Beginning in the 1760s, the area was known as Newgate due to the popularity of the conveniently-located Newgate tavern. William Carr Lane operated the tavern and was co-proprietor of a nearby store with James Lane, Jr. The small stream that passed near the tavern was named the River Thames, another London association. Another reason for it being named Newgate, was the fact that it was a "new gate" to the western territories. The town of Centerville (shortly thereafter spelled Centreville) was established in 1792 on the turnpike road at the village of Newgate by the Virginia General Assembly in response to petitions by local landowners. The petitioners reasoned that a town on the turnpike road leading from the Northwest Territory and centrally located to Alexandria, Colchester, Dumfries, Middleburg, George Town (later Georgetown), Fauquier Court House (later Warrenton), and Leesburg would be convenient. The town acquired its name due to its central location. James Hardage Lane, one of the landowners, conceived the idea of the town as a way to provide financial support to his widow and their children. At the town's inception, it was within the boundary of Loudoun County, Virginia, and became part of Fairfax County, Virginia in 1798 when the boundary between the two counties shifted. Town development established a pattern of mixed residential and commercial use. Frame houses, several taverns, stores, blacksmith shops, tanyards, and a school house were constructed on the 1/2 acre town lots.
In the Civil War, several battles were fought nearby including the First Battle of Manassas, the Second Battle of Manassas, and the Battle of Chantilly. During the winter of 1861 and early 1862 the town was significantly fortified by the Confederacy and served as a supply depot for both sides at various points in the war, and is famous for being the site of the construction of the first railroad ever built exclusively for military use, the Centreville Military Railroad. Centreville was of significant strategic value due to its proximity to several important roads, while its position atop a high ridge provided a commanding view of the surrounding area. The town was frequently associated with Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby, whose partisan rangers used its hillsides and farms as a base of operations, leading to the sobriquet "Mosby's Confederacy.”
In 1943, Centreville was a small town, on a map there were indications of each building in the town. The population growth occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s due to an influx of companies, businesses, and corporations. Centreville is a modernized city and densely populated. The local newspaper such as "The CentreView" record local events and surrounding communities. Centreville is served by three major roads. U.S. Route 29 enters Centreville from the west and is the main artery through the town. Virginia Route 28 enters from the south and interchanges with U.S. Route 29 in between Centreville's two main shopping centers. SR 620 (Braddock Road) has several stretches of pavement in Centreville. Finally, Interstate 66 comes from the south-west and interchanges with both routes before heading off toward Washington, D.C. in the east or western Virginia. The area is served by several Fairfax Connector bus routes connecting to the Metrorail system: 640, 641, 642.
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