At the top of the page is a graphic image that states, Journey Through A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
along Route 15 in Virginia's Piedmont
Hallowed Ground
An image that is a link to the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Homepage
An image that is a link to the List of Sites
An image that is a link to the Map of the Virginia Piedmont - however, the map is not inlcuded in the text version of the project.  The map illustrates 9 counties in the northern neck of Virginia that contain Route 15, a road that travels north and south
An image that is a link to the section were you can find like to other websites where you can Learn More about the Virignia Piedmont
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Please note that this text-only version, provided for ease of printing and reading, includes approximately 75 pages and may take up to 15 minutes to print.

By clicking on one of these links, you may go directly to a particular section:

Counties of the Piedmont
List of Sites
Begin the Tour
Essay on Piedmont History
Essay on the Civil War
Essay on Preserving the Piedmont
Learn More

A graphic identifies the beginning of the Introduction

The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, Scenic America, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers proudly invite you to explore Journey Through Hallowed Ground, featuring historic places on and near Route 15 in Virginia's Piedmont. The Northern Virginia Piedmont region (part of an upland plateau extending from Virginia to Alabama) is a scenic and historically rich landscape that has "soaked up more of the blood, sweat, and tears of American history than any other part of the country," according to the late historian C. Vann Woodward. "It has bred more founding fathers, inspired more soaring hopes and ideals and witnessed more triumphs, failures, victories, and lost causes than any other place in the country." Meandering through more than 75 miles and nine counties of Virginia hillside, U.S. Route 15 and State Route 20 form the spine of the Piedmont. This Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary explores 65 historic places that evoke in vivid detail the soldiers, statesmen, farmers, and slaves who fought, toiled, and governed in the Virginia Piedmont.

Most of this area is now part of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. The National Heritage Area encompasses four states spanning 180 miles from Gettysburg to Monticello. It includes 9 presidential homes, 13 National Parks, and a handful of battlefields commemorating the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. The Heritage Area provides visitors with the opportunity to “celebrate and preserve the vital fabric of America which stands today in the historic, scenic, and natural beauty of this region.” Discover the places where “America happened“and experience one of the most historic regions in the country. To learn more about Heritage Area and all of the sites as well as view maps, educational resources, and up-to-date information visit the Journey Through Hallowed Ground website.  

This itinerary focuses on the variety of buildings and landscapes that comprise the Virginia Piedmont. The Piedmont witnessed some of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War, now reflected in historic landscapes such as Manassas and Ball's Bluff National Cemetery, one of the nation's smallest military burial grounds and the site of a disastrous Union defeat in the first year of the Civil War. Madden's Tavern, built in 1840, is a rare surviving example of pre-Civil War black entrepreneurship in rural Virginia, first owned and operated by Willis Madden and now owned by his descendants. Numerous small towns, such as Culpeper or Warrenton, contribute to the character of the region, as do the green expanses of rural historic districts such as Madison-Barbour and Green Springs. This verdant region has been called the "cradle of democracy": Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe each made their home here--estates that visitors can visit today. The great Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall used his Fauquier County home as a retreat. Jefferson's significant imprint on this region is evident not only at his home Monticello, and the "academical village" of the University of Virginia, but also at lesser known sites such as the unusual ruins of Barboursville, remains of a Jefferson designed house that burned in 1884.

Journey Through Hallowed Ground offers numerous ways to discover the historic properties that played important roles in Virginia's past. Each property features a brief description of the place's significance, color and historic photographs, and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will also find a navigation bar containing links to three essays that explain more about Piedmont History, the Civil War, and Preserving the Piedmont. These essays provide historical background, or "contexts," for many of the places included in the itinerary. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit the Piedmont region in person.

Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, Scenic America, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), and the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC), Journey Through Hallowed Ground is an example of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to revitalize communities by promoting public awareness of history and encouraging tourists to visit historic places throughout the nation, the National Register of Historic Places is cooperating with communities, regions and Heritage Areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trip by highlighting the amazing diversity of this country's historic places and supplying accessibility information for each featured site. In the Learn More section, the itineraries link to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, and lodging and dining possibilities. Visitors may be interested in Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located in Clifton.

Scenic America is the fifth of more than 30 organizations working directly with the National Register of Historic Places to create travel itineraries. Additional itineraries will debut online in the future. The National Register of Historic Places and Scenic America hope you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of the Piedmont's historic resources. If you have any comments or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.

A graphic that identifies the list of Virginia Piedmont Counties


This Northern Virginia county, formed from Fairfax County 1757, was named for John Campbell, fourth Earl of Loudoun, who was commander of British forces in North America during the early part of the French and Indian War and Governor of Virginia in 1756-59. The county seat is Leesburg.


Named for William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and third son of King George II, this Northern Virginia county was formed from Stafford and King George counties in 1730. Its county seat is Manassas.


Named for Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 1758 to 1768, this Northern Virginia county, known for its numerous estates, was formed in 1759 from Prince William County. Its county seat is Warrenton.


Formed from Orange County in 1749, Culpeper County probably was named for Thomas Culpeper, second Baron Culpeper of Thoresway, Governor of Virginia from 1677 to 1683, whose family long held proprietary rights in the Northern Neck. The county seat is Culpeper.


