Charlottesville, Virginia

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Charlottesville, Virginia
City of Charlottesville
Charlottesville skyline with the University of Virginia Health System in the foreground
Seal of the City of Charlottesville, VA.png
C'ville, Hoo-Ville
A great place to live for all of our citizens.
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Coordinates: 38°1′48″N78°28′44″W / 38.03000°N 78.47889°W / 38.03000; -78.47889
CountryUnited States
State Virginia
County None (Independent city)
Named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
  Type Council–manager government
   Mayor Lloyd Snook, (D)
   City Manager Michael C. Rogers
   Independent city 10.27 sq mi (26.60 km2)
  Land10.25 sq mi (26.55 km2)
  Water0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
594 ft (181 m)
 (2020) [2]
   Independent city 46,553
  Density4,541.76/sq mi (1,753.41/km2)
221,524 (209th)
Demonym(s) Charlottesvillian
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s) 434
FIPS code 51-14968 [4]
GNIS feature ID1498463 [5]
Major Roadways I-64.svg US 29.svg US 250.svg Virginia 20.svg
Waterways Rivanna River
Public Transit Charlottesville Area Transit, University Transit Service, JAUNT
Rail Service Cardinal, Crescent, Northeast Regional
Airport Charlottesville-Albemarle

Charlottesville, colloquially known as C'ville, is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is the county seat of Albemarle County, which surrounds the city, though the two are separate legal entities. [6] It is named after Queen Charlotte. As of the 2020 census, the population was 46,553. [7] The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the City of Charlottesville with Albemarle County for statistical purposes, bringing its population to approximately 150,000. Charlottesville is the heart of the Charlottesville metropolitan area, which includes Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, and Nelson counties.


Charlottesville was the home of two presidents, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. During their terms as Governor of Virginia, they lived in Charlottesville, and traveled to and from Richmond, along the 71-mile (114 km) historic Three Notch'd Road. Orange, located 26 miles (42 km) northeast of the city, was the hometown of President James Madison. The University of Virginia, founded by Jefferson, straddles the city's southwestern border. Jefferson's home, Monticello, 3 miles (5 km) southeast of the city, is, along with the University of Virginia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting thousands of tourists every year. [8]


At the time of European settlement, part of the area that became Charlottesville was occupied by a Monacan village called Monasukapanough. [9]


An Act of the Assembly of Albemarle County established Charlottesville in 1762. Thomas Walker was named its first trustee. It was situated along a trade route called Three Notched Road (present day U.S. Route 250), which led from Richmond to the Great Valley. The town took its name from the British queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

View of Monticello from its gardens Monticellofromgardens.jpg
View of Monticello from its gardens

During the American Revolutionary War, Congress imprisoned the Convention Army in Charlottesville at the Albemarle Barracks between 1779 and 1781. [10] The Governor and legislators had to temporarily abandon the capitol and on June 4, 1781, Jack Jouett warned the Virginia Legislature meeting at Monticello of a planned raid by Colonel Banastre Tarleton, allowing a narrow escape.

Civil War and Reconstruction

Unlike much of Virginia, Charlottesville was spared the brunt of the American Civil War. The only battle to take place in Charlottesville was the skirmish at Rio Hill, an encounter in which George Armstrong Custer briefly engaged local Confederate Home Guards before retreating. A year later, the Charlottesville Factory, founded c. 1820–30, was accidentally burnt during General Philip Sheridan's 1865 raid through the Shenandoah Valley, although the mayor had surrendered the city to Generals Custer and Sheridan to keep the town from being burned. The factory had been taken over by the Confederacy and used to manufacture woolen clothing for the soldiers. It caught fire when some coals taken by Union troops to burn the nearby railroad bridge dropped on the floor. The factory was rebuilt immediately and was known as the Woolen Mills until its liquidation in 1962. [11] After the Civil War, emancipated slaves who remained in Charlottesville established communities in neighborhoods such as Vinegar Hill.

Segregation and Jim Crow laws

After Reconstruction ended, Charlottesville's African American population suffered under Jim Crow laws that segregated public places and limited opportunity. Schools were racially segregated and African Americans were not served in many local businesses. [12] Public parks were planned separately for the white and African American populations: four for whites, and one for African Americans built on the site of a former dump. [13] The Ku Klux Klan had chapters in the Charlottesville area beginning at least in the early twentieth century, [14] and events such as lynchings and cross burnings occurred in the Charlottesville area. In 1898, Charlottesville resident John Henry James was lynched in the nearby town of Ivy. [15] In August 1950, three white men were observed burning a cross on Cherry Avenue, a street in a mostly African-American neighborhood in Charlottesville. [16] It was speculated that the cross burning might be a reaction to "a white man [who] had been known to socialize with one of the young Negro women in that vicinity." [16] In 1956, crosses were burned outside a progressive church [17] and the home of white integration activist Sarah Patton Boyle.

In 1947, Charlottesville organized a local NAACP branch. [18] [19] In 2001, the Charlottesville and Albemarle Branches of the NAACP merged to form the Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP Branch. [19]

In the fall of 1958, Charlottesville closed its segregated white schools as part of Virginia's strategy of massive resistance to federal court orders requiring integration as part of the implementation of the Supreme Court of the United States decision Brown v. Board of Education . The closures were required by a new series of state laws collectively known as the Stanley Plan, which prohibited and denied funding to integrated public schools. Segregated schools remained open, however. [20] [ page needed ] The first African-American member of the Charlottesville School Board was Raymond Bell in 1963. [21]

In 1963, later than many Southern cities, civil rights activists in Charlottesville began protesting segregated restaurants with sit-ins, such as one that occurred at Buddy's Restaurant near the University of Virginia. [22]

Recent history

In 1965, the city government razed the downtown African American neighborhood Vinegar Hill as an urban renewal project, after the city council passing a law that "unsanitary and unsafe" properties could be taken over by a housing authority. [23] One hundred thirty homes, five Black-owned businesses, and a church were destroyed. Many displaced community members moved into the Westhaven public housing project. The land was not redeveloped until the late 1970s.

