Warrenton is a town in Fauquier County, Virginia, United States. In 2011, Fauquier County was number eight on the U.S. Census Bureau list of highest-income counties in the United States. Population was 6,670 at the 2000 census, and 9,611 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Fauquier County. Public schools in the town include Fauquier High School, Warrenton Middle School, Taylor Middle School, and two elementary schools. There are three private schools in the town of Warrenton: Highland School, St. John The Evangelist's Catholic School, and St. James' Episcopal School. Warrenton is at a junction of U.S. Route 15, U.S. Route 17, U.S. Route 29, and U.S. Route 211. The town is in the Piedmont region of Virginia, near the Blue Ridge Mountains. The well-known Airlie Conference Center is on the northeast boundary of Warrenton, and the historic Vint Hill Farms military facility is several miles east. Fauquier Hospital is also located in the town. Surrounded by Virginia wine and horse country makes Warrenton a popular destination outside of Washington D.C.
Like many incorporated towns in Virginia, the town of Warrenton has government and taxation separate from the county. The town and the county do share some services, such as schools and the county landfill.
The settlement which would grow into the Town of Warrenton began as a cross roads at the junction of the Falmouth-Winchester and Alexandria-Culpeper roads., where a trading post called the Red Store was located. In the 1790s, a courthouse was built in the area, and the location was known as Fauquier Courthouse.
The Town of Warrenton was incorporated on January 5, 1810, and named for General Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary War hero. Richard Henry Lee donated the land for the county seat. John S. Horner, Secretary of Wisconsin Territory and Acting Governor of Michigan Territory, was born in Warrenton. John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was from nearby Germantown, Virginia modern-day Midland.
Colonel John S. Mosby made raids in the town during the Civil War and later made his home and practiced law in Warrenton. The Warren Green Hotel building hosted many famous people including Marquis de Lafayette, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, President Theodore Roosevelt, and divorcée Wallis Simpson. General McClellan bade farewell to his officers November 11, 1862 from the steps of the Hotel. It now hosts some offices of the Fauquier County Government.
Arthur Jordan, an African-American man, was lynched by a mob of approximately 60-75 men in white hoods in the early hours of January 19, 1880. Jordan had been accused of miscegenation and bigamy for eloping with Elvira (Lucille) Corder, the daughter of his white employer, Nathan Corder, a landowner and farmer in the upper part of the county along the Rappahannock River. A group of local men hunted the pair down near Williamsport, Maryland, captured Mr. Jordan and returned him to Fauquier, whereupon he was delivered to the town jail. Later that night, the masked lynch mob gained access to the jail and dragged Jordan to the nearby town cemetery, where he was hanged from a small locust tree. Ms. Corder remained in Maryland, estranged from her family, until her death a few years later. News of the lynching was reported in papers across the nation. Some foreign papers, such as Australia's The Sydney Morning Herald, even reprinted articles of the account.
In 1909, a fire destroyed almost half the structures in the town, and was halted with the use of dynamite to create a firebreak to stop the flames from spreading.
In 1951, the federal government established the Warrenton Training Center just outside of Warrenton. The center is a secret Central Intelligence Agency communications facility, which also houses an underground relocation bunker containing communications infrastructure to support continuity of government in the event of a nuclear attack on Washington, DC.
A bypass route around the town was built in the early 1960s, which attracted restaurants, gas stations, and shopping centers, but also drew businesses away from the center of town.
The Warrenton Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Other listings include Brentmoor, Dakota, Hopefield, Loretta, Monterosa, North Wales, The Oaks, the Old Fauquier County Jail, and Yorkshire House.