Ashland is a town located just north of Richmond in Hanover County, Virginia. The population was 6,619 at the 2000 census. Ashland is home to Randolph-Macon College . "The Center of the Universe" is a popular thematic phrase displayed on signs in the town. Many citizens of Ashland unsuccessfully fought off a bid to build a Wal-Mart just outside of town, and they were featured in the 2001 PBS special Store Wars - When Wal-Mart Comes to Town.
Originally known as Slash Cottage, it was located on the Old Washington Highway and the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, a busy north-south route now owned by CSX Transportation. The tracks run through the center of town, and the area near the Ashland train station is a popular train-watching site for railfans.
In October, 2002, Ashland made National news as the site of one of the Beltway Sniper Attacks. The victim, who had been traveling through on Interstate 95, was shot leaving a restaurant with his wife. He was one of the very few survivors of the random attacks upon strangers by convicted murderers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo.