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Our County

Our Communities

Formed in 1778, Rockingham County is a prosperous community located in the center of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia along the Interstate 81 corridor. Nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains on the east and the Alleghenies on the west, we are the third largest county in Virginia and encompass the Harrisonburg-Rockingham metropolitan statistical area. Elevations range from 4,350 feet at Flagpole Knob in the mountains to 900 feet on the valley floor.

The 851-square mile county includes seven incorporated towns:  Bridgewater, Broadway, Dayton, Elkton, Grottoes, Mt. Crawford and Timberville. We are served by the Rockingham County and Harrisonburg public school systems, as well as several private schools, numerous town libraries, Rockingham Memorial Hospital and a variety of smaller health care and retirement communities.

The county is an important center for higher education as the home of five major post-secondary schools, including James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University.

A Top Farm Producer & Tourist Attraction

Rockingham County is Virginia’s largest farm county with 248,578 acres devoted to agriculture. Of the nation’s counties, Rockingham ranks second in poultry production. This quintessential farming community is the state’s largest producer of chicken broilers and layers, turkeys, dairy cows and beef cattle.  It also leads the state in corn for grain and silage, as well as sheep, lamb and cattle production.  Rockingham is home to 321 dairy farms.

While agriculture has long been the backbone of the Rockingham County economy, more and more people are engaged in nonagricultural employment. Manufacturing, tourism and retail trade are all increasingly important elements of the local economy.  The county contains many attractions for tourists, from the beautiful rolling landscape to historic downtown areas, like those of Harrisonburg and Dayton.

Rockingham is home to two Civil War Battlefields – Port Republic and Cross Keys – within the region’s Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District, created by the U.S. Congress in 1996. Public lands make up one third of the county, in Shenandoah National Park (37,979 acres) and the George Washington National Forest (139,870 acres).

Some Demographics

The population of Rockingham County is 70,400, while the City of Harrisonburg is home to 42,700. Our population increased 2.4 percent between 2000 and 2003.  Our median household income is $40,748 and the poverty rate is 5.3 percent, according to the 2000 Census. Nearly 73 percent of our population graduated from high school and 17.6 percent from college. Seventy-eight percent of our housing is owner-occupied.


CAP provides timely and accurate information to foster good public policy in transportation, land use planning and land conservation.


CAP studies how local, regional and state plans will impact Rockingham County's rural heritage, traditional towns and villages, and the natural, historic and other resources essential to our high quality of life.


CAP helps Rockingham residents make their voices heard on matters that impact the County's rural character, urban spaces and natural and cultural resources.