The Origin of the Name Centreville

Washington DC from Centreville VirginiaCenterville, which was originally spelled Centerville, is a thriving community that is currently home to approximately 75,000 residents. This welcoming suburb of Washington, DC, is located about 20 miles west of the nation’s capital. It is a popular place in Fairfax County for residents and visitors throughout every season of the area. Many residents adore the region because of its’ proximity to DC, good school system, and the many amenities the area has to offer to residents. Visitors enjoy the region because there is a lot to do, and the community is a safe, pleasant place to visit.

In the 1760s, the area that is now known as Centreville was called Newgate. Prior to this time, the region was slowly being developed by early English settlers. The region was named Newgate because a tavern had just been built in the area, and it was called Newgate Tavern. In 1792, the General Assembly established the community as a town and renamed the area Centreville. This community was situated on a recognizable plateau in the area, and various creeks in the region flow towards the Bull Run River.

Centreville developed steadily due to its central location between Leesburg, Middleburg, Warrenton, Washington, DC, Georgetown, and Alexandria. The town succeeded due to the creation of two railroad lines that created a junction in the area. From the late 1700s to the early 1860s, the town grew in manufacturing, mercantilism, and tourism due to the convenience of railroad access.  

Manassas_BattleField Centreville VirginiaThe Civil War changed the environment in Centreville. Throughout the war, Centreville was occupied by both Confederate and Union armies. The First Battle of Manassas occurred nearby, and Centreville was overrun with wounded Union soldiers. Supplies were scarce, and the buildings in the region were damaged or occupied by wounded soldiers. The Confederate Army moved into the community in August 1861 and stayed until March 1862, when the Union Army returned and remained for the duration of the war. Centreville was almost destroyed during the war. In 1865, one observer documented their findings and described Centreville as a “desert.” Additionally, a journalist wrote, “If ever a village was killed in the war, it was Centreville.”

Population numbers declined sharply in Centreville, and it took many years for growth in the area to begin once again. Automobile travel helped develop the region again, and residents and businesses slowly moved into the area. Tourism is popular nowadays, and Centreville is well-known as a wonderful place to live or visit. Many people flock to Centreville to learn about the history of the community or to visit nearby communities, such as Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, and so many other thriving communities in northern Virginia. 

Whether you live in Centreville or just visiting the community, you are sure to find many interesting places to see and things to do in the area. The historic district of Centreville is a perfect place to begin your search on the area’s history or to enjoy the beautiful views all around you, too.