Bridgewater is an incorporated town in Rockingham County, Virginia, United States. The population was 5,203 at the 2000 census. It is included in the Harrisonburg, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area. Bridgewater is home to the Reds of the Rockingham County Baseball League. Bridgewater is also home to Bridgewater College, a private, coeducational, four-year liberal arts college founded in 1880, historically associated with the Church of the Brethren.
Among the first families of European descent in the area were the Dinkle family. Around 1810, John Dinkle built a sawmill and a grist mill on the North River, a tributary of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The tiny community was first called Dinkletown.
The name was changed to Bridgeport, because it was a flatboat port at a bridge. Even after it was no longer a port, the bridge was still there, hence the final renaming as Bridgewater.