Gainesville is a small suburb of the larger Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area. Although it's still a fairly small community, rapid development and growth began in the early 2000s. Major retail expansion has brought plenty of shopping options to the little town, and it has attracted a growing population with its many new homes and proximity to Washington, D.C.
The History of Gainesville
Gainesville started out as a small horse-changing point for stagecoaches as they traveled along the Fauquier and Alexandria Turnpike. Thomas Jefferson arrived in the area in the 1750s, and the small stop evolved into the town of Gainesville. For many decades, it served as a shipping point for timber, grain and cattle. In fact, the community was an important cattle shipping point until the middle of the 20th century.
In 1994, the sleepy town began to evolve into the suburb it is today, with its first town-home community (called Crossroads). This construction was a major turning point for the town, because it marked the town's transition to mass residential development.
Living in Gainesville
Gainesville is located near Manassas National Battlefield Park and is surrounded by golf courses. The community and its neighboring suburbs are to the far west of Washington, D.C., with drive times into the city averaging 45 minutes without traffic (one to two hours during rush hour). People who live here often work in other suburbs and use the metro area as a place for entertainment, shopping and dining on weekends.
The Gainesville job scene is dominated by the U.S. government and government contractors, but also includes a number of companies like AOL, Nextel, Oracle and IBM. Job prospects are good, both in D.C. and among the suburbs. You can also find many jobs at the community's growing retail developments, many of which are anchored by large big-box stores.
The larger D.C. region is home to a very diverse population, with a large percentage of highly educated citizens. If you decide to travel into the city to find things to do, you will find that the National Mall and the Smithsonian dominate the scene. D.C. also offers a unique collection of museums, cultural events, political happenings and arts venues.
Prince William County operates the public schools of Gainesville, offering many special services like gifted programs and multilingual classrooms.
Resources for Moving to Gainesville
If you're getting ready to move to Gainesville, the following resources may be helpful:
Utilities: Gainesville's primary utilities providers include NOVEC, Washington Gas and the Prince William County Service Authority.
Garbage and Recycling: Most homes in Gainesville receive collection services. The county also offers composting services at the Balls Ford Road Compost Facility.
Transportation: OmniRide is the public transit service that serves larger Prince William County, including Gainesville.
Housing prices in Gainesville are quickly rising, especially as demand for housing grows as a result of the expanding population. You'll find a variety of home styles to choose from, including large, single-family homes; townhomes and apartments.