Augusta County, Virginia’s second largest county by total area, is neatly tucked into the Shenandoah Valley. Within the County boundaries lie two independent cites: Staunton and Waynesboro. Staunton is officially the County Seat, although many of the County’s administrative offices are actually located in the town of Verona.
Augusta County extends across 971 square miles (967 square miles in land, and 3.9 square miles of water). The estimated population for 2015 was 74,314 people. The population density in the County was 77 people per square mile. Between the census of 1990 and the census of 2010, the population of Augusta County increased by 34 percent.
The County is divided into seven magisterial districts, and it is governed by a Board of Supervisors. Parts of Augusta County are included in three Federal Protected Areas: the Blue Ridge Parkway, the George Washington National Forest, and Shenandoah National Park. Natural Chimneys is a regional park.
A number of highways connect parts of the County and connect the County to other parts of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Two Interstate highways pass through Augusta County: I-64 (running east and west) and I-81 (running north and south). Other highways include U.S. Routes 11, 250, and 350, along with State Routes 42, 56, 252, 254, 256, 262, and 276.
Augusta County is not notorious for the number of highway wrecks, or for traffic fatalities. Nonetheless, crashes happen and people are injured. We truly hope you never need our assistance, but if you, or a loved one, are injured in a wreck, do call us. We have been representing victims of traffic crashes for more than 25 years, and we have won sizable settlements for them. If you are injured in a wreck on one of these (or other) highways, you have a right to seek justice and fair compensation for your hurts and harms.
In addition to the two incorporated cities of Staunton and Waynesboro, Augusta County includes two incorporated towns, Grottoes and Craigsville, and a number of unincorporated communities, including:
- Stuart’s Draft
- Weyers Cave
- Fort Defiance
- Mount Sidney
- West Augusta
- Steeles Tavern
- Spring Hill
- Mint Spring
- Mount Solon
Augusta County was created in 1738 from part of Orange County. It was named in honor of Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, the Princess of Wales. Originally, the County was huge. Between the years 1738 and 1790, massive amounts of land were cut away from the County to create other counties and states.
County originally included much of what became West Virginia and the entire state of Kentucky. By 1790 the borders of the County were established and have not been changed since.
While it was the nation’s western frontier, Augusta County was the site of historical events. For example, the Town of Fort Defiance is believed to have been so named in recognition of a number of people who hid there during the French and Indian War.
The land of Augusta County, and of the entire Shenandoah Valley, is fertile farmland. During the Civil War it was a critical part of the “Breadbasket of the Confederacy.” Augusta County was then linked to Richmond by the Virginia Central Railroad. A major battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Piedmont, was fought here. The Union Army was victorious. This allowed the Union forces to occupy the City of Staunton and destroy the structures used to support the Confederate forces. Augusta also felt the wrath of General Philip Sheridan when many farms were burned and nearly all of the livestock were killed.
Augusta County has a diverse and thriving economy. The largest number of people work in these industries:
- Government (mostly local government)
- Health Care and Social Assistance
- Transportation and Warehousing
- Accommodation and Food Service
Augusta County is still important for agriculture. In fact, 10.2 percent of employers are in Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, and Mining. The average size of a farm in the County is 181 acres. The County includes more farmland than any other part of the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are also more sheep and cattle on these lands than anywhere else in Virginia. Some of these farms have been owned and operated by several generations of a family.
The County’s top employers include:
- Augusta County School Board
- Augusta Medical Center
- McKee Foods Corp – Snack food and granola manufacturer
- Hershey Chocolate of VA – producing 230 million pounds of candy per year.
- Hollister – an American Lifestyle Brand owned by Abercrombie and Fitch Co.
- AAF McQuay – a global corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells heating, ventilation, and air conditioning products, systems, parts and services for commercial buildings. Since 2006, it has been a subsidiary of Daikin Industries, Ltd.
- Blue Ridge Community College
- JB Hunt Transportation – Freight Shipping Services
- County of Augusta
- Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center — Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center provides people with disabilities comprehensive, individualized services to realize personal independence through employment.
- NIBCO of VA — Manufacturer of flow control products used in residential, commercial, and industrial applications worldwide.
- Variform, Inc / Ply Gem — making it possible for the nation’s residential builders, remodelers and architects to design, build and update beautiful, low-maintenance and energy-efficient homes.
- Augusta Correctional Center
- Valley Community Services
Among Augusta County’s top employers are health care and social services organizations. The largest of these – in terms of number of employees – are:
- Augusta Health/Augusta Medical Center
- Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center
- Valley Community Services
- Augusta Medical Group
- Staunton-Augusta Department of Social Services
- UVa Health Services Foundation
- Augusta Nursing and Rehab Center
Augusta Health is “among the finest community hospitals in America.” All of these organizations are dedicated to providing outstanding services to the community. Occasionally, however, a mistake is made or something is forgotten or overlooked and a patient or resident is injured. Medical malpractice can occur in any hospital, nursing home, medical practice or home health company. Nursing home abuse and neglect are rampant in our country today. If you, or a loved one, has been harmed or hurt due to medical malpractice, nursing home abuse or neglect, or other medical provider’s mistake or negligence, you have the right to seek justice and fair compensation for your hurts and harms. For more than 25 years, Bettina Altizer has been representing the injured and harmed in these cases and winning substantial settlements for our clients. If you believe you, or a loved one, have been hurt or harmed due to the wrongful or neglectful actions of a provider, you may have the right to seek justice and to recover a financial settlement for your harms and hurts, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and perhaps more. If you think you have a case, please call us. We are known for our compassionate and determined care for our clients.
