Fluvanna County, Virginia

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Fluvanna County
Fluvanna County Courthouse.JPG
Fluvanna County Courthouse, January 2014
Fluvanna Seal.jpg
Map of Virginia highlighting Fluvanna County.svg
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Virginia in United States.svg
Virginia's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 37°50′N78°17′W / 37.84°N 78.28°W / 37.84; -78.28
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
StateFlag of Virginia.svg  Virginia
Named for Fluvanna River
Seat Palmyra
Largest community Lake Monticello
  Total290 sq mi (800 km2)
  Land286 sq mi (740 km2)
  Water4.1 sq mi (11 km2)  1.4%
  Density89/sq mi (34/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 5th
Website fluvannacounty.org

Fluvanna County is a county located in the Piedmont region of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 25,691. [1] Its county seat is Palmyra. [2]


Fluvanna County is part of the Charlottesville, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Through the 17th century, the Point of Fork (near Columbia where the James and Rivanna rivers meet) was the site of Rassawek, a major Monacan village of the Native Americans. By 1701, the Seneca Iroquois had overrun the entire Virginia Piedmont, which they sold to Virginia Colony in 1721 at the Treaty of Albany.

The area which is now Fluvanna County was once considered part of Henrico County, one of the original shires of the Virginia Colony. Henrico was divided in 1727 and the Fluvanna County area became a part of Goochland County. In 1744 Goochland was divided and the area presently known as Fluvanna became a part of Albemarle County. When Amherst County, Nelson County and Buckingham County were split off from Albemarle County, the Albemarle County Seat was moved in 1762 from Scottsville to Charlottesville. When the Albemarle County seat was moved citizens in the Fluvanna area would now have to trek over the Southwest Mountains to reach the new seat at Charlottesville. Fluvanna area citizens lobbied the Virginia General Assembly to create a new county. Finally, in 1777, Albemarle County was divided again and Fluvanna County established.

The county was named for the Fluvanna River, a name once given to the James River west of Columbia. "Fluvanna" means "Anne's River", in honor of Anne, Queen of Great Britain, who reigned until 1714. [3] Located in the Piedmont above the Fall Line, the county has the James and Rivanna rivers running through it. It was sometimes referred to as "Old Flu." [4]

Fluvanna was defended by six militia companies during the American Revolutionary War. The county was invaded by British forces in 1781 who destroyed the Point of Fork Arsenal. From an initial 882 "tithables," the population reached 3,300 by 1782. Columbia was formed in 1788 with Bernardsburg and Wilmington following soon after. Lyles Baptist Church was organized in 1774 and the formation of the Methodist denomination had its roots in a Conference held in Fluvanna in 1779. The "Brick Union" Church was built in 1825 for the use of Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians. The village of Fork Union grew up around the Church.

When Palmyra was made the county seat in 1828 it quickly became a thriving town after the new courthouse was completed in 1830.

In the late eighteenth century, Thomas Jefferson improved the navigability of the Rivanna River, as he owned much property along its upper course, e.g. Shadwell and Monticello plantations. Improvements included in the first generation (through 1830) were sluice cuts, small dams and batteaux locks.

Second-generation (1840–1870) improvements made by others included construction of long stretches of canal, serviced by large locks, many of which are still visible along the river. Shortly after the completion of the initial Rivanna navigational works, Virginia requested that the river be opened to public usage. Jefferson reportedly initially refused, but the state insisted and the Rivanna became an integral part of the central Virginian transportation network. The route serviced a large community of farmsteads, plantations throughout Albemarle and Fluvanna counties. It also was lined by increasing numbers of industrial facilities, such as those at Union Mills. Construction of the larger mills prompted the great improvements to navigation. For instance, Union Mills featured a two-and-a-half-mile long canal and towpath, and one upper and two massive lower locks, all directly upon the river.

