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Henrico County, Virginia
Henrico County Courthouse.jpg
Historic Henrico County Courthouse, built ca. 1898
Flag of Henrico County, Virginia
Seal of Henrico County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Henrico County
Location in the state of Virginia
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded 1634
Seat Richmond
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

245 sq mi (635 km²)
238 sq mi (616 km²)
7 sq mi (18 km²), 2.67%
 - (2020)
 - Density

1,291/sq mi (498.3/km²)

Henrico (play /hɛnˈrk/) is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a state of the United States. As of 2020, Henrico was home to 334,389 people. It is located in the Richmond-Petersburg region and is a portion of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Established as the Citie of Henricus in 1611 by the Virginia Company, Henrico became one of the eight original English shires (counties) in 1634. 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 made all incorporated cities in Virginia independent cities. The land within Henrico County surrounds the independent city of Richmond to the west, north, and east. The shape of Henrico County curves around the northern side of the city of Richmond.[1] Bordering the city of Richmond on the west, north, and east, the county of Henrico lies between the James and Chickahominy rivers, and constitutes approximately a third of the Richmond metropolitan area. Today, Henrico's over one-quarter of a million residents live in a well-planned community of 244.06 square miles consisting of beautiful residential communities, large expanses of fertile farm land, and carefully developed office, retail, and diversified industrial areas.[2]

Richmond International Raceway is located in the central portion of Henrico County near Mechanicsville, Hanover County, Virginia, just north of the Richmond corporate limits. Additionally, Richmond International Airport is located in the eastern portion of Henrico County. [3]

Cost of Living[]

Mar. 2012 cost of living index in Henrico County: 86.5 (less than average, U.S. average is 100) [4]


Henrico County is one of the eight original Divisions of Virginia established by the British in 1634 in the Virginia Colony while it was still a British colony 1607 to 1775. Henrico County was fully established in 1611 with a lot of territorial changes.[5]


Formed originally as Henrico Division, and shortly thereafter termed a "county", Henrico County was named for Henricus, a community founded in 1611 by Sir Thomas Dale. During the Indian Massacre of 1622, the chief Opechancanough led the Powhatan Confederacy against the English settlements to try to expel them from the territory; warriors destroyed Henricus.

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, 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.

From Henrico territory came nine other counties and part of a tenth: Goochland, founded in 1728; Albemarle in 1744; Chesterfield and Cumberland in 1749; Amherst and Buckingham in 1761; Fluvanna and Powhatan in 1777; Nelson in 1807. Part of Appomattox, in 1845, was also formed from the territory that had once been part of Henrico as well as the cities of Richmond (became a town still part of Henrico County in 1742, incorporated as a city in 1782 and completely independent in 1842), Charlottesville (formed by charter in 1762, incorporated as a town in 1801 and as a city in 1888), and Colonial Heights (established in 1910, became an incorporated town in 1926 and an independent city in 1948.) There have also been a series of annexations by the City of Richmond and an annexation in 1922 by Chesterfield County that claimed the site of Henricus, changing the boundary of Henrico to what it is today.[6]

Archeologists located the original site of Henricus late in the 20th century. On the south side of the James River (across from the original site of Varina, it is now located in Chesterfield County. The county developed Henricus Historical Park around the archeological site.

County seat, College of William and Mary[]

The original county seat was at Varina, at the Varina Farms plantation across the James River from Henricus. John Rolfe and his wife Pocahontas were thought to have lived there, where 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.)

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. Working in the last quarter of the 17th century, he was believed to have based his plans on earlier ones from Henricus, where a college had been started. After Blair's two-year mission to England at the request of the House of Burgesses, the government granted a charter for the college. It was built and named 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 22nd and Main streets (2125 East Main Street). There it remained for more than 200 years, although after Richmond was separated as an independent city, the courthouse was within the city limits.

American Civil War battle sites[]

Cannons at the site of the Battle of Malvern Hill

During the Civil War, in 1862 Henrico County was the site of the following numerous battles during the Peninsula Campaign:

  • Seven Pines,
  • Savage's Station,
  • Oak Grove,
  • Garnett's and Golding's Farms,
  • White Oak Swamp,
  • Glendale, and
  • Malvern Hill.

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.

Former incorporated towns[]

Prior to 1870, the Town and later City of Richmond was located within Henrico County. Under a new Virginia state constitution in 1870, and as further clarified by another one in 1902, Richmond became an independent city. However, it remains the seat of Henrico County to this day, a situation not uncommon in Virginia.

At the end of the 19th century and in the early 20th century, several small incorporated towns were chartered by Acts of Assembly, primarily in areas of the county near to, but outside of, the city limits. As listed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, these included:

  • Town of Barton Heights, incorporated 1896, annexed by the City of Richmond in 1914.[7][8]
  • Town of Fairmount, incorporated 1902, annexed by the City of Richmond in 1914.[7]
  • Town of Ginter Park, annexed by the City of Richmond.
  • Town of Highland Park, annexed by the City of Richmond in 1914.[7]
  • Town of North Richmond, annexed by the City of Richmond.


Henrico County is one of only two counties in Virginia that maintains its 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:

  • I-64
  • I-95
  • I-195
  • I-295

Other major highways include:

  • US 1 (Brook Road)
  • US 33 (Staples Mill Road)
  • US 60 (Williamsburg Road)
  • US 301 (Chamberlayne Road)
  • US 360 (Mechanicsville Turnpike)

As well as:

  • SR 2 (Chamberlayne Road)
  • SR 5 (Old Osborne Turnpike, New Market Road)
  • SR 6 (Patterson Avenue)
  • SR 33 (Nine Mile Road, Williamsburg Road)
  • SR 73 (Parham Road (between I-95 and US 1))
  • SR 147 (River Road, Huguenot Road)
  • SR 150 (Chippenham Parkway)
  • SR 156 (New Market Road, Willis Church Road, Charles City Road, Elko Road, Williamsburg Road, Airport Drive)
  • SR 157 (Springfield Road, Pemberton Road, Quioccasin Road, Gaskins Road)
  • SR 161 (Lakeside Drive, Hilliard Road)
  • SR 197 (Westwood Avenue)
  • SR 271 (Pouncey Tract Road)
  • SR 356 (Hilliard Road)
  • SR 895 (Pocahontas Parkway)


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 245 square miles (634.5 km2).Of that, 238 square miles (616.4 km2) is land and 7 square miles (18.1 km2) (2.67%) is water.

National protected area[]

  • Richmond National Battlefield Park (part)


Census-designated places[]

  • Chamberlayne
  • Dumbarton
  • East Highland Park
  • Glen Allen
  • Highland Springs
  • Innsbrook
  • Lakeside
  • Laurel
  • Montrose
  • Sandston
  • Short Pump
  • Tuckahoe
  • Wyndham

Other unincorporated communities[]

There are no existing incorporated towns, and no new municipalities can be created within the county. Henrico was 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.



Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 12,000
1800 14,886 24.1%
1810 19,680 32.2%
1820 23,667 20.3%
1830 28,797 21.7%
1840 33,076 14.9%
1850 43,572 31.7%
1860 61,616 41.4%
1870 66,179 7.4%
1880 82,703 25.0%
1890 103,394 25.0%
1900 30,062 −70.9%
1910 23,437 −22.0%
1920 18,972 −19.1%
1930 30,310 59.8%
1940 41,960 38.4%
1950 57,340 36.7%
1960 117,339 104.6%
1970 154,364 31.6%
1980 180,735 17.1%
1990 217,881 20.6%
2000 262,300 20.4%
2010 306,935 17.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census[9] 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.

The largest ancestry groups in Henrico County are: Black or African American (25%), English American (14%), German (11%), Irish (10%) and Italian (4%)[10]

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.


Henrico County is managed by an appointed County Manager who answers directly to the Board of Supervisors. The current County Manager is John A. Vithoulkas.

