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Lexington is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 7,042.[3] It is the county seat of Rockbridge County,[4] although the two are separate jurisdictions. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Lexington (along with nearby Buena Vista) with Rockbridge County for statistical purposes. Lexington is about 57 miles east of the West Virginia border and is about 50 miles north of Roanoke, Virginia. It was first settled in 1777.

Lexington, Virginia
Independent city
Main Street, 2017
Main Street, 2017
Lexington is located in Shenandoah Valley
Lexington
Lexington
Lexington is located in Virginia
Lexington
Lexington
Lexington is located in the US
Lexington
Lexington
Coordinates: 37°47′2″N 79°26′34″W / 37.78389°N 79.44278°W / 37.78389; -79.44278Coordinates: 37°47′2″N 79°26′34″W / 37.78389°N 79.44278°W / 37.78389; -79.44278[1]
Country United States
State Virginia
County None (Independent city)
Government
 • Mayor Frank Friedman
 • City Manager Noah Simon
 • Commissioner of Revenue Karen T. Roundy
 • Treasurer Patricia DeLaney
 • City Attorney Mann, Vita, & Elrod, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
Area
 • Total 2.5 sq mi (6 km2)
 • Land 2.5 sq mi (6 km2)
Elevation 1,063 ft (324 m)
Population (2012)
 • Total 6,998
 • Density 2,817/sq mi (1,088/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 24450
Area code(s) 540
FIPS code 51-45512[2]
GNIS feature ID 1498506[1]
Website Lexington, Virginia

Lexington is the location of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and of Washington and Lee University (W&L).

Contents

City CouncilEdit

Official Position
Frank Friedman Mayor
Marylin E. Alexander Councilwoman
Leslie Straughan Councilwoman
Michele Hentz Councilwoman
J. Patrick Rhamey, Jr. Councilman
David Sigler Councilman
Charles "Chuck" Smith Councilman

HistoryEdit

Lexington was named in 1778. It was one of the first of what would be many American places named after Lexington, Massachusetts, known for being the place at which the first shot was fired in the American Revolution.[5]

The Union General David Hunter led a raid on Virginia Military Institute during the American Civil War. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are buried here. It is the site of the only house Jackson ever owned, now open to the public as a museum. Cyrus McCormick invented the horse-drawn mechanical reaper at his family's farm in Rockbridge County and a statue of McCormick is located on the Washington and Lee University campus. McCormick Farm is now owned by Virginia Tech and is a satellite agricultural research center.

GeographyEdit

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), virtually all of which is land.[6] The Maury River, a tributary of the James River, forms the city's northeastern boundary.

ClimateEdit

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Lexington has a humid subtropical climate, similar to Northern Italy, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[7]

DemographicsEdit

Census Pop.
1850 1,743
1860 2,135 22.5%
1870 2,873 34.6%
1880 2,771 −3.6%
1890 3,059 10.4%
1900 3,203 4.7%
1910 2,931 −8.5%
1920 2,870 −2.1%
1930 3,752 30.7%
1940 3,914 4.3%
1950 5,976 52.7%
1960 7,537 26.1%
1970 7,597 0.8%
1980 7,292 −4.0%
1990 6,959 −4.6%
2000 6,867 −1.3%
2010 7,042 2.5%
Est. 2016 7,045 [8] 0.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790-1960[10] 1900-1990[11]
1990-2000[12] 2010-2012[3]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 6,867 people, 2,232 households, and 1,080 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,753.8 per square mile (,064.8/km²). The racial makeup was 86.01% White, 10.38% African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.92% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander and 0.48% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population.

There were 2,232 households of which 18.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.9% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 51.6% were non-families. 41.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06 and the average family size was 2.76.

In the city, the population was spread out with 11.0% under the age of 18, 41.4% from 18 to 24, 14.5% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23 years. For every 100 females there were 123.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 127.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,982, and the median income for a family was $58,529. Males had a median income of $35,288 versus $26,094 for females. The per capita income was $16,497. About 8.4% of families and 21.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.9% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.

EconomyEdit

 
Lee Chapel

Today, Lexington's primary economic activities stem from higher education and tourism. Located at the intersection of historic U.S. Route 11 and U.S. Route 60 and more modern highways, Interstate 64 and Interstate 81. With its various connections to the Civil War, Lexington attracts visitors from around the country. Places of interest in Lexington include the Stonewall Jackson House, Lee Chapel, the George C. Marshall Museum, Virginia Military Institute Museum, Museum of Military Memorabilia, and the downtown historic district. Hull's Drive In theater attracts visitors to the area and was the first community-owned, non-profit drive-in in the U.S.

Lexington also contains a host of small retail businesses, bed and breakfast inns, and restaurants catering to a unique mixture of local, tourist, and collegiate clientele. The historic R. E. Lee Hotel, built in the 1920s, underwent extensive renovation and re-opened its doors late 2014.

Lexington has been the site for several movies. Parts of at least seven motion pictures have been filmed in the area. The first was the 1938 movie, Brother Rat, which starred Ronald Reagan. After the movie's release he was made an honorary VMI cadet. The second was the 1958 Mardi Gras, which starred Pat Boone as a VMI cadet and the actress Christine Carère. The third was Sommersby, starring Richard Gere, Bill Pullman, James Earl Jones and Jodie Foster. Filming for parts of several Civil War films also took place in Lexington, including the documentary Lee Beyond the Battles and Gods and Generals. In fall 2004, the director Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise filmed scenes for War of the Worlds here, with Dakota Fanning and Tim Robbins. In June 2013, filming took place for a movie titled Field of Lost Shoes about the Battle of New Market starring Luke Benward and Lauren Holly.

The city has a number of independent newspapers. The News-Gazette is a weekly community paper; it also produces a free shopper known as The Weekender. The Rockbridge Weekly was noted for printing police and other local crime reports. It was bought by The News-Gazette in June 2012 and shut down. The Rockbridge Advocate is a monthly news magazine with the motto "Independent as a hog on ice".

Flag controversyEdit

In 2011, the city erupted in controversy after the City Council passed an ordinance to ban the flying of flags other than the United States flag, the Virginia Flag, and an as-yet-undesigned city flag on city light poles. Various flags of the Confederacy had previously been flown on city light poles to commemorate the Virginia holiday, Lee–Jackson Day, which is observed on the Friday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.[14] About 300 Confederate flag supporters, including members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, rallied before the City Council meeting,[15] and after the vote the Sons of Confederate Veterans vowed to challenge the new local ordinance in court.[14] Previously, flags such as the Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute flags had also been flown on city light poles but the practice is now discontinued due to the city's ordinance. Through July 2013, attempts to overturn the ordinance have failed.

Previously, a 1993 federal injunction had prohibited Lexington from barring individuals' displaying the Confederate flag.[15] The current ordinance applies only to displays from city light poles; individuals still may exercise their First Amendment rights, including displaying flags of their choice.

In 2014, a large Confederate battle flag and a number of related state flags were removed from Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University.[16][17]

Points of interestEdit

 
Lexington High School, designed by architect Charles M. Robinson and constructed in 1908, was typical of the modern public schools that cities built during the Progressive Era.

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Lexington". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  5. ^ Ramsay, Robert L. (1952). Our Storehouse of Missouri Place Names. University of Missouri Press. p. 16. 
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  7. ^ Climate Summary for Lexington, Virginia
  8. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  14. ^ a b Associated Press. "Va. city bans public Confederate flag displays". CBS News. Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Adams, Duncan. "Rebel flags barred from Lexington poles". Roanoke Times. Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Virginia university to remove Confederate flags from chapel". CNN Wire. July 9, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2017. 
  17. ^ Shapiro, T. Rees (July 8, 2014). "Washington and Lee University to remove Confederate flags following protests". Washington Post. 
  18. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  19. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 6/06/11 through 6/10/11. National Park Service. June 17, 2011. 
  20. ^ Vine, Valerie (February 21, 2011). "William H. Armstrong". Find A Grave. 
  21. ^ "Howard Drew". Sports-reference.com. Retrieved March 4, 2017. 
  22. ^ Davidson, Justin (November 28, 1997). "Past Her Prime at 17? : Younger violinists are fast on the heels of Hilary Hahn. But she doesn't feel the heat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  23. ^ "Ingersoll-Rand Plc: Constance J. Horner". Business Week. Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Virginia Governor John Letcher". National Governors Association. Retrieved March 4, 2017. 
  25. ^ "LINDSAY, William, (1835 - 1909)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved March 4, 2017. 
  26. ^ "West Virginia Governor William Alexander MacCorkle". National Governors Association. Retrieved March 4, 2017. 
  27. ^ "Sally Mann". sallymann.com. Retrieved March 4, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Gary Wayne Martini 1948-1967". West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Retrieved March 4, 2017. 
  29. ^ Evans, Martin (2001). "Robert Paxton: The Outsider". History Today. 
  30. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. New York, NY: J. T. White. 1967. p. 245. 
  31. ^ Hill, Samuel S.; Lippy, Charles H.; Wilson, Charles Reagan (2005). Encyclopedia of Religion in the South. Mercer University. 
  32. ^ Masters, Christopher (July 6, 2011). ""Cy" (Cyclone) Twombly, obituary". The Guardian. UK. 

External linksEdit