest up the James River, and on May 24, 1607, erected a cross on one of the small islands in the middle of the part of the river that runs through today's downtown area.

The first English settlement within the present limits of the city was made in 1609 by Francis West at the falls, in the district known as Rockett's, and was known as "West Fort". Captain John Smith then bought the fortified Powhatan village on the north bank of the river from chief Parahunt, about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the fort. He named this tract Nonesuch, but the English garrison soon abandoned the entire area after attacks by the Powhatans. In fall, 1610, Lord de la Warre made a second attempt to build a fort at the falls, which managed to last all winter, but was then likewise abandoned.

In 1645, Fort Charles was erected at the falls of the James – the highest navigable point of the James River – as a frontier defense. New settlers moved in, and the community grew into a bustling trading post for furs, hides, and tobacco.

In 1673, William Byrd I was granted lands on the James River that included the area around Falls that would become Richmond and already included small settlements. Byrd was a well-connected Indian trader in the area and established a fort on the site. William Byrd II inherited his father's land in 1704, and in 1737 founded the town of Richmond at the Falls of the James and commissioned Major William Mayo to lay out the original town grid. Byrd named the city Richmond after the English town of Richmond near (and now part of) London, because the view of the James River was strikingly similar to the view of the River Thames from Richmond Hill in England, where he had spent time during his youth. The settlement was laid out in April, 1737, and was incorporated as a town in 1742 by Chad Glasheen.

In 1775, Patrick Henry delivered his famous, "Give me Liberty or Give me Death," speech in St. John's Church in Richmond that was crucial for deciding Virginia's (then the largest of the 13 colonies) participation in the First Continental Congress and setting the course for revolution and independence. Thomas Jefferson, who would soon write the United States Declaration of Independence, George Washington, who would soon command the Continental Army, were in attendance at this critical moment on the path to the American Revolution.

On April 18, 1780, as Virginia’s population moved further west, the state capital was moved from the colonial capital of Williamsburg to Richmond, to provide a more centralized location, as well as to isolate the capital from British attack. In 1781, under the command of Benedict Arnold, Richmond was burned by British troops causing Governor Thomas Jefferson to flee the city. Yet Richmond shortly recovered and, by 1782, Richmond was once again a thriving city.

In 1786, one of the most important and influential passages of legislation in American history was passed at the temporary state capital in Richmond, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Written by Thomas Jefferson and sponsored by James Madison, the statute was the basis for the separation of church and state, and led to freedom of religion for all Americans as protected in the religion clause in the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment. Its importance is recognized annually by the President of The United States, with January 16 established as National Religious Freedom Day.

The Virginia State Capitol building, designed by Thomas Jefferson and Charles-Louis Clérisseau, was completed in 1788. It is the second-oldest US statehouse in continuous use (Maryland's is the oldest) and was the first US government building built in the neo-classical Roman style of architecture, setting the trend for other state houses and the federal government buildings (including the White House and The Capitol) in Washington, DC. It underwent a complete renovation which was completed in May 2007.

After the Revolutionary War, Richmond emerged an important industrial center; it also became a crossroads of transportation and commerce, much of this tied to its role as a major hub in the Transatlantic slave trade. George Washington proposed and received the support of the Virginia legislature for the establishment of the James River and Kanawha Canal, the first canal system to be established in the U.S. The canal allowed goods and services coming up the James River to be navigated around the falls at Richmond and connect Richmond and the eastern part of Virginia with the west. As a result, Richmond became home to some of the largest manufacturing facilities in the country, including iron works and flour mills, the largest facilities of their kind in the south. Canal traffic peaked in the 1860s and slowly gave way to railroads, allowing Richmond to become a major railroad crossroads, eventually including the site of the world's first triple railroad crossing. The Canal officially ceased operations in the 1880s, although portions of the canal have been preserved and rebuilt by 1998–1999, spurring tourism and economic development along the old canal route in downtown Richmond.

Besides transportation and industry, antebellum Richmond was also the center of regional communications, with several newspapers and book publishers, including John Warrock, helping shape public opinion and further the education of the populace.

The resistance to the slave trade was growing by the mid-nineteenth century; in one famous case in 1848, Henry “Box” Brown made history by having himself nailed into a small box and shipped from Richmond to abolitionists in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, escaping slavery.

At the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, the strategic location of the Tredegar Iron Works was one of the primary factors in the decision to make Richmond the Capital of the Confederacy. From this arsenal came the 723 tons of armor plating that covered the CSS Virginia, the world’s first ironclad used in war, as well as much of the Confederates' heavy ordnance machinery. In February, 1861, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Alabama, the first Confederate capital. In the early morning of April 12, 1861, the Confederate army fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Civil War had begun. On April 17, 1861, Virginia seceded from the United States and joined the Confederate States, and soon thereafter the Confederate government moved its capital to Richmond. The Confederate Congress shared quarters with the Virginia General Assembly in the Virginia State Capitol, and the Confederacy's executive mansion, the "White House of the Confederacy", was two blocks away in the upscale Court End neighborhood.

After the Civil War, Richmond entered a phase of recovery and reconstruction. Monument Avenue was laid out in 1887, with a series of monuments at various intersections honoring the city's Confederate heroes, included (east to west) J.E.B. Stuart, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Matthew F. Maury. Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery is the final resting place of both Stuart and Davis.