The Board of Supervisors are:

  • Brookland District – Dan Schmitt (R)
  • Fairfield District – Frank J. Thornton (D)
  • Three Chopt District – Thomas M. Branin (R)
  • Tuckahoe District – Patricia S. O'Bannon (R)
  • Varina District – Tyrone E. Nelson (D)

In 2014, Henrico County won 'Best in Government' from Richmond Magazine.[11]

There are several elected constitutional officers.

  • Clerk of the Circuit Court – Heidi S. Barshinger (R)
  • Commonwealth's Attorney – Shannon Taylor (D)
  • Sheriff – Alisa Gregory (D)

There are also several legislative representatives.

In the U.S. House of Representatives:

  • Democrat Abigail Spanberger
  • Democrat A. Donald McEachin

In the Virginia Senate:

  • Democrat Jennifer L. McClellan
  • Republican Siobhan Dunnavant

In the Virginia House of Delegates:

  • Republican John McGuire
  • Republican Riley E. Ingram
  • Democrat Dawn M. Adams
  • Democrat Dolores L. McQuinn
  • Democrat Jeffrey M. Bourne
  • Democrat Schuyler T. VanValkenburg
  • Democrat Rodney Willett
  • Democrat Lamont Bagby
United States presidential election results for Henrico County, Virginia[12]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 63,440 34.64% 116,572 63.65% 3,140 1.71%
2016 59,857 36.60% 93,935 57.44% 9,744 5.96%
2012 70,449 43.42% 89,594 55.22% 2,198 1.35%
2008 67,381 43.48% 86,323 55.70% 1,262 0.81%
2004 71,809 53.82% 60,864 45.62% 745 0.56%
2000 62,887 55.04% 48,645 42.58% 2,720 2.38%
1996 54,430 53.37% 41,121 40.32% 6,441 6.32%
1992 56,910 52.27% 36,807 33.81% 15,151 13.92%
1988 62,284 69.29% 26,980 30.02% 623 0.69%
1984 63,864 74.74% 21,336 24.97% 248 0.29%
1980 50,505 66.85% 21,023 27.83% 4,023 5.32%
1976 45,405 65.82% 21,729 31.50% 1,847 2.68%
1972 52,536 84.87% 8,420 13.60% 948 1.53%
1968 34,212 62.52% 8,600 15.71% 11,914 21.77%
1964 29,286 69.59% 12,779 30.37% 17 0.04%
1960 19,446 66.52% 9,626 32.93% 163 0.56%
1956 12,702 60.20% 5,032 23.85% 3,367 15.96%
1952 10,682 66.62% 5,339 33.30% 14 0.09%
1948 2,092 42.09% 2,321 46.70% 557 11.21%
1944 1,263 29.16% 3,056 70.56% 12 0.28%
1940 2,005 33.27% 3,993 66.25% 29 0.48%
1936 1,285 26.12% 3,610 73.39% 24 0.49%
1932 1,291 33.32% 2,458 63.43% 126 3.25%
1928 1,887 58.31% 1,349 41.69% 0 0.00%
1924 416 25.92% 1,052 65.55% 137 8.54%
1920 338 23.26% 1,078 74.19% 37 2.55%
1916 140 16.47% 690 81.18% 20 2.35%
1912 93 7.91% 952 81.02% 130 11.06%
1908 215 25.41% 627 74.11% 4 0.47%
1904 248 21.25% 890 76.26% 29 2.49%
1900 1,049 31.87% 2,189 66.51% 53 1.61%
1896 1,817 43.16% 2,332 55.39% 61 1.45%
1892 1,849 42.43% 2,374 54.47% 135 3.10%
1888 2,326 57.60% 1,712 42.40% 0 0.00%
1884 2,174 55.25% 1,755 44.60% 6 0.15%
1880 1,032 46.65% 1,180 53.35% 0 0.00%

From the 1950s until the 2000s, Henrico County was solidly Republican in presidential elections, and was considered a classic bastion of suburban conservatism. However, Barack Obama won the county in 2008, becoming the first Democrat to do so since Harry Truman in 1948, and it has voted for the Democratic nominee in every subsequent presidential election. Mirroring the shift towards Democrats seen in many affluent suburban counties across the country, Joe Biden won Henrico County by nearly 30 points in 2020.

