Potomac News Online | Towns in Prince William County
Prince William County is the home of four towns, each with its own government, elected officials and services. Town residents pay town taxes as well as county taxes. Each town is unique and vibrant, eager to ensure its future by preserving its rich historic past.
Dumfries, with 4,900 residents packed into 1.5 square miles, has the largest population of the four towns. It also is Virginia’s oldest continuously chartered town.
In 1749, the town assumed the name of a coastal town in Scotland from which one of the Virginia locality’s prominent merchants hailed.
In the 1700s, the town was a popular docking site for ships transporting tobacco to Europe. However, the American Revolution halted most shipping, and soon after, silt from farming made the Quantico Creek no longer navigable. Today, more than two centuries later, the town is a residential and commercial center with U.S. 1 crossing through it.
? Town Hall: The town manager is John C. Barkley. The clerk is Donna Johnson and the treasurer is Retta Ladd. The town’s community services director is Cathy Lambe.
Town Hall is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 17755 Main St. Call (703) 221-3400.
Mayor Melvin “Mel” Bray presides over the six-member council, which is comprised of Vice Mayor Stephanie Bradley and council members Sue Cornell, Clyde Washington, David Hunter, Charles Brewer and Fred Yohey Jr. The council meets at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month.
? Auto tags: Residents must purchase town auto tags, which cost $22. They go on sale March 1 and tags must be displayed by April 15.
? Parks and museums: Within Dumfries, Merchant Park on Duke Street and Garrison Park next to Town Hall give residents a place to picnic, shoot basketball, pitch horseshoes and play baseball. The Weems-Botts Museum, on the corner of Cameron and Duke streets, features history of the town and area.
? Services: Police Chief Calvin Johnson oversees the 14 officers in the town’s police department. For non-emergency calls, (703) 221-1111.
? Trash: Dumfries residents pay a $78 semi-annual trash pick-up fee. The charge drops to $72 semi-annually if paid on time.
? Shopping: Dumfries’ commercial area includes five shopping centers and several stores and service places along U.S. 1. Businesses include motels, a radio shop, video rental outlet, auto parts store, grocery stores, beauty shop, convenience store, drug stores, printing shop, laundromat, ice cream store, several restaurants and antique shops.
? Special events: May 11 is the day the town was founded and each year the town hosts a Charter Day celebration during that month. Another annual celebration, the Christmas parade, brings Santa Claus to town.
? Taxes: Dumfries imposes a real estate tax of 12.42 cents per $100 of assessed property value. Residents also pay Prince William County real estate taxes and personal property taxes.
? Voter registration: The town has no registrar, but Dumfries residents may register to vote with the county registrar.
Haymarket works diligently to maintain an attractive, homespun style and has continued to negotiate with area developers to retain a colonial appearance on new projects in the town.
Chartered in 1799, the square-mile town on Prince William’s northwestern end sprouted up around the Red House, a tavern built by William Skinker. The popularity of the Red House Tavern led to the construction of the Hay Market Inn in 1787, and the town became known as a great sporting center.
The name of the inn and later the town may be derived from these sporting days, as large quantities of hay were sold for the races. The Carolina Road, an old American Indian path later used by settlers as a trade road, still runs near Haymarket today.
In the 1700s, the road earned the nickname Rogue’s Road because of the prevalence of horse and cattle thieves. Originally laid out in 140 lots around 60-foot-wide avenues, Haymarket was burned by Union troops in 1862. Since then, the town has been reborn as a collection of quaint old buildings and shops. It has about 880 residents.
? Town Hall: The town clerk is Jennifer Preli. The Haymarket Town Hall is located at 15016 Washington St. and is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays. Call (703) 753-2600.
Haymarket’s mayor is John C. “Jack” Kapp. He presides over the six member town council which includes Vice Mayor James Shepard, Shelia Jarboe, Bob Miller and David Taylor. There are two vacant seats. The council meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first Monday of each month.
? Taxes: Residents pay both Prince William and the town personal property and real estate taxes. The town levies a real estate tax of 14 cents per $100 of assessed value and a personal property tax of 60 cents per $100 of assessed value. In addition, the town has a gross receipts tax on businesses, excluding manufacturing. The town assesses 10 cents per $100 for businesses and 5 cents per $100 for wholesalers. The minimum fee is $30.
? Auto tags: Residents must purchase town auto tags, which cost $15. They go on sale March 1 and must be displayed by April 15. Residents are not required to pay county auto taxes.
? Parks: Haymarket is in the process of turning the old Town Hall, a former schoolhouse at the corner of Washington and Fayette streets, into a museum. The grand opening is scheduled for Sept. 20 during Haymarket Day. The grounds of the museum include a small park developed by the Haymarket Woman’s Club.
? Services: Haymarket’s four-officer police department is led by Chief James Roop. Haymarket also provides street lighting and picks up residents’ curbside trash.