Contributing to Richmond's industrial reconstruction was the first successful electrically-powered trolley system in the United States, the Richmond Union Passenger Railway. Designed by electric power pioneer Frank J. Sprague, the trolley system opened its first line in 1888, and electric streetcar lines rapidly spread to other cities. Sprague's system used an overhead wire and trolley pole to collect current, with electric motors on the car's trucks.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, the city's population had reached 85,050 in 5 square miles (13 km2), making it the most densely populated city in the southern United States.

In 1903, African-American businesswoman and financier Maggie L. Walker chartered St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, and served as its first president, as well as the first female bank president in the United States. Today, the bank is called the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company, and it is the oldest surviving African-American bank in the U.S. The regional Governor's High School in Richmond is named after her.

In 1910, the former city of Manchester was consolidated with the city of Richmond, and in 1914, the city annexed the Barton Heights, Ginter Park, and Highland Park areas of Henrico County.

In May 1914, Richmond became the headquarters of the Fifth District of the Federal Reserve Bank. It was selected due to the city's geographic location, its importance as a commercial and financial center, its transportation and communications facilities, as well as Virginia's leading regional role in the banking business. The bank was originally located near the federal courts downtown and moved to a new headquarters building near the Capitol in 1922, and finally to its present location overlooking the James River in 1978. Richmond's business and industrial development continued throughout the decade, and in 1929, Philip Morris, which began as a British company about 100 years earlier, opened its first US factory in the city. Richmond was chosen because the town's rich tobacco history.

Richmond entered the broadcasting era in late 1925 when WRVA, originally known as the Edgeworth Tobacco Station and owned by Larus & Brothers, went on the air. The white ballad singers and black gospel quartets that were popular on the radio at the time were often urban and sometimes even professional men. At the time, Richmond was particularly self-conscious with its southern roots, and such music was seen as culturally inferior. WTVR-TV (CBS 6), the first television station in Richmond, was the first television station south of Washington, D.C.

Several performing arts venues were constructed during the 1920s. In 1926, The Mosque (now called the Landmark Theater) was constructed by the Shriners as their Acca Temple Shrine, and since then, many of America's greatest entertainers have appeared on its stage beneath its towering minarets and desert murals. Loew's Theater was built in 1927, and was described as, "the ultimate in 1920s movie palace fantasy design." It later suffered a decline in popularity as the movie-going population moved to the suburbs, but was restored during the 1980s and renamed as the Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts. In 1928, the Byrd Theater was built by local architect Fred Bishop on Westhampton Avenue (now called Cary Street) in a residential area of the city. To this day, the Byrd remains in operation as one of the last of the great movie palaces of the 1920s and 1930s.

Between 1963 and 1965, there was a, "downtown boom," that led to the construction of more than 700 buildings in the city. In 1968, Virginia Commonwealth University was created by the merger of the Medical College of Virginia with the Richmond Professional Institute. In 1970, Richmond's borders expanded by an additional 27 square miles (69 km²) on the south. After several years of court cases in which Chesterfield County fought annexation, more than 47,000 people who once were Chesterfield County residents found themselves in the city’s perimeters on January 1, 1970.

Between the 1984 and 1985 seasons, the city completed construction of the Diamond, a new baseball stadium for the Richmond Braves, a AAA baseball team in the Atlanta Braves minor league system. The park opened on April 17, 1985, replacing the old Parker Field, which previously occupied the same site. Also in 1985, Richmond saw the opening of 6th Street Marketplace, a downtown festival marketplace, which was envisioned as a solution to the downtown areas urban erosion. The project ultimately failed, and the shopping center was closed and demolished in 2004.

A multi-million dollar flood wall was completed in 1995, in order to protect the city and the Shockoe Bottom businesses from the rising waters of the James River. After the flood wall was completed, the River District businesses grew rapidly, and today the area is home to much of Richmond's entertainment, dining and nightlife activity.

In 1996, a reminder of Richmond's Confederate history arose amid controversy involved in placing a statue of African American Richmond native and tennis star Arthur Ashe to the famed series of statues of Confederate heroes of the Civil War on Monument Avenue. After several months of controversy, the bronze statue of Ashe was finally completed on Monument Avenue facing the opposite direction of the Confederate Heroes on July 3, 1996.

Richmond entered the twenty-first century in the process of undergoing several redevelopment initiatives. The city completed a $52 million restoration of the James River and Kanawha Canals, as well as the Haxall Canal, in 1999, which included a Canal Walk, designed to attract businesses such as restaurants and nightclubs to the area. The riverfront project has brought the 1.25-mile (2.01 km) corridor back to life, with trendy loft apartments, restaurants, shops and hotels winding along the Canal Walk, along with canal boat cruises and walking tours. Riverfront development continued in April 2003 with the start of construction of Riverside on the James, a 720,000 square foot (66,890 sq m) residential and office complex near Brown's Island between 10th and 12th Streets downtown. The project, costing $90 million, was completed in July 2005, and is expected to attract even more commercial development to the downtown area.

On September 19, 2003, Hurricane Isabel's sustained winds of 40–60 mph (64–96 km/h) caused major power outages in the area.

