Abingdon, Virginia

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Abingdon
Abingdon VA Welcome Sign.jpg
Abingdon Welcome Sign
AbingdonSeal.png
Motto(s): 
Honor Pro Antiquis, Fides Pro Futuris
VAMap-doton-Abingdon.png
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
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Abingdon
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
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Abingdon
Location in the United States
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Abingdon
Abingdon (North America)
Coordinates: 36°42′35″N81°58′32″W / 36.70972°N 81.97556°W / 36.70972; -81.97556 Coordinates: 36°42′35″N81°58′32″W / 36.70972°N 81.97556°W / 36.70972; -81.97556
CountryUnited States
State Virginia
County Washington
Founded1778
Government
   Mayor Derrick Webb
Area
[1]
  Total8.06 sq mi (20.87 km2)
  Land8.05 sq mi (20.85 km2)
  Water0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
Elevation
2,087 ft (636 m)
Population
 (2020)
  Total8,376
  Estimate 
(2019) [2]
7,867
  Density1,039/sq mi (377.38/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
24210-24212
Area code 276
FIPS code 51-00148 [3]
GNIS feature ID1498444 [4]
Website www.abingdon-va.gov

Abingdon is a town in Washington County, Virginia, United States, 133 miles (214 km) southwest of Roanoke. The population was 8,376 at the 2020 census. It is the county seat of Washington County. [5] The town encompasses several historically significant sites and features a fine arts and crafts scene centered on the galleries and museums along Main Street.

Contents

Abingdon is part of the KingsportBristol (TN)Bristol (VA) Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City−Kingsport−Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area − commonly known as the Tri-Cities region.

History

View of Abingdon c. 1845 Historical Collections of Virginia - Abingdon.jpg
View of Abingdon c.1845
Barter Theatre Barter theater.png
Barter Theatre

The region was long the territory of varying cultures of indigenous peoples, including the Chisca and Xualae. From the late 17th-century, it was occupied by the Cherokee Nation, whose territory extended from the present-day area of borders of Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky through the spine of North Carolina and later into Georgia.

Between 1748 and 1750, Dr. Thomas Walker, a principal in the Loyal Land Company, surveyed the land where the town of Abingdon is now situated. It was on the Great Road that Colonel William Byrd III ordered cut through the wilderness on to Kingsport, Tennessee. [6] Walker called it the Wolf Hill Tract. [7] In the twenty-first century, the town sponsored a public art event, in which artists created 27 wolf sculptures, which were installed around the town. Most were later sold at an auction to raise money for Advance Abingdon. [6]

Between 1765 and 1770 James Douglas, Andrew Colville, George Blackburn, Joseph Black, Samuel Briggs and James Piper settled in and around present-day Abingdon under purchases from Dr. Thomas Walker. By 1773 there were enough settlers, primarily Scots-Irish, to establish Presbyterian congregations, and the Rev. Charles Cummings became the first settled pastor west of the Alleghany Mountains. [8]

During Lord Dunmore's War, Joseph Black built Black's Fort in 1774 to protect local settlers in the region from attacks by the Cherokee of the Lower Towns. [6] It consisted of a log stockade, with a few log cabins inside, where nearby settlers took refuge in event of attack. They retreated to the fort in 1776 when attacked by the war leader Dragging Canoe and his Chickamauga Cherokee forces. Hoping to push out the colonists, the Cherokee had allied with the British in the American Revolutionary War. [9] The settlement was known as Black's Fort prior to being named Abingdon. Black, Briggs and Walker donated the 120 acres of land upon which the original town was laid out.

The area was at the intersection of two great Indian trails, which had followed ancient animal migration trails through the mountains. It was a prime location as a trade center and access point to the west and south. In 1776 the community of Black's Fort was made the county seat of the newly formed Washington county. In 1778, Black's Fort was incorporated as the town of Abingdon, said to be named for Abingdon-on-Thames the ancestral home of Martha Washington in Oxfordshire, England. Other possible namesakes for the town include Jake Dore's home in Abington, Pennsylvania, or Lord Abingdon, friend of settler William Campbell. [10]

With a bequest of $10,000 from salt entrepreneur William King, the Abingdon Male Academy opened in 1824. By 1830, over forty students were enrolled. It continued to thrive until 1861 when classes were suspended during the Civil War, and eventually closed in 1905. The property later became the Abingdon High School and is now home to the William King Museum of Art. [11]

Martha Washington College, a school for women, operated in Abingdon from 1860 to 1932 in the former residence of Gen. Francis Preston which was built about 1832. [12] Since 1935 the building has been occupied and operated as a hotel, the Martha Washington Inn. In 1867, Roman Catholics opened Villa Maria Academy of the Visitation for the education of young ladies. [13] The Stonewall Jackson Female Institute operated from 1868 to 1930 in the former residence of Gov. John B. Floyd next to the Preston home. [14]

The Barter Theatre, the state theatre of Virginia, was opened in Abingdon in 1933 during the Great Depression. It is now the longest-running professional equity theatre in the United States.

