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Lexington, Virginia facts for kids

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Lexington, Virginia
Independent city
Downtown Lexington
Downtown Lexington
Location of Lexington, Virginia
Location of Lexington, Virginia
Country United States
State Virginia
County None (Independent city)
 • Total 2.5 sq mi (6 km2)
 • Land 2.5 sq mi (6 km2)
Elevation 1,063 ft (324 m)
Population (2012)
 • Total 6,998
 • Density 2,817/sq mi (1,088/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
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 east of the West Virginia border and is about 50 miles north of Roanoke, Virginia. It was first settled in 1777.

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


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.


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.


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.


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%
Est. 2015 7,262 3.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2012

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.

Flag controversy

In 2011, the city erupted in controversy after the City Council passed an ordinance to ban the flying of flags other than the United States flag, the Virginia Flag, and an as-yet-undesigned city flag on city light poles. Various flags of the Confederacy had previously been flown on city light poles to commemorate the Virginia holiday, Lee–Jackson Day, which is observed on the Friday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. About 300 Confederate flag supporters, including members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, rallied before the City Council meeting, and after the vote the Sons of Confederate Veterans vowed to challenge the new local ordinance in court. Previously, flags such as the Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute flags had also been flown on city light poles but the practice is now discontinued due to the city's ordinance. Through July 2013, attempts to overturn the ordinance have failed.

Previously, a 1993 federal injunction had prohibited Lexington from barring individuals' displaying the Confederate flag. The current ordinance applies only to displays from city light poles; individuals still may exercise their First Amendment rights, including displaying flags of their choice.

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.
  • George C. Marshall Foundation
  • Robert E. Lee grave site, found in Lee Chapel on the W&L campus.
  • Traveller (Lee's horse) grave site, found along a walkway just outside Lee Chapel.
  • Stonewall Jackson grave site, found at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery
  • Sam Houston place of birth (nearby)
  • Cyrus McCormick Farm, birthplace and museum (nearby)
  • Kappa Alpha Order international headquarters
  • Omicron Delta Kappa national headquarters
  • Sigma Nu international headquarters
  • Boxerwood Gardens
  • Chessie Nature Trail follows the former C&O railway bed along the Maury River
  • Natural Bridge (nearby)
  • Hull's Drive In, the first non-profit drive-in theatre in the U.S. (nearby)
  • Gems of the Rockbridge geocaching trail
  • Located near Lexington are a number of properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including: Anderson Hollow Archaeological District, Cedar Hill Church and Cemeteries, Chapel Hill, Church Hill, Clifton, Hamilton Schoolhouse, Liberty Hall Site, Lylburn Downing School, Maple Hall, John Moore House, Mountain View Farm, Margaret E. Poague House, Springdale, Stone House, Sunnyside, Tankersley Tavern, Thorn Hill, Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church, and Willson House.
  • Lexington Carriage Company

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