In September 2004, Tropical Storm Gaston swept through the area, bringing with it intense rain, causing severe flooding in the Shockoe Bottom business district, as well as major electrical outages throughout the metropolitan area.

Richmond is located at 37°32′18.05″N 77°27′41.42″W / 37.5383472°N 77.4615056°W / 37.5383472; -77.4615056 (37.538346, -77.461507). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 62.5 sq mi (162.0 km²). 60.1 sq mi (155.6 km²) of it is land and 2.5 sq mi (6.4 km²) of it (3.96%) is water. The city is located in the Piedmont region of Virginia, at the highest navigable point of the James River. The Piedmont region is categorized by relatively low, rolling hills, and lies between the low, sea level tidewater region and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Significant bodies of water in the region include the James River, the Appomattox River, and the Chickahominy River.

The Richmond-Petersburg Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the 43rd largest in the United States, includes the independent cities of Richmond, Colonial Heights, Hopewell, and Petersburg, as well as the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan, and Prince George. As of July 1, 2005, the total population of the Richmond—Petersburg MSA is 1,194,008.

Richmond's original street grid, laid out in 1737, included the area between what are now Broad, 17th, and 25th Streets and the James River. Modern Downtown Richmond is located slightly farther west, on the slopes of Shockoe Hill. Nearby neighborhoods include Shockoe Bottom, the historically significant and low-lying area between Shockoe Hill and Church Hill, and Monroe Ward, which contains the Jefferson Hotel. Richmond's East End includes neighborhoods like rapidly gentrifying Church Hill, home to St. John's Church, as well as poorer areas like Fulton, Union Hill, and Fairmont, and public housing projects like Mosby Court, Whitcomb Court, Fairfield Court, and Creighton Court closer to Interstate 64.

The area between Belvidere Street, Interstate 195, Interstate 95, and the river, which includes Virginia Commonwealth University, is socioeconomically and architecturally diverse. North of Broad Street, the Carver and Newtowne West neighborhoods are demographically similar to neighboring Jackson Ward, with Carver experiencing some gentrification due to its proximity to VCU. The affluent area between the Boulevard, Main Street, Broad Street, and VCU, known as the Fan, is home to Monument Avenue, an outstanding collection of Victorian architecture, and many students. West of the Boulevard is the Museum District, the location of the Virginia Historical Society and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. South of the Downtown Expressway are Byrd Park, Maymont, Hollywood Cemetery, the predominantly black working class Randolph neighborhood, and white working class Oregon Hill. Cary Street between Interstate 195 and the Boulevard is a popular commercial area called Carytown.

Further to the west is the affluent, suburban West End. The West End also includes middle to lower income neighborhoods, such as Farmington and the areas surrounding the once popular Regency Mall. The University of Richmond and the Country Club of Virginia can be found here.

The portion of the city south of the James River is known as the Southside. Neighborhoods in the city's Southside area range from affluent and middle class suburban neighborhoods like Westover Hills, Southampton, Stratford Hills, Oxford, Huguenot Hills, Hobby Hill, and Woodland Heights to the impoverished Manchester and Blackwell areas, the Hillside Court housing projects, and the ailing Jefferson Davis Highway commercial corridor. Other Southside neighborhoods include Fawnbrook, Broad Rock, Cherry Gardens, Cullenwood, and Beaufont Hills. Much of Southside developed a suburban character as part of Chesterfield County before being annexed by Richmond, most notably in 1970.

The other side of the city, the Northside, began to develop at the end of the 19th century when the new streetcar system made it possible for people to live on the outskirts of town and still commute to jobs downtown. Prominent Northside neighborhoods include Ginter Park, Bellevue, Barton Heights, Highland Park, Azalea, and Chamberlayne.

Richmond has a humid subtropical climate with moderate changes of seasons. Spring arrives in March with mild days and cool nights, and by late May, the temperature has warmed up considerably to herald warm summer days. Summer temperatures can be fairly hot, often topping 90 °F (32 °C) with high humidity. On average, the city receives 47.7 nights below freezing, and July is the warmest month of the year, with the maximum average precipitation. Days stay warm to mild until October, and fall is marked by nights once again becoming cooler. Winter is usually mild in Richmond, with the coldest days featuring lows in the mid-upper 20s and highs in the mid 40s. The highest temperature ever recorded was 107 °F (42 °C) in 1918, and the lowest temperature ever recorded was −12 °F (−24.4 °C) in 1940. On average, the coolest month of the year is January. Snow falls in a typical winter, averaging 12 inches (300 mm) per season.

As of the census of 2000, there were 197,790 people, 84,549 households, and 43,627 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,292.6 people per square mile (1,271.3/km²). There were 92,282 housing units at an average density of 1,536.2/sq mi (593.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 38.30% White, 57.19% African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.25% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 1.49% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.57% of the population.

There were 84,549 households out of which 23.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 27.1% were married couples living together, 20.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.4% were non-families. 37.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.8% under the age of 18, 13.1% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 87.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,121, and the median income for a family was $38,348. Males had a median income of $30,874 versus $25,880 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,337. About 17.1% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.9% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over.

The following tables show Richmond’s crime rate in 6 crimes that Morgan Quitno uses for their calculation for "America's most dangerous cities" ranking, in comparison to the national average. The statistics provided are not for the actual amount of crimes committed, but how many crimes committed Per Capita. All crime rankings provided by Morgan Quitno are based upon the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCRs).

