Bristol is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,835. It is the twin city of Bristol, Tennessee, just across the state line, which runs down the middle of its main street, State Street. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Bristol, Virginia, with neighboring Washington County, Virginia, for statistical purposes. Bristol is a principal city of the Kingsport–Bristol–Bristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.
A sign welcomes visitors to the twin cities of Bristol, Virginia, and Bristol, Tennessee.
The Birthplace of Country Music
A Good Place to Live
|County||None (Independent city)|
|• Mayor||Kevin Mumpower|
|• Vice Mayor||Kevin Wingard|
|• City Manager||Randall C. Eads|
|• Independent city||13.03 sq mi (33.74 km2)|
|• Land||12.90 sq mi (33.42 km2)|
|• Water||0.12 sq mi (0.32 km2)|
|Elevation||1,680 ft (512 m)|
|• Independent city||17,835|
| • Estimate |
|• Rank||US: ?|
|• Density||1,301.15/sq mi (502.39/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1492633|
Evan Shelby first appeared in what is now the Bristol area around 1765. In 1766, Shelby moved his family and settled at a place called Big Camp Meet (now Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia). It is said that Cherokee Indians once inhabited the area and the Indian village was named, according to legend, because numerous deer and buffalo met here to feast in the canebrakes. Shelby renamed the site Sapling Grove (which would later be changed to Bristol). In 1774, Shelby erected a fort on a hill overlooking what is now downtown Bristol. It was an important stopping-off place for notables such as Daniel Boone and George Rogers Clark, as well as hundreds of pioneers’ en route to the interior of the developing nation. This fort, known as Shelby's Station was actually a combination trading post, way station, and stockade.
By the mid-nineteenth century, when surveyors projected a junction of two railroad lines at the Virginia-Tennessee state line, Reverend James King conveyed much of his acreage to his son-in-law, Joseph R. Anderson. Anderson laid out the original town of Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia and building began in 1853.
Samuel Goodson, who owned land that adjoined the original town of Bristol TN/VA at its northern boundary (Beaver Creek was the dividing line), started a development known as Goodsonville. Anderson was unable to incorporate Bristol across the state lines of Tennessee and Virginia. In 1856, Goodsonville and the original Bristol, Virginia were merged to form the composite town of Goodson, Virginia.
Incorporation for Bristol, Tennessee and Goodson, Virginia occurred in 1856. The Virginia and Tennessee Railroads reached the cities in the late summer of 1856. Due to having two different railroads companies, two depots served the cities; one in Bristol, Tenn. and the other in Goodson, Va. However, the depot located in Goodson continued to be referred to as Bristol, Virginia. In 1890, Goodson, Virginia once again took the name Bristol.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.2 square miles (34.1 km2), of which 13.0 square miles (33.7 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 1.07%, is water. Little Creek and Beaver Creek flow south through the city; Little Creek flows into Beaver Creek two blocks south of the state line in Tennessee. Beaver Creek is a tributary of the South Fork Holston River.
The city is served by Interstates 81 and 381, and by U.S. Routes 11, 19, 58, and 421. I-81 leads northeast 149 miles (240 km) to Roanoke, Virginia, and southwest 113 miles (182 km) to Knoxville, Tennessee. Interstate 381 (I-381) is a spur from Interstate 81 that provides access to Bristol, Virginia, United States. It runs for 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) from the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue (State Route 381) and Keys/Church Streets in Bristol at exit 0 north to Interstate 81. The I-81 interchange, the only one on I-381, is signed as exits 1A (I-81 north) and 1B (I-81 south). US 11 and US 19, running parallel to I-81, lead northeast 15 miles (24 km) to Abingdon, Virginia. US 11 splits into routes 11W and 11E in Bristol; US 11W leads west-southwest 23 miles (37 km) to Kingsport, Tennessee, while US 11E and US 19 lead south-southwest 25 miles (40 km) to Johnson City, Tennessee. US 58 runs with I-81 northeast for 17 miles (27 km) before splitting off to the east just beyond Abingdon; US 58 and 421 together lead west 27 miles (43 km) to Weber City, Virginia. US 421 leads southeast 33 miles (53 km) to Mountain City, Tennessee.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,367 people, 7,678 households, and 4,798 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,346.4 people per square mile (519.8/km²). There were 8,469 housing units at an average density of 656.6 per square mile (253.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.54% White, 5.57% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.37% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. 0.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 7,678 households out of which 24.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.78.
