Centreville is an unincorporated community in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. Recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau as a Census Designated Place (CDP), the community population was 71,135 as of the 2010 census and is approximately 20 miles (32 km) from Washington, DC.
Beginning in the 1760s, the area was known as Newgate due to the popularity of the conveniently-located Newgate tavern. William Carr Lane operated the tavern and was co-proprietor of a nearby store with James Lane Junior. The Lanes sold convicted servants, which may explain why the tavern had the same name as a London prison. The small stream that passed near the tavern was named the River Thames, another London association.
The town of Centerville (shortly thereafter spelled Centreville) was established in 1792 on the turnpike road at the village of Newgate by the Virginia General Assembly in response to petitions by local landowners. The petitioners reasoned that a town on the turnpike road leading from the Northwest Territory and centrally located to Alexandria, Colchester, Dumfries, Middleburg, George Town (later Georgetown), Fauquier Court House (later Warrenton), and Leesburg would be convenient. The town acquired its name due to its central location. James Hardage Lane, one of the landowners, conceived the idea of the town as a way to provide financial support to his widow and their children. At the town's inception, it was within the boundary of Loudoun County, Virginia, and became part of Fairfax County, Virginia in 1798 when the boundary between the two counties shifted.