During the crime wave of the late 80's into the early 90's the city had experienced a spike in overall crime, in particular the city’s murder rate. The city had experienced 93 murders for the year of 1985, with a murder rate of 41.9 killings committed per 100,000 residents. Within a 10 year period, the city saw a major increase in total homicides. In 1990 the city experienced 114 murders, given a murder rate of 56.1 killings per 100,000 residents. There were 120 murders for the year of 1995, that year the murder rate was the highest at 59.1 killings per 100,000 residents, such a rate given is one of the absolute highest in the United States.

Morgan Quitno Press 11th Annual America’s Safest and Most Dangerous Cities Awards, ranked Richmond as the 9th most dangerous out of 354 cities for 2004. Richmond was ranked overall as the 5th most dangerous city, and the 12th most dangerous metropolitan area in the United States for the year of 2005. The following year of 2006, Richmond had seen a decline in crime, ranking as the 15th most dangerous city in the United States. However, the FBI discourages the use of its crime statistics for the direct comparison of cities as Morgan Quitno does in its "Most Dangerous Cities" rankings. This is due to the many factors that influence crime in a particular study area such as population density and the degree of urbanization, modes of transportation of highway system, economic conditions, and citizens' attitudes toward crime. According to the FBI, a city to city comparison of crime rates is not meaningful, because recording practices vary from city to city, citizens report different percentages of crimes from one city to the next, and the actual number of people physically present in a city is unknown.

Richmond’s major crime, all violent and property crimes was down 17 percent for the year of 2007, the lowest in more than a quarter century. 2008 statistics show the murder rate for the city remains six and a half times the national average, and seven times the average for the state of Virginia. All other forms of crime tend to be declining, yet remaining above state and national averages. In 2008, the city had recorded the lowest homicide rate since 1971.

Richmond's strategic location on the James River, built on undulating hills at the rocky fall line separating the piedmont and tidewater regions of Virginia provided a natural site for the development of commerce.

The first European explorers came in 1607, from the Virginia Company of London. They discovered a fragrant weed grown by the natives, and tobacco became a lucrative commodity in the area. The trading post developed into a village, and by 1733 a town was laid out by William Byrd II and William Mayo. Its early buildings were clustered around the Farmers' Market, existing today at 17th Street.

Early trade grew rapidly, primarily in the agriculture sector, but also in the slave trade. Slaves were imported to Richmond's Manchester docks from Africa, and were bought and sold at the same market.

To facilitate the transfer of cargo from the flat-bottomed bateaux above the fall line to the ocean-faring ships below, George Washington helped design the James River and Kanawha Canal in the 1700s to bypass Richmond's rapids. The canal was later superseded by rail in the 1800s, and the railroads were laid on the original canal towpaths. In the 1900s highways were constructed in the air over the same area.

Throughout these three centuries and three modes of transportation, downtown has always been a hub, with the Great Turning Basin for boats, the world's only triple crossing of rail lines, and the intersection of two major interstates.

Richmond emerged from the smoldering rubble of the Civil War as an economic powerhouse, with iron front buildings and massive brick factories. Innovations of this era included the world's first cigarette-rolling machine, invented by James Albert Bonsack of Roanoke in 1880/81, and the world's first successful electric street car system.

Law and finance have long been driving forces in the economy. The city is home to both a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and a Federal Reserve Bank, as well as offices for international companies such as Genworth Financial, CapitalOne, Philip Morris USA, and numerous other banks and brokerages. Richmond is also home to three of the largest law firms in the United States: Hunton & Williams, McGuireWoods, and Williams Mullen. Troutman Sanders, LLP, another leading global law firm, also has a significant office in the City of Richmond as does Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen, a personal injury law firm founded in 1910. In a 2006 report, Richmond was cited as having minimal evidence of becoming a Global city.

Since the 1960s Richmond has been a prominent hub for advertising agencies and advertising related businesses, including The Martin Agency. As a result of local advertising agency support, VCU's graduate advertising school (VCU BrandCenter) is consistently ranked the #1 advertising graduate program in the country.

The Greater Richmond area was named the third-best city for business by MarketWatch in September 2007; ranking behind only the Minneapolis and Denver areas and just above Boston. The area is home to nine Fortune 500 companies, including electric utility Dominion Resources; CarMax; Performance Food Group; LandAmerica Financial Group; Owens & Minor; Brink's Company, a security services outfit; Genworth Financial, the former insurance arm of GE, the recently relocated MeadWestvaco, a leading global producer of packaging, coated and specialty papers, consumer and office products and specialty chemicals and Altria Group.

Richmond has the most Fortune 500 headquarters of any city in Virginia and only five metro areas in the country have more Fortune 500 company headquarters than the Richmond area. In addition to the nine Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the Richmond area, four Fortune 1000 companies also have their headquarters located in the area.

Other Fortune 500 companies, while not headquartered in the area, do have a major presence here. These include SunTrust Banks Incorporated (based in Atlanta), Capital One Financial Corporation (officially based in McLean, Virginia, but founded in Richmond with its operations center and most employees in the Richmond area), the medical and pharmaceutical giant, McKesson (based in San Francisco) and Universal Corporation, also in the tobacco industry, has its corporate headquarters here as well. Capital One and Altria company's Philip Morris USA are two of the largest private Richmond-area employers. In 2008, Altria moved its corporate HQ from New York City to Richmond, adding another Fortune 500 corporation to Richmond's list.

