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Fun Facts about Henrico


  • In 1611, Sir Thomas Dale established the Virginia colony’s second permanent settlement with 300 colonists, naming it “Henrico Towne” in honor of Henry Frederick, son of James I and Prince of Wales.
  • One of the three villages that Indian Chief Powhatan (father to Pocahontas) called home was in present-day Henrico County.
  • 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.
  • Railroad artillery was used for the first time in the history of warfare during the Civil War battle of Savage’s Station in Henrico County. Union troops quickly adopted this Confederate innovation.
  • 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.


  • Three Chopt Road in Henrico County began as an Indian trail marked by three notches carved in trees located at intervals along the ancient path.
  • In 1634, the English Crown established Henrico as one of the eight original shires or counties. Henrico County’s first boundaries incorporated nine entire counties, part of another county, and three cities.
  • The Varina magisterial district is named for a mild variety of tobacco from Spain, similar to the strain that helped make the colony profitable.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Old Osborne Turnpike in Henrico County derives its name from Thomas Osborne, an early colonist and landowner. The road is among the first divided highways in the country.
  • In 1825, the Henrico County Courthouse was built in the middle of a planned street in error at 22nd and Main Streets. It was moved to the western side of the street in 1840.
  • Henrico County is within a day’s drive from half of the U.S. population.
  • Bordering the City of Richmond on the west, north and east, Henrico County lies between the James and Chickahominy rivers in a carefully developed, well-planned community consisting of beautiful residential communities, large expanses of fertile farmland, and carefully developed office, retail, and diversified industrial areas.
  • Henrico is one of just two counties in Virginia that maintains its own road system. Henrico’s Department of Public Works maintains more than 1,300 miles of roadway.
  • The Richmond International Airport and an Amtrak station are located in Henrico County.
  • Henrico County comprises five districts: Brookland, Fairfield, Three Chopt, Tuckahoe, and Varina.
  • Today, the county includes 244 square miles.

Henrico Firsts

  • The English colonists first mined coal and iron in Henrico County. Settlers mined coal at the Richmond Coal Basin.
  • In 1685, Thomas Cocke licensed the first tavern in Henrico
  • Henrico County has the greatest number of Civil War battlefields in the United States.
  • More African-American troops were awarded the Medal of Honor after the Civil War battle of New Market Heights in eastern Henrico County than after any other Civil War battle. Fourteen men received this highest military honor for bravery.
  • The first railroad constructed through Henrico County was the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac (RF&P), chartered in 1834.
  • The first known mention of an officer in Henrico was the appointment of a Special Police Officer in 1871.
  • The first school library in Henrico was established in 1899.
  • Virginia Randolph planted 12 sycamore trees at Mountain Road School in 1908, for the First Arbor Day. The trees were designated as the first national historic trees in Virginia.
  • In 1933, the vote for the County Manager form of government was the first in Virginia; Henrico is the only one to use the County Manager form of government to date.
  • Henrico’s free library system was established in 1966.
  • The first countywide kindergarten program began in 1973.
  • Laurel, Henrico’s first Historic District, was accepted to the register of National Historic Places in 1987.
  • In 2008, the U.S. Postal Service officially recognized Henrico, VA as a mailing address.

Famous Folk

  • Dabbs House, named for one-time owner Josiah Dabbs, served as a headquarters for Gen. Robert E. Lee during the American Civil War. In 1883, Henrico County purchased the home for use as a poor house and later as the Division of Police headquarters.
  • Pioneer African-American educator and humanitarian Virginia Randolph founded the first public school vocational education program in the nation in Henrico County. Born to former slaves, Miss Randolph opened the Old Mountain Road School for black children in 1892.
  • In 1958, Henrico County’s Tommy Edwards released a no.1 hit, “It’s All In the Game” previously recorded in 1951 and sang it on The Ed Sullivan Show
  • Elliott Yamin, a Henrico singer known for his hit single “Wait for You,” placed third on the fifth season of American Idol in 2006. His self-titled album released March 2007, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums chart and at No. 3 on the Billboard 2007. The album was certified gold in October 2007.
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