Counties with the oldest homes in Virginia

Written by:
September 12, 2021
Will Weaver // Wikicommons

Counties with the oldest homes in Virginia

There's an undeniable charm that comes with pre-World War II American architecture, characterized by high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors, and ornate details. In fact, 12.8% of all housing units in America were built in 1939 or before, showing the popularity of the preservation of these units. Owning a piece of history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize. However, with more and more modernized pre-war homes on the market, generally located just outside bustling downtown metros, investing in property that has withstood the test of time is an attractive prospect.

Stacker compiled a list of the counties in Virginia with the oldest homes using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by median year the structure was built, with ties broken by the most homes before 1939.

The country’s domestic architecture is perhaps best characterized by a rugged individualism as opposed to the hybridization of disparate architectural elements. As Maya Angelou once perceptively observed, "the ache for home lives in all of us," a phrase that has meant very different things to different people.

Modest or palatial, there is no shortage of noteworthy homes in the U.S. Log cabins constructed by industrious pioneers have dotted the landscape alongside traditional Native American dwellings ever since immigrant Swedes introduced them to the New World in 1638. The unprecedented personal fortunes amassed by the so-called "Robber Barons" at the close of the 19th century gave way to the construction of a staggering number of Gilded Age estates.

The ravages of time spared neither the sumptuous nor the humble. Stately mansions, often prohibitively costly to maintain in the modern era, were frequently neglected; simple structures were forgotten, discarded by their owners, and damaged by natural elements. However, the tireless efforts of architectural preservationists and local historical societies have saved many of these homes from demolition, leading to their inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and thereby safeguarding them for future generations.

Keep reading to learn more about which counties in Virginia have the oldest homes.

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Bath County

- Median year homes built: 1973
--- #1,063 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.6%
--- #830 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 3,379
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ALXCHO // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Alexandria city

- Median year homes built: 1972
--- #1,024 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.4%
--- #1,877 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 76,357
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Pics2018 // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Arlington County

- Median year homes built: 1972
--- #1,023 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.5%
--- #1,867 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 114,779
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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Pulaski County

- Median year homes built: 1972
--- #1,009 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.3%
--- #1,386 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 17,304
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Nottoway County

- Median year homes built: 1972
--- #1,003 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.2%
--- #1,122 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 6,775
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DanTD // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Emporia city

- Median year homes built: 1971
--- #945 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 10.9%
--- #1,590 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,385
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Franklin city

- Median year homes built: 1971
--- #944 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.4%
--- #1,543 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 3,847
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Southerngs // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Falls Church city

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #869 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.1%
--- #2,265 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 6,004
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Hopewell city

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #863 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.9%
--- #1,813 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 10,323
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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Giles County

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #854 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.4%
--- #1,371 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,357
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Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Lynchburg city

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #847 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.8%
--- #1,153 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 32,410
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Mojo Hand // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Salem city

- Median year homes built: 1969
--- #789 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 10.9%
--- #1,592 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 10,840
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Lvklock // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Waynesboro city

- Median year homes built: 1969
--- #788 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.1%
--- #1,398 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 10,023
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Petersburg city

- Median year homes built: 1969
--- #783 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.9%
--- #1,210 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 16,367
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Idawriter // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Fairfax city

- Median year homes built: 1968
--- #738 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 1.2%
--- #3,121 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,959
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Colonial Heights city

- Median year homes built: 1968
--- #736 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.2%
--- #1,915 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 7,734
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Moofpocket // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Charlottesville city

- Median year homes built: 1968
--- #729 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.1%
--- #1,256 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 20,642
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APK // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Winchester city

- Median year homes built: 1968
--- #712 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.8%
--- #705 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 11,919
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Carol M. Highsmith // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Buena Vista city

- Median year homes built: 1967
--- #683 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.5%
--- #1,170 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,866
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U.S. Navy photo // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Portsmouth city

- Median year homes built: 1966
--- #635 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 12.2%
--- #1,474 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 40,907
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Jarek Tuszyński // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Alleghany County

- Median year homes built: 1966
--- #627 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.7%
--- #1,094 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,027
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Staunton city

- Median year homes built: 1966
--- #622 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 19.7%
--- #946 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 11,824
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Aplomado~commonswiki // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Bristol city

- Median year homes built: 1965
--- #581 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.4%
--- #1,241 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,727
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Sleddog116 // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Martinsville city

- Median year homes built: 1963
--- #499 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 12.1%
--- #1,481 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 7,067
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Ewelch1 // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Norfolk city

- Median year homes built: 1963
--- #495 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.0%
--- #1,264 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 97,670
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Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Danville city

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #451 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.2%
--- #1,130 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 22,072
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Zeete // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Lexington city

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #325 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.7%
--- #325 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,447
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Nolanwebb // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Roanoke city

- Median year homes built: 1957
--- #235 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.2%
--- #575 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 47,010
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Will Weaver // Wikicommons

#2. Richmond city

- Median year homes built: 1956
--- #194 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.7%
--- #324 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 100,458
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Smash the Iron Cage // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Covington city

- Median year homes built: 1949
--- #41 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.7%
--- #453 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,997

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