Welcome to Marumsco, the Town Formerly Known As Woodbridge

Census Bureau divides Virginia town

By John Wist
|  Saturday, Feb 12, 2011  |  Updated 2:45 PM EDT
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Welcome to Marumsco, the Town Formerly Known As Woodbridge

washingtonpost.com

It is somewhat rare these days to see a new town or city established. But today, a new town exists in Virginia, and most people who live there don’t even know it.

According to the Washington Post, Woodbridge is now Marumsco, or at least part of it anyway. About 90 percent of Woodbridge residents are now Marumscan’s, and Marumsco got about 80 percent of Woodbridge’s land.

The Woodbridge split is thanks to the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau often gives new names to unincorporated towns or suburbs in order to create more specific census maps. According to the Post, Prince William County has seven of these new place names including Marumsco, Bull Run Mountain Estates and Neabsco. They exist only on census maps and have no effect on governing or how mail is delivered.

But of course that doesn’t mean that the new place name doesn’t matter. In fact, some new Marumscan’s despise the name, even if they do already shop at Marumsco Shopping Plaza or send their kids to Marumsco Hill Elementary.

“I’m glad I’m moving if I can’t say I live in Woodbridge anymore,” John Armstrong told the Post. His house is being foreclosed on. “To me, Woodbridge suggests upscale and successful. Marumsco is just a shopping center.”

Interestingly enough, the new Woodbridge not only suggests upscale, but also actually trends more upscale according to the census data. The Post reports that if Woodbridge were still the old Woodbridge, it would have 39,000 residents, 39 percent of whom are Hispanic, 30 percent would be white and 21 percent black.

The new Woodbridge has completely different demographics. There are now only 4,000 residents, 51 percent of whom are white. Hispanics and blacks make up about 36 percent of the population combined. And Woodbridge has a thriving infrastructure with golf courses, a marina, townhomes and plans for new construction.

Marumsco has a population of 35,000 of which 41 percent are Hispanic, 27 percent white and 21 percent are black. And the newest construction there is a new Todos Supermarket that is taking the place of an old Giant.

But county demographers tell the Post that Marumsco has actually experienced so much growth over the past decade, that it was important to study it separate from Woodbridge.

Even if that is true, many former Woodbridge residents think at least they could have chosen a more flattering name.

“The area is known as being Woodbridge,” Todos Supermarket owner Carlos Castro told the Post. “To change it to Marumsco for some reason doesn’t sound so attractive to me. It just doesn’t sound so hot.”

“I always thought I lived in Woodbridge,” 45-year resident Jackie Gabelia told the Post. “I just can’t understand why they changed it.”

Marumscan’s aren’t the only ones to have the map changed underneath them.  According to the Post, former Redskins owner John Kent Cooke ignited a firestorm when he renamed Landover, “Raljon” after his sons Ralph and John. The name wasn’t changed back until Dan Snyder bought the team.

But some area politicians believe, in the case of Marumsco, it won’t matter to most residents.

“The people who live here are going to say they live in Woodbridge,” said County Supervisor Frank Principi (D-Woodbridge) in an interview with the Post. “And no Census bureaucrat is going to change that.”

The flap highlights just how hard it can be in our area to find a sense of community or place.

“We don’t live in a town or a city,” Dale City Civic Association President Connie Moser told the Post. “It all falls under the county. No wonder we have an identity crisis.”

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