Abingdon is the final stop along the Virginia Creeper Trail, which allows pedestrian, cyclist and equestrian traffic. This rail-to-trail conversion is 35 miles long, extending from Whitetop Mountain through Damascus, Virginia, with the trailhead in Abingdon. The Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia, located in Abingdon, serves as a regional genealogy center, in addition to being a repository for Washington County history. [15]

The Abingdon Historic District, Abingdon Bank, Mont Calm, Moonlite Theatre, Dr. William H. Pitts House, White's Mill, and Baker-St. John House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [16] [17]

Climate

Climate data for Abingdon, Virginia (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1969–present)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °F (°C)75
(24)
79
(26)
85
(29)
91
(33)
91
(33)
99
(37)
99
(37)
100
(38)
97
(36)
90
(32)
82
(28)
78
(26)
100
(38)
Average high °F (°C)44.9
(7.2)
48.4
(9.1)
57.0
(13.9)
67.7
(19.8)
75.2
(24.0)
81.8
(27.7)
84.7
(29.3)
83.9
(28.8)
79.1
(26.2)
68.8
(20.4)
57.4
(14.1)
47.8
(8.8)
66.4
(19.1)
Daily mean °F (°C)34.5
(1.4)
37.5
(3.1)
44.9
(7.2)
54.4
(12.4)
62.8
(17.1)
70.3
(21.3)
73.5
(23.1)
72.6
(22.6)
67.0
(19.4)
55.7
(13.2)
45.1
(7.3)
37.6
(3.1)
54.7
(12.6)
Average low °F (°C)24.1
(−4.4)
26.6
(−3.0)
32.9
(0.5)
41.1
(5.1)
50.4
(10.2)
58.8
(14.9)
62.3
(16.8)
61.3
(16.3)
54.9
(12.7)
42.7
(5.9)
32.8
(0.4)
27.3
(−2.6)
42.9
(6.1)
Record low °F (°C)−21
(−29)
−17
(−27)
−6
(−21)
12
(−11)
27
(−3)
35
(2)
42
(6)
37
(3)
28
(−2)
18
(−8)
6
(−14)
−12
(−24)
−21
(−29)
Average precipitation inches (mm)3.80
(97)
3.85
(98)
4.46
(113)
4.42
(112)
4.39
(112)
4.26
(108)
4.69
(119)
3.84
(98)
3.32
(84)
2.78
(71)
3.25
(83)
4.21
(107)
47.27
(1,201)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)12.611.712.912.212.812.112.310.78.99.09.812.8136.8
Source: NOAA [18] [19]

Geography

Abingdon is located at 36°42′35″N81°58′32″W / 36.70972°N 81.97556°W / 36.70972; -81.97556 (36.709773, 81.975694). [20]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 8.3 square miles (21.6 km2), all land.

The town is located in the Great Appalachian Valley, between the Middle Fork and the North Fork of the Holston River.

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1870 715
1880 1,06448.8%
1890 1,67457.3%
1900 1,306−22.0%
1910 1,75734.5%
1920 2,53244.1%
1930 2,87713.6%
1940 3,1589.8%
1950 4,70949.1%
1960 4,7581.0%
1970 4,376−8.0%
1980 4,318−1.3%
1990 7,00362.2%
2000 7,78011.1%
2010 8,1915.3%
2020 8,3762.3%
source: [21]
Office of the Abingdon Virginian newspaper Abingdon Virginian office.jpg
Office of the Abingdon Virginian newspaper

As of the census [3] of 2020, there were 8,376 people, 3,726 households residing in the town. The population density was 1,039 people per square mile (360.2/km2). There were 3,788 housing units at an average density of 454.1 per square mile (175.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 94% White, 2.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.1% Asian, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population. [22]

There were 3,522 households, out of which 23.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.6% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.6% were non-families. 36.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.72.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 18.2% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 25.5% from 45 to 64, and 23.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 81.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $45,848, and the median income for a family was $46,106. Males had a median income of $32,005 versus $22,844 for females. The per capita income for the town was $22,486. About 7.3% of families and 10.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.4% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.

Education

Abingdon is served by Washington County Public Schools, where students attend Abingdon Elementary, Watauga Elementary, Greendale Elementary, E.B. Stanley Middle School, and Abingdon High School.

Virginia Highlands Community College located in Abingdon is the local community college offering 2-year degrees.

Emory & Henry College is located 7 miles outside of town.

Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, on the campus of VHCC, provides the region with access to undergraduate and graduate degree programs and courses. Participating academic institutions include: Emory & Henry College, Old Dominion University, Radford University, University of Virginia, University of Virginia's College at Wise, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Highlands Community College, and Virginia Tech.

Points of interest

View of the street near downtown Abingdon, Virginia Downtown Abingdon, Virginia.jpg
View of the street near downtown Abingdon, Virginia

Notable people

Three Virginia governors lived here: Wyndham Robertson, David Campbell, and John B. Floyd.

Mayors of Abingdon, Virginia

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References

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