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Culpeper County, Virginia facts for kids

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Culpeper County
Culpeper County Courthouse
Culpeper County Courthouse
Flag of Culpeper County
Official seal of Culpeper County
Map of Virginia highlighting Culpeper County
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Virginia
Founded 1749
Named for Thomas Colepeper
Seat Culpeper
Largest town Culpeper
 • Total 383 sq mi (990 km2)
 • Land 379 sq mi (980 km2)
 • Water 3.3 sq mi (9 km2)  0.9%
 • Total 52,552
 • Density 137.21/sq mi (52.98/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 7th

Culpeper County is a county located in the central region of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 46,689. Its county seat and only incorporated community is Culpeper.

Home to many of Virginia's antebellum plantation homes and thousands of acres of farmland, the rolling hills of the Piedmont region and the westernmost flats of the Northern Neck collide in rural Culpeper County.

Culpeper County is included in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.


At the time of European encounter, the inhabitants of the area that became Culpeper County were a Siouan-speaking sub-group of the Manahoac tribe called the Tegninateo. Culpeper County was established in 1749 from Orange County. The county is named for Thomas Colepeper, 2nd Baron Colepeper, colonial governor of Virginia from 1677 to 1683. During the Civil War the Battle of Cedar Mountain took place on August 9, 1862 and the Battle of Brandy Station on June 9, 1863, in Culpeper County.

In May 1749, the first Culpeper Court convened in the home of Robert Coleman, not far from where the Town of Culpeper is now located. In July 1749, 17-year-old George Washington was commissioned as the first County surveyor. One of his first duties was to lay out the County's courthouse complex, which included the courthouse, jail, stocks, gallows and accessory buildings. By 1752 the complex stood at what is now the northeast corner of Davis and Main Streets. The courthouse village was named the Town of Fairfax after Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron (1693–1781).

During the Virginia convention held in May 1775, the colony was divided into sixteen districts. Each district had instructions to raise a battalion of men "to march at a minute's notice." Culpeper, Orange and Fauquier, forming one district, raised 350 men in "Clayton's old field" on the Catalpa estate, who came to be called the Culpeper Minute Men. In December, the Minute Men, marching under their flag depicting a rattlesnake and inscribed with the words "Liberty or Death" and "Don't Tread on Me", took part in the Battle of Great Bridge, the first Revolutionary battle on Virginia soil. The Culpeper Minute Men reorganized in 1860 in response to the impending Civil War and became part of 13th Infantry's Company B. The Culpeper Minutemen were again organized for World War I, and joined the 116th Infantry.

Culpeper County is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are quickly accessed beginning with Old Rag Mountain and the Skyline Drive just up Route 522.

Culpeper County is home to Commonwealth Park, site for many world-class equestrian events. It was here that actor Christopher Reeve suffered his accident during a competition.

Culpeper is home to famous battlefield at Brandy Station and the boyhood home to Civil War General A. P. Hill.

The town of Culpeper was rated #10 by Norman Crampton, author of "The 100 Best Small Towns in America," in February, 1993.

Culpeper was the last County in Virginia to integrate schools.

In April 2016, the county Board of Supervisors denied a routine request from the Islamic Center of Culpeper for a pump and haul permit to serve their envisioned mosque. This act resulted in a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice in December.


Cornfields east of Culpeper, VA IMG 4315
Cornfields east of Culpeper

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 383 square miles (990 km2), of which 379 square miles (980 km2) is land and 3.3 square miles (8.5 km2) (0.9%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 15
  • US 29
  • US 211
  • US 522
  • SR 3
  • SR 229
  • SR 299


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 22,105
1800 18,100 −18.1%
1810 18,967 4.8%
1820 20,944 10.4%
1830 24,027 14.7%
1840 11,393 −52.6%
1850 12,282 7.8%
1860 12,063 −1.8%
1870 12,227 1.4%
1880 13,408 9.7%
1890 13,233 −1.3%
1900 14,123 6.7%
1910 13,472 −4.6%
1920 13,292 −1.3%
1930 13,306 0.1%
1940 13,365 0.4%
1950 13,242 −0.9%
1960 15,088 13.9%
1970 18,218 20.7%
1980 22,620 24.2%
1990 27,791 22.9%
2000 34,262 23.3%
2010 46,689 36.3%
Est. 2016 49,388 5.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015

As of the census of 2000, there were 34,262 people, 12,141 households, and 9,045 families residing in the county. The population density was 40 people per square mile (18/km²). There were 12,871 housing units at an average density of 34 per square mile (13/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 68.27% White, 28.15% Black or African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.66% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.15% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. 2.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,141 households out of which 35.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.50% were married couples living together, 11.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.50% were non-families. 20.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.70% under the age of 18, 8.10% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 11.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 103.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $45,290, and the median income for a family was $51,475. Males had a median income of $36,621 versus $25,985 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,162. About 27.00% of families and 29.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.30% of those under age 18 and 28.60% of those age 65 or over.


US Route 211 in Culpeper County
U.S. Route 211 as it passes through Culpeper County


Unincorporated communities

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