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Ettrick, Virginia
Ettick historic marker and steps to VSU, viewed from Campbell's Bridge over the Appomattox River
Ettick historic marker and steps to VSU, viewed from Campbell's Bridge over the Appomattox River
Location of Ettrick, Virginia
Location of Ettrick, Virginia
Country United States
State Virginia
County Chesterfield
 • Total 3.0 sq mi (7.8 km2)
 • Land 2.9 sq mi (7.6 km2)
 • Water 0.08 sq mi (0.2 km2)
105 ft (32 m)
 • Total 6,682
 • Density 2,219/sq mi (857/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
FIPS code 51-26128
GNIS feature ID 1496888

Ettrick is a census-designated place (CDP) in Chesterfield County, Virginia, United States. The population was 6,682 at the 2010 census. The town is home to Virginia State University and the Petersburg Amtrak train station.

Most of Ettrick has a Petersburg mailing address, ZIP code 23803, although the community is not part of the city of Petersburg.


Ettrick was named around 1765 by the foreign merchant Neil Buchanan, who dubbed the eventual village Ettrick Banks for its similarities to his native Ettrick area of Selkirk, Scotland.

Capt. Christopher Newport led expeditions in this area. Near Petersburg, which developed as an industrial city, Ettrick also developed industry. It had cotton mills, as it was on the fall line and could use water power.

During the American Civil War, the Confederate Army established a large hospital here. In the late nineteenth century, the biracial state legislature established the first state-supported black college, founded here in 1882 as Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute (now Virginia State University). John Mercer Langston, who founded the Law School at Howard University, was its first president. He was elected as a US Congressman from Virginia from here. Vawter Hall and Old President's House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

One of the longstanding landmarks is Campbell's Bridge, first built around 1810. It has been reconstructed several times and is the only direct thoroughfare from the village across the river into Petersburg.

Ettrick today

Currently there is an active Historical Society, gathering for many annual events including a "Burns Night", which celebrates the life's works of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. The evening includes a traditional dinner of haggis. Heritage Day is observed every second Saturday in April, complete with pipe and drums, food, clans, and Native American, Civil War, and pirate re-enactors.


Ettrick is located at 37°14′34″N 77°25′32″W / 37.24278°N 77.42556°W / 37.24278; -77.42556 (37.242750, −77.425418).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 3.0 square miles (7.8 km2), of which 2.9 square miles (7.6 km2) is land and 0.08 square miles (0.2 km2), or 2.48%, is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1980 4,890
1990 5,290 8.2%
2000 5,627 6.4%
2010 6,682 18.7%

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,627 people, 1,517 households, and 989 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,884.0 people per square mile (726.6/km2). There were 1,673 housing units at an average density of 560.1/sq mi (216.0/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 21.49% White, 75.14% African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 1.00% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.22% of the population.

There were 1,517 households, out of which 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.4% were married couples living together, 20.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 26.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 17.6% under the age of 18, 40.1% from 18 to 24, 20.6% from 25 to 44, 13.0% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females, there were 78.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.2 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $38,470, and the median income for a family was $43,357. Males had a median income of $33,241 versus $28,134 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $13,251. About 6.7% of families and 11.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.2% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people

  • Robert Prentiss Daniel, born in Ettrick; African-American educator and college administrator, president of Virginia State University for 18 years
  • James Farrior, plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL and holds two Super Bowl rings
  • Rudi Johnson, former All Pro running back for the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL
  • John Mercer Langston, first president of Virginia State University in 1882 and US Congressman from Virginia
  • Lennie Pond, NASCAR Rookie of the year was born in Ettrick
  • Robert 'Bob' Eanes, Chesterfield County's first Fire Chief. Born Ettrick.

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