DuPont also maintains a production facility known as the Spruance Plant, and Qimonda, formerly Infineon Technologies, has a facility located at Elko Tract (a former WWII airfield and ghost town) near Richmond International Airport, and produces DRAM computer memory in the area.

Richmond is also home to the rapidly developing Virginia BioTechnology Research Park, which opened in 1995 as an incubator facility for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Located adjacent to the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, the park currently has more than 575,000 square feet (53,000 m²) of research, laboratory and office space for a diverse tenant mix of companies, research institutes, government laboratories and non-profit organizations. The United Network for Organ Sharing, which maintains the nation's organ transplant waiting list, occupies one building in the park. Philip Morris USA also recently opened a $350 million research and development facility in the park as well. With approximately 600 additional Philip Morris researchers in 2007, once fully developed in the next five to 10 years, park officials expect the site to employ roughly 3,000 scientists, technicians and engineers.

Richmond is also the home of the Ukrop's Super Market, a regional, family-owned chain of supermarkets, known for its remarkable customer service, innovation, friendly employees,and rainbow cookies as well as its closed-on-Sundays and no-alcohol-on-the-shelves policies. Ukrops is a high-profile sponsor of community events like the Monument Avenue 10K, Easter on Parade, and the Ukrop's Christmas Parade.

In recent years, Richmond has been attempting to revive its downtown. Recent downtown initiatives include the Canal Walk, a new Greater Richmond Convention Center, and expansion on both VCU campuses. Despite numerous controversies related to excessive employee salaries and wasteful spending of public tax money, a new performing arts center, Richmond CenterStage, will reportedly open in 2009. The complex will include a renovation of the Carpenter Center and construction of a new multipurpose hall, community playhouse, and arts education center in parts of the old Thalhimers department store. As planned by the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation (VAPAF), the publicly-funded arts center project now known as CenterStage has been mired in controversy, poor planning and questionable spending of money raised from a special citywide meals tax hike.

The center is set to receive $25 million in 'City of the Future' funds from Mayor Doug Wilder even though the current planners of CenterStage have yet to disclose annual administrative and operating expenses or initiate an artists endowment. There are also few representatives from the area's performing arts community in key positions of authority within the project, leading critics to speculate that CenterStage is more of a real estate deal designed to prop up a failing convention center expansion than a worthwhile arts venture. The city has entertained multiple proposals for a new baseball stadium for the AAA Class Richmond Braves in recent years, but none has yet advanced beyond initial planning. In January, 2008, the Braves announced that in 2009 they will be leaving Richmond for Gwinnett County, GA due to Richmond's continued inaction on an improved ballpark.

In February, 2006, MeadWestvaco announced that they would move from Stamford, Connecticut, to Richmond in 2008. The company is building an 8-10 story office building downtown, near the Federal Reserve building.

Richmond has a significant art community, and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation. In addition to many art venues associated with the university, there are also several attractions nearby, including the Library of Virginia, the Valentine Richmond History Center, the Virginia Historical Society, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Richmond Symphony, and the Richmond Ballet. The Byrd Theatre in Carytown is a classical movie theater from the 1920s era that still features second-run movies on a regular basis, and is popular among the college student population, particularly because of its low ticket price of $1.99.

The Science Museum of Virginia, is also located on Broad Street near the Fan district. It is housed in the neoclassical Union Station, designed by Beaux-Arts-trained John Russell Pope in 1919. Adjacent to the Science Museum is the Richmond Children's Museum, a fun-filled museum with many hands-on activities.

As the former Capital of the Confederate States of America, Richmond is home to many museums and battlefields of the American Civil War. The Museum of the Confederacy, located near the Virginia State Capitol and the MCV Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, is in Court End along with the Davis Mansion, also known as the White House of the Confederacy; both today feature a wide variety of objects and material from the era. Near the riverfront is the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar and Civil War Battlefields National Park Visitors Center. There is a former slave trail along the river as well. The National Park Service's Richmond Civil War Visitor Center, in the Tredegar Iron Works, has three floors of exhibits and artifacts, films, a bookstore, picnic areas and more.

Other historical points of interest include St. John's Church, the site of Patrick Henry's famous, "Give me liberty or give me death" speech, and the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, features many of his writings and other artifacts of his life, particularly when he lived in the city as a child, a student, and a successful writer. The John Marshall House, the home of the former Chief Justice of the United States, is also located downtown and features many of his writings and objects from his life. Hollywood Cemetery is also the burial grounds of two U.S. Presidents as well as many other civil war officers and soldiers. The home of former Confederate General Robert E. Lee still stands on Franklin Street in downtown Richmond.

The city is also home to many monuments, most notably several along Monument Avenue in the Fan District. Other monuments of interest in the city include the A.P. Hill monument, the Bill "Bojangles" Robinson monument, the Christopher Columbus monument, and the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Dedicated in 1956, the Virginia War Memorial is also located on Belvedere near the riverfront, and is a monument to Virginians who died in battle in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. Located near Byrd Park is the famous World War I Memorial Carillon, a 56 bell carillon tower.

