About This Place
Harrisonburg is an independent city in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia in the United States. Its population as of 2010 is 48,914, and at the 2000 census, 40,468. Harrisonburg is the county seat of Rockingham County and the core city of the Harrisonburg, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area which has a 2008 estimated population of 118,409. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Harrisonburg with Rockingham county for statistical purposes, while the U.S. Census Bureau treats Harrisonburg as an independent city for census tabulation. Harrisonburg is home to James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University.
The earliest documented English exploration of the area prior to settlement was the "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe Expedition", led by Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood, who reached Elkton, and whose rangers continued and in 1716 likely passed through what is now Harrisonburg.
Harrisonburg, previously known as Rocktown, was named for Thomas Harrison, a son of English settlers. In 1737, Harrison settled in the Shenandoah Valley, eventually laying claim to over 12,000 acres (49 km2). This was situated at the intersection of the Spotswood Trail and the main Native American road through the Valley.