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., served as Chief of Police for the Henrico County Division of Police from August 1995 to April 2011 when he retired after being a member of the Division since 1962. Lt. Colonel Douglas A. Middleton was appointed as the new Chief of Police effective April 9, 2011.


Altria Group (formerly Philip Morris) had its corporate headquarters in an unincorporated area in Henrico County.[13] In 2003 Philip Morris announced that it would move its headquarters from New York City to Virginia. The company said that it planned to keep around 750 employees in its former headquarters. Brendan McCormick, a spokesperson for Philip Morris, said that the company estimated that the move would save the company over $60 million each year.[14]

Other companies based in Henrico County include Brink's and Genworth Financial. Nonprofits based in Henrico County include ChildFund.

Top employers[]

According to the County's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[15] the top employers in the county are:

# Employer # of Employees Community
1 Henrico County Public Schools 5,000-9,999
2 County of Henrico 1,000-4,999
3 Capital One 1,000-4,999 Innsbrook
4 Bon Secours Richmond Health System 1,000-4,999
5 Anthem 1,000-4,999
6 Henrico Doctors' Hospital 1,000-4,999
7 Admiral Security Services 1,000-4,999
8 Bank of America 1,000-4,999
9 Wells Fargo 1,000-4,999
10 United States Postal Service 1,000-4,999 Sandston
11 Walmart 1,000-4,999
12 Martin's Food Markets 1,000-4,999
13 Genworth Financial 1,000-4,999
14 Altria 1,000-4,999
15 Kroger 1,000-4,999
16 Dominion Resources 500-999
17 Allianz Global Assistance 500-999
18 Markel 500-999 Glen Allen
19 SunTrust Banks 500-999
20 Verizon Virginia 500-999


  • The school division known as Henrico County Public Schools consists of 45 elementary schools, 13 middle schools, 10 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 2010, HCPS School Board opened a new middle school, Holman Middle School.
  • In the year 2010, HCPS School Board opened a new high school, Glen Allen High School.
  • Technology in Henrico County Public Schools is very advanced

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 recognized by the United States Postal Service as the locality to which they pay the majority of their taxes. As of October 1, 2008, the primary mailing address for the majority of the county will be officially 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.[16] This move has set a precedent causing many other localities in Virginia who are officially recognized 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.[17]

Henrico County residents are served by the Henrico Area Mental Health and Developmental 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 limited financial resources. Nobody is denied service due to an inability to pay.[17]

First Settlers[]

  • Gilbert Elam (1630-c1696), he was an immigrant from Thurnscoe, Yorkshire, England, he was a large proprietor in Henrico County, he married Mary Hatcher (c1658-1697), she was born in Henrico County
  • Capt. Seth Ward (c1610-c1682), he was an immigrant from England, he was a proprietor of 600 acres, he married Katherine Smith (1618-1656) who died at Henrico County
    • Judge Richard Ward (c1636-1682), about 1634 he immigrated from England
    • Mary Ward (1640-1711), she was born in Henrico County

See also[]

  • Henrico County Sheriff's Office (Virginia)
  • Henrico County Police Department
  • Henrico County Public Schools
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Henrico County, Virginia


  1. ^ See this map of Henrico County
  2. ^ name= "HCHS" >
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ name= "HCHS" >
  6. ^ name= "HCHS" >
  7. ^ a b c
  8. ^
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ Henrico County, VA - Henrico County, Virginia - Ancestry & family history - ePodunk
  11. ^ "Best & Worst: Game Changers". Richmond Magazine. 21 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". 
  13. ^ "Contact Us." Altria Group. Retrieved on October 19, 2009.
  14. ^ "Philip Morris to Move Headquarters from New York City to Richmond, Va.." New York Daily News. March 5, 2003. Retrieved on October 19, 2009.
  15. ^ County of Henrico CAFR
  16. ^ "Henrico Virginia". Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  17. ^ a b "Henrico Finance Department, Accounting Division". Retrieved 2011-04-25.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "GR1" defined multiple times with different content

External links[]

Coordinates: 37°33′N 77°24′W / 37.55, -77.40

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