? Special events: Haymarket hosts a Spring Festival the third Saturday in May. The festival includes hand crafts, food and entertainment. On the third Saturday in September, the town hosts the annual Haymarket Day, a festival including a parade, vendors, food and entertainment. The event is co-sponsored by the Gainsville-Haymarket Ruritans.
? Voter registration: Residents can register to vote with the Prince William County registrar.
Occoquan, with its bounty of small shops, art studios and restaurants, boasts an old-fashioned charm that lures many visitors. Antiques and handmade specialty items can be found all over town. Wooden or brick store fronts greet local shoppers and draw tourists from all over the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, especially during the summer and fall arts and crafts shows.
Occoquan, which was designated a state historic district in 1983, got its name from American Indians who lived in the area. The name means “at the end of the water.” The community’s promising industrial future evaporated after the Civil War when poor farming practices created silt in the Occoquan River, which drains the Potomac River’s largest tributary watershed. Ships could not navigate the river, ending Occoquan’s days as a deep-water port.
Today, the Occoquan River is the major source of drinking water for residents of Fairfax and Prince William counties. The town has several projects underway to reopen itself as a port to recreational boaters. Occoquan has about 760 residents, nearly double its population of 10 years ago.
? Town Hall: The town administrator and clerk is Claudia A. Cruise. Town Hall is open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call (703) 491-1918. Town Hall is located at 314 Mill St. The town’s Web site is?http://www.occoquan.org. Send e-mail to?[email protected].
Letters to the Town Council should be addressed to: Occoquan Town Hall, P.O. Box 195, Occoquan VA 22125. Council members meet in Town Hall on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The Planning Commission meets on the first Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The Architectural Review Board meets the first Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m.
Patricia M. Conway is the town mayor. The five-member council is comprised of Vice Mayor James O’Connor and council members Christopher Hardy, Barbara “Bobbie” Frank, Joao Paul “J.P.” Cunha Lyons and Leo Smith.
? Auto tags: Residents must purchase town auto decals, which cost $20 and are due in November.
? Parks and Museums: The Mamie Davis Park occupies a sliver of waterfront on Mill Street, opposite the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post. The Mill House Museum is in a historic building at 413 Mill St.
? Services: Town Sgt. Robert D. Chambers heads the town’s two-man police force. The department’s non-emergency telephone number is (703) 491-1918. The town contracts for trash pick-up.
? Special events: Two craft shows on the first full weekend in June and the last full weekend in September are the town’s two major events.
? Taxes: Occoquan levies a real estate tax of 5 cents per $100 of assessed value. Residents also pay Prince William County real estate and personal property taxes.
? Voter registration: Residents register to vote with the Prince William County registrar.
There is a lot of camouflage coloring in Quantico – in its shops and on many of its residents and visitors. This is the first indication that this town, with its more than 560 residents, is a little different from most. The Quantico Marine Corps Base, the Marines’ center for training, doctrine, military education and weapons development, borders the town of Quantico on three sides. A municipal park fronting the Potomac River forms Quantico’s fourth boundary line.
When the Corps needed riverfront land for a training camp in 1917, it leased 5,300 acres beside the town of Quantico. The Marine Corps bought the land the following year. Over time, the town and the base have forged a unique relationship. Even today, Quantico is one of the only places in the world where Marines may routinely wear their utilities, or camouflage uniforms, off base.
? Quantico Municipal Office: The town clerk is Clerk Mary J. Booth and the treasurer is Debra Tidwell. They work at town hall, located in an office at the rear of the Bank of America building, 415 Broadway St. It is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (703) 640-7411.
Mayor Mitchel P. Raftelis presides over a five-member town council that includes Russell V. Kuhns, Leroy Riddick, Florence Butts, Albert Gasser and Erin Harting.
? Auto decals: Decals cost $20 and may be purchased from the town treasurer. The tags are free to active-duty military personnel, volunteer firefighters and those over 65 years of age.
? Police: The police operate out of 405 Broadway St. Police Chief Gerald Tolson leads a four-officer police force, including a parking enforcement officer. The non-emergency number for the police department is (703) 640-7500.
? Shopping: Stores line Potomac Avenue, the town’s old-fashioned commercial thoroughfare. Restaurants, shoe stores, a bank, dry cleaners, barber shops, tailors, beauty shops, a grocery, pizza parlors, laundromats, financial planner, variety shops, beauty school, used household furnishings shop, uniform shops, a menswear store, a car rental and used car lot all can be found within the town’s nine blocks.
? Parks: Quantico Municipal Park is on River Road.
? Tax rate: The town levies a real estate tax of 20 cents per $100 assessed valuation. Residents also pay Prince William County personal property taxes.
? Transportation: Rail transportation is available through the Amtrak train station at the town’s entrance. Amtrak offers passenger service from New York to Miami. Virginia Railway Express service and OmniLink bus service are available.
? Voter registration: Residents register to vote with the Prince William County registrar.