Henrico County, Virginia

Henrico County, Virginia

Infobox U.S. County
county = Henrico County
state = Virginia

map size = 225
founded = 1634
seat = Richmond | area_total_sq_mi =245
area_land_sq_mi =238
area_water_sq_mi =7
area percentage = 2.67%
census yr = 2000
pop = 262300
density_km2 =425
web = www.co.henrico.va.us

Henrico (pronEng|hɛnˈraɪkoʊ) is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a state of the United States. The population was 262,300 at the 2000 census. It is located in the Richmond-Petersburg region and is a portion of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Founded in 1634 as one of the eight original shires of Virginia, Henrico is one of the oldest counties in the United States.

The independent city of Richmond was located within Henrico County until a state constitutional change in 1871 created independent cities. However, Richmond is still the county seat of Henrico County.GR|6 Due to the geography in which the James River approaches Richmond from almost due west, and turns almost due south below the fall line for about 8 miles before turning east again, the land within Henrico County currently encompasses much of Metropolitan Richmond's West End, its North Side, and East End areas.

Richmond International Raceway is located in the central portion of Henrico County near Mechanicsville, just north of the City of Richmond corporate limits.


Henrico County is one of the eight original Shires of Virginia established in 1634 in the Virginia Colony, and one of six considered still extant in their original form (county).


Formed originally as Henrico Shire, and shortly thereafter termed a "county," Henrico County was named for Henricus founded in 1611 by Sir Thomas Dale, a settlement wiped out during Opechancanough's organized attacks against untreatied English settlements in 1622.

Cape Henry at the southern mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Henricus, Henrico Cittie, and later Henrico County, were all named for Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of James I of England. Prince Henry showed great promise, and his death from typhoid fever at the age of eighteen was regarded as a tragedy for England.

On November 18, 1618, the Virginia Company of London, proprietor of the colony, gave instructions on the formation of a laudable government for the Colony to Sir George Yeardley when he departed from London to become full governor of Virginia. As directed, in 1619, Governor Yeardly established four large corporations, termed citties ["sic"] , which were designated to encompass the developed portion of the colony. These were Kecoughtan (later renamed Elizabeth Cittie), James Cittie, Charles Cittie, and Henrico Cittie.

In 1634, the King of England ordered the colony, which numbered about 5,000 settlers, to be divided into eight shires, or counties. One of these original shires (of which six are still considered extant) was Henrico County.

Henrico County originally extended to both the north and south sides of the James River (named in 1607 for King James I). Henrico's first boundaries incorporated an area from which 10 Virginia counties were later formed in whole or in part, as well as the independent cities of Richmond, Charlottesville, and Colonial Heights.

The original site of Henricus was located by archeologists late in the 20th century. On the south side of the James River (across from the original site of Varina, it is now in Chesterfield County, which developed Henricus Historical Park there.

County Seat, College of William and Mary

The original county seat was at Varina, at the Varina Farms plantation estate across the James River from Henricus where John Rolfe and Pocahontas were thought to have lived and their son Thomas Rolfe may have been born. (In modern times, Varina Farm is still actively cultivated and can be seen from Interstate 295 to the east just north of the Varina-Enon Bridge, not far from the WRVA transmitter site and dual radio towers).

The Henrico-Glebe house at Varina was the location where Reverend Dr. James Blair, rector of Henrico Parish, is believed to have drawn up the plans for a new school, long a goal of the colonists of Virginia. These plans, developed in the last quarter of the 17th century, are believed to have used the earlier plans from Henricus, where a college had been started earlier, as a basis. After his two year mission to England at the request of the House of Burgesses, the charter was granted. The new school became the College of William and Mary at Middle Plantation in 1693, the second oldest school of higher education in the United States.

The county seat remained at Varina until 1752, when it was relocated to the new Henrico County Court House, located at 21st and Main streets (2125 East Main Street) in what is now the City of Richmond. There it remained for over 200 years.In the 1970s, a new county court house complex was built in the western portion of the county. Currently, the county seat is at 4301 East Parham Road, which is inside Henrico County, although the 1752 courthouse was still standing in Richmond (as of 2007).

American Civil War Battle Sites

During the Civil War, the battles of Seven Pines, Savage's Station, Oak Grove, Garnett's and Golding's Farms, White Oak Swamp, Glendale, and Malvern Hill took place in Henrico County in 1862 during the Peninsula Campaign.

Additional significant battles took place in 1864 during the Overland Campaign prior to and during the Siege of Petersburg, which led to the fall of Richmond. Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart was mortally wounded in Henrico County at the Battle of Yellow Tavern on May 12, 1864.


Henrico County is one of only two counties in Virginia that maintain their own roads, the other being Arlington County. This special status was due to the existence of county highway departments prior to the creation of the state agency that is now VDOT in 1927, and the assumption of local roads in most counties by that agency in 1932. (Henrico and Arlington were grandfathered and allowed to continue pre-existing arrangements.) The control of the roads system is considered a powerful advantage for community urban planners, who can require developers to contribute to funding needed for road needs serving the planners' projects.

Henrico County is the site of Richmond International Airport. It also hosts an Amtrak rail passenger station and purchases public bus route services from Greater Richmond Transit Company, an FTA-funded public service company that is owned equally by the City of Richmond and neighboring Chesterfield County.

