Town of Warrenton
The Town of Warrenton is the County seat of Fauquier County, and the largest incorporated Town in the County, located in the upper Piedmont region of Virginia at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Warrenton is about 40 miles southwest of Washington, D. C., 35 miles northwest of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and 70 miles northeast of Charlottesville, Virginia.
In 1720, settlers from Tidewater, Virginia and German immigrants, inhabited the area where Fauquier County exists today. The County was formed from Prince William County in 1759 and named for Francis Fauquier, the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.
What is now the Town of Warrenton originated as a trading post known as the Red Store, located at the junction of the Falmouth-Winchester and Alexandria-Culpeper roads. A settlement was established before the Revolutionary War. In 1760, the Town of Fauquier Court House was established as the County seat. By 1790, the first courthouse had been built, as well as a jail and an academy named for General Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary War hero. Richard Henry Lee donated 71 acres of land for the county seat which was incorporated as the Town of Warrenton.
On January 5, 1810, Warrenton was incorporated and named in honor or Revolutionary War General Joseph Warren. By the 1850’s. the railroad reached Warrenton and the Town became a center for the surrounding countryside. In addition to railroad service, it had a weekly newspaper and at least one school. The Town had a population of just over 600 people by 1860, and it continued to grow slowly, serving as a business and government center for the surrounding agricultural area.
Throughout the entire 20th century Warrenton maintained it rural town atmosphere with its historical character remaining one of its most unique and valuable assets. A central challenge facing the Town as it begins the 21st century is how to manage the growth pressures from the Washington, D. C. metropolitan region while maintaining the qualities of the Town that are rooted in its history and tempered by tradition.
Today, the Town continues to serve as the County seat of Fauquier County government, and as the social, economic and cultural center of the County as well. The Town continues to experience the steady population and job growth that has been occurring during of the latter decades of the 20th century, yet it retains a true “small town” character, with pleasant neighborhoods, diverse shopping opportunities, a vibrant main street and excellent parks and other public facilities.