Poquoson, Virginia
—  City  —
Boats parked at the Poquoson Marina. Boating has been an important part of Poquoson's economy since its inception.
Official seal of Poquoson, Virginia
Nickname(s): Bull Island
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Coordinates: 37°7′59″N 76°22′25″W / 37.13306, -76.37361
Country United States
State Virginia
Founded 1631
 • Mayor W. Eugene "Gene" Hunt Jr.
 • City 78.4 sq mi (203.1 km2)
 • Land 15.5 sq mi (40.2 km2)
 • Water 62.9 sq mi (162.9 km2)
Elevation 10 ft (3 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 12,150
 • Density 745.4/sq mi (287.7/km2)
 • Metro 1,645,015
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 23662
Area code(s) 757
FIPS code 51-63768[1]
GNIS feature ID 1479363[2]

Poquoson (play /pəˈksən/) is an independent city located on the Virginia Peninsula, in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of the U.S. state of Virginia. The population was 12,150 according to the 2010 Census[3]. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Poquoson with surrounding York county for statistical purposes.

Poquoson, which was formerly part of York County, became an incorporated town in 1952 and an independent city in 1975. (In Virginia, municipalities incorporated as independent cities are not part of any county.) However, the ties remain close. Over 30 years after Poquoson became a politically independent entity, some constitutional services such as the courts, sheriff and jail continue to be shared with neighboring York County.

Poquoson is one of the oldest continuously named cities in Virginia. It is also one of the few to retain a name which derived from the Native Americans who inhabited the area before colonization by the English began in the 17th century.


The name of the city is a Native American word which roughly translates to "great marsh" or "flat land." The term pocosin, with its varied spellings, was a term used by the area's inhabitants to describe a low, marshy, woody place covered by water in the winter, but is dry in the summer. These Native Americans were Algonquians, a tribal group affiliated through the Powhatan Confederacy, and were hostile to the early settlers. A petition to have the name of the parish and river changed was an attempt to rid the language of all vestiges of Indian terms. However, "poquoson" has survived through the centuries and has become a proper noun used to designate the present city.

The current city is a remnant of a larger area known from the first days of its settlement in the early 17th century by English colonists as the New Poquoson Parish of the Church of England. In the colonial times before separation of church and state and freedom of religion were established in Virginia and the United States, the church parish boundaries and governmental ones were often the same. In addition to the current city of Poquoson, New Poquoson Parish originally included the areas in York County known today as Poquoson, Tabb, Grafton, Dare and Seaford. This land was opened for settlement in the year 1628 and was occupied by people from the English settlement of the Virginia Colony established at Kecoughtan in 1610 by Sir Thomas Gates which eventually became part of the current City of Hampton. The first reference to the city is believed to be in Colonial records of a land grant to Christopher Calthorpe in 1631 by a court in what became the former Elizabeth City County (which consolidated with the Town of Phoebus and the City of Hampton in 1952, assuming the latter's name, and becoming a single large independent city).[4]

In 1634, the eight original shires of Virginia were created. Poquoson was located in Charles River Shire. The name was changed to York County in 1642-43. The York River was known earlier as the Charles River, and its name was also changed about the same time.

Poquoson grew as a close-knit community of York County for the next 300 years. During the American Revolutionary War, independence as won at nearby Yorktown, a major tourist attraction of the Historic Triangle of Colonial Virginia.

Poquoson became an incorporated town in 1952, as the citizens of the community were afraid their high school would be moved to a faster growing region of York County. The town became an independent city in 1975 in order to maintain this status. The change from incorporated town to independent city status also effectively protected Poquoson from potential annexation suits by the adjacent City of Hampton.

The changes to incorporated town and independent city were part of a wave of municipal changes in southeastern Virginia in the third quarter of the 20th century. Although Poquoson is one of the smaller of 10 independent cities extant in the Hampton Roads region in the 21st century, it is not unique in the area as a city having large areas of undeveloped and protected wetlands.

Government and Law[]

Poquoson has a City Council composed of seven members. Two members are elected to four year terms representing each of three precincts, Western, Central, and Eastern. A mayor is also elected to represent the City and a city manager, appointed by the City Council runs the city government. The City's school board is appointed by the City Council.[5] Over 30 years after Poquoson became an independent city from York County, some constitutional services such as the courts, sheriff and jail continue to be shared with neighboring York County.[6]


Poquoson's daily newspaper is the Daily Press. Other papers include the Port Folio Weekly, the New Journal and Guide, The Poquoson Post, and the Hampton Roads Business Journal.