Despite razing this small area comprising about 20 acres abutting West Main Street in the city's commercial downtown area, Charlottesville maintained its vibrant black community spanning the much larger and still extant Ridge Street and Fifeville neighborhoods to the south, and the Tenth & Page and Rose Hill neighborhoods to the north. Neighborhood civic associations, social clubs and church groups sponsored activities for its residents. [24] The Blue Mints Social Club met at the home of Mrs. Reva Shelton on December 1, 1974. At this meeting, the group planned their annual "Baskets of Cheer," hosted a Cabaret Dance on New Year's Eve at Carver Recreation Center, with the Randolph Brothers performing. [25] In 1974, other social clubs listed are the Bethune Art and Literary Club, The Lucky Twenty Club, and the Les Amies Club. [26] [27] [28]

Conflict over Confederate symbols

Starting in the 2010s Charlottesville received national attention because of local conflict between those who do and those who do not want Confederate symbols removed. The Washington Post has reported that "Nowhere has this clash been more fraught than in Charlottesville, where parks have been renamed, then renamed again, streets have been re-christened, and stickers bearing white supremacist slogans go up as quickly as activists can remove them." [29]

City attempts to remove statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from downtown parks have been the subject of extensive, unresolved litigation. In August 2017, white supremacist groups opposed to their removal organized the "Unite the Right rally", to protest against the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue from then Lee Park, subsequently renamed Emancipation Park. [30] After the rally, a white nationalist drove a car into protesters, resulting in the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer and causing injuries to 19 others. [31] The incident became national news and Charlottesville became a symbol of political turbulence nationwide. The city succeeded in the removal of the Lee and Jackson statues on July 10, 2021, in addition to a statue of Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea.

On July 1, 2019, the Charlottesville City Council voted 4 to 1 to drop Thomas Jefferson's birthday as a city holiday; according to news stories, this was because Jefferson was a slave owner. In a separate vote, they unanimously created a new day of celebration called Liberation and Freedom Day, to be celebrated on March 3, the day in 1865 when Gen. Philip Sheridan's troops rolled through town and found a population that was majority enslaved - and although emancipation for most of them didn't occur on that day, it was the opening salvo for a lot of Charlottesvillians' freedom. [32] [ full citation needed ]

Slave auction block

A small plaque in a downtown sidewalk marked the site of Charlottesville's slave auction block. In 2020 it was removed by a private individual, who said he did so because, in his opinion, "slaves and their descendants deserved a more prominent memorial", and was frustrated by inaction from the Charlottesvile city government. [33]

Religious history

Christ Episcopal Church was Charlottesville's first church. It was begun in 1820 by builders on loan from Thomas Jefferson, and the congregation's current home was completed in the early 1900s. [34]

The first black church in Charlottesville, the First Baptist Church of Charlottesville, was established in 1864. Previously, it was illegal for African-Americans to have their own churches, although they were allowed to worship in designated areas in white churches, if the white church members allowed it. Its first black pastor (previously, it was required by law that all churches have white pastors), was William D. Gibbons. The date he became pastor is not known with certainty, but was about 1868. A current predominantly African-American church can trace its lineage to that first church. [35]

Congregation Beth Israel's 1882 building is the oldest synagogue building still standing in Virginia. [36] In 1974, some of the Baptist churches in Charlottesville included the Union Run Baptist Church, the South Garden Baptist Church, and the Ebenezer Baptist Church. [37]

The first Catholic church in Charlottesville was the Church of the Paraclete, built in 1880 and erected as a parish in 1896. In 1906 the church building was renovated and the parish was renamed to Holy Comforter. A second parish was erected for the growing Catholic population in 1976 called the Church of the Incarnation. [38] In 1967 a Dominican-run parish for Catholic students at the University of Virginia was dedicated (replacing a Newman Center begun in 1943), and named St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish. [39] The first Mass of record in Charlottesville was celebrated in the parlor of F. M. Paoli's residence, presumably on Random Row, now West Main Street. Services were held for about 12 years after that in the Town Hall. The presiders were priests who came from St. Francis Assisi Church in Staunton and then traveled on to other missions in the area. [40]


The Rotunda at the University of Virginia, designed by Thomas Jefferson University-of-Virginia-Rotunda.jpg
The Rotunda at the University of Virginia, designed by Thomas Jefferson

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.3 square miles (27 km2), virtually all of which is land. [41]

Charlottesville is located in the center of the Commonwealth of Virginia along the Rivanna River, a tributary of the James, just west of the Southwest Mountains, itself paralleling the Blue Ridge about 20 miles (32 km) to the west.

Charlottesville is 99 miles (159 km) from Washington, D.C. and 72 miles (116 km) from Richmond.


