Fast Facts about Henrico

Interesting bits of information about Henrico County

  • Three Chopt Road began as an Indian trail marked by three notches carved in trees located at intervals along the ancient path.

  • One of the three villages that Indian Chief Powhatan called home was in present-day Henrico County. The village of Powhatan (an Indian word meaning “falls in a current”) was located on a hill opposite three islands just below the falls of the James River.

  • “Powhatan’s River,” named by Virginia’s Indians to honor their chief, was renamed the James River, or the “King’s River,” by 17th century English settlers to honor King James I.

  • Sir Thomas Dale founded the Citie of Henricus in 1611 on “seven English acres of ground.” It was the second successful English settlement in America.

  • Early settlers named Henrico County in honor of Henry Frederick, the Prince of Wales and son of King James I of England.

  • The English colonies first mined coal and iron in Henrico County. Settlers mined coal at the Richmond Coal Basin (located in Henrico). Gayton Road derived its name from the Gayton coalmines, originally owned by DuVal Coal interests.

  • John Rolfe introduced tobacco as the first successful cash crop in the New World at Henricus in 1612. That same year, John Rolfe imported a mild strain of tobacco from Trinidad that helped make the Virginia colony prosper.

  • The Varina magisterial district is named for a mild variety of tobacco from Spain, similar to the strain that helped make the colony profitable.

  • By 1616, liberal property ownership laws caused the Citie of Henricus to shrink from a town of more than 300 to only 38 “men and boys.”

  • One of the oldest political subdivisions in Virginia, Henrico County was established in 1634 as one of the colony’s eight original shires, and included all or part of 10 modern Virginia counties as well as the cities of Richmond, Charlottesville and Colonial Heights.

  • After her capture by English settlers and subsequent marriage to John Rolfe in 1614, Pocahontas lived part of her life in what is currently Henrico’s Varina district. Her image today graces the Henrico seal and flag.

  • Pocahontas’ marriage to John Rolfe helped usher a period of peace between the English settlers and Virginia’s Powhatan Indians. The peace was broken on Good Friday 1622 during a coordinated Indian attack on English settlements in Virginia.

  • Rev. Alexander Whitaker, “the Apostle of Virginia,” was minister of a Henrico Church and lived at its parsonage, Rock Hall, near present day Dutch Gap. The Rev. Whitaker converted Pocahontas to Christianity and presided over her marriage to John Rolfe in 1614.

  • Pocahontas’ name after her conversion to Christianity was Rebecca. She and John Rolfe had a son, Thomas.

  • After growing up in England with his paternal grandparents, Thomas returned to Virginia, where he became a militia officer and commanded a frontier fort in western Henrico.

  • At the end of a trip to England in 1617, Pocahontas fell ill and died at Gravesend, England, where she is buried.

  • In 1619, Thomas Dowse and John Polentine were Henrico County’s first representatives to the Virginia House of Burgesses, precursor to the Virginia General Assembly.

  • Varina was the first seat of county government in Henrico.

  • Brookfield Plantation in Henrico County, where slave insurrection leader Gabriel Prosser lived, was located in an area bordered by modern-day Brook and Chamberlayne roads to the east and west, and Wilkinson Road to the north. Gabriel led an ill-fated 1800 slave revolt.

  • Henrico and Dinwiddie counties are tied for the greatest number of Civil War battlefields in the United States.

  • In 1862, the 1862 battle of Glendale–a 7,800-acre Henrico County site–saw some of the Civil War’s worst hand-to-hand combat, and suffered 6,500 casualties as Union soldiers retreated.

  • More African-American troops were awarded the Medal of Honor after the Civil War battle of New Market Heights in eastern Henrico County than any other Civil War battle; 14 men received this highest military honor for bravery.

  • Railroad artillery was deployed for the first time in the history of warfare at the Civil War battle of Savage’s Station. Union troops quickly adopted this Confederate innovation.

  • Dabbs House, named for one-time owner, Josiah Dabbs, served as a headquarters for General Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. In 1883, Henrico County purchased the home for use as a poor house and later as a police station.

  • Pioneer African-American educator and humanitarian Virginia Randolph founded the first public school vocational education program in the nation in Henrico County.

  • Broad Street Road received its name because of its unusual width at the time it was built. The metro-Richmond area was the site of the first streetcar system in the United States, and as a result, travelers needed a broad street to keep their horses as far from the streetcars as possible.

  • During the Revolutionary War, Continental Army troops kept horses in a large pen in Henrico County. The road leading to the pen took the name Horsepen Road.

  • Horseracing was among the most popular pastimes in colonial Virginia, and Henrico County boasted a number of popular racecourses.

  • Short Pump Tavern, a stagecoach stop on the road to Virginia’s western settlements, had a well in the yard with an unusually short pump handle. The name Short Pump now applies to a considerable area in the western end of the county.

  • Old Osborne Turnpike in Varina derives it name from Thomas Osborne, an early colonist and landowner. The road is among the first divided highways in the country.

  • Henrico is one of just two counties in Virginia that maintains its own road system. Henrico’s Department of Public Works maintains more than 1,250 miles of roadway.

  • The USS Henrico (APA-45) carried elements of the “Big Red One” US Army 1st Division to the D-Day assault on Omaha Beach during the World War II invasion of Normandy, France.

  • Henrico County maintains the lowest real estate property tax in urban Virginia, and a cost of living index consistently below the national average.

  • Henrico is one of only 22 counties nationwide to hold triple-A bond ratings from all three major bond rating firms: Moody’s Investor Service, Standard & Poor’s Corp. and Fitch Investors Service L.P.

Contact Us

Public Relations

Western Government Center
2nd Floor

4301 E. Parham Rd
Henrico, VA 23228

(804) 501-4257

(804) 501-5500

Mailing Address
P. O. Box 90775
Henrico, VA 23273-0775

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