Poquoson has a weekly paper, The Poquoson Post.[7] Hampton Roads Magazine serves as a bi-monthly regional magazine for Poquoson and the Hampton Roads area.[8] Poquoson is served by a variety of radio stations on the AM and FM dials, with towers located around the Hampton Roads area.[9]

Poquoson is also served by several television stations. The Hampton Roads designated market area (DMA) is the 42nd largest in the U.S. with 712,790 homes (0.64% of the total U.S.).[10] The major network television affiliates are WTKR-TV 3 (CBS), WAVY 10 (NBC), WVEC-TV 13 (ABC), WGNT 27 (CW), WTVZ 33 (MyNetworkTV), WVBT 43 (Fox), and WPXV 49 (ION Television). The Public Broadcasting Service station is WHRO-TV 15. Newport News residents also can receive independent stations, such as WSKY broadcasting on channel 4 from the Outer Banks of North Carolina and WGBS broadcasting on channel 7 from Hampton. Poquoson is served by Cox Cable which provides LNC 5, a local 24-hour [United States cable news|cable news]] television network. DirecTV, Verizon FiOS,and Dish Network are also popular as an alternative to cable television in Poquoson.


Poquoson is located at 37°7′59″N 76°22′25″W / 37.13306, -76.37361 (37.133153, -76.373881)[11].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 78.4 square miles (203 km2), of which, 15.5 square miles (40 km2) of it is land and 62.9 square miles (163 km2) of it (80.21%) is water. The other percentages are divided between land and marsh.

The city is a peninsula containing twenty square miles and is located between the Poquoson River on the north, Back River and Wythe Creek (the Old Poquoson River) on the south, the Chesapeake Bay on the east, and York County on the west. The city also shares a border with the City of Hampton and a water boundary across Chesapeake Bay with Northampton County.


Poquoson's mild four season climate means outdoor activities can be enjoyed year round. The weather in Poquoson is temperate and seasonal. Summers are hot and humid with cool evenings. The mean annual temperature is 60 °F (16 °C), with an average annual snowfall of 6 inches and an average annual rainfall of 47 inches. No measurable snow fell in 1999. The wettest seasons are the spring and summer, although rainfall is fairly constant all year round. The highest recorded temperature was 105.0°F in 1980. The lowest recorded temperature was -3.0°F on January 21, 1985.[12][13]

Additionally, the geographic location of the city, with respect to the principal storm tracks, is especially favorable, as it is south of the average path of storms originating in the higher latitudes, and north of the usual tracks of hurricanes and other major tropical storms.[14] Poquoson was significantly impacted by the most destructive storm of 2003, Hurricane Isabel.

Climate data for Poquoson, Virginia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 79
Average high °F (°C) 47
Average low °F (°C) 32
Record low °F (°C) −3
Rainfall inches (mm) 4.08
Source: [15]

National protected area[]

  • Plum Tree Island National Wildlife Refuge


Poquoson is served by two airports. Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, located in Newport News, and Norfolk International Airport, in Norfolk, both cater to passengers from Hampton Roads. The primary airport for the Virginia Peninsula is the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. The Airport is experiencing a 4th year of record, double-digit growth, making it one of the fastest growing airports in the country. In January 2006, the airport reported having served 1,058,839 passengers.[16] Norfolk International Airport (IATA: ORFICAO: KORFFAA LID: ORF), serves the region. The airport is located near Chesapeake Bay, along the city limits of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.[17] Seven airlines provide nonstop services to twenty five destinations. ORF had 3,703,664 passengers take off or land at its facility and 68,778,934 pounds of cargo were processed through its facilities.[18] The Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport provides general aviation services and is located in Williamsburg.[19]

Amtrak serves nearby Newport News, Virginia and Williamsburg, Virginia with three trains a day. The line runs west along the Virginia Peninsula to Richmond and points beyond. Connecting buses are available to Norfolk and Virginia Beach. A high speed rail connection at Richmond to both the Northeast Corridor and the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor are also under study.[20] Poquoson is served by two state highways:

  • Route 171, also known as Victory Boulevard entering Poquoson before becoming Little Florida Road, then Poquoson Avenue, and finally Messick Road.[21][22]
  • Route 172, also known as Wythe Creek Road before terminating at Yorktown Road and Hunt's Neck Road.[22][23]

The Newport News Waterworks was begun as a project of Collis P. Huntington as part of the development of the lower peninsula with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, the coal piers on the harbor of Hampton Roads, and massive shipyard which were the major sources of industrial growth which helped found Newport News as a new independent city in 1896. It includes reservoirs at Skiffe's Creek and another near Walker's Dam on the Chickahominy River. A regional water provider, in modern times it is owned and operated by the City of Newport News, and serves over 400,000 people in the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, and portions of York County and James City County.[24]

The City provides wastewater services for residents and transports wastewater to the regional Hampton Roads Sanitation District treatment plants.[25]

Poquoson has access to four area hospitals, served by Riverside Medical Center and Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News and the Sentara Careplex and the V.A. Medical Center in Hampton.[26]


Age distribution for Poquoson.

As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 12,150 people, 4,166 households, and 3,370 families residing in the city. The population density was 745.4 people per square mile (287.7/km²). There were 4,300 housing units at an average density of 277.1 per square mile (107.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.1% White, 0.6% African American, 0.3% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.

There were 4,166 households out of which 39.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.4% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.1% were non-families. 15.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.8% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 28.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 100.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $60,920, and the median income for a family was $65,460. Males had a median income of $45,284 versus $28,310 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,336. About 3.0% of families and 4.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.7% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over.


The Poquoson Seafood Festival is the biggest event in Poquoson. Events at the Seafood Festival are singers/bands, shops, food, crafts, and kids entertainment. This even includes rides. It is on the third weekend in October every year. It lasts from Friday to Sunday. Sometimes fireworks are even added into the celebration.[27]


The city is served by Poquoson City Public Schools. There are 4 public schools in Poquoson. There is the Poquoson Primary School for Kindergarten, and 1st and 2nd grades. Poquoson Elementary School serves the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. Poquoson Middle School offers 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes. Poquoson High School has grades 9-12. Poquoson's mascot is the Bull Islander.[28]

There are no private schools or colleges in Poquoson and York County. However, there are institutions of each type close by on the Virginia Peninsula. Some of the private schools include Hampton Roads Academy, Mt. Carmel Catholic School, Peninsula Catholic High School, and Denbigh Baptist Christian School, all in Newport News.

Higher education is available at Thomas Nelson Community College, with campuses in Hampton and James City County, Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Hampton University in Hampton, and the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.[29][30][31][32][33][34]

Sister Cities and Schools[]

Poquoson's sister city is:

Poquoson has two current partner schools.


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ [1]. Weldon Cooper Center Population Estimates Retrieved January 26, 2011
  4. ^ "Poquoson City History". City of Poquoson. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  5. ^ "Government". City of Poquoson. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  6. ^ "Residents". City of Poquoson. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  7. ^ "Hampton Roads Magazine". Hampton Roads Magazine. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  8. ^ Holmes, Gary. "Nielsen Reports 1.1% increase in U.S. Television Households for the 2006-2007 Season." Nielsen Media Research. September 23, 2006. Retrieved on September 28, 2007.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ Climate information from NOAA.
  11. ^ Maximum and minimum temperatures from Yahoo! Weather
  12. ^ Information from NOAA.
  13. ^ "Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation Information from the Weather Channel". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 20 August 2010. 
  14. ^ "Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport". Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  15. ^ "Norfolk International Airport Mission and History". Norfolk International Airport. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  16. ^ "Norfolk International Airport Statistics". Norfolk International Airport. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  17. ^ "Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport". Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  18. ^ "Southeast High Speed Rail". Southeast High Speed Rail. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  19. ^ 2005 Virginia Department of Transportation Jurisdiction Report - Daily Traffic Volume Estimates - Warwick Maintenance Area
  20. ^ a b 2005 Virginia Department of Transportation Jurisdiction Report - Daily Traffic Volume Estimates - York County
  21. ^ 2005 Virginia Department of Transportation Jurisdiction Report - Daily Traffic Volume Estimates - Elizabeth City Maintenance Area
  22. ^ Waterworks — City of Newport News Waterworks
  23. ^ "Hampton Roads Sanitation District". Hampton Roads Sanitation District. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  24. ^ "Virginia Hospitals and Medical Centers". The Agape Center. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  25. ^ "Poquoson Seafood Festival". City of Poquoson. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  26. ^ "Poquoson City Schools". City of Poquoson School Board. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  27. ^ Christopher Newport University
  28. ^ College of William and Mary
  29. ^ Old Dominion University
  30. ^ Norfolk State University
  31. ^ Hampton University
  32. ^ Thomas Nelson Community College
  33. ^ "Le Bar Sur Loup" (in French). Association du Clue Des Jeunes du Bar Sur Loup. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  34. ^ "AAIE Spring Newsletter 2007" (PDF). Association for the Advancement of International Education. Archived from the original on 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  35. ^ "Uruguayan American School". City of Poquoson School Board. Archived from the original on 2007-08-02. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 

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Coordinates: 37°07′59″N 76°22′26″W / 37.133153, -76.373881

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