In the hills of the Piedmont, against the Blue Ridge Mountains, Madison County was formed from Culpeper County in 1792 and was named for James Madison, who then represented the area in Congress. The county seat is Madison.


Formed from Spotsylvania County in 1734, this pastoral Piedmont county probably was named for William IV, Prince of Orange-Nassau, who married Princess Anne, eldest daughter of King George II, that same year. Its county seat is Orange.


Located in the heart of the Virginia Piedmont, this rural county was named in honor of Princess Louisa, a daughter of King George II. It was formed from Hanover County in 1742. Its county seat is Louisa.


This Piedmont county was named for William Anne Keppel, second Earl of Albemarle and Governor of the Virginia colony from 1737 to 1754. It was formed from Goochland County in 1744, with part of Louisa County added later. The county seat is Charlottesville.

Fluvanna County

Fluvanna County takes its name from the 18th-century term for the upper James River, meaning "river of Anne," in honor of Queen Anne. It was formed from Albermarle County in 1777. The county seat is Palmyra.

A graphic identifies the List of Sites  Each site name is a hotlink to the place on this page that describes it.

Loudoun County
Waterford Historic District
Lucketts School
Morven Park
Ball's Bluff Battlefield and National Cemetery
Leesburg Historic District
General George C. Marshall House
Douglass High School
Goose Creek Historic District
Oatlands Historic District
Oak Hill
Aldie Mill Historic District
Middleburg Historic District
Red Fox Inn

Prince William County
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Buckland Historic District
Greenwich Presbyterian Church and
The Lawn
Manassas National Battlefield Park

Fauquier County
Warrenton Historic District
Old Fauquier County Jail
Oak Hill

Culpeper County
Culpeper Historic District
Slaughter-Hill House
Hill Mansion
A. P. Hill Boyhood Home
Culpeper National Cemetery
Burgandine House

Madden's Tavern
Mitchells Presbyterian Church

Rapidan Historic District

Madison County
The Residence

Orange County
Waddell Memorial Presbyterian Church
Willow Grove
Orange County Courthouse
St. Thomas Church
Ballard-Marshall House
Somerset Christian Church
Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District
Gordonsville Historic District
Exchange Hotel

Louisa County
Boswell's Tavern
Green Springs Historic District

Albemarle County
Southwest Mountains Rural Historic District
Castle Hill
Grace Church
Charlottesville and Albemarle County
Courthouse Historic District
University of Virginia
The Rotunda

Fluvanna County
Fluvanna County Courthouse Historic District

Waterford Historic District

Waterford is a remarkably intact example of an early 19th-century rural village surrounded by historic farmland. Its significance rests on the almost pristine appearance of the village and landscape. Nestled in the countryside of Loudoun County's northern tip, Waterford developed as a 19th-century Quaker milling community. The village traces its origins to c.1733 when Amos Janney and other Friends arrived from Pennsylvania and established a mill complex here. By the 1830s Waterford was a flourishing community of some 70 houses with a tannery, chairmaker, and boot manufacturer, along with shops and a tavern.

Commerce declined by the early 20th century, leaving Waterford a remarkably preserved hamlet free of modern intrusions. Its quiet shady streets remain lined with examples of regional vernacular styles, both freestanding and attached, in a variety of materials including brick, stone, and log. A mid-19th-century mill stands at the north edge of town. Aggressive preservation efforts by the Waterford Foundation since the 1940s have maintained the town's unique character. Some 60 properties are protected by preservation easements.

Unfortunately, suburban growth still threatens the historic agricultural land surrounding the village. As of 1997, there were no state or local controls to prevent destruction of the historic values of this open space. Efforts are underway to correct this, but they may not occur in time to prevent incompatible development.

The Waterford Historic District is located northwest of Leesburg on Rte. 665, in Waterford. The district is a National Historic Landmark. Walking tour books can be obtained from the Waterford Foundation, open 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday-Friday, located at 40183 Main St., at the intersection of Second St. Contact the Foundation at 540-882-3018 or visit the website. Tour buses must call ahead.

The Waterford Historic District is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.

Lucketts School 

A relic of simpler times, this little-altered elementary school is the principal landmark of Lucketts, a farming community steadily witnessing suburban encroachment. The Lucketts School educated three generations of children until it closed in 1972. The Leesburg School District bought five acres of land on June 20, 1912, for the sum of $625 on which to build the first Lucketts School. Built in 1913, the weatherboarded structure originally had four classrooms with no electricity or indoor plumbing. Although lacking modern utilities, the building was not without architectural dignity. With its regular facade and belfry, its design conformed to those published in architectural plan books of the early 1900s.

The building was expanded in 1919, and again in 1929, with the addition of two classrooms, an auditorium with dressing rooms, central heating and plumbing. Teachers earned about $400 a year during this period of time. The interior retains many early fittings including wooden wainscoting, embossed metal ceilings, slate blackboards, and a flexible wooden room divider. The school closed in 1972. A focus of local preservation interests, the building was converted to a community center. In 1981 the Loudoun County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Services reopened the school as a community center featuring year-round programs and activities, including the Lucketts Bluegrass Music series on Saturday evenings from October to April and the Lucketts Fair, held the last weekend of each August.

Lucketts School is located at 42361 Lucketts Rd., in Leesburg. It is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm; Tuesday, Thursday 9:00am to 9:00pm, and Saturday 9:00am to 12:30pm. Call 703-771-5281 for further information.


