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Lexington, Virginia
Main Street, Lexington
Main Street, Lexington
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Coordinates: 37°47′2″N 79°26′34″W / 37.78389°N 79.44278°W / 37.78389; -79.44278Coordinates: 37°47′2″N 79°26′34″W / 37.78389°N 79.44278°W / 37.78389; -79.44278
Country United States
State Virginia
County None (Independent city)
Area
 • Total 2.52 sq mi (6.54 km2)
 • Land 2.50 sq mi (6.47 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.07 km2)
Elevation
1,063 ft (324 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 7,042
 • Estimate 
(2019)
7,446
 • Density 2,979.59/sq mi (1,150.32/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
24450
Area code(s) 540
FIPS code 51-45512
GNIS feature ID 1498506
Website Lexington, Virginia

Lexington is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 7,042. It is the county seat of Rockbridge County, although the two are separate jurisdictions. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Lexington (along with nearby Buena Vista) with Rockbridge County for statistical purposes. Lexington is about 57 miles (92 km) east of the West Virginia border and is about 50 miles (80 km) north of Roanoke, Virginia. It was first settled in 1778.

Lexington is the location of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and of Washington and Lee University (W&L).

City Council

Official Position
Frank Friedman Mayor
Marylin E. Alexander Councilwoman
Leslie Straughan Councilwoman
Michele Hentz Councilwoman
J. Patrick Rhamey, Jr. Councilman
David Sigler Councilman
Charles "Chuck" Smith Councilman

History

Lexington was named in 1778. It was one of the first of what would be many American places named after Lexington, Massachusetts, known for being the place at which the first shot was fired in the American Revolution.

The Union General David Hunter led a raid on Virginia Military Institute during the American Civil War. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are buried here. It is the site of the only house Jackson ever owned, now open to the public as a museum. Cyrus McCormick invented the horse-drawn mechanical reaper at his family's farm in Rockbridge County and a statue of McCormick is located on the Washington and Lee University campus. McCormick Farm is now owned by Virginia Tech and is a satellite agricultural research center.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), virtually all of which is land. The Maury River, a tributary of the James River, forms the city's northeastern boundary.

Climate

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Lexington has a humid subtropical climate, similar to Northern Italy, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 1,743
1860 2,135 22.5%
1870 2,873 34.6%
1880 2,771 −3.6%
1890 3,059 10.4%
1900 3,203 4.7%
1910 2,931 −8.5%
1920 2,870 −2.1%
1930 3,752 30.7%
1940 3,914 4.3%
1950 5,976 52.7%
1960 7,537 26.1%
1970 7,597 0.8%
1980 7,292 −4.0%
1990 6,959 −4.6%
2000 6,867 −1.3%
2010 7,042 2.5%
2020 7,320 3.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010-2012
2020

As of the census of 2000, there were 6,867 people, 2,232 households, and 1,080 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,753.8 per square mile (,064.8/km2). The racial makeup was 86.01% White, 10.38% African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.92% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander and 0.48% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population.

There were 2,232 households, of which 18.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.9% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 51.6% were non-families. 41.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06 and the average family size was 2.76.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 11.0% under the age of 18, 41.4% from 18 to 24, 14.5% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23 years. For every 100 females, there were 123.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 127.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,982, and the median income for a family was $58,529. Males had a median income of $35,288 versus $26,094 for females. The per capita income was $16,497. About 8.4% of families and 21.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.9% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.

Points of interest

LexingtonVA HighSchool
Lexington High School, designed by architect Charles M. Robinson and constructed in 1908, was typical of the modern public schools that cities built during the Progressive Era.

Economy

Lee Chapel
University Chapel

Today, Lexington's primary economic activities stem from higher education and tourism. With its various connections to the Civil War, Lexington attracts visitors from around the country. Places of interest in Lexington include the Stonewall Jackson House, Lee Chapel, the George C. Marshall Museum, Virginia Military Institute Museum, Museum of Military Memorabilia, and the downtown historic district. Hull's Drive In theater attracts visitors to the area and was the first community-owned, non-profit drive-in in the U.S.

Lexington also contains a host of small retail businesses, bed and breakfast inns, and restaurants catering to a unique mixture of local, tourist, and collegiate clientele. The historic R. E. Lee Hotel, built in the 1920s, underwent extensive renovation and re-opened its doors late 2014.

Transportation

Lexington is located at the intersection of historic U.S. Route 11 and U.S. Route 60 and more modern highways, Interstate 64 and Interstate 81. RADAR Transit operates the Maury Express, which provides local bus service to Lexington and Buena Vista. The Virginia Breeze provides intercity bus service between Blacksburg and Washington, D.C., with a stop in Lexington.

Notable people

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