In the city, the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $27,389, and the median income for a family was $34,266. Males had a median income of $28,420 versus $20,967 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,311. About 13.2% of families and 16.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.8% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.
|2016||69.6% 4,892||26.1% 1,835||4.3% 300|
|2012||64.7% 4,780||33.7% 2,492||1.6% 115|
|2008||62.2% 4,579||36.2% 2,665||1.6% 115|
|2004||63.6% 4,275||35.7% 2,400||0.7% 49|
|2000||55.7% 3,495||42.1% 2,646||2.2% 138|
|1996||49.5% 2,983||42.9% 2,586||7.6% 457|
|1992||48.5% 3,616||39.5% 2,948||12.0% 898|
|1988||63.9% 4,407||35.5% 2,446||0.6% 42|
|1984||67.1% 5,012||32.5% 2,429||0.4% 27|
|1980||52.7% 3,432||44.3% 2,889||3.0% 194|
|1976||46.3% 2,943||52.6% 3,343||1.2% 75|
|1972||68.5% 2,665||29.7% 1,157||1.8% 71|
|1968||44.1% 1,930||35.0% 1,531||20.9% 916|
|1964||34.6% 1,289||65.2% 2,429||0.1% 5|
|1960||52.4% 1,728||47.3% 1,561||0.3% 10|
|1956||51.9% 1,794||47.6% 1,645||0.5% 18|
|1952||52.3% 1,574||47.6% 1,432||0.1% 3|
|1948||35.7% 879||58.9% 1,451||5.4% 132|
|1944||28.6% 628||71.0% 1,561||0.4% 9|
|1940||22.2% 423||76.9% 1,465||0.8% 16|
|1936||18.5% 311||81.1% 1,364||0.4% 7|
|1932||19.4% 307||79.1% 1,252||1.5% 24|
|1928||40.6% 630||59.4% 922|
|1924||29.2% 440||68.8% 1,036||2.0% 30|
|1920||30.3% 344||69.1% 784||0.5% 6|
|1916||27.2% 184||72.2% 489||0.6% 4|
|1912||15.2% 86||71.6% 405||13.3% 75|
July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019:
|Bristol Police Department|
|Operations jurisdiction||Bristol, Virginia, United States|
Bristol is served by two law enforcement agencies: the city police and the city sheriff's department. Supporting the department is the city's E-911 Central Dispatch Emergency Communication Center which provides call taking and dispatch service for police, fire and EMS needs.
Despite its relatively small size, Bristol, Virginia, boasts one of the more advanced broadband networks in the country. BVU Authority (formerly Bristol Virginia Utilities or BVU) started planning a fiber optic deployment in the city in the late 1990s. By 2001, BVU had been granted approval by the city council for a full deployment of a Fiber to the premises (FTTP or FTTU, fiber to the user) project. This project was to offer competition to local incumbents and provide broadband Internet, cable TV, and telephone service to the residents of Bristol. This deployment was one of the first of its kind in the United States and was widely watched by the telecommunications industry. A system known as Passive optical network (PON) was successfully deployed to over 6,000 customers in a matter of two years.
In 2003, in the relatively isolated city of Bristol, Virginia, BVU, created a nonprofit division called "Optinet", a municipal broadband Internet service that covers Bristol as well as the Southwest portion of the state of Virginia. Serving around 12,500 customers, BVU is recognized as the "first municipal utility in the United States to deploy an all-fiber network offering the triple play of video, voice and data services". On October 29, 2009, BVU received US$3.5 million in grant funding from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. With these funds BVU will build "an additional 49 miles of its OptiNet fiber-optic backbone from Abingdon up I-81 to Virginia Route 16 from Marion into Grayson County". This will also allow for BVU to make a second connection with Mid Atlantic Broadband, increasing communication between different businesses in Northern Virginia. The Virginia Tobacco Community funded this project because it provided their business with more connections in crucial areas of the southwest and southern part of Virginia.