Charlottesville has a four-season humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with all months being well-watered, though the period from May to September is the wettest. Winters are somewhat cool, with a January average of 36.2 °F (2.3 °C), though lows can fall into the teens (< −7 °C) on some nights and highs frequently (11 days in January) reach 50 °F (10 °C). [42] [43] Spring and autumn provide transitions of reasonable length. Summers are hot and humid, with July averaging 77.6 °F (25.3 °C) and the high exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) on 34.4 or more days per year. [42] [43] Snowfall is highly variable from year to year but is normally moderate, averaging 17.0 inches (43 cm). [42] [43] What does fall does not remain on the ground for long. Extremes have ranged from −10 °F (−23 °C) on January 19, 1994, up to 107 °F (42 °C), most recently on September 7, 1954. [42]

Climate data for Charlottesville, Virginia (Leander McCormick Observatory [44] ), 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1893–present
Record high °F (°C)81
Average high °F (°C)44.7
Daily mean °F (°C)36.2
Average low °F (°C)27.7
Record low °F (°C)−10
Average precipitation inches (mm)3.42
Average snowfall inches (cm)3.9
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)9.68.610.611.713.111.712.211.310.
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)
Source: NOAA [42] [43]
Climate data for Charlottesville–Albemarle Airport, Virginia (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1893–present [lower-alpha 1] )
Record high °F (°C)81
Average high °F (°C)47.3
Daily mean °F (°C)38.4
Average low °F (°C)29.5
Record low °F (°C)−10
Average precipitation inches (mm)2.96
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)9.07.810.010.913.511.813.111.410.
Source: NOAA [42] [46]


  1. Threaded records maintained at the "Charlottesville 2W" (Leander McCormick Observatory) from January 1893 to November 13, 1998, and at Charlottesville–Albemarle Airport since November 14, 1998. [45]


Historical population
1870 2,838
1880 2,676−5.7%
1890 5,591108.9%
1900 6,44915.3%
1910 6,7654.9%
1920 10,68858.0%
1930 15,24542.6%
1940 19,40027.3%
1950 25,96933.9%
1960 29,42713.3%
1970 38,88032.1%
1980 39,9162.7%
1990 40,3411.1%
2000 40,099−0.6%
2010 43,4758.4%
2020 46,5537.1%
U.S. Decennial Census [47]
1790–1960 [48] 1900–1990 [49]
1990–2000 [50] 2010–2015 [51] 2020 [52]

2020 census

Charlottesville city, Virginia - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / EthnicityPop 2010 [53] Pop 2020 [52] % 2010% 2020
White alone (NH)28,82729,60966.31%63.60%
Black or African American alone (NH)8,3447,03019.19%15.10%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH)65660.15%0.14%
Asian alone (NH)2,7584,0646.34%8.73%
Pacific Islander alone (NH)13180.03%0.04%
Some Other Race alone (NH)892180.20%0.47%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH)1,1562,3412.66%5.03%
Hispanic or Latino (any race)2,2233,2075.11%6.89%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

2010 Census

As of the census [54] of 2010, there were 43,475 people, 17,778 households, and 7,518 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,220.8 people per square mile (1,629.5/km2). There were 19,189 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 69.1% White, 19.4% Black American, 0.3% Native American, 6.4% Asian, 1.8% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. 5.1% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

There were 17,778 households, out of which 17.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.1% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 57.7% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.91.

The age distribution was 14.9% under the age of 18, 24.3% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27.8 years. The population was 52.3% female and 47.7% male. The city's low median age and the "bulge" in the 18-to-24 age group are both due to the presence of the University of Virginia.

The median income for a household in the city was $44,535, and the median income for a family was $63,934. The per capita income for the city was $26,049. About 10.5% of families and 27.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.8% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.

20% of Charlottesville residents have a graduate or professional degree, compared with 10% in the United States as a whole. [55]

Federally, Charlottesville is part of Virginia's 5th congressional district, represented by Republican Bob Good, elected in 2020. [56]


The city of Charlottesville has an overall crime rate higher than the national average, which tends [57] to be a typical pattern for urban areas of the Southern United States. [58] [59]

The total crime index for Charlottesville was 487.9 crimes committed per 100,000 citizens for the year of 2006; the national average for the United States was 320.9 crimes committed per 100,000 citizens. [60] For the year of 2006, Charlottesville ranked higher on all violent crimes except for robbery; the city ranked lower in all categories of property crimes except for larceny theft. [61] In 2013 there were a total of 371 crimes reported; of these 38 were violent crimes and 333 were property crimes. [62] A downward trend in the number of reported crimes within Charlottesville occurred from 2009 up to 2013. [63]


S&P Global building in Charlottesville SNL Financial, Charlottesville, VA IMG 4213.JPG
S&P Global building in Charlottesville

Charlottesville is the home of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory headquarters, the Leander McCormick Observatory and the CFA Institute. It is served by two area hospitals, the Martha Jefferson Hospital founded in 1903, and the University of Virginia Hospital. The National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) is in the Charlottesville area. Other large employers include Crutchfield, Emerson Automation Solutions, PepsiCo and SNL Financial.

18% of people employed in Charlottesville live there, while 82% commute into the city. 42% of those commuting to Charlottesville live in Albemarle County. Additionally, 11,497 people commute from Charlottesville outside of the city for employment. 51% of those commuting from Charlottesville work in Albemarle County. In 2016, Charlottesville had a 3.3% unemployment rate. [55]

Largest employers

According to the city's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report [64] the largest employers in the city are:

#Employer# of employees
1 University of Virginia Medical Center 1,000+
2City of Charlottesville1,000+
3UVA Health Services Foundation1,000+
4 Charlottesville City School Board 500–999
5Servicelink Management Com Inc500–999
6 Aramark Campus LLC 500–999
7WorldStrides (Lakeland Tours)500–999
8Association for Investment Management250-499
9Rmc Events250-499
10 Crutchfield Corporation 250–499

As of 2016, 11,129 people work for the government, with 376 working for the federal government, 7,796 working for the state government, and 2,957 working for the local government. [55]


