Bridgewater, Virginia

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Bridgewater is an incorporated town in Rockingham County, Virginia, United States. The population was 5,203 at the 2000 census. It is included in the Harrisonburg, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area. Bridgewater is home to the Reds of the Rockingham County Baseball League. Bridgewater is also home to Bridgewater College, a private, coeducational, four-year liberal arts college founded in 1880, historically associated with the Church of the Brethren.

Contents

History

Among the first families of European descent in the area were the Dinkle family. Around 1810, John Dinkle built a sawmill and a grist mill on the North River, a tributary of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The tiny community was first called Dinkletown.

The name was changed to Bridgeport, because it was a flatboat port at a bridge. Even after it was no longer a port, the bridge was still there, hence the final renaming as Bridgewater.[3]

In the late 19th century, Bridgewater received railroad service to connect it with Harrisonburg and beyond as the Chesapeake Western Railway was built. It came under the control of the Norfolk and Western Railway in 1954 and Norfolk Southern in 1982. The tracks were removed in 1987.[4]

Geography

Bridgewater is located at 38°23′12″N 78°58′11″W / 38.38667°N 78.96972°W / 38.38667; -78.96972 (38.386748, -78.969678)[5].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.2 km²), all of it land.

Demographics

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 5,203 people, 1,788 households, and 1,201 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,169.2 people per square mile (837.0/km²). There were 1,850 housing units at an average density of 771.3/sq mi (297.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.18% White, 2.48% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.94% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.08% of the population.

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