The U.S. Department of Commerce also funded BVU. On July 3, 2010, it was reported that they gave US$22.7 million in stimulus funds to Southwest Virginia to create a "388-mile optic backbone through an eight-county region". This project will service over 120 institutions, such as schools, hospitals, government buildings, and many more besides. This new municipals broadband service will also be within a two-mile distance of over 500 different businesses. This project also created 295 new jobs. BVU Optinet continues operate a strong municipal broadband Internet service for Bristol and many other counties in Virginia.
Bristol's twin city in Tennessee has deployed an FTTP system similar to its neighbor across the state line.
On August 2, 2018, BVU Authority completed a sale of the OptiNet FTTP network to a private company, Sunset Digital of Duffield, Virginia for $50 M. The sale began in late 2015 and was publicly announced in early 2016. Along with the sale of OptiNet, BVU's joint network with Cumberland Plateau Co. was sold to Sunset Digital. In addition to the network assets, Sunset agreed to hire approximately 75 BVU employees from BVU.
In the vicinity, to the northwest, is Interstate 81.
Until 1970 the Southern Railway ran a couple of trains through the city, making stops at Bristol station. The last trains being the Birmingham Special and the Pelican. Until 1968 the Memphis-bound Tennessean made a stop in the city.
According to Bristol's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||City of Bristol||676|
|7||Commonwealth of Virginia||250|
|11||United Parcel Service||193|
The city school division, Bristol Virginia Public Schools, operates Virginia High School and Virginia Middle School, together with four elementary schools: Highland View, Stonewall Jackson, Van Pelt, and Washington Lee. Three private schools — St. Anne Catholic, Sullins Academy, and Morrison — are operated within the city. Bristol was formerly home to two post-secondary institutions, Sullins College and Virginia Intermont College, but these colleges closed in 1978 and 2014 respectively.
Bristol was recognized as the "Birthplace of Country Music", according to a resolution passed by the US Congress in 1998; residents of the city had contributed to early country music recordings and influence, and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is located in Bristol.
In 1927 record producer Ralph Peer of Victor Records began recording local musicians in Bristol to attempt to capture the local sound of traditional "folk" music of the region. One of these local sounds was created by the Carter Family. The Carter Family got their start on July 31, 1927, when A.P. Carter and his family journeyed from Maces Spring, Virginia, to Bristol, Tennessee, to audition for Peer who was seeking new talent for the relatively embryonic recording industry. They received $50 for each song they recorded.
Since 1994, the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance has promoted the city as a destination to learn about the history of the region and its role in the creation of an entire music genre. The Alliance is organizing the building of a new Cultural Heritage Center to help educate the public about the history of country music in the region.
On the Tennessee side, Bristol is home to Bristol Motor Speedway, the "world's fastest half mile", which hosts two races per year on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit, two races per year on the NASCAR Xfinity Series circuit, one race per year on the Camping World Truck Series circuit, and various other racing events. The complex includes the Bristol Dragway, nicknamed "Thunder Valley", referencing the hills that echo the engine noise back toward the crowd.
William Beattie "Big Chief" Feathers (August 20, 1909 – March 11, 1979) was an American football player and coach of football and baseball. He played college football and college basketball at the University of Tennessee.Bristol, Tennessee
Bristol is a city in Sullivan County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 26,702 at the 2010 census. It is the twin city of Bristol, Virginia, which lies directly across the state line between Tennessee and Virginia. The boundary between the two cities is also the state line, which runs along State Street in their common downtown district. Bristol is a principal city of the Kingsport−Bristol−Bristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City−Kingsport−Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area − commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.
Bristol is probably best known for being the site of some of the first commercial recordings of country music, showcasing Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, and later a favorite venue of the mountain musician Uncle Charlie Osborne. The U.S. Congress recognized Bristol as the "Birthplace of Country Music" in 1998, and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is located in Bristol. Bristol is the birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford.
Bristol is also the site of Bristol Motor Speedway, a NASCAR short track that is one of the most well-known motorsports facilities in the country.Bristol Herald Courier
The Bristol Herald Courier is a 39,000 circulation daily newspaper owned by Berkshire Hathaway. The newspaper is located in Bristol, Virginia, a small city located in Southwest Virginia on the Tennessee border.
The Herald Courier is in what the media industry calls a converged newsroom, meaning its online (heraldcourier.com) print (Herald Courier) and broadcast (WJHL-Johnson City) operations work together closely. Herald Courier reporters are trained to occasionally deliver webcasts of Bristol news, conduct TV "talk-backs" with WJHL and gather audio for daily stories. News Channel 11 reporters often have bylined stories that appear in the Herald Courier news pages. Under Media General, both operations provided content for TriCities.com, a subsidiary of Media General's Digital Media Department. The future of the website is said to be up in the air.In 2010, the Herald Courier won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the highest honor in American journalism, for "illuminating the murky mismanagement of natural-gas royalties owed to thousands of land owners in southwest Virginia, spurring remedial action by state lawmakers."Bristol Pirates
The Bristol Pirates are a Minor League Baseball team in Bristol, Virginia, USA. They are a Rookie-level team in the Appalachian League. As of October 16, 2013, they are owned by the Pittsburgh Pirates.The team plays home games at DeVault Memorial Stadium. Opened in 1969, Devault Memorial Stadium seats 2,000 fans. The team was previously affiliated with the Detroit Tigers, and a previous manager was retired Tigers manager Jim Leyland. They were a farm team of the Chicago White Sox from 1995 to 2013 as the Bristol White Sox.
The team is operated by a non-profit organization, Bristol Baseball, Incorporated (BBI). BBI has no full-time paid staff, instead relying on a volunteer board and general manager to keep and promote professional baseball in Bristol.Charlie Caldwell
Charles William Caldwell (August 2, 1901 – November 1, 1957) was an American football, basketball, and baseball player and coach. He served as the head football coach at Williams College for 15 seasons between 1928 and 1944 and at Princeton University from 1945 to 1956, compiling a career college football record of 146–67–9. Caldwell was also the head basketball coach at Williams for ten seasons (1929–1939), tallying a mark of 78–66, and the head baseball coach at Williams (1931–1944) and Princeton (1945–1946), achieving a career college baseball record of 118–96. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1961.John W. Flannagan Jr.
John William Flannagan Jr. (February 20, 1885 – April 27, 1955) was an American politician of the Democratic Party. He represented Virginia in the United States House of Representatives from 1931 - 1949.Kingsport–Bristol–Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area
The Kingsport–Bristol–Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area is a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB). It was formed in December 2003 by the merger of the Bristol, VA MSA and Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA MSA.
As of the 2000 census, the MSA had a population of 298,494 (though a July 1, 2009 estimate placed the population at 305,629).Mike Helton
Michael "Mike" Helton (born August 30, 1953) is the vice chairman of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). He replaced Bill France, Jr. in November 2000 as the company's 3rd president. He was named Chief Operating Officer of NASCAR in February 1999.National Register of Historic Places listings in Bristol, Virginia
This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Bristol, Virginia.
This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in the independent city of Bristol, Virginia, United States. The locations of National Register properties and districts for which the latitude and longitude coordinates are included below, may be seen in an online map.There are 13 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the city.