Richmond does not have any major league professional sports teams. However, there are several minor league teams.

The Richmond Lions, a USA Rugby Division 2 rugby union team, play at Dorey Park. The Richmond Kickers, a United Soccer Leagues Second Division soccer team, and the 2007 Colonial Athletic Association Champions, Richmond Spider football team play at the University of Richmond Stadium.

The Richmond Coliseum, a 13,000 plus seat multi-purpose arena in downtown Richmond, is the home of a large number of sporting events, concerts, festivals, and trade shows and is also home to the Richmond Renegades of the Southern Professional Hockey League and the Richmond 2010 entry in the American Indoor Football Association. The Colonial Athletic Association has hosted its annual men's basketball tournament at the Coliseum since 1990. The Coliseum has played host as a NCAA men's basketball tournament site and in 1994 played host to the women's basketball Final Four. In December 2006, WWE's Armageddon Live Pay-Per-View was held at the Coliseum.

The Stuart C. Siegel Center, on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in downtown Richmond, is the 7,500 plus seat home multi-purpose arena of the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams. The area also plays host to concerts and local and state high school basketball games and tournaments as well as several high school graduations in the surrounding area.

The Robins Center, a 9,071-seat multi-purpose arena, is home to the University of Richmond Spiders basketball. The Richmond Spiders won the Division 1-AA National Championship in football. They beat Montana 24-7.

Auto racing is also very popular in the area, and the Richmond International Raceway also hosts two annual NASCAR Sprint Cup races, the Suntrust Indy Challenge, as well as other community and sporting events. Southside Speedway also sits just southwest of Richmond in Chesterfield County, and is a .33 mile oval short-track that features weekly stock car racing on Friday nights. Southside Speedway has acted as the breeding grounds for many past NASCAR legends including Richard Petty, Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip, and claims to be the home track of current NASCAR superstar Denny Hamlin. Richmond was considered as one of the possible resting places for the future NASCAR Hall of Fame, but it was ultimately awarded to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Colonial Downs is a horse racing track in New Kent, Virginia adjacent to Interstate 64, approximately 20 miles (32 km) east of Richmond's city limits. The track plays host to the Virginia Derby each July.

Richmond has played host to the Xterra (off-road triathlon) East Championship since 2000. Mountain bikers and Triathletes alike revel in the incredible trail system of the James River Park. Each June the best off-road Triathletes in the world converge on Richmond for the Xterra East Regional Championship bringing with them the Xterra Triathlon festival, including family events, athletic competitions, and a twilight concert.

Richmond lost their only professional sports team, the Richmond Braves, in September 2008. They were a AAA minor league baseball team (the farm team of the Atlanta Braves) that played at The Diamond. They moved to Gwinnett County, Georgia for the start of the 2009 season.

There have been talks that a new baseball stadium is going to be built next to Main Street Station on the James River in Shockhoe Bottom. The Diamond was not mentioned as a site for baseball in the improvement plans of the Boulevard area.

The city operates one of the oldest municipal park systems in the country. The park system began when the city council voted in 1851 to acquire 7.5 acres (3 hectares), now known as Monroe Park. Today, Monroe Park sits adjacent to the Virginia Commonwealth University campus and is one of more than 40 parks comprising a total of more than 1,500 acres (610 hectares).

Several parks are located along the James River, and the James River Parks System offers bike trails, hiking and nature trails, and many scenic overlooks along the river's route through the city. The mountain bike trail system in James River and Forest Hill parks is considered by professional riders to be one of the best urban trail systems in the country. The trails are used as part of the Xterra East Championship course for both the running and mountain biking portions of the off-road triathlon.

There are also parks on two major islands in the river: Belle Isle and Brown's Island. Belle Isle, at various former times a Powhatan fishing village, colonial-era horse race track, and Civil War prison camp, is the larger of the two, and contains many bike trails as well as a small cliff that is used for rock climbing instruction. One can walk the island and still see many of the remains of the Civil War prison camp, such as an arms storage room and a gun emplacement that was used to quell prisoner riots. Brown's Island is a smaller island and a popular venue of a large number of free outdoor concerts and festivals in the spring and summer, such as the weekly Friday Cheers concert series or the James River Beer and Seafood Festival.

Two other major parks in the city are Byrd Park and Maymont, located near the fan district of Richmond. Byrd Park features a one mile (1.6 km) running track, with exercise stops, a public dog park, and a number of small lakes for small boats, as well as two monuments and an amphitheatre. Prominently featured in the park is the World War I Memorial Carillon, built in 1926 as a memorial to those that died in the war. Maymont, located adjacent to Byrd Park, is a 100 acre (40-hectare) Victorian estate with a museum, formal gardens, native wildlife exhibits, nature center, carriage collection, and children's farm. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is located adjacent to the city in Henrico County.

Other parks in the city include Joseph Bryan Park Azalea Garden, Forest Hill Park (former site of the Forest Hill Amusement Park), Chimborazo Park (site of the National Battlefield Headquarters), among others.

