Rockingham County, Virginia


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_water_sq_mi =2
area percentage = 0.25%
census yr = 2000
pop = 67725
density_km2 =31
web = www.rockinghamcountyva.gov/
|

Rockingham County is a county located in the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2000 census, the population was 67,725. Its county seat is HarrisonburgGR|6. Rockingham County is included in the Harrisonburg, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area and is home of the Rockingham County Baseball League.

History

Settlement of this portion of the Colony of Virginia by Europeans began around 1745. Standing between the Tidewater and Piedmont regions to the east in Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley and 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 Maryland and Pennsylvania. Many followed the Great Wagon Trail, also known as the Valley Pike (U.S. Route 11 in modern times).

Rockingham County was established in 1778 from Augusta County. Harrisonburg was named as the county seat and 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 During his first term, repealed the Stamp Act of 1765, reducing the tax burden on the colonies.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.

Geography

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.

Adjacent counties

* 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)

National protected areas

* George Washington National Forest (part)
* Shenandoah National Park (part)

Demographics

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 density was 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 income for 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.

Education

"For public schools, see Rockingham County Public Schools"

Colleges and universities

*Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave, Virginia
*Bridgewater College Bridgewater, Virginia
*Eastern Mennonite University Harrisonburg, Virginia
*James Madison University Harrisonburg, 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.

Communities

Incorporated Towns

*Bridgewater
*Broadway
*Dayton
*Elkton
*Grottoes
*Mount Crawford
*Timberville

Unincorporated Communities

Independent city

Since it became an independent city, Harrisonburg is no longer politically located in Rockingham County, despite its status as the county seat.

Transportation

Railroads

Rockingham County is principally served by Norfolk Southern Railway, a (major) Class 1 railroad and additionally, by the Shenandoah Valley Railroad, a short-line railroad.

Highways

Interstate 81 runs north-south and meets east-west Interstate 64 near Staunton to the south in adjacent Augusta County.

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 11 a 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 Virginia across the Shenandoah Valley through Harrisonburg and Elkton. East of there, it climbs the western slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains to reach Swift Run Gap, a wind gap located 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 Trail also 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 340 in 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 Act of 1932, secondary roads in Rockingham County are also maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

References

External links

* [http://www.rockinghamcountyva.gov/ Rockingham County]


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