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County: Albemarle County
Mayor: David E. Brown
Location: The Commonwealth of Virginia with coordinates 38°8′0″N, 78°27′0″W
Geographical characteristics: Area 26.6 km² (10.3 sq mi) with land 26.6 km² (10.3 sq mi) and water 0 km² (0 sq mi). Elevation 181 m (594 ft).
Time zone: EST
Charlottesville is an independent city located within the confines of Albemarle County in the commonwealth of Virginia, United States, and named after Princess Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of King George III of England. It is the county seat of Albemarle County though the two are separate legal entities. In 2004, Charlottesville was ranked the best place to live in the United States in the book Cities Ranked and Rated by Bert Sperling and Peter Sander. Sperling and Sander ranked the cities based on cost of living, climate, and quality of life. It is best known as the home of the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson. Charlottesville has a nationally recognized school system, including 5 elementary schools, Walker Upper-Elementary School, Buford Middle School, and Charlottesville High School.
The city is served by Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport and by Amtrak.
Geography and History: Charlottesville is located in the center of the Commonwealth of Virginia along the Rivanna River, a tributary of the James, just west of the Southwest Mountains which parallel the Blue Ridge about 20 miles to the West. It was formed by charter in 1762 along a trade route called Three Notched Road (present day US 250) which led from Richmond to the Great Valley. Other major highways through Charlottesville are US 29, from Washington, D.C. to Danville, Virginia, and I-64, which parallels US 250 in the vicinity of Charlottesville.
During the American Revolutionary War the Convention Army was imprisoned in Charlottesville between 1779 and 1781 at the Albemarle Barracks. On June 4, 1781, Jack Jouett warned the Virginia Legislature meeting at Monticello of an intended raid by Banastre Tarleton, allowing a narrow escape.
Unlike most of Virginia, Charlottesville was spared the brunt of the American Civil War. The only battle to take place in Charlottesville was the Skirmish at Rio Hill.
John Mosby grew up in Charlottesville, Meriwether Lewis and S. S. Van Dine were born nearby, and Edgar Allan Poe lived in the city while attending the University of Virginia. William Faulkner was a writer in residence at the University of Virginia, to which he bequeathed all of his original manuscripts. Also, William McGuffey lived in Charlottesville while serving as a professor at the University and was buried nearby upon death. Anna Anderson, a woman claiming to be Anastasia of Russia, lived out her final years in Charlottesville. Dave Matthews was a bartender in a Charlottesville bar called Miller's when he formed the Dave Matthews Band, and now divides his time between homes in Seattle and the Charlottesville area. Dave Matthews Band members Boyd Tinsley, Carter Beuford and LeRoi Moore are all Charlottesville natives. John Grisham lives just outside of Charlottesville. The members of the band Bella Morte also came from Charlottesville. Actress Sissy Spacek, famous for her portrayal of tormented highschooler Carrie, lives just outside of Charlottesville, in Albemarle County. Actors Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard have maintained homes in the area as well. Both Stephen Malkmus of rock band Pavement and David Berman of rock band Silver Jews lived for a time in and formed their respective bands while residing in the city. Howie Long, TV sports personality and former defensive end for the Raiders, also lives in Charlottesville year-round.
Charlottesville is the home of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory headquarters, and of the Leander McCormick Observatory. It is served by two area hospitals, the Martha Jefferson Hospital founded in 1903, and the UVA Hospital.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.6 km² (10.3 mi²), all land.
Attractions & Culture: Charlottesville has a large series of attractions for its relatively small size. Sometimes referred to as the "city of the three presidents," the Charlottesville area was the home of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Monticello, Jefferson's plantation manor, is located just a few miles from downtown. The home of James Monroe, Ash Lawn-Highland, is down the road from Monticello. About 45 minutes north of Charlottesville lies the home of James Madison, Montpelier.
The nearby Shenandoah National Park offers great recreational activities. It's famous for its rolling mountains and many hiking trails. Skyline Drive, part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a famous scenic drive that runs the length of the park, twisting in between thick forests and sweeping overlooks.
Charlottesville's bustling downtown is the center of business for Central Virginia. It is home to the Downtown Mall, one of the longest outdoor pedestrian malls in the nation, with many stores, restaurants, and civic attractions. The newly renovated Paramount Theater, hosts various venues, including Broadway shows and concerts. Local theatrics are highlighted by Charlottesville's professional level community theatre Live Arts. Also on the mall is the Virginia Discovery Museum, and a newly built 3500 seat outdoor amphitheater known as the Charlottesville Pavilion. Court Square, just a few blocks from the downtown mall, is the original center of Charlottesville. Its historic buildings date back to the city's founding in 1762.
Charlottesville is also home to the University of Virginia. During the academic year, 20,000 students pour into Charlottesville to attend the university. UVa's main grounds are located along West Main St., forming a district known as The Corner. This area full of college bars, eateries, and UVA merchandise stores, and is busy with student activity during the school year. Thomas Jefferson's academical village, known as The Lawn, is the center of the grounds. It's a long esplanade crowned by two prominent structures, The Rotunda (designed by Thomas Jefferson) and Old Cabell Hall (designed by Stanford White). Along the long sides of The Lawn are dorms reserved for distinguished students. The University Programs Council is the university's student-run programming body that often provides concerts, comedy shows, speakers and other events open to the students of UVa and the community.
Sports: Charlottesville has no professional sports teams, but is home to the Virginia Cavaliers, who have a wide fan base throughout the region. The Cavaliers field teams in sports from soccer to basketball, and have modern facilities that draw spectators throughout the year. Cavalier football season draws the largest crowds during the academic year, with football games played in Scott Stadium, which on occasion, hosts large concerts by artists such as the Dave Matthews Band and The Rolling Stones. UVA has an on-going athletic rivalry with Virginia Tech, and an even older rivalry with the UNC ("The South's Oldest Rivalry").
The John Paul Jones Arena, which opened in 2006, is the home arena of the University of Virginia basketball teams, in addition to serving as a site for concerts and other events. Lack of seating capacity had since the 1960s left many Charlottesville residents unable to purchase season tickets for men's basketball without first contributing to the University, but the size of the new arena will allow the sale of thousands of new season tickets. The new double-decker arena is one of the largest in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Media: Charlottesville has a main daily newspaper, The Daily Progress. Weekly publications include C-Ville Weekly and The Hook. A daily newspaper, The Cavalier Daily, is also published by an independent student group at UVa. Charlottesville is served by most of the major national networks: WVIR 29 (NBC), WHTJ 41 (PBS), WCAV 19 (CBS), WAHU 27 (FOX), and WVAW 16 (ABC). Several community radio stations operate out of Charlottesville, including WNRN and WTJU.
Charlottesville has three sister cities: Besançon, France; Pleven, Bulgaria; Poggio a Caiano, Italy
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* Information drawn from Wikipedia, the online encylopedia