Much to See and Do
For those interested in U.S. history, and Augusta County history, there is much to explore. There are Civil War battlefields to visit, several 18th century churches, and other structures that are open to the public. Two historic villages, perfect for understanding how people lived in the past, are open to the public. They are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can even see the place where Grandma Moses became famous for her butter and potato chips long before she began painting.
Augusta County is also an outdoor wonderland. There are amazing natural resources and geologic sites. There are also many opportunities for many outdoor activities and sports. The wilderness areas and the National Forest offer wonderful opportunities for hiking, geocaching, horseback riding, hunting and fishing, and boating. The State wildlife management area is a perfect place to glimpse birds and animals in their natural habitat. For serious fishing, there are several renowned fishing spots that draw people from far and wide. Calfpasture River, North River, Walker Creek, and Sherando Lake are not to be missed. In short, Augusta County offers opportunities for enjoying all sorts of outdoor activities.
Among the top historical sites to visit are:
- Site of the Civil War Battle of Piedmont
- Augusta Military Academy
- Augusta Stone Church – the oldest Presbyterian Church in continuous use in Virginia. It was founded in 1740.
- Old Providence Stone Church
- Tinkling Spring Church
- Valley Railroad Stone Bridge – This stone bridge was built in 1884 and crossed Folly Mills Creek. It was part of the project that extended the Valley Railroad line to Salem, via Lexington. It is one of the most scenic bridges in Virginia.
- Augusta County Court House
- Glebe Burying Ground
- McCormick Farm
- Middlebrook Historic District
- Mount Sidney Historic District
- Torry Furnace
The top Vineyards, Farms, Etc. include:
- Andre Viette Farm and Nursery
- Barren Ridge Vineyards
- Ox-Eye Vineyards
- Polyface Farm
- Staunton/Augusta Farmers’ Market
- Sugar Loaf Farm
- Cestari Farms
- Hermitage Hill
- The Cheese Shop
- Long Meadow Cheese Shop
Most popular sites for outdoor recreation and activities include:
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- Confederate Breastworks Trail on Shenandoah Mountain
- Crabtree Falls
- Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness
- Humpback Rocks – Located at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this facility is an interesting blend of natural history and cultural resources. The large outcropping of rock was a landmark for wagon trains crossing on the Howardsville Turnpike in the 1840s. This was the primary way to cross the Blue Ridge before railroads came on the scene. There is also an outdoor farm museum.
- Elkhorn Lake
- Elliott Knob
- Syline Drive
- Mary’s Wilderness
- Sherando Lake – The larger of the two lakes, Sherando Lake, was built as a recreational area by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the middle of the 1930s. The smaller, upper lake was not built until later, and was designed for flood control. Camping and recreational activities are located in the area between the lakes.
- Little North Mountain Wildlife Management Area – don’t forget your camera!
- Shenandoah National Park
- George Washington and Jefferson National Forest
- Natural Chimneys –This amazing natural rock formation reaches up to 120 feet. It was formed when the Shenandoah Valley was an inland sea when the water receded.
- Frontier Culture Museum – a perfect place to learn about the people of the past and how they lived, both in their places of birth and here in the U.S. Ideal for children.
- Grand Caverns – Discovered in 1804, the cave opened for tours in 1806. It is the oldest continually 0perating show cave in the U.S. It was once called a Grotto, and is the basis of the name of the Town of Grottoes.
- Mossy Creek
- Wild Mountain Trout Fly Fishing
- Horseback Riding
- Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail – Virginia is home to 400 species of birds, 250 species of fish, 150 species of land and water mammals, 150 species of amphibians and reptiles, and a variety of aquatic and land invertebrates. This was the first statewide program of its kind in the U.S.
Augusta County offers many theaters, restaurants, and live music performances. The Staunton Augusta Art Center is the hub of arts and culture in the area. The center’s galleries change exhibits regularly. Art instruction is offered at times. It is located in Staunton’s Beverley Historic District, in a structure built in 1894 as a hotel. The design of the building is in the French Second Empire style. Located in the building are the American Shakespeare Center and an Artisan’s Shop.
Call Altizer Law, P.C.
We genuinely hope you will never need a personal injury or medical malpractice attorney. Should you need us, however, you can expect compassion from our staff, and a relentless pursuit of justice on your behalf. If you are injured due to the misdeeds, mistakes, or negligence of another person or organization, we hope you will call upon us. Bettina and her team have the knowledge, experience, and winning record you want in your corner when you must fight for justice.