Where the Rivanna meets the James River at Columbia, the Rivanna Connexion Canal merged with a much longer canal. (The series of locks which connected the two canals lie just outside the Town of Columbia and are mostly buried by sediment today). In 1840, the James River and Kanawha Canal was constructed adjacent to the north bank of the James River and opened to traffic. The new canal was part of a planned link between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean via the James and the Kanawha rivers; it was intended to connect via the Ohio River, to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The canal was used by packet and freight boats, which replaced the earlier shallow-draft batteau for commerce. These boats brought goods and passengers to and from Richmond and points beyond. Long a dream of early Virginians such as George Washington, who was a surveyor early in his career, the canal was never completed as envisioned.[ citation needed ]

In the batteaux era, Milton was the head of navigation on the river. By the early nineteenth century, horse-drawn canal boats were traveling all the way upstream to Charlottesville. The head of navigation was located at the point where the Fredericksburg Road (now VA 20) and Three Chopt Road (U.S. Route 250), the primary road to Richmond, met and entered the city at the Free Bridge, establishing the city as a major commercial hub.

While no Civil War battles were fought in Fluvanna, Union soldiers burned mills and bridges and damaged the James River and Kanawha Canal to disrupt traffic and commerce. During the American Civil War more than 1,200 of the county's citizens served in the Confederate forces. Its citizens served in infantry, cavalry, and artillery units during the war, including the Fluvanna Artillery.

The canal was repaired after the war, but traffic never returned to pre-war levels, as railroads were being constructed throughout the state and were more efficient. After many years of trying to compete with the ever-expanding railroad network, the James River and Kanawha Canal was conveyed to a new railroad company by a deed dated March 4, 1880. Railroad construction workers promptly started laying tracks on the towpath. The new Richmond and Allegheny Railroad offered a water-level route from the Appalachian Mountains just east of West Virginia near Jackson's River Station (now Clifton Forge) through the Blue Ridge Mountains at Balcony Falls to Richmond. In 1888 the railroad was leased, and later purchased, by Collis P. Huntington's Chesapeake and Ohio Railway.

Fork Union Military Academy (FUMA) was initially founded as Fork Union Academy in October 1898 by Dr. William E. Hatcher, a prominent local Baptist minister. The first class had 19 boys and girls. In 1902, the academy took on a military structure to provide organization, discipline, and physical development for the boys of what was a rapidly growing school. In 1913, the academy became an all-male institution and changed its name to Fork Union Military Academy. That same year, the Academy began receiving support from the Baptist General Association of Virginia, which has continued into the 21st century. FUMA is known for its One Subject Plan as well as Post Graduate Football team that has many NFL players and Heisman Trophy winners as alumni.[ citation needed ]

Early in the 20th century, the C&O built a new line between the James River Line at Strathmore and the Piedmont Subdivision on the old Virginia Central Railroad's line at Gordonsville. The Virginia Air Line Railway was built to move loads that were too high or too wide to pass through the tunnels of the Blue Ridge Mountain complex between Charlottesville and Waynesboro. Additionally, coal trains from West Virginia headed eastbound for Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia were routed on the new line to avoid steep mountain grades. The VAL was completed on September 29, 1909. A new freight station was built at Palmyra. The tracks of the VAL were abandoned in 1975, as railroad freight traffic had declined.


Historical population
1790 3,921
1800 4,62317.9%
1810 4,7753.3%
1820 6,70440.4%
1830 8,22122.6%
1840 8,8127.2%
1850 9,4877.7%
1860 10,3539.1%
1870 9,875−4.6%
1880 10,8029.4%
1890 9,508−12.0%
1900 9,050−4.8%
1910 8,323−8.0%
1920 8,5472.7%
1930 7,466−12.6%
1940 7,088−5.1%
1950 7,1210.5%
1960 7,2271.5%
1970 7,6215.5%
1980 10,24434.4%
1990 12,42921.3%
2000 20,04761.3%
2010 25,69128.2%
Est. 201826,783 [5] 4.3%
U.S. Decennial Census [6]
1790–1960 [7] 1900–1990 [8]
1990–2000 [9] 2010–2015 [1]

As of the census [10] of 2000, there were 20,047 people, 7,387 households, and 5,702 families residing in the county. The population density was 70 people per square mile (27/km²). There were 8,018 housing units at an average density of 28 per square mile (11/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 79.44% White, 18.41% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 1.25% from two or more races. 1.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.60% under the age of 18, 6.40% from 18 to 24, 31.70% from 25 to 44, 24.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 86.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.20 males.