Charlottesville has nine breweries within or near its city limits: South Street Brewery (owned by Blue Mountain Brewery), Champion Brewing Company, Three Notch'd Brewing Company, Random Row Brewing Company, Rockfish Brewing Company, Wild Wolf Brewing Company, Pro Re Nata Brewery, Reason Beer (Albemarle), and Decipher Brewing (Albemarle). The first brewery in the city was Blue Ridge Brewery, located on West Main Street, and was owned and managed by grandchildren of writer William Faulkner. Starr Hill Brewery was originally based in Charlottesville but is today located in Crozet, Virginia, 13 miles west of the city.[ citation needed ]

Attractions and culture

First United Methodist Church in the historic district of downtown Charlottesville (pictured July 2011) has since been renovated. First United Methodist, Charlottesville, VA IMG 4220.JPG
First United Methodist Church in the historic district of downtown Charlottesville (pictured July 2011) has since been renovated.
The Downtown Mall Downtownmallcville.jpg
The Downtown Mall

Charlottesville has a large series of attractions and venues for its relatively small size. Visitors come to the area for wine and beer tours, ballooning, hiking, and world-class entertainment that perform at one of the area's four larger venues. The city is both the launching pad and home of the Dave Matthews Band as well as the center of a sizable indie music scene. [65] Charlottesville hosts multiple orchestral groups including the Blue Ridge Chamber Orchestra, [66] Youth Orchestras of Central Virginia, [67] and the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia. [68]

The Charlottesville area was the home of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Monticello, Jefferson's plantation manor, is located just a few miles from downtown. The home of James Monroe, Ash Lawn-Highland, is down the road from Monticello. About 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Charlottesville lies the home of James and Dolley Madison, Montpelier. During the summer, the Ash Lawn-Highland Opera Festival is held at the downtown Paramount Theater with a performance at Ash Lawn-Highland.

The nearby Shenandoah National Park offers recreational activities, scenic mountains and hiking trails. Skyline Drive is a scenic drive that runs the length of the park, alternately winding through thick forest and emerging upon sweeping scenic overlooks. The Blue Ridge Parkway, a similar scenic drive that extends 469 miles (755 km) south to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, terminates at the southern entrance of Shenandoah, where it turns into Skyline Drive. This junction of the two scenic drives is only 22 miles (35 km) west of downtown Charlottesville.

Charlottesville's downtown is a center of business for Albemarle County. It is home to the Downtown Mall, one of the longest outdoor pedestrian malls in the nation, with stores, restaurants, and civic attractions. The renovated Paramount Theater hosts various events, including Broadway shows and concerts. Local theatrics downtown includes Charlottesville's community theater Live Arts. Outside downtown are the New Lyric Theatre and Heritage Repertory Theatre at UVa. Other attractions on the Downtown Mall are the Virginia Discovery Museum and a 3,500 seat outdoor amphitheater, the Ting Pavilion (formerly the Sprint Pavilion and the nTelos Wireless Pavilion). Court Square, just a few blocks from the Downtown Mall, is the original center of Charlottesville and several of the historic buildings there date back to the city's founding in 1762.

Charlottesville also is home to the University of Virginia (most of which is legally in Albemarle County [69] ). During the academic year, more than 20,000 students pour into Charlottesville to attend the university. Its main grounds are located on the west side of Charlottesville, with Thomas Jefferson's Academical Village, known as the Lawn, as the centerpiece. The Lawn is a long esplanade crowned by two prominent structures, The Rotunda (designed by Jefferson) and Old Cabell Hall (designed by Stanford White). Along the Lawn and the parallel Range are dormitory rooms reserved for distinguished students. The University Programs Council is a student-run body that programs concerts, comedy shows, speakers, and other events open to the students and the community, such as the annual "Lighting of the Lawn". [70] [71] One block from The Rotunda, the University of Virginia Art Museum exhibits work drawn from its collection of more than 10,000 objects and special temporary exhibitions from sources nationwide. It is also home to the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School where all U.S. Army military lawyers, known as "JAGs", take courses specific to military law.

Downtown Mall 2008-0830-Charlottesville-DowntownMall.jpg
Downtown Mall

The Corner is the commercial district abutting the main grounds of the University of Virginia along University Avenue. This area is full of college bars, eateries, and University merchandise stores, and is busy with student activity during the school year. Pedestrian traffic peaks during the university's home football games and graduation ceremonies. Much of the university's Greek life is on the nearby Rugby Road, contributing to the nightlife and local bar scene. West Main Street, running from the Corner to the Downtown Mall, is a commercial district of restaurants, bars, and other businesses. [72]

Charlottesville is host to the annual Virginia Film Festival in October, the Charlottesville Festival of the Photograph in June, and the Virginia Festival of the Book in March. In addition, the Foxfield Races are steeplechase races held in April and September of each year. A Fourth of July celebration, including a Naturalization Ceremony, is held annually at Monticello, and a First Night celebration has been held on the Downtown Mall since 1982.


John Paul Jones Arena, home of the Virginia Cavaliers basketball programs John Paul Jones Arena HDR.jpg
John Paul Jones Arena, home of the Virginia Cavaliers basketball programs

Charlottesville has no professional sports teams, but is home to the University of Virginia's athletic teams, the Cavaliers, most notably the 2019 NCAA Men's National Basketball Champions. [73] The Cavaliers have a wide fan base throughout the region. The Cavaliers field teams in sports from soccer to basketball, and have modern facilities that draw spectators throughout the year. Cavalier football season draws the largest crowds during the academic year, with football games played in Scott Stadium. The stadium hosted large musical events, including concerts by the Dave Matthews Band, The Rolling Stones and U2.

John Paul Jones Arena, which opened in 2006, is the home arena of the Cavalier basketball teams, in addition to serving as a site for concerts and other events. The arena seats 14,593 for basketball. In its first season in the new arena concluded in March 2007, the Virginia men's basketball team tied with UNC for 1st in the ACC. Virginia Cavaliers men's basketball won the ACC outright in the 2013–14 season, as well as the 2014 ACC Tournament. The team finished the season ranked #3 in the AP poll before losing to Tom Izzo's Spartans by two points in the Sweet Sixteen held in Brooklyn, New York. The Cavaliers' men's basketball team won the NCAA championship in April, 2019.

Lacrosse has become a significant part of the Charlottesville sports scene. The Virginia Men's team won their first NCAA Championship in 1972; in 2006, they won their fourth National Championship and were the first team to finish undefeated in 17 games (then a record for wins). The team won its seventh National Championship in 2021. Virginia's Women's team has three NCAA Championships to its credit, with wins in 1991, 1993, and 2004. The soccer program is also strong; the Men's team shared a national title with Santa Clara in 1989 and won an unprecedented four consecutive NCAA Division I Championships (1991–1994). Their coach during that period was Bruce Arena, who later won two MLS titles at D.C. United and coached the U.S. National Team during the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. The Virginia Men's soccer team won the NCAA Championship again in both 2009 and 2014 under coach George Gelnovatch. Virginia's baseball team, has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, under Head Coach Brian O'Connor, after hosting several regionals and Super Regionals in the post-season, and playing in the 2009, 2011, and 2014 College World Series. They finished as runners-up in the 2014 edition, despite outscoring Vanderbilt 17–12 in the three-game series. The team then avenged this loss the following year, beating Vanderbilt in 2015 for its first NCAA baseball title.

Charlottesville area high school sports have been prominent throughout the state. Charlottesville is a hotbed for lacrosse in the country, with teams such as St. Anne's-Belfield School, The Covenant School, Tandem Friends School, Charlottesville Catholic School, Charlottesville High School, Western Albemarle High School and Albemarle High School. Charlottesville High School won the VHSL Group AA boys' soccer championship in 2004. St. Anne's-Belfield School won its fourth state private-school championship in ten years in football in 2006. The Covenant School won the state private-school title in boys' cross country in the 2007–2008 school year, the second win in as many years, and that year the girls' cross country team won the state title. Monticello High School won the VHSL Group AA state football title in 2007. Charlottesville High School's boys' soccer team were state champs again in 2019, when it won the VHSL Class 4A Championship.

Charlottesville is also home to the Charlottesville Tom Sox of the Valley Baseball League who won the 2017 & 2019 league championships. Their home stadium is Crutchfield Park at Charlottesville High School. Charlottesville is also home to the Charlottesville Alliance FC, a soccer team who compete in the NPSL.

Government and politics

City Hall (2011) City Hall Charlottesville (5868118664).jpg
City Hall (2011)
City Hall facade showing bas relief statues of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe (2008) Flickr 2768192221 Charlottesville City Hall.jpg
City Hall façade showing bas relief statues of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe (2008)
Lee sculpture covered in black tarp following the Unite the Right rally of 2017 Robert Edward Lee sculpture covered in tarp.jpg
Lee sculpture covered in black tarp following the Unite the Right rally of 2017
Statue of Lewis and Clark Lewis & Clark.jpeg
Statue of Lewis and Clark
Court Square and Confederate statue Court Square.jpg
Court Square and Confederate statue

Voters elect a five-member council to serve as the legislative and governing body. Elected through at-large districts, the members serve four-year terms. Every two years, they select a councilor to serve as mayor. The mayor presides over meetings, calls special meetings, makes some appointments to advisory boards, and serves as the ceremonial head of government.

The City Council appoints the City Manager, the Director of Finance, the City Assessor, the Clerk of the council, and members of major policy-making Boards and Commissions. The City Manager serves as the Chief Administrative Officer for the city. [74]

According to the official page the current city council are:

MemberPartyFirst Term Began
Lloyd Snook, Mayor Democratic2020
Juandiego Wade, Vice-Mayor Democratic2022
Sena MagillDemocratic2020
Michael PayneDemocratic2020
Brian PinkstonDemocratic2022


Charlottesville is one of the few Democratic bastions in heavily Republican central Virginia. It has swung particularly hard to the Democrats since the 1990s, in tandem with the growing Democratic trend in areas dominated by college towns.

Gubernatorial elections results [75]
Year Democratic Republican
1993 54.0%5,66045.3% 4,748
1997 60.2%5,35237.7% 3,354
2001 72.9%6,78124.9% 2,316
2005 79.4%8,01818.5% 1,870
2009 73.6%7,40626.2% 2,636
2013 75.6%9,44015.4% 1,922
2017 84.8%13,94314.1% 2,315
2021 82.9%14,37816.0% 2,774
Senatorial election results [75]
Year Democratic Republican
2000 69.5%9,17730.4% 4,012
2002 64.3%4,701
2006 77.3%9,15921.7% 2,575
2008 83.7%16,47014.9% 2,923
2012 78.4%16,80021.4% 4,589
2014 76.9%8,24119.2% 2,054
2018 86.1%17,64111.5% 2,346
2020 85.8%20,67214.1% 3,409
Presidential election results [76]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2020 12.8% 3,09485.5%20,6961.7% 415
2016 13.2% 2,96079.7%17,9017.1% 1,606
2012 22.2% 4,84475.7%16,5102.0% 443
2008 20.4% 4,07878.4%15,7051.3% 261
2004 27.0% 4,17271.8%11,0881.2% 190
2000 30.5% 4,03458.7%7,76210.8% 1,428
1996 32.0% 4,09161.9%7,9166.1% 782
1992 31.6% 4,70558.3%8,68510.1% 1,509
1988 42.6% 5,81756.2%7,6711.2% 164
1984 48.6% 6,94751.2%7,3170.3% 42
1980 40.6% 5,90747.2%6,86612.3% 1,789
1976 48.1% 6,67349.4%6,8462.5% 350
1972 59.4%7,93539.2% 5,2401.3% 178
1968 49.4%5,60133.8% 3,83116.8% 1,903
1964 45.5% 4,41553.6%5,2050.9% 84
1960 55.1%3,65143.7% 2,8941.3% 83
1956 62.2%3,74629.6% 1,7838.2% 494
1952 60.1%3,29239.7% 2,1740.2% 8
1948 42.1% 1,41945.4%1,52712.5% 421
1944 32.4% 1,05567.2%2,1880.4% 12
1940 29.5% 74369.9%1,7590.5% 13
1936 19.2% 33580.0%1,3930.8% 14
1932 24.0% 40975.5%1,2870.5% 8
1928 41.7% 70858.4%992
1924 18.8% 21871.6%8319.6% 111
1920 25.0% 35174.0%1,0411.1% 15
1916 15.8% 11783.6%6180.5% 4
1912 7.5% 3987.0%4545.6% 29


The Rotunda, situated on The Lawn in Charlottesville. University of Virginia Rotunda in 2006.jpg
The Rotunda, situated on The Lawn in Charlottesville.

The University of Virginia, one of the original Public Ivies, is located in the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle.

Piedmont Virginia Community College maintains several locations in Charlottesville.

Charlottesville is served by the Charlottesville City Public Schools. The school system operates six elementary schools, Walker Upper Elementary School, Buford Middle School and Charlottesville High School. It operated Lane High School jointly with Albemarle County from 1940 to 1974, when it was replaced by Charlottesville High School. Jackson P. Burley High School, a segregated school for African American students, was in operation from 1951 to 1967 and served students from both the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Burley High School was purchased by Albemarle County soon after it closed, [77] and reopened in 1974 as Jackson P. Burley Middle School. [78]

Albemarle County Public Schools, which serves nearby Albemarle County, has its headquarters in Charlottesville. [79]

Charlottesville also has the following private schools, some attended by students from Albemarle County and surrounding areas:

City children also attend several private schools in the surrounding county. Those with Charlottesville postal addresses include:

Jefferson-Madison Regional Library is the regional library system that provides services to the citizens of Charlottesville.


Charlottesville has a main daily newspaper, The Daily Progress . Weekly publications include C-Ville Weekly, which also publishes quarterly, bi-annual, and yearly glossies such as Abode (home, garden, architecture), Knife & Fork (food, drink, restaurants), Unbound, (outdoor sports and recreation, environmental issues), Best of C-VILLE (readers' favorite restaurants, bars, shops, etc.), CBIZ (local business), and Weddings. Other magazines published locally include Blue Ridge Outdoors, Charlottesville Family Living and Albemarle Magazine. A daily newspaper, The Cavalier Daily , is published by an independent student group at UVa. Additionally, the alternative newsmagazine of UVa, The Declaration, is printed every other week with new online content every week. The monthly newspaper Echo covers holistic health and related topics. Charlottesville Tomorrow, an online nonprofit news organization, covers land use, transportation, business and education. Other lifestyle publications include The Charlottesville Welcome Book, CharlottesvilleFamily's Bloom! Magazine, Wine & Country Life and Wine & Country Weddings.

Broadcast Media

Charlottesville is served by major television networks through stations WVIR/WVIR-CD 29 (NBC/CW on DT2), WHTJ 41 (PBS), WCAV 19 (CBS/FOX), and WVAW-LD 16 (ABC). News-talk radio in Charlottesville can be heard on WINA 1070 and WCHV 1260. Sports radio can be heard on WVAX 1450. Country can be heard on WKAV 1400. National Public Radio stations include WMRA 103.5 FM and WVTF 89.7 FM. Commercial FM stations include WQMZ Lite Rock Z95.1 (AC), WWWV (3WV) (classic rock) 97.5, WCYK (country) 99.7, WHTE (CHR) 101.9, WZGN (Generations) 102.3, WCNR (The Corner) 106.1 and WCHV-FM 107.5. Charlottesville community broadcasters include WNRN 91.9 and WTJU 91.1 (owned by the University of Virginia) radio and CPA-TV and Charlottesville's Own TV10 television stations.

Municipal Open Data

The city hosts the Charlottesville Open Data Portal for sharing municipal data as well as community information which local businesses and nonprofit organizations provide.



Roads and highways

I-64 westbound at Exit 121 in Charlottesville 2019-06-06 12 13 12 View west along Interstate 64 at Exit 121 (Virginia State Route 20, Charlottesville, Scottsville) in Charlottesville, Virginia.jpg
I-64 westbound at Exit 121 in Charlottesville

The most significant highways passing through Charlottesville are Interstate 64, U.S. Route 29 and U.S. Route 39. I-64 heads east to Interstate 95 in Richmond and west to Interstate 81 in Staunton. US 29 heads southwest towards Lynchburg and northeast to Washington, D.C. Other highways serving Charlottesville include U.S. Route 250 and Virginia State Route 20. US 29 and US 250 are served locally by bypasses around downtown, with business routes passing directly through downtown.