Several theme parks are also located near the city, including Kings Dominion to the north, and Busch Gardens to the east, near Williamsburg. UK-based Diggerland will soon begin construction of a construction-themed park planned to open in 2007.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch is the local daily newspaper in Richmond, with a Sunday circulation of 215,000. Style Weekly is an alternative weekly publication covering popular culture, arts, and entertainment. City Edition is a weekly news magazine distributed throughout Richmond that focuses on city government and civic life in the city. Richmond Magazine is the city's monthly magazine. The Richmond Free Press and the Voice cover the news from an African-American perspective. Spanish-language publications in the city include the magazine La Voz Hispana de Virginia and the newspaper, Centro.

The Richmond metro area is served by many local television and radio stations. The Richmond-Petersburg designated market area (DMA) is the 61st largest in the U.S. with 517,800 homes (0.46% of the total U.S.). The major network television affiliates are WTVR-TV 6 (CBS), WRIC-TV 8 (ABC), WWBT 12 (NBC), WRLH-TV 35 (FOX), and WUPV 65 (CW). Public Broadcasting Service stations include WCVE-TV 23 and WCVW 57. There are also a wide variety of radio stations in the Richmond area, catering to many different interests, including news, talk radio, and sports, as well as an eclectic mix of musical interests.

Many films and television shows have been filmed, in whole or in part, in Richmond, including Finnegan Begin Again, Hannibal, The Jackal, Hearts in Atlantis, The Contender, Shadow Conspiracy, Evan Almighty, and Iron Jawed Angels. Additionally, several episodes of the television series "The X-Files" and the feature film "The X-Files: I Want To Believe" take place in Richmond, though filming did not take place in the city. Locations featured in the 1990s television cartoon, "Doug," are named after or inspired by areas in Richmond and nearby counties as creator Jim Jenkins was born and raised in Richmond.

Richmond's elite society has also been portrayed in various popular culture references, such as in 1920s novels by Ellen Glasgow and James Branch Cabell, or the 1990s television sitcom A Different World, which featured the character Whitley Gilbert, an obnoxious and wealthy African American debutante.

Several rock bands were also formed in Richmond, including GWAR, Carbon Leaf, and Lamb of God. The city is considered a hotbed of underground music, especially in the punk and heavy metal genres. The Dave Matthews Band is also often mistakenly associated with the city, though it was actually formed in Charlottesville, Virginia, about 65 miles (105 km) to the west.

RichmondWiki.org launched in the summer of 2008 as a community resource website. Built on MediaWiki and inspired by the Civic Wiki model, anybody is free to add or edit content. Popular categories include Bars and Restaurants, Local Politicians, and Neighborhoods.

Richmond has several historic churches. Because of its early English colonial history from the early 1600s to 1776, Richmond has a number of prominent Anglican/Episcopal churches including Monumental Church, St. Paul's Episcopal Church and St. John's Episcopal Church. Methodists and Baptists made up another section of early churches, and First Baptist Church of Richmond was the first of these, established in 1780. In the Reformed church tradition, the first Presbyterian Church in the City of Richmond was First Presbyterian Church, organized on June 18, 1812. On February 5, 1845, Second Presbyterian Church of Richmond was founded, which was a historic church where Stonewall Jackson attended and was the first Gothic building and the first gas-lit church to be built in Richmond.

Due to the influx of German immigrants in the 1840s, Saint Johns German Evangelical church was formed in 1843. Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral held its first worship service in a rented room at 309 North 7th Street in 1917. The cathedral relocated to 30 Malvern Avenue in 1960 and is noted as one of two Eastern Orthodox churches in Richmond and home to the annual Richmond Greek Festival. There are two other Orthodox churches in the immediate Metropolitan area.

The first Jewish congregation in Richmond was Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalom. Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalom was the sixth congregation in the United States and was the westernmost in the United States at the time of its foundation. By 1822 K.K. Beth Shalom members worshipped in the first synagogue building in Virginia. They eventually merged with Congregation Beth Ahabah, an offshoot of Beth Shalom. There are three Orthodox Synagogues, Congregation Kol Emes, Keneseth Beth Israel, and Chabad of the Virginias. There is an Orthodox Yeshivah K-12 school system known as Rudlin Torah academy. There are two Conservative synagogues, Beth El and Or Atid. There are two Reform synagogues, Beth Ahabah and Or Ami. Along with such religious congregations, there are a variety of other Jewish charitable, educational and social service institutions, each serving the Jewish and general communities. These include the Weinstein Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Services, Jewish Community Federation of Richmond and Richmond Jewish Foundation.

There are several seminaries in Richmond. Three of these have banded together to become the Richmond Theological Consortium. This consortium consists of a theology school at Virginia Union University, a Presbyterian seminary called Union PSCE , and a Baptist seminary known as Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.

Two bishops sit in Richmond, those of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia (the denomination's largest) and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond, which encompasses all of central and southern Virginia and its eastern shore. The Presbytery of the James -- Presbyterian Church (USA) -- also is based in the Richmond area.

There are five masjids in the Greater Richmond area, accommodating the Muslim population. They are Islamic Center of Virginia (ICVA) in the south side, Islamic Society of Greater Richmond (ISGR) in the west end, Masjidullah in the north side, Masjid Bilal near downtown, and Masjid Ar-Rahman in the east end.

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was penned in Richmond by Thomas Jefferson.