Interstate highways include Interstate 64, Interstate 95, and Interstate 295. Other major highways include U.S. Route 1, U.S. Route 33, U.S. Route 60, U.S. Route 250, U.S. Route 301, and U.S. Route 360, as well as State Route 5, State Route 6, State Route 33, State Route 73, State Route 150, State Route 161,State Route 288, and State Route 895.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 245 square miles (634 km²).Of that, 238 square miles (617 km²) is land and 7 square miles (17 km²) (2.67%) is water.

National protected area

* Richmond National Battlefield Park (part)


Census-designated places

*East Highland Park
*Glen Allen
*Highland Springs
*Short Pump

Other unincorporated communities


There are no existing incorporated towns, and no new municipalities can be created within the county. It has become the third Virginia county (after Arlington and Fairfax counties) to be affected by a state law that prohibits the creation of any new towns or cities within the boundaries of a county with a population density of 1,000 or more per square mile.

Many of these CDPs have Richmond mailing addresses.

Adjacent counties / independent city

*Richmond, Virginia - south
*Chesterfield County, Virginia - south
*Goochland County, Virginia - west
*Hanover County, Virginia - north
*New Kent County, Virginia - northeast
*Charles City County, Virginia - southeast


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 262,300 people, 108,121 households, and 69,846 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,102 people per square mile (425/km²). There were 112,570 housing units at an average density of 473 per square mile (183/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 68.91% White, 24.71% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 3.60% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.98% from other races, and 1.42% from two or more races. About 2.3% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 108,121 households out of which 31.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.30% were married couples living together, 13.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.40% were non-families. 28.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.70% under the age of 18, 7.80% from 18 to 24, 32.90% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 12.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 88.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $49,185, and the median income for a family was $59,298. Males had a median income of $40,203 versus $29,795 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,410. About 4.50% of families and 6.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.10% of those under age 18 and 4.50% of those age 65 or over.

Form of Government

Henrico County is managed by an appointed County Manager who answers directly to the Board of Supervisors. The current County Manager is Virgil R. Hazelett.

The Board of Supervisors are:
* Brookland District - Richard W. Glover
* Fairfield District - Frank J. Thornton
* Three Chopt District - David A. Kaechele
* Tuckahoe District - Patricia S. O'Bannon
* Varina District - James B. Donati Jr.

In 1992 and again in 1993, "City and State" magazine ranked Henrico County as the second best fiscally managed county in the United States.

Law Enforcement

The first known mention of an "officer" in Henrico was the appointment of a Special Police Officer on December 14, 1871. There is no further mention until 1908 when the Board of Supervisors recommended that a mounted patrol be used. The first major step toward today's department was in 1915 when T. Wilson Seay was appointed the first Chief of Police. When the County converted to the County Manager form of government in 1934 there were 8 police officers. In 1938 the Board of Supervisors placed the Division of Police under direct control of the County Manager, thus removing any political ties with the Sheriff's office. The Division of Police has seen steady growth and improvement over the past 70 years.

With an authorized complement of 584 sworn police officers, the Chief of Police is the chief law enforcement officer in the County. The Chief is appointed by the County Manager. The elected Sheriff's primary duties are managing the jail, court security, and the service of civil process.

The Henrico County Police is fully accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission.

Colonel Henry W. Stanley, Jr., has served as Chief of Police for the Henrico County Division of Police since August 1995. He has been a member of the Division since 1962.


*The school division known as Henrico County Public Schools consists of 45 elementary schools, 13 middle schools, 9 high schools and 2 technical centers within one school district.
*In the year 2001, HCPS began distributing Apple iBooks to every high school student. In 2003 they extended the program to middle schools.
*In the year 2005, the HCPS School Board decided to replace the iBooks with Dell's Inspiron 600M at the High School level.
*In the year 2006, the HCPS School Board decided to continue using Apple iBooks at the Middle School level, purchasing nearly 13,000 laptops in a contract worth $15.8 million.
*In the year 2008, HCPS School Board opened a new middle school, Elko Middle School.

Notable facts

* As with many lesser known areas in Virginia, the United States Postal Service official mailing address for the majority of the county was the nearest major city, Richmond. However in 2008 county residents won the right to be recongnized by the United States Postal Service as the locality to which they pay the majority of their taxes. As of October 1, 2008 the primay mailing address for the majority of the county will be officialy changed to Henrico. The county is said to recover at least 5 million dollars a year in misdirected tax dollars due to the address change. This move has set a precedent causing many other localities in Virginia who are officialy recongnized by the United States Postal Service as the nearest major city to consider petitioning the United States Postal Service for their own official mailing address bearing the name of the locality to which residents actually pay their taxes.

* Henrico County is the location of Richmond International Raceway, home to NASCAR races twice a year.

* Henrico County is the county that handles hazardous material spills and related problems (with three HAZMAT Teams) for the entire Central Virginia Region. Partly because of this, Central Virginia has total interoperability of Emergency Communications (Police, Fire, Recreation and Parks, Volunteer Rescue Squads, etc.) between the cities and more than ten counties.

* Henrico County has the highest Bond rating (Triple, triple-A) from the three bond rating agencies in the United States, which means Henrico is known nationwide for its solid fiscal responsibility.

* Henrico County residents are served by the "Henrico Area Mental Health and Retardation Services" one of the best publicly supported mental health recovery agencies in the country. All fees for services rendered are based on financial need, providing mental health and recovery support services to thousands who otherwise would not be able to afford this due to their own limitied financial resources. NOBODY IS DENIED SERVICE DUE TO AN INABILITY TO PAY


External links

* [http://www.henricohistoricalsociety.org Henrico County Historical Society]
* [http://www.co.henrico.va.us/manager/boslist.htm Board of Supervisors]

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