Between 1990–2000, the population grew 61.3%. It is projected to be over 28,000 by 2010. The average family size is 2.9 persons. The median income for a household in the county was $46,372, and the median income for a family was $51,141. Males had a median income of $32,346 versus $24,774 for females. In 2000, there were 1,121 individuals below the poverty line which consisted of 280 children below the age of 18.In 1990, there were 1,287 individuals below the poverty line which consisted of 439 children below the age of 18.

According to the 2000 Census, the County median home value is $111,000 and the median mortgage is $900.00.

The County's school system consists of 3,490 students. There are currently 1 high school, 1 middle school, and 2 elementary schools one of which is an upper elementary school. Student/teacher ratio is 22–1. 17% of residents have a bachelor's degree or higher. As of 2000, 4,657 individuals over three years old enrolled in school, including 827 residents in college or graduate school. According to the 2000 Census, 1,066 students were enrolled in grades 9–12 and 603 in nursery school and kindergarten.

Fluvanna County High school is famous for its unique nickname, 'The Flying Flucos'. The Flying Flucos nickname has been recognized by ESPN as one of the top 10 unique High School nicknames in the country.


Fluvanna has a workforce of 13,527. 13% of the workforce lives and works inside the county borders. 68% of county residents work in another locality. 19% of the workforce lives in another locality and works in Fluvanna. The average Fluvanna resident commutes over 30 minutes to work. [11] [ citation needed ]

The top 10 employers in Fluvanna as of 2019: [11]

  1. Fluvanna School Board
  2. Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women
  3. County of Fluvanna
  4. Fork Union Military Academy
  5. Lake Monticello Owners' Association
  6. AG Dillard Inc.
  7. BFI Transfer Systems of Virginia (Republic Services)
  8. Domino's Pizza
  9. Food Lion
  10. MMR Constructors Inc.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 290 square miles (750 km2), of which 286 square miles (740 km2) is land and 4.1 square miles (11 km2) (1.4%) is water. [12] Palmyra, is 54 miles (87 km) from Richmond and 110 miles (180 km) from Dulles International Airport. Lake Monticello, a private community, is 15 miles (24 km) from Charlottesville.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

Government and infrastructure

Fluvanna County administrative offices located at Palmyra . Fluvanna County administrative and legal buildings.JPG
Fluvanna County administrative offices located at Palmyra .

The Virginia Department of Corrections operates the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women in unincorporated Fluvanna County, near Troy. [13] The center houses the female death row. [14]

Board of Supervisors

Constitutional officers

Fluvanna is represented by Republican Mark Peake in the Virginia Senate, Republicans Robert B. Bell, III and R. Lee Ware, Jr. in the Virginia House of Delegates, and Republican Denver Riggleman in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results [16]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2016 51.7%7,02542.4% 5,7605.9% 807
2012 52.4%6,67846.2% 5,8931.4% 178
2008 50.4%6,42048.6% 6,1851.0% 130
2004 58.9%6,45840.3% 4,4150.8% 84
2000 57.0%4,96239.4% 3,4313.6% 313
1996 51.7%3,44240.2% 2,6768.2% 545
1992 48.0%2,81136.5% 2,13415.5% 907
1988 60.3%2,44738.5% 1,5621.2% 50
1984 62.2%2,24736.9% 1,3320.9% 33
1980 50.4%1,60544.7% 1,4244.9% 155
1976 46.8% 1,29651.1%1,4152.1% 59
1972 67.3%1,43829.8% 6372.9% 62
1968 42.6%91326.5% 56930.9% 663
1964 44.9% 82355.0%1,0080.2% 3
1960 54.9%76344.2% 6140.9% 13
1956 53.9%73430.6% 41715.6% 212
1952 57.7%72441.4% 5190.9% 11
1948 37.4% 31952.5%44710.1% 86
1944 33.5% 29166.3%5770.2% 2
1940 29.4% 24170.5%5790.1% 1
1936 26.9% 21772.5%5860.6% 5
1932 22.9% 17675.4%5791.7% 13
1928 42.3% 32757.8%447
1924 22.0% 13673.3%4524.7% 29
1920 20.4% 14678.4%5621.3% 9
1912 10.1% 5377.9%40912.0% 63