Richmond city government consists of a city council with representatives from nine districts serving in a legislative and oversight capacity, as well as a popularly elected, at-large mayor serving as head of the executive branch. Citizens in each of the nine districts elect one council representative each to serve a two-year term. Beginning with the November 2008 election Council terms will be lengthened to 4 years. The city council elects from among its members one member to serve as Council President and one to serve as Council Vice President. The city council meets at City Hall (900 E. Broad St., 2nd Floor) on the second and fourth Mondays of every month, except August.

In 1977, a federal district court ruled in favor of Curtis Holt Jr. who had claimed the councils existing election process — an at large voting system — was racially biased. The verdict required the city to rebuild its council into 9 distinct wards. Within the year the city council switched from majority white to majority black (a reflection of the city's populace). This new city council elected Richmond's first black mayor, Henry L. Marsh.

Richmond's government changed in 2004 from a council-manager form of government to an at-large, popularly elected Mayor. In a landslide election, incumbent mayor Rudy McCollum was defeated by L. Douglas Wilder, who previously served Virginia as the first elected African American governor in the United States since Reconstruction. The current mayor of Richmond is Dwight Clinton Jones. The Mayor is not a part of the Richmond City Council.

As of January 2009, the Richmond City Council consists of: Kathy C. Graziano, 4th District, President of Council; Ellen F. Robertson, 6th District, Vice-President of Council; Bruce Tyler, 1st District; Charles Samuels, 2nd District; Chris A. Hilbert, 3rd District; E. Martin (Marty) Jewell, 5th District; Rev. Delores L. McQuinn, 7th District; Reva M. Trammell, 8th District; and Douglas Conner Jr., 9th District.

The city of Richmond operates 31 elementary schools, nine middle schools, and eight high schools, with a cosmopolitan student population of 25,000 students. They are managed by the Richmond Public Schools school district.

The Richmond area has many major institutions of higher education, including the University of Richmond (private), Virginia Commonwealth University (public), Virginia Union University (private), and the Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education (private). Several community colleges are found in the metro area, including J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and John Tyler Community College (Chesterfield County). In addition, there are several Technical Colleges in Richmond including, ITT Technical Institute, ECPI College of Technology and Beta Tech.

Virginia State University is located about 20 miles (32 km) south of Richmond, in the suburb of Ettrick, just outside of Petersburg, and Randolph-Macon College is located about 15 miles (24 km) north of Richmond, in the incorporated town of Ashland.

The Greater Richmond area is served by the Richmond International Airport (IATA: RIC, ICAO: KRIC), located in nearby Sandston, seven miles (11 km) southeast of Richmond and within an hour drive of historic Williamsburg, Virginia. Richmond International is now served by nine airlines with over 200 daily flights provide non-stop service to major destination markets and connecting flights to destinations worldwide. A record 3.3 million passengers used Richmond International Airport in 2006, a 13% increase over 2005.

Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound Lines. Local transit and paratransit bus service in Richmond, Henrico, and Chesterfield counties is provided by the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC). The GRTC, however, serves only small parts of the suburban counties. The far West End (Innsbrook and Short Pump) and almost all of Chesterfield County have no public transportation despite dense housing, retail, and office development. Recent statistics in the Richmond Times-Dispatch have shown that the vast majority of GRTC riders ride the bus because they do not own a car and have no other choice.

Richmond also has two railroad stations served by Amtrak. Each station receives regular service from north of Richmond from Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York. The suburban Staples Mill Road Station is located on a major north-south freight line and receives all service to and from all points south including, Raleigh, Durham, Savannah, Newport News, Williamsburg and Florida. The historic and recently renovated Main Street Station near downtown Richmond only receives trains bound for Newport News and Williamsburg at this time, due to its track layout. As a result, the Staples Mill Road station receives more service overall.

Richmond also benefits from an excellent position in reference to the state's transportation network, lying at the junction of east-west Interstate 64 and north-south Interstate 95, two of the most heavily traveled highways in the state, as well as along several major rail lines. Other major highways passing through Richmond include U.S. Routes 1, 33, 60, 250, 301 and 360.

Electricity in the Richmond Metro area is provided by Dominion Virginia Power. The company, based in Richmond, is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, serving retail energy customers in nine states. Electricity is provided in the Richmond area primarily by the North Anna Nuclear Generating Station and Surry Nuclear Generating Station, as well as a coal-fired station in Chester, Virginia. These three plants provide a total of 4,453 megawatts of power. Several other natural gas plants provide extra power during times of peak demand. These include a facility in Chester, in Surry, and two plants in Richmond (Gravel Neck and Darbytown).

Water is provided by the city's Department of Public Utilities, and is one of the largest water producers in Virginia, with a modern plant that can treat up to 132 million gallons of water a day from the James River.

Wastewater: The treatment plant and distribution system of water mains, pumping stations and storage facilities provide water to approximately 62,000 customers in the city. The facility also provides water to the surrounding area through wholesale contracts with Henrico, Chesterfield, and Hanover counties. Overall, this results in a facility that provides water for approximately 500,000 people. There is also a wastewater treatment plant located on the south bank of the James River. This plant can treat up to 70 million gallons of water per day of sanitary sewage and stormwater before returning it to the river. The wastewater utility also operates and maintains 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of sanitary sewer, pumping stations, 38 miles (61 km) of intercepting sewer lines, and the Shockoe Retention Basin, a 44-million-gallon stormwater reservoir used during heavy rains.

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