The county of Fauquier is located in the north central Piedmont region of Virginia, approximately 40 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. and approximately 80 miles northwest of Richmond. The county encompasses a land area of approximately 660 square miles, and the population is 65,000. Famous for its horse farms and beautiful rolling land at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, today Fauquier County is known for being at the heart of hunt and wine country.
The area now known as Fauquier County was listed in 1608 as part of the Northern Neck of the colony of Virginia by Capt. John Smith, explorer and leader of the Jamestowne Colony. It was named after Francis Fauquier, the popular lieutenant governor of the colony of Virginia from 1758 to 1768.
No major Civil War battles were fought in Fauquier County, but a number of skirmishes involving infantry and cavalry occurred there. After the second Battle of Manassas, which took place just 10 minutes from Fauquier by today’s travel standards, more than 1,800 wounded soldiers were brought to Warrenton to makeshift hospitals set up in Warrenton’s businesses, churches, and homes. Union Gen. George McClellan said farewell to his troops as Commander of the Army of the Potomac in 1862 from the balcony of the Warren Green Hotel, which still stands today.
Because of its proximity to Washington, D.C., the county has experienced consistent population growth rates over the past 10 years. Despite the population growth, the county remains primarily rural in nature. Fauquier County has a well-established vision for itself as a rural agricultural community with well-planned development in its towns and villages. County government has strengthened its leadership role in this cultural tourism and preservation system in the last three years by funding a multi-year program to document the county’s historic villages and towns for listing in the National Register. The National Register nominations have created interest and support for additional historic designations throughout the county and increased the amount of permanently protected farmland. The county’s planning has stimulated heritage tourism activity, too. A study from the Virginia Tourism Authority shows Fauquier ranked 26th among Virginia’s 135 localities in total domestic travel expenditures in 2006—a 9 percent increase from 2005.
In 2006, the Elk Run Church Site Preservation Committee completed a professional archaeological dig at the first Anglican Church. They are turning the site into an interpretive archaeological park. Fauquier County’s tourism coordinator has completed a number of significant projects including a marketing plan, two new tourism brochures, postcards, a wine trail rack card, as well as four dynamic Web sites.
Each year in September the citizens host Warrenton-Fauquier Heritage Day. Main Street in downtown Warrenton is closed for the event where visitors learn about the history of the community. The county will also celebrate its 250th birthday in 2009.
Designated a Preserve America Community in August 2008.