Public transportation

Bus Transit Center in downtown Charlottesville (2013) Cville bus Station (4904743457).jpg
Bus Transit Center in downtown Charlottesville (2013)

Charlottesville is served by Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport, the Charlottesville Amtrak Station, and a Greyhound Lines intercity bus terminal. Direct bus service to New York City is also provided by the Starlight Express. Charlottesville Area Transit provides area bus service, augmented by JAUNT, a regional paratransit van service. University Transit Service provides mass transit for students and residents in the vicinity of the University of Virginia.


Amtrak, the national passenger rail service, provides service to Charlottesville with three routes: The Cardinal (service between Chicago and New York City via central Virginia and Washington, D.C.), select Northeast Regional trains (service between Boston and Roanoke) and the Crescent (service between New York City and New Orleans). The Cardinal operates three times a week, while the Crescent and Northeast Regional both run daily in both directions.

Charlottesville was once a major rail hub, served by both the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) and the Southern Railway. The first train service to Charlottesville began in the early 1850s by the Louisa Railroad Company, which became the Virginia Central Railroad before becoming the C&O. The Southern Railway started service to Charlottesville around the mid-1860s with a north–south route crossing the C&O east-west tracks. The new depot that sprang up at the crossing of the two tracks was called Union Station. In addition to the new rail line, Southern located a major repair shop that produced competition between the two rail companies and bolstered the local economy. The Queen Charlotte Hotel went up on West Main street along with restaurants for the many new railroad workers.

The former C&O station on East Water Street was turned into offices in the mid-1990s. Charlottesville Union Station, still a functional depot for Amtrak, is located on West Main street between 7th and 9th streets where the tracks of the former C&O Railway (leased by C&O successor CSX to Buckingham Branch Railroad) and Southern (now Norfolk Southern Railway) lines cross. Amtrak and the city of Charlottesville finished refurbishing the station just after 2000, upgrading the depot and adding a full-service restaurant. The Amtrak Crescent travels on Norfolk Southern's dual north–south tracks. The Amtrak Cardinal runs on the Buckingham Branch east-west single track, which follows U.S. Route 250 from Staunton to a point east of Charlottesville near Cismont. The eastbound Cardinal joins the northbound Norfolk Southern line at Orange, on its way to Washington, D.C.

Charlottesville also had an electric streetcar line, the Charlottesville and Albemarle Railway (C&A), that operated during the early twentieth century. Streetcar lines existed in Charlottesville since the late 1880s under various names until organized as the C&A in 1903. The C&A operated streetcars until 1935, when the line shut down due to rising costs and decreased ridership.

There are proposals to extend Virginia Railway Express, the commuter rail line connecting Northern Virginia to Washington, D.C., to Charlottesville. [80] Also, the Transdominion Express steering committee has suggested making Charlottesville a stop on the proposed statewide passenger rail line. [81]

Notable people

Since the city's early formation, it has been home to numerous notable individuals, from historic figures Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, to literary giants Edgar Allan Poe and William Faulkner, to NFL player Ralph Horween. In the present day, Charlottesville's Albemarle County is or has been the home of movie stars Rob Lowe, Sissy Spacek, Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard, novelist John Grisham, Raymond Austin, television director, writer and novelist, the poet Rita Dove, the Dave Matthews Band, and the pop band Parachute, as well as multi-billionaires John Kluge and Edgar Bronfman Sr. Between 1968 and 1984, Charlottesville was also the home of Anna Anderson, best known for her false claims to be Grand Duchess Anastasia and lone survivor of the 1918 massacre of Nicholas II's royal family.

The city was also home of the Tibetan lama Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, but he and his family have since moved to California. His Ligmincha Institute headquarters, Serenity Ridge, is in nearby Shipman, Virginia. [82]

Sister cities

Charlottesville has four sister cities: [83]

See also

Related Research Articles

University of Virginia Public university in Charlottesville, Virginia

The University of Virginia is a public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia, founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. It is the flagship university of Virginia and home to the Academical Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UVA is considered a Public Ivy, or a public institution which offers an academic experience similar to that of an Ivy League university.

Fluvanna County, Virginia County in Virginia, United States

Fluvanna County is a county located in the Piedmont region of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2020 census, the population was 27,249. Its county seat is Palmyra, while the most populous community is the census designated place of Lake Monticello.

Albemarle County, Virginia County in Virginia, United States

Albemarle County is a county located in the Piedmont region of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Its county seat is Charlottesville, which is an independent city and enclave entirely surrounded by the county. Albemarle County is part of the Charlottesville Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2020 census, the population was 112,395.

Crozet, Virginia Census-designated place in Virginia, United States

Crozet is a census-designated place (CDP) in Albemarle County in the Commonwealth of Virginia, United States. It sits along the I-64 corridor, about 12 miles (19 km) west of Charlottesville and 21 miles (34 km) east of Staunton. Originally called "Wayland's Crossing," it was renamed in 1870 in honor of Colonel Claudius Crozet, the French-born civil engineer who directed the construction of the Blue Ridge Tunnel. The cornerstone of Crozet is believed to have been Pleasant Green, a property also known as the Ficklin-Wayland Farm, located yards from the actual Wayland Crossing. Claudius Crozet is said to have lodged in that property while surveying the land that today honors his name. The population of Crozet was 5,565 at the 2010 census. Crozet is part of the Charlottesville Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Lake Monticello, Virginia Census-designated place in Virginia, United States

Lake Monticello, a private gated community, is a census-designated place (CDP) in Fluvanna County, Virginia, United States. The population was 9,920 at the 2010 census, an increase of over 44% from 2000. The community is centered on a lake of the same name, which is formed by a dam on a short tributary of the nearby Rivanna River. Lake Monticello is part of the Charlottesville Metropolitan Statistical Area. Lake Monticello was developed in the 1960s as a summer vacation home community but quickly evolved into a bedroom community of Charlottesville, and to a smaller extent of Richmond. It also has a sizable retirement age population.

The Rotunda (University of Virginia) United States historic place

The Rotunda is a building located on The Lawn on the original grounds of the University of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson designed it to represent the "authority of nature and power of reason" and modeled it after the Pantheon in Rome. Construction began in 1822 and was completed shortly after Jefferson's death in 1826. The campus of the new university was unique in that its buildings surrounded a library rather than a church, as was common at other universities in the English-speaking world. To many, the Rotunda symbolizes Jefferson's belief in the separation of church and education, and represents his lifelong dedication to education and architecture. The Rotunda was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966, and is part of the University of Virginia Historic District, designated in 1971.

Wilson Cary Nicholas American politician

Wilson Cary Nicholas was an American politician who served in the U.S. Senate from 1799 to 1804 and was the 19th Governor of Virginia from 1814 to 1816.

Scott Stadium American football stadium on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, VA, US

Scott Stadium is a stadium located in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is the home of the Virginia Cavaliers football team. It sits on the University of Virginia's Grounds, east of Hereford College and first-year dorms on Alderman Road but west of Brown College and the Lawn. Constructed in 1931, it is the oldest active FBS football stadium in Virginia.

John Paul Jones Arena University of Virginia basketball court

John Paul Jones Arena, or JPJ, is a multi-purpose arena owned by the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since November 2006, it serves as the home to the Virginia Cavaliers men's and women's basketball teams, as well as for concerts and other events. With seating for 14,593 fans John Paul Jones Arena is the largest indoor arena in Virginia and the biggest Atlantic Coast Conference basketball arena located outside of large metropolitan areas. Sports Illustrated named John Paul Jones Arena the best new college basketball arena of the 2000s.

The Charlottesville Metropolitan Statistical Area is a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the Piedmont region of the Commonwealth of Virginia as defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The combined population is: 201,559, 218,615 & 235,232

Shadwell, Virginia CDP in Virginia, United States

Shadwell is a census-designated place (CDP) in Albemarle County, Virginia, United States, located by the Rivanna River near Charlottesville. The site today is marked by a Virginia Historical Marker to mark the birthplace of President Thomas Jefferson. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places along with Clifton.

Keswick, Virginia Census-designated place in Virginia, United States

Keswick is a Census-designated place in Albemarle County, Virginia, United States, about six miles east of Charlottesville.

Monticello High School (MHS) is a suburban public high school located in Albemarle County, Virginia, United States outside Charlottesville. Opened in 1998, it is one of three traditional comprehensive high schools in the Albemarle County Public Schools System. The school is named after Monticello, the nearby estate of President Thomas Jefferson.

Alexander Rives American judge

Alexander Rives was a Virginia attorney, politician and plantation owner. He served in both houses of the Virginia General Assembly, as a justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia and as a United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

Monticello is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) located in the central Piedmont region of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was established by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) on February 22, 1984 after six wine grape growers in the Charlottesville area petitioned the ATF to designate a viticultural area to be known as “Monticello.” The name "Monticello" is known nationally and locally as the historic home of Thomas Jefferson, located near the center of the area. Monticello AVA includes most of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Orange, and Nelson counties. The area is nestled along the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains and encompasses the small ridge known as the Southwest Mountains. There are approximately 30 varieties of grapes grown in the Monticello AVA. However, the most notable grapes grown in the area include Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Viognier. The hardiness zone is 7a except in some higher vineyards which are 6b. In 2019, the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) granted a petition to expand the AVA by approximately 106,240 acres (166 sq mi) into Fluvanna County.

Richard H. "Rick" Britton is a historian and former game publishing executive in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Charlottesville and Albemarle Railway Electric street railroad

The Charlottesville and Albemarle Railway (C&A) was a short electric street railroad operating within the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, during the early 20th century. The line was preceded by several streetcar lines operating both horse-drawn and electric powered cars dating back to 1887. After facing financial difficulties, the predecessor lines were reorganized into the C&A in 1903. The C&A's electric streetcars operated off of an overhead line system that was powered by the railroad's own power plant. The C&A also offered electric power generated by its plant to the city of Charlottesville. During the mid-1910s, the line received numerous upgrades, including the construction of a new power plant on the Rivanna River, a new company headquarters building, expansion of track, and the purchase of new streetcars.

Lewis Farm Historic house in Virginia, United States

The historic home listed as Lewis Farm, also known as The Farm and John A. G. Davis Farm, is located at Charlottesville, Virginia. It was built in 1826, and is a two-story brick dwelling with a low hipped roof and two large chimneys. On the front facade is a Tuscan order portico with a terrace above. The house was built by individuals who worked with Thomas Jefferson on building the University of Virginia. Its builder, John A. G. Davis, was law professor at the University of Virginia and was shot and killed outside Pavilion X by a student in 1840. During the American Civil War, Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer set up temporary headquarters at the house where he remained for three days.

In a unanimous vote, on July 1, 2019, the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia, established a new city holiday, Liberation and Freedom Day, to be celebrated on March 3. Union Army troops, under the command of Major General Philip Sheridan, arrived in Charlottesville on March 3, 1865, liberating over 14,000 enslaved workers. "Blacks were the majority race in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area." In the 1870 Census, the first one in which Charlottesville appears, its population was 2,838.

Nannie Cox Jackson was a prominent African-American educator, wealthy property owner and businesswoman in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Coordinates: 38°01′48″N78°28′44″W / 38.02990°N 78.4790°W / 38.02990; -78.4790