The Town of Purcellville is the hub of western Loudoun County. Located just 25 miles from Dulles International Airport and just over 50 miles to the heart of Washington, D.C., Purcellville is a small town with a lot of activity. Purcellville is in the rural, western portion of the County, surrounded by farms, open space, and mountain views. Easy access to outdoor activities includes: Appalachian Trail, Potomac River, hiking, horseback riding, and pick-your-own farms. There’s even an active farm in town that has been in farming for over 200 years!
The Town has approximately 9,100 residents and an estimated daytime population of over 15,000.
The “Village of Purcell Store”, named for the area’s first postmaster, was initially settled in 1764. This village was located along a road that today would be considered little more than an ox cart path.
In 1832 the ox cart path was expanded and built into a historic turnpike that became known as The Great Road. On July 9, 1852 the Village was officially renamed Purcellville and 56 years later the Town of Purcellville was incorporated by an Act of the General Assembly in 1908.
In 1874 Purcellville became a stop along the W&OD rail line which carried goods and supplies to and from the rural countryside and points eastward. Families also traveled by rail to visit western Loudoun County during weekends, vacations and summers. The W&OD rail line ran from Alexandria to Purcellville. The W&OD stopped running in 1968. The rail bed was replaced by a trail that is used by residents for hiking and bicycling.The first segment of the W&OD Trail was opened in 1974 within the City of Falls Church. This portion was built as the result of a special agreement with VEPCO under which the Regional Park Authority was allowed to judge whether a trail of this sort would prove to be popular. It did, and so, after the property was purchased, the trail was built in sections until its completion to Purcellville in 1988. Trail users today may enjoy 45 miles of asphalt trail and 32.5 miles of crushed stone and dirt bridle paths. In 1987, the W&OD was designated a National Recreation Trail by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
A series of disastrous fires, the first in 1900 and then two more in 1914, virtually wiped out the Town’s business district and eradicated much of the earliest architectural heritage. Despite the fires, many of the areas were rebuilt and the Downtown Business District has expanded considerably over the years.
Today, many of the older structures remaining in Purcellville reflect the Victorian architecture popular during the turn-of-the-century.