Rockland takes its name from the limestone outcroppings permeating the 600-acre farm. General George Rust, a prominent Loudoun County gentleman, replaced deteriorating wooden structures with this imposing brick mansion in 1822. Of large scale and with boldly detailed woodwork, the house is one the finest of several important Federal plantation dwellings in the area. Gen. Rust's son Col. Armistead T. M. Rust, an 1842 West Point graduate who served with the 19th Virginia infantry during the Civil War, later inherited the property. His death in 1887 left his second wife, Ida Lee, with 14 children and an encumbered estate. Exuding tremendous energy and business acumen, she repaid the debt and educated her youngest children. She sent her sons west at age 15 to escape the hardships of Reconstruction. Her son Edwin enlarged Rockland around 1908. Rockland remains owned by Rust family descendants.

Rockland is located on the east side of Rte. 15 north of Leesburg. It is a private residence and is not open to the public.

Morven Park

The 1,200-acre estate of Morven Park was home to two governors: Thomas Swann, a governor of Maryland in the 19th century, and Virginia's reform governor Westmoreland Davis. Morven Park was the last home of Governor Davis, who served his gubernatorial term from 1918 to 1922, and his wife, the former Marguerite Inman of Atlanta, daughter of a wealthy New York cotton broker.

The mansion, a focal point of the estate, evolved from a fieldstone farmhouse in 1781 to its present turn-of-the-century appearance. The first owner of the 1780s farmhouse was Wilson Cary Selden. Judge Thomas Swann acquired the place in 1808 and added the Doric portico and dependencies in the 1830s. In 1858 Swann's son, Thomas Swann, Jr., later governor of Maryland, engaged Baltimore architect Edmund G. Lind to remodel the house into a grandiose composition calling for four Italianate towers. The main tower was omitted, and the tops of the other four towers were later removed.

From the time he acquired the property in 1903, Davis set a standard for grand-scale living and made Morven Park a model dairy farm and an agricultural showplace. Today the grounds at Morven Park offer not only spectacular views from manicured lawns, but trails shaded by evergreens, magnolias and dogwoods. In 1955 Governor Davis's widow established the Westmoreland Davis Foundation, and Morven Park was opened to the public as a museum, cultural center, and equestrian institute.

Morven Park is located 1 mile northwest of Leesburg off business Rte. 7. It is open 11:00am to 5:00pm, April-October, and 12:00pm to 5:00pm, November-March. The last tour starts at 4:00pm. The park is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. There is a fee for admission. Call 703-777-2414 or visit the Virginia Tourism website for further information.

Ball's Bluff Battlefield and National Cemetery

Ball's Bluff Battlefield and National Cemetery are poignant reminders of a disastrous Union defeat in the first year of the Civil War when Confederate Brig. Gen. Nathan "Shanks" Evans stopped a badly coordinated attempt by Union forces under Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone to cross the Potomac at Harrison's Island and capture Leesburg. On October 21, 1861, a Union force commanded by Col. Edward D. Baker, a senator from Oregon and a friend of President Lincoln, crossed the Potomac River and scaled Ball's Bluff on the Virginia shore, determined to capture Leesburg. Quickly surrounded by confederates, Baker was killed and his men stampeded over the bluff. Many drowned, and their bodies washed ashore downstream in Washington. More than 700 Union troops were captured. This Union rout had severe political ramifications in Washington and led to the establishment of the Congressional Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, which investigated the defeat. Ball's Bluff National Cemetery, one of the nation's smallest military cemeteries, was established in December 1865 as the burial place of 54 Union casualties of the battle.

Ball's Bluff Battlefield and National Cemetery is located off of Rte. 15 just south of Rte. 7 on Battlefield Parkway. It is a National Historic Landmark. The Park is open sunrise to sunset and free to visitors. Brochures at the kiosk provide a self-guided tour. Call 703-779-9372 for further information, or visit the website of the Veterans Administration - National Cemetery Administration.

Leesburg Historic District

Established in 1758, the original 60-acre portion of Leesburg, laid off around Nicholas Minor's tavern, is a gently evolved Piedmont county seat with a varied assemblage of domestic, commercial, and governmental buildings built during three centuries. Leesburg was first known as Georgetown, after George II, but its name was changed to honor Francis Lightfoot Lee, signer of the Declaration of Independence, who owned property nearby. The district's 36 blocks are in a irregular grid of largely tree-lined streets. Preserving a nostalgic, small-town character, the district is centered around a park-like court square containing the 1895 classical courthouse and a porticoed Greek Revival academy building, now used for county offices. Lending distinction is a collection of regional vernacular architecture, including shops, compact town houses, and three early taverns. A scattering of Victorian structures contrasts with these plainer buildings.

Many buildings in the historic district date from Leesburg's 18th-century development. One type, a one-story, side-gable cottage constructed in either brick or stone or occasionally wood can be found on Loudoun, Wirt and Liberty Streets. There are also log structures such as the Stephen Donaldson Silversmithy, which is now part of the Loudoun Museum. Federal buildings, often two-story brick structures, reflect more delicate detailing and proportions characteristic of the Adam style. General George Marshall retired to Leesburg, to one of the town's Federal brick country houses. Interspersed among the Georgian and Federal structures in the historic district are many buildings from the second half of the 19th century, including the Italian Villa residence built in 1857 at 306 West Market Street and the three-story Italianate style home at 205 North King Street, built in 1848. Also noteworthy are the late19th-century commercial structures along King and Market Streets.

The Leesburg Historic District is located in the original area of town, at the intersection of Rte. 7 and Rte. 15. Leesburg. The Visitor Center is located in the Jewell Building at 222 Catoctin Circle, SE Suite 100, Leesburg. The Visitor Center is open Monday-Sunday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, and can be reached at 703-771-2170 and 800-752-6118.

General George C. Marshall House

Before General of the Army George Catlett Marshall, Jr. (1880-1959) could retreat to the home he purchased in 1941 for his retirement, he served as Army chief of staff during World War II, secretary of state, secretary of defense and president of the American Red Cross. Marshall is perhaps best known as the architect of the post-World War II 1947 European Recovery Program, known as the Marshall Plan, which launched the restoration of Europe's economy.

Marshall made his home at this gracious Federal house from 1941 until his death in 1959. During these years, Marshall rose from a respected army officer to one of the 20th century's most influential figures. The achievement of the Marshall Plan made him the first career soldier awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Located in the Leesburg Historic District, the brick country house was built in the 1820s, and additions were made several times over the years. It served as a school in the 1850s before passing through various private hands. Marshall bought it for $16,000--it was the first home he and his wife ever owned--and named it for the Greek oracle, Dodona, who spoke from the top of the kind of oak trees that proliferate on the 3.92-acre estate.

General Marshall's favorite pastime was being an in-town gentleman farmer, tending to a large vegetable plot and flower garden. Other than establishing this extensive garden, Marshall made few changes here. All the furnishings belonged to the Marshalls, but "it's nothing to write home about," according to William Seale, the architectural historian and historic-interiors specialist in charge of the early phases of an ongoing 10-year renovation project. The George C. Marshall International Center is restoring the house and its surrounding acreage to their late 1940s-1950s appearance. Indeed, one of the best reasons for visiting Dodona Manor currently is to inspect the architectural restoration work underway.

The General George C. Marshall House is located at 217 Edwards Ferry Rd., in Leesburg. A National Historic Landmark, the property is open to the public for tours on Saturdays from 10:00am to 5:00pm and Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00pm and during the months of June, July, and August also on Mondays from 1:00 to 5:00pm. Our last tour begins at 4:00pm. There is a fee for admission.. For further information call 703-777-1301 or visit the website.


Built c.1890 as the retirement home of Robert T. Hempstone, a Baltimore businessman, Waverly displays the personal prosperity of its original owner. At a time when the economy of Loudoun County still suffered from the devastating effects of the Civil War, large dwellings such as Waverly were built primarily by individuals who had acquired their wealth elsewhere. A finely appointed example of a late Victorian residence incorporating features of both the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles, the house was built by the Leesburg firm of John Norris and Sons, probably using a scheme published in one of the many architectural design catalogues of the period. Waverly stood in shabby condition for many years but was restored in the 1980s and again in 1995, after a major fire, as the centerpiece of an office development known as Waverly Park Corporate Center.

Waverly is located at 212 South King St., in Leesburg. Now private business offices, the building is not open to the public.

Douglass High School

Douglass High School symbolizes the quiet tenacity and sense of purpose evinced by Loudoun County's black citizens in their determination to secure a high standard of secondary education for their children. The school stands on land purchased by African Americans and presented to the county school board in 1940. Though the building was paid for with public funds, the black community raised money for furnishings, laboratory equipment, and band instruments. Named for Frederick Douglass, a former slave and prominent abolitionist, the school operated as the county's first and only black high school from its opening in 1941 until the termination of segregated education in 1968. The building today houses an alternative school, serving students with special needs.

Douglass High School is a public school located at 407 East Market St., in Leesburg. It is not open for public tours.

Goose Creek Historic District

The Quaker influence in this region began in the 1730s with the English Friends who came into the area from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. The community's distinctive cast is still reflected in the region's small farms, many of which are yet defined by their 18th-century land patents. The Goose Creek Historic District is a scenically cohesive rural area of some 10,000 acres in central Loudoun County that sustained Virginia's largest concentration of Quaker settlers. Worked without slave labor, Quaker farms were limited in size to what could be run by a family unit. The district, which centers on the village of Lincoln, preserves a rich collection of 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century rural vernacular architecture, much of it incorporating the superb stone masonry peculiar to Quaker settlers. Though threatened with creeping suburbanization, few other areas of the region retain such a high degree of unspoiled pastoral beauty.

The Goose Creek Historic District's location is roughly bounded by Purcellville, Rtes. 611, 728, 797, 622, 704 and 709, and Lincoln. The Goose Creek Friends Meeting House, within the district, is located in Lincoln, on Lincoln Rd; call 703-777-5979 for further information.

Oatlands Historic District

This rural district incorporates the Oatlands estate and several associated historic properties. The site of Oatlands Mills, a milling complex established by George Carter of Oatlands in the early 19th century, is at the southern end, along Goose Creek. The large mill was destroyed in 1905, leaving today only a small ruin and extensive archaeological remains. Surviving from the village of Oatlands nearby are several houses and the Episcopal Church of Our Savior, a simple brick structure erected in 1878. A later parish hall stands next to it. At the northern end of the district, on Route 15, is the Mountain Gap School, the county's last operating one-room school when it closed in 1953. Most of the property in the historic district is protected by preservation easements or is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Oatlands Historic District is located south of Leesburg off Rte. 15. There are no organized tours of the district available at this time.


Begun in 1804 and embellished over the next two decades, this monumental mansion, along with its numerous outbuildings and extensive gardens, forms one of the nation's most elaborate Federal estates. The complex was developed by George Carter, one of the scions of prominent Tidewater families who migrated to Northern Virginia after the Revolution. Carter developed the mansion's design from illustrations in William Chambers's A Treatise on Civil Architecture (1786). With its stuccoed walls, demi-octagonal wings, parapeted roof, and a portico of slender Corinthian columns added by Carter in 1827, the house has a special lightness and elegance. The airy rooms with their intricate Federal ornamentation complement the exterior.

Prosperous and newly married during the 1840s, Carter made interior changes that echoed the popular Greek Revival style of the time. A miller's residence, brick manufactory, blacksmith shop, store, school and church soon followed as Oatlands quickly grew into a 3,000-acre working plantation. Other structures built by Carter include the stone and brick staircases and walls, a smoke house, a brick greenhouse with a hot-water heating system, and a granary. Oatlands's gardens were also designed by George Carter, who constructed ingenious connecting terraces which, by sheltering the area from wind, extended the growing season to supply food for the plantation.

Oatlands fared well during the Civil War compared to many other plantations, but after the war George II and Kate Carter, beset by mounting debts and numerous dependents, began operating Oatlands as a summer boarding house, a country retreat for affluent Washingtonians. This didn't produce the income needed to sustain a great home like Oatlands, and in 1897 they were forced to sell. Oatlands was briefly owned by founder of the Washington Post Stilson Hutchins, who never lived on the property. In 1903 Oatlands was sold to William Corcoran Eustis, grandson of banker and philanthropist William Wilson Corcoran and his wife Edith, who restored Oatlands to its former splendor.

Although Mr. Eustis died in 1921, Mrs. Eustis remained at Oatlands until her death in 1964. The Eustis daughters presented the estate (which had been reduced to 261 acres), house, and furnishings to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1965. Oatlands was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1972.

Oatlands is located south of the junction of Rtes. 15 and 651 in Leesburg. The property is a National Historic Landmark. It is open Monday-Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday 1:00pm to 5:00pm April-December. There is a fee for admission. Call 703-777-3174 or visit their website for further information.

Oak Hill

James Monroe (1758-1831), the fifth President of the United States, began the construction of Oak Hill, his Loudoun County mansion, between 1820 and 1823 and lived here following his presidency until 1830, the year before he died. For the design of Oak Hill, Monroe sought ideas from both Thomas Jefferson and James Hoban, architect of the White House. The house was constructed by local builder William Benton. Its dominant architectural feature is the unusual pentastyle portico. Oak Hill was visited by Lafayette in 1825 during his tour of America, and it was here that Monroe worked on the drafting of the Monroe Doctrine, a policy aimed to limit European expansion into the Western Hemisphere and assign the United States the role of protector of independent Western nations.

Monroe was born on April 28, 1758, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. After two years at the College of William and Mary, Monroe left in March 1776 to fight in the American Revolution. In 1779, Monroe formed the most important association of his life when he began the study of law under Thomas Jefferson, who was then governor of Virginia. Jefferson came to value Monroe for his persistence, patriotism, and devotion to republican principles. The two men, together with James Madison, formed political and personal bonds that lasted for half a century.

Monroe soon began a steady accumulation of offices, including acting as a delegate to the Continental Congress (1783-86); a member of the Virginia ratifying convention (1788), where he opposed adoption of the new federal Constitution; U.S. Senator from Virginia (1790-94); minister to France (1794-96); and Governor of Virginia (1799-1802). President Jefferson sent him on a diplomatic mission in 1803 to help Robert R. Livingston negotiate the purchase of New Orleans from the French. The two Americans were astonished when Napoleon I offered to sell the entire Louisiana Territory, which they quickly negotiated to purchase for the United States. After a term serving as President Madison's Secretary of State, Monroe was elected President by an overwhelming majority in 1816, distinguishing his term in office most notably in foreign affairs.

The estate passed out of the family after Monroe's death. The house was increased in size in 1922 by the enlargment of its wings and the addition of terminal porticoes during the ownership of Mr. and Mrs. Frank C. Littleton. Still a private residence, this historic seat is a fitting monument to the last of the "Virginia Dynasty" of presidents.

Oak Hill is located 8 Miles south of Leesburg on Rte. 15, near Aldie. The property is a National Historic Landmark. It is a private residence and is not open to the public.