This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted July 18, 2019.Robert Ssejjemba
Robert Ssejjemba (born 5 December 1980 in Kampala, Uganda) is a retired Ugandan professional soccer player and the current coach of the University of the Southwest men's soccer program.Special routes of U.S. Route 11
At least 13 special routes of U.S. Route 11 and at least one of U.S. Route 11E have existed.Sullins College
Sullins College was a former Methodist, female, junior college in Bristol, Virginia, United States, founded about 1868 and named for David Sullins, a Methodist minister. It ceased operations after the class of 1976 graduated.Tri-Cities, Tennessee
The Tri-Cities is the region comprising the cities of Kingsport, Johnson City, and Bristol and the surrounding smaller towns and communities in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. All three cities are located in Northeast Tennessee, while Bristol has a twin city of the same name in Virginia.
The Tri-Cities region was formerly a single Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA); due to the U.S. Census Bureau's revised definitions of urban areas in the early 2000s, it is now a Combined Statistical Area (CSA) with two metropolitan components: Johnson City and Kingsport-Bristol (TN)-Bristol (VA). As of the 2000 Census, the CSA had a population of 480,091 (though a July 1, 2008 estimate placed the population at 500,538).U.S. Route 11W
U.S. Route 11W (US 11W) is a divided highway of US 11 in the U.S. states of Tennessee and Virginia. The U.S. Highway, which is complemented by US 11E to the south and east, runs 111.2 miles (179.0 km) from US 11, US 11E, and US 70 in Knoxville, Tennessee north and east to US 11, US 11E, US 19, and US 421 in Bristol, Virginia. US 11W connects Knoxville and the twin cities of Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee with the East Tennessee communities of Rogersville and Kingsport. The U.S. Highway has an unsigned concurrency with Tennessee State Route 1 (SR 1) for its whole length.Virginia High School (Virginia)
Virginia High School is a high school located in Bristol, Virginia. In 1999, Virginia High started offering the Tri-Cities area's first International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Classes from the Advanced Placement program are also offered to help students who are headed to college. A vocational wing was added to the main school building to help students who wish to go into a trade straight from high school. Courses offered for this path include: culinary arts, computer networking and repair, cosmetology, and criminal justice.
Activities include: athletics, academic teams, Spring Festival, and Queen of Hearts. The Spring Festival is an event where students can showcase talent and art combined with a beauty pageant to choose Mr. and Miss Virginia High. The Queen of Hearts Program is an event every February where students at Virginia High, Bristol Tennessee High School, John S. Battle High School, and Sullivan East High School compete to raise money for the American Heart Association. Virginia High offers competition on academic teams via the Virginia High School League Scholastic Bowl and Southwest Academic Conference (SWAC). Forensics is another way for students to showcase their speech and intellectual abilities.Virginia Intermont College
Virginia Intermont College (VI) was a private, four-year liberal arts college in Bristol, Virginia. Founded in 1884 to create additional education opportunities for women, the College had been coeducational since 1972. It experienced significant financial difficulties during the last years of its existence, was denied accreditation in 2013, and announced its closure on May 20, 2014.The name "Intermont" was a reference to the College's mountain setting. The Holston Range, which merges into the Blue Ridge Mountains, can be seen from the campus in Bristol, Virginia, part of the Tri-Cities region, which also includes Johnson City and Kingsport, Tennessee.WBCM-LP
WBCM-LP is a classic country, bluegrass, and Americana-formatted broadcast radio station. Licensed to Bristol, Virginia, the station serves the twin cities of Bristol in Virginia and in Tennessee. The Birthplace of Country Music Museum owns and operates WBCM-LP.
The station, a working exhibit inside of the museum, went on the air for the first time in August 2015. The planning for the station dates back to late 2013. Programming includes live concerts held at the museum and the revival of "Farm and Fun Time". The latter program, a live and local radio music show, aired on Bristol's WCYB from the 1940s to the 1960s.WOPI (AM)
WOPI is a Sports formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Bristol, Virginia, serving Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee. WOPI is owned and operated by Glenwood Communications Corporation, though subsidiary Holston Valley Broadcasting Corporation.WXBQ-FM
WXBQ-FM is a Country formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Bristol, Virginia, serving the Tri-Cities. WXBQ-FM is owned and operated by Bristol Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Places adjacent to Bristol, Virginia