Notable residents



Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

See also

Related Research Articles

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Columbia, Virginia Unincorporated community in Virginia, United States

Columbia, formerly known as Point of Fork, is an unincorporated community in Fluvanna County, Virginia, United States, at the confluence of the James and Rivanna rivers. Following a referendum, Columbia was dissolved as an incorporated town – until that time the smallest in Virginia – on July 1, 2016. As of the 2010 census, the town's population was 83, up from 49 at the 2000 census.

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.

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James River and Kanawha Canal United States historic place

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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.

Bremo Bluff, Virginia Unincorporated community in Virginia, United States

Bremo Bluff is an unincorporated community located on the northern bank of the James River in Fluvanna County, Virginia, United States. The locale was established by the Cocke family in 1636. During the American Civil War, the family of General Robert E. Lee sought refuge in the community. It is home to Bremo Power Station, which generates 3 percent of the total electricity delivered by utility company Dominion Resources.

Virginia Air Line Railroad (VAL) was a short-line railroad that operated from 1908 to 1975 in Central Virginia. It was built by the Virginia Air Line Railway Company to connect the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad's (C&O) Piedmont Subdivision at Lindsay, Virginia, to the Rivanna Subdivision of C&O's James River Line at Strathmore Yard, near Bremo Bluff, Virginia.

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National Register of Historic Places listings in Virginia Wikimedia list article

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Rivanna River river in the United States of America

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Virginia State Route 53 state highway in Virginia, United States

State Route 53 is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of Virginia. Known as Thomas Jefferson Parkway, the state highway runs 18.32 miles (29.48 km) from SR 20 near Charlottesville east to U.S. Route 15 in Palmyra. SR 53 connects the county seats of Albemarle and Fluvanna counties. The state highway also provides access to the community of Lake Monticello and Monticello, the estate of Thomas Jefferson. The route of SR 53 became a state highway in 1930; the highway receives its present designation in 1947.

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

Palmyra is a census-designated place (CDP) in and the county seat of Fluvanna County, Virginia, United States. The population as of the 2010 census was 104. Palmyra lies on the eastern bank of the Rivanna River along U.S. Route 15. The ZIP code for Palmyra and surrounding rural land is 22963.

Fluvanna County High School Public school in Palmyra, Fluvanna County, Virginia, United States

Fluvanna County High School is a public school about two miles west of Palmyra, Virginia on Virginia State Route 53. It opened in 1934 as one of the first county consolidated high schools in the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia. The school is noted for its unique nickname, the Flying Flucos.

Carysbrook is an unincorporated community in Fluvanna County, in the U.S. state of Virginia located about two miles northwest of Dixie and three miles southeast of Palmyra on U.S. Route 15.

Scottsville Historic District United States historic place

Scottsville Historic District is a national historic district located at Scottsville, Albemarle County and Fluvanna County, Virginia. The district encompasses 153 contributing buildings, 1 contributing site, and 4 contributing structures in the town of Scottsville. The district includes commercial, residential, religious, factory and warehouse buildings in a variety of popular architectural styles including Federal, Georgian, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Prairie, Colonial Revival, and Craftsman. Notable buildings include Scottsville High School (1920), Riverview (1817), Chester (1847), Belle Haven, Oakwood, Herndon House (1800), The Tavern (mid-1700s), Scottsville Presbyterian Church (1832), Disciples Church (1846), Coleman's Store (1914), and the Fore House (1732). Located in the district and separately listed are Cliffside and Mount Walla.


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  13. "Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women (female institution) Archived 2013-08-13 at the Wayback Machine ." Virginia Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  14. "Virginia Death Row/Execution Facts." My FOX DC. Tuesday November 10, 2009. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
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  16. Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-08-19.
  17. http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=11676

Coordinates: 37°50′N78°17′W / 37.84°N 78.28°W / 37.84; -78.28