The county was a rural community for years and the population was centered in two areas, one at Manassas (home to a major railroad junction), the other near Occoquan and Woodbridge along the Potomac River. Beginning in the late 1930s, a larger suburban population grew up near the existing population centers, particularly in Manassas. Beginning in the late 1960s, the County and its population expanded dramatically to the point where, by the end of the 20th century, it was the third most populous local jurisdiction in Virginia. Much of this growth has taken place in the last twenty years. Recently the county has been enhanced by the opening of the Marine Corps Heritage Museum and the Hylton Performing Arts Center. It is to be the site of the coming American Wartime Museum. During the 150th commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the famous First and Second Battles of Manassas will be re-enacted.
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