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Purcellville, Virginia
Town of Purcellville
Downtown Purcellville in November 2014
Downtown Purcellville in November 2014
Purcellville, Virginia is located in Northern Virginia
Purcellville, Virginia
Purcellville, Virginia
Location in Northern Virginia
Purcellville, Virginia is located in Virginia
Purcellville, Virginia
Purcellville, Virginia
Location in Virginia
Purcellville, Virginia is located in the United States
Purcellville, Virginia
Purcellville, Virginia
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  Virginia
County Flag of Loudoun County, Virginia.svg Loudoun
Incorporated March 14, 1908
Area
 • Total 3.40 sq mi (8.81 km2)
 • Land 3.38 sq mi (8.77 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.04 km2)
Elevation
574 ft (175 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 8,929
 • Density 2,626.2/sq mi (1,161.02/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
20132, 20134, 20160
Area code(s) 540
FIPS code 51-65008
GNIS feature ID 1472871

Purcellville is a town in Loudoun County, Virginia. The population was 8,929 according to the 2020 Census. Purcellville is the major population center for Western Loudoun and the Loudoun Valley. Many of the older structures remaining in Purcellville reflect the Victorian architecture popular during the early-20th century.

History

Although the first land grant in the area was issued by Lord Fairfax in 1740, it was not until 1764 that Purcellville's first known settler, James Dillon from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, arrived. The early ox cart track which wound westward from Leesburg towards the Blue Ridge, known later as the "Great Road," served as the town's nucleus, although farms existed in the area, and Ketoctin Baptist Church had been founded nearby by 1752. The first recorded business, an ordinary (a combined store and inn), was established by Abraham Vickers in 1799. This was followed by a second ordinary, established by Stacey Taylor in 1804, and later by "Purcel's Store" and Post Office, established by Valentine Vernon Purcell (from whom the town's name is derived). A blacksmith's shop, established around 1848, was also among the Purcellville's earliest businesses. On July 9, 1853 the village officially adopted the name Purcellville

The Great Road became an authorized turnpike in 1785 and extended the turnpike system westward from Alexandria to Snickers Gap, and beyond to Berryville and Winchester. With the construction of this Turnpike in 1832, travel through Purcellville began to increase and the first stagecoach arrived in 1841. A railroad on link on the Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire line (forerunner to the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad) connecting the town to Leesburg and points east was built prior to the Civil War, and travel to points further west were continued by stagecoach through Purcellville.

Although both Union and Confederate armies passed through Purcellville during the Civil War, the town witnessed limited fighting with the most notable action occurring at the skirmish of Heaton's Crossroads. The town and surrounding area were contained within the area known as Mosby's Confederacy, the main area of operations for Confederate partisan John S. Mosby, and the town was pillaged as part of The Burning Raid of 1864 in retribution for the area's support of Mosby's command.

When the railroad was extended to Purcellville in 1874, the town took Leesburg's place as the beginning of the stage route until the railroad was extended to Round Hill in 1875. The Southern Railway constructed the still-existing Purcellville Train Station in 1891. The railroad ceased operation in 1968. Its right-of-way serves as the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park, which has its western terminus at the station.

The first public school was built in 1883. On March 14, 1908 the town was incorporated by an act of Virginia's General Assembly.

In the 20th century, a series of disastrous fires, the first in 1900 and then two more in 1914, virtually wiped out the business district, depriving the town of what remained of its earliest architectural heritage. The town's prominent location in the center of the Loudoun Valley and presence of the railroad helped the town to become the major agricultural center of western Loudoun and led to redevelopment and expansion of the business district in the early and mid 20th century. In the latter 20th century, widening of Virginia State Route 7 has led to increased suburban development in and around the town and Purcellville's traditional dependence upon agriculture as its primary source of income has since diminished as more and more residents are employed outside of the community .

In addition to the Purcellville Train Station, Locust Grove, the Purcellville Historic District, Rich Bottom Farm, and The Tabernacle-Fireman's Field are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography

Purcellville is located at 39°8′4″N 77°42′40″W / 39.13444°N 77.71111°W / 39.13444; -77.71111 (39°8′4″N 77°42′40″W / 39.13444°N 77.71111°W / 39.13444; -77.71111).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2), all of it land.

Purcellville lies in western Loudoun County, Virginia, in the heart of the Loudoun Valley, approximately 9 miles west of the County Seat of Leesburg, Virginia. Just to the west are the Blue Ridge Mountains (visible from many areas of town) and the town Round Hill, 4 miles (6.4 km) away. Philomont is 5 miles (8.0 km) miles south, and Middleburg, Virginia is approximately 12 miles (19 km) to the southeast. Lovettsville is approximately 11 miles (18 km) to the north.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 98
1910 388
1920 549 41.5%
1930 747 36.1%
1940 787 5.4%
1950 945 20.1%
1960 1,419 50.2%
1970 1,775 25.1%
1980 1,567 −11.7%
1990 1,744 11.3%
2000 3,584 105.5%
2010 7,727 115.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2020, there were 8,929 people, and 2,986 households. The population density was 2,626.2 inhabitants per square mile (1,014.0/km2).The racial makeup of the town was 83.2% White, 6.8% African American, 0.3% Native American, 4.7% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 4.4% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.2% of the population.

The median income for a household in the town was $139,073. The per capita income for the town was $46,399. 3.0% of the population were below the poverty line.

Library

The Purcellville Public Library is a county-owned public lending library. The Purcellville Public Library was founded in 1938 by Clarence Robey and Gertrude Robey. The library was designed by Delos H. Smith, and built in 1937. The Purcellville Library and its bookmobile service were some of the initial branches in the creation of the Loudoun County Public Library system, established in 1973, alongside the Sterling Public Library.

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, Purcellville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.



Education

The town's educational institutions include public and private institutions. Loudoun County Public Schools operates the public schools within the town. Public schools covering kindergarten to twelfth grade include Loudoun Valley High School, Woodgrove High School, Blue Ridge Middle School, Harmony Middle School, Emerick, Kenneth W. Culbert, and Mountain View Elementary Schools. Patrick Henry College, a private Christian liberal arts college, is located just inside the eastern border of Purcellville.

2019-09-27 12 48 03 View west along Virginia State Route 7 (Harry Byrd Highway) from the overpass for Virginia State Route 690 (Hillsboro Road-North 21st Street) in Purcellville, Loudoun County, Virginia
SR 7 westbound in Purcellville, the largest highway in Purcellville

Transportation

The primary highway serving Purcellville is Virginia State Route 7. SR 7 extends eastward to Leesburg and beyond, eventually terminating in Alexandria, with interchanges at Interstate 495, Interstate 66 and Interstate 395. Towards the west, SR 7 passes Berryville before terminating at Winchester, where it interchanges with Interstate 81. The current alignment of SR 7 through Purcellville is actually a bypass of the original road through the middle of Purcellville, which now comprises SR 7 Business.

Virginia State Route 287 also serves Purcellville. Starting at SR 7 Business, SR 287 heads north, passing through Lovettsville before terminating at the Potomac River, where a bridge connects SR 287 to Brunswick, Maryland.

Notable people

  • Shaun Alexander, NFL player
  • Henry Cole, illustrator
  • Michael Farris, lawyer and activist
  • Drew Hunter, runner
  • Martin Lawrence, actor and comedian
  • Blair Brown Lipsit, volleyball player for Penn State
  • Billy Pierce, choreographer
  • Betsy Woodruff Swan, journalist
  • Madeleine Albright, diplomat
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