- Rockingham County, Virginia
Infobox U.S. County
county = Rockingham County
state = Virginia
map size = 225
founded = 1778
seat = Harrisonburg | area_total_sq_mi =853
area percentage = 0.25%
census yr = 2000
pop = 67725
web = www.rockinghamcountyva.gov/
Rockingham County is a county located in the
U.S. stateof Virginia. As of the 2000 census, the population was 67,725. Its county seatis HarrisonburgGR|6. Rockingham County is included in the Harrisonburg, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area and is home of the Rockingham County Baseball League.
Settlement of this portion of the
Colony of Virginiaby Europeans began around 1745. Standing between the Tidewater and Piedmont regions to the east in Virginia and the Shenandoah Valleyand the area beyond (known in old Virginia as the "Transmountaine") were the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rather than cross such a formidable physical barrier, most early settlers came southerly up the Valley across the Potomac River from Marylandand Pennsylvania. Many followed the Great Wagon Trail, also known as the Valley Pike( U.S. Route 11in modern times).
Rockingham County was established in 1778 from Augusta County. Harrisonburg was named as the
county seatand incorporated as a town in 1780 (later becoming an independent city, although remaining the county seat). [ http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~varockin/ ]
The county is named for
Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, a British statesman (1730-1782). He was Prime Minister of Great Britain twice, and a keen supporter of constitutional rights for the colonists. During his first term, repealed the Stamp Act of 1765, reducing the tax burden on the colonies. Appointed again in 1782, upon taking office, he backed the claim for the independence of the Thirteen Colonies, initiating an end to British involvement in the American Revolutionary War. However, he died after only 14 weeks in office.
By 1778, it was unusual to honor British officials in Virginia, fighting for its independence. The same year, immediately to the north of Rockingham County, Dunmore County, named for Virginia's last Royal Governor,
John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, an unpopular figure was renamed. The new name, Shenandoah County, used a Native American name.
However, long their political supporter in the British
Parliament, the Marquess of Rockingham was a popular figure with the citizens of the new United States. Also named in his honor were Rockingham County, New Hampshire, Rockingham County, North Carolina, and the City of Rockingham in Richmond County, North Carolina.
Rockingham County is the third largest county in Virginia. [ http://www.rockinghamcountyva.gov/showpage.aspx?PageID=6 ] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 853
square miles (2,210 km²), of which, 851 square miles (2,204 km²) of it is land and 2 square miles (6 km²) of it (0.25%) is water.
Pendleton County, West Virginia- west
Hardy County, West Virginia- north
Shenandoah County, Virginia- northeast
Page County, Virginia- east
Greene County, Virginia- southeast
Albemarle County, Virginia- southeast
Augusta County, Virginia- southwest
Harrisonburg, Virginia- center ( enclave)
George Washington National Forest(part)
Shenandoah National Park(part)
As of the
censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 67,725 people, 25,355 households, and 18,889 families residing in the county. The population densitywas 80 people per square mile (31/km²). There were 27,328 housing units at an average density of 32 per square mile (12/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.58% White, 1.36% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.90% from other races, and 0.73% from two or more races. 3.28% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 25,355 households out of which 32.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.40% were married couples living together, 7.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.50% were non-families. 21.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.60% under the age of 18, 8.70% from 18 to 24, 28.90% from 25 to 44, 23.80% from 45 to 64, and 13.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 97.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $40,748, and the median income for a family was $46,262. Males had a median income of $30,618 versus $21,896 for females. The
per capita incomefor the county was $18,795. About 5.30% of families and 8.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.10% of those under age 18 and 9.70% of those age 65 or over.
"For public schools, see
Rockingham County Public Schools"
Colleges and universities
Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave, Virginia
Bridgewater CollegeBridgewater, Virginia
Eastern Mennonite UniversityHarrisonburg, Virginia
James Madison UniversityHarrisonburg, Virginia
Points of Interest
Two Turkey statues, one at either end of Route 11 signal that you are in the [http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/images/va/VAELKturkey.jpg"Turkey Capital."] Rockingham county is the leader of Virgina in poultry production.
Since it became an
independent city, Harrisonburg is no longer politically located in Rockingham County, despite its status as the county seat.
Rockingham County is principally served by
Norfolk Southern Railway, a (major) Class 1 railroadand additionally, by the Shenandoah Valley Railroad, a short-line railroad.
There are three major Primary State Highways in the county. (A primary road provides service which is relatively continuous and of relatively high traffic volume, long average trip length, high operating speed and high mobility importance). [ http://www.highlandcova.org/Compplan/Tranverb.htm ] Interstate highways and primary highways in Virginia are maintained by the
Virginia Department of Transportation(VDOT).
These primary state highways are:
U.S. Route 11a north-south roadway which Interstate 81 parallels, U.S. Route 11 follows an old Native American trail, later known as the Valley Turnpike.
* U.S. Route 33 is an east-west road which extends from a mountain ridge border with
West Virginiaacross the Shenandoah Valley through Harrisonburg and Elkton. East of there, it climbs the western slope of the Blue Ridge Mountainsto reach Swift Run Gap, a wind gaplocated at an elevation of 2,365 feet. the bucolic Skyline Drive, which is part of Shenandoah National Park, has an entry point at Swift Run Gap and the Appalachian Trailalso passes through nearby. The mountain ridge forms the border between Rockingham County and Greene County. (U.S. 33 continues east to Richmond).
U.S. Route 340in a north-south roadway which runs along the western slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Valley.
Secondary roads: As provided by the
Byrd Road Actof 1932, secondary roads in Rockingham County are also maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
* [http://www.rockinghamcountyva.gov/ Rockingham County]
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