Aldie Mill Historic District

Charles Fenton Mercer, military officer, legislator, and advocate of the colonization of African Americans, settled here in 1804. He named his property for Aldie Castle, his Scottish ancestral home. The large merchant mill, constructed in 1807 by Mercer's partner William Cooke, survives as one of the best outfitted early mills in the state. The three-part complex includes what was a plaster mill at one end and a store at the other. The mill's twin overshot Fitz wheels, installed in 1900, are a unique surviving pair in Virginia. Overlooking the mill is the large Federal house, built by Mercer in 1810 as his residence. Behind the mill is the miller's house. Completing the grouping is an early stone bridge across Little River. The mill operated into the 1970s. Mr. and Mrs. James Edward Douglas, whose family had owned and operated the mill continuously for six generations since 1834, donated it to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation in 1981. The Virginia Outdoors Foundation has been restoring the mill to serve as an operating example of an early 19th-century wheat and corn mill.

The Aldie Mill Historic District is located along Rte. 50, west of Rte. 15, in Aldie. Historic Aldie Mill is located at 39401 John Mosby Highway, and is open 12:00pm to 5:00 on Saturdays and 1:00pm to 5:00 pm on Sundays from April 30 to the last week of October. Call 703-327-9777 for further information.

Middleburg Historic District

The physical and psychological heart of Northern Virginia's hunt country, Middleburg is a compact and fastidious village retaining the qualities of its early years. There are approximately 600 people currently residing in the town established in 1787 by Leven Powell, a Revolutionary War officer and regional Federalist leader. He purchased the land for Middleburg at $2.50 an acre from Joseph Chinn, first cousin to George Washington. The town developed as a coach stop and relay station on Ashby's Gap Turnpike, becoming by mid-century a commercial center for lower Loudoun and upper Fauquier counties. Thus being in the "middle," the village provided the overnight resting stop for travelers making the 70-mile overland journey. The town saw frequent Civil War cavalry action and won a reputation for fierce Confederate loyalty but afterwards it declined in fortune and population.

By the second decade of the 20th century, it assumed a new identity as a social and equestrian center. Middleburg prospered and grew in reputation as the nation's foremost area for fox hunting, Thoroughbred breeding, and horse racing. With its tree-lined streets, brick sidewalks, and harmonious scale, the town has a diverse collection of late 18th- to early 20th-century architectural styles highlighted by early stone and brick structures.

The Middleburg Historic District is located at Rte. 50, and State Rtes. 626 and 776, in Middleburg. A self guided book tour, "Walk with History," is provided at the Pink Box, Middleburg's Visitor Center, located at 12 North Madison St., which is open from 11:00am to 3:00pm daily. Call 540-687-8888 for further information.

Red Fox Inn

One of the Virginia hunt country's best-known landmarks, the Red Fox Inn, occupies a site used for a tavern since the 18th century. The Red Fox Inn was a meeting spot for Confederate Colonel John Mosby and his Rangers. A century later, President Kennedy's press secretary, Pierre Salinger, held press conferences at the Red Fox in the Jeb Stuart room. Rawleigh Chinn, who originally owned the land on which Middleburg developed, reputedly built a tavern near this intersection in 1728. Chinn's Ordinary served travelers on the wagon trail, and later stagecoach route, that ran east-west generally along the present U.S. Route 50.

The present stone building may incorporate earlier fabric but was mostly constructed in 1830 for Nobel Beveridge, who stated in a newspaper advertisement that year: "A new House of Entertainment has been built . . . with all the rooms comfortable and well-furnished. The subscriber's bar is well-appointed with choice liquors." Beveridge's tavern since has been remodeled and enlarged several times. During the Civil War, the Beveridge House was often used by the Confederates. Most notably, General Jeb Stuart is said to have met with Colonel John Mosby and his famous Rangers here. The Inn's present appearance, largely dating from a 1940s renovation by local architect William B. Dew, is designed to attract its clientele with an old-fashioned ambience. The tavern has since become an area institution and remains a fashionable venue for lodging and repast.

Red Fox Inn is located at 2 East Washington St., Middleburg and is still used as a hotel and restaurant. Call 1-800-223-1728 for further information, or visit the website at

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Haymarket's Episcopal church was built in 1801 as a district courthouse for the counties of Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Prince William. Like other early 19th-century Virginia courthouses it originally had an arcaded entrance. The district court was accommodated here until 1807 when changes in the court system resulted in the eventual sale of the building and its conversion to an academy. It was first used as an Episcopal church in 1822 and was consecrated by Bishop William Meade in 1834. Near both the first and second battles of Manassas, both sides at different times used it as a hospital. In November 1862 Union troops converted the building to a stable and then burned it. The congregation rebuilt within the original walls in 1867, at which time the arcade was closed up for the narthex and the belfry and bracketed cornice were added.

The St. Paul's Episcopal Church is located off State Rte. 55, in Haymarket. It is generally not open for tours, but large tour groups can call 703-754-7536 for information and possible interior viewing. Sunday Church services at 8:00am, 9:30am (children's event) and 10:30 (changed to 10:00am during the summer) are open to everyone.


Buckland Historic District

This tiny village bravely holds its own against the roar of constant traffic on U.S. Highway 29, which bisects the historic community. Buckland nonetheless is an especially picturesque example of the many mill-oriented settlements that characterized much of the Virginia Piedmont from the late 18th through the 19th centuries. Chartered by the Virginia legislature in 1798, Buckland was the first inland town established in Prince William County. It was an important wagon stop on the main east-west road between Alexandria and the territory beyond the Blue Ridge. The present turn-of-the-century grist mill is believed to be the third mill on this site. The water for the mill race was fed by Broad Run, which flows by immediately to the north. Also included in the district is an early 19th-century tavern and a small mid-19th-century church. These buildings, in addition to several residential dwellings, sustain the village's historic character.

The Buckland Historic District is centered at the intersectin of Buckland Mill Rd. and Rte. 29, in Buckland.

Greenwich Presbyterian Church

Built in 1858, this picturesque country Gothic church is distinguished by its rustic Gothic porches and lych (roofed) gate. Charles Green, an English cotton merchant from Savannah who built a dwelling at The Lawn nearby, donated the land on which the church stands. During the Civil War, Green objected when Union troops attempted to seize the church for a hospital, claiming that a clause in the deed provided that the land would revert to him if its religious use ceased, thereby making it English property. The church was thus the only one in the county not damaged by Union forces. Several Civil War soldiers are buried in the church cemetery, including one of Col. John S. Mosby's Confederate rangers, Captain Bradford Smith Hoskins. Wounded nearby in 1863, Hoskins was brought by Green to The Lawn, where he died.

The Greenwich Presbyterian Church is located at 9510 Burwell Rd., Greenwich.

For more information on the church and its accessibility visit the church's website (

The Lawn

Named for its immaculately maintained greensward, the English-born Savannah cotton merchant Charles Green established The Lawn in 1855 as a country home following his marriage to Greenwich native Lucy Ireland Hunton. He built here a fanciful complex of Carpenter's Gothic structures. Green's Savannah residence, the famous Green-Meldrim house, is also Gothic Revival. The Greenwich buildings appeared quite foreign to the area. One Civil War visitor described the house as "the strangest in Virginia." The property served as a Union camp in 1864. Green was imprisoned, accused of being a Confederate spy. The noted French author Julian Green, grandson of Charles Green, visited The Lawn in his youth and used it as the setting for his novel Maud. Architecturally, The Lawn is unique and the only surviving example of a mid-19th-century Gothic Revival farm complex in Prince William County. The main house burned in 1924 and was replaced with a Tudor Revival work, completed in 1926, designed by A. B. Mullett and Co. of Washington.

The Lawn is located at 15207 Vint Hill Rd. off State Rte. 215, in Greenwich. It is a private residence, and is not open to the public.

Manassas National Battlefield Park

The 300-acre tract bordered by Bull Run was the scene of two Confederate victories. The First Battle of Manassas, fought July 21, 1861, was the opening engagement of the Civil War and pitted Union brigadier general Irvin McDowell's unseasoned troops against ill-trained but spirited Confederates under Brigadier General P. G. T. Beauregard. The naive, unprepared troops would soon have their hopes of a short war dashed as they came face to face with the horrors and carnage of war. The Union attack was repulsed by Confederates inspired by Gen. Thomas J. Jackson and his Virginians, who stood against the enemy like a "stone wall," earning Jackson his famous epithet. By the day's end, nearly 900 men lay dead and dying on what the day before had been the peaceful farms of Northern Virginia.

Thirteen months later the same armies, now much larger and battle hardened, would again clash over the same ground. Second Manassas, fought on August 28-30, 1862, cleared the way for Gen. Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North. This time, the destruction would be far greater, more than 23,000 killed, missing or wounded. The outcome of the second battle would lead to the Southern army's first full-scale invasion across the Potomac River into Maryland. Surviving landmarks include the Dogan house, a Union snipers' nest in 1862; the Stone House, a Union field hospital during both battles; and the stone bridge, blown up in 1861 but reconstructed in the 1880s.

The Manassas National Battlefield Park, administered by the National Park Service, is located along U.S. Rte. 29 in Manassas, the entrance to the visitors center is just south of Rte. 29 on State Rte. 234.. It is open in the summer 9:00am to 6:00pm daily and in the winter 9:00am to 5:00pm daily. Call 703-754-1861 for further information or visit the website.

The Manassas National Battlefield Park is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.

Warrenton Historic District

From its beginnings as a colonial village, this prosperous community has been home to lawyers and politicians such as Supreme Court Chief John Marshall, who practiced here; William Smith, governor of Virginia in 1846-49 and 1864-65; and Eppa Hunton, Confederate general and U.S. Congressman. Known as Fauquier Court House until its incorporation in 1810, Warrenton takes its present name from Warren Academy. The community has long been noted for its beautiful setting, healthful climate, and cultivated society. As a result it boasts an exceptional collection of houses, churches, and commercial buildings in a wide range of styles. The district also preserves a number of structures associated with the Civil War, when Warrenton was variously occupied by both sides. The architectural focal point is the county courthouse, a Classical Revival building erected in 1890 on the site of an earlier courthouse. The most prestigious residences line Culpeper and Falmouth streets.

The Warrenton Historic District is roughly bounded by Main, Waterloo, Alexandria, Winchester, Culpeper, High, Falmouth, Lee, and Horner Sts. in Warrenton. The Visitor Center, located at 183 Keith, is open 7 days a week 9:00am to 5:00pm and provides a walking tour brochure for the historic district. Call 540-347-4444 for further information.

Old Fauquier County Jail

Warrenton's former jail is a singular example of the state's early county penal architecture. The complex includes the 1808 brick jail, converted to the jailer's residence and completed in 1823, and the parallel 1823 stone jail with its high-walled jail-yard. Located next to the courthouse, the jail provides a telling picture of conditions endured by inmates of such county facilities. A jail was built for the county in 1779, but it proved to be inadequate within a number of years. The more substantial brick structure was finished in 1808, and County Jail c.1972 Photograph from National Register Collection, courtesy of Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission on October 24 the keys to the new jail were turned over to the sheriff. With the completion of the stone jail and its plank-lined cells, the resulting two-part building served the county until 1966. The complex is now maintained by the Fauquier County Historical Society as a county history museum.

The Old Fauquier County Jail is located at the Fauquier County Courthouse Square in Warrenton. It is open Sunday-Monday (closed Tuesday) Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm year round, but closed Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Call 540-347-5525 for further information.


A classic Italian Villa-style dwelling, Brentmoor was built in 1859-61 for Judge Edward M. Spilman. In his book The Architecture of Country Houses (1850), Andrew Jackson Downing illustrated a design resembling Brentmoor described as "a simple, rational, convenient, and economic dwelling for the southern part of the Union." The Spilman family sold the property in the 1870s to James Keith, president of the Virginia Court of Appeals. In 1875 John Singleton Mosby, the Confederate ranger, purchased the house. Mosby, with his Partisans outwitted the Union army during the Civil War to the extent that much of northern Virginia was known as "Mosby's Confederacy." Mosby sold the house in 1877 to former Confederate general Eppa Hunton, who was then serving in Congress. Brentmoor was the childhood home of Eppa Hunton III, a founder of the prominent Richmond law firm Hunton and Williams.

Brentmoor is located at 173 Main St., in Warrenton. Although Brentmoor is currently not open to the public, the town of Warrenton has purchased it, and intends to open it as a museum in the future.


Located in Warrenton, Monterosa-Neptune Lodge was the main residence of William ("Extra Billy") Smith, two-term governor of Virginia (1846-49 and 1864-65). Smith also served in the Senate of Virginia, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Confederate House of Representatives, and as a Major General in the Confederate Army. Early in his career, Smith ran the longest mail route in the nation and was dubbed "Extra Billy" by a U.S. Senator during a Congressional investigation of waste in Federal spending, which focused, in part, on the U.S. Postal Service. Sharing the site with Smith's two-and-a-half story brick house are three outbuildings: an extraordinary Italianate brick stable built in 1847, a brick smokehouse and a two-story dwelling that dates from the late 19th century 19th-century stagecoach stables Photograph courtesy of Virginia Department of Historic Resources Archives known as the Office. James K. Maddux, a later owner and a leader in the Warrenton Hunt, remodeled Smith's Italianate dwelling in the Colonial Revival taste, adding the portico. He also changed the name to Neptune Lodge.

Monterosa is located at 343 Culpeper St., in Warrenton. It is a private residence and is not open to the public.

Oak Hill

Oak Hill was an early home of John Marshall, noted Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The wood-frame dwelling, completed by 1773 when Marshall was 17, is a classic example of Virginia's colonial vernacular. John Marshall became the owner of Oak Hill in 1785 when his father, Thomas Marshall, moved to Kentucky. Although John Marshall lived mostly in Richmond and Washington, he kept his Fauquier County property, making improvements and using it as a retreat. In 1819 he built an attached Classical Revival house as a residence for his son Thomas. In 1835 Oak Hill was inherited by Thomas Marshall's son John Marshall II, whose overindulgence in hospitality forced him to sell the place to his brother Thomas. The property left the family after Thomas Marshall, Jr.'s mortal wounding in the Civil War.

Oak Hill can be seen from Interstate 66, and is located north of the highway just east of the exit for Rte. 17 near Delaplane. It is a private residence, and is not open to the public.

Oak Hill is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.


An instructive amalgamation of farm buildings, Weston was originally the residence of the Fitzhugh family. The rambling house began as a log cottage probably built for Thomas Fitzhugh around 1810. The property was purchased from the Fitzhughs by Charles Joseph Nourse in l859. Nourse, who was reared in Georgetown, D.C., named the farm Weston in commemoration of his ancestral home Weston Hall in England. Under Nourse the house grew by steady accretion. Changes and additions made in 1860, 1870, and 1893 resulted in an L-shaped structure with Carpenter's Gothic detailing. Following Nourse's death in 1906, his widow, Annie, operated a school and summer camp here. During World War II the Nourse daughters maintained Weston as a hospitality center for servicemen, serving some 11,000 meals by the end of the war. Weston and its important collection of outbuildings is now a farm museum owned by the Warrenton Antiquarian Society.

Weston is located at 4447 Weston Rd., in the vicinity of Casanova. Owned by the Warrenton Antiquarian Society, Weston is now a museum. It is only open for tours occasionally. There is a suggested donation. Call 540-788-9220 for further tour information.

Culpeper Historic District

The county-seat town of Culpeper is significant for its architectural cohesiveness and associations with commercial, military, political, and transportation history. Originally known as Fairfax, Culpeper was founded in 1759. Most of the commercial buildings are vernacular, Italianate, and neoclassical-style brick structures. The quiet, tree-shaded residential streets hold a rich variety of domestic architecture. The district's focal point is the Culpeper County Courthouse, completed in 1874 by Samuel Proctor who crowned it with a fanciful cupola. Commercial history is linked with its early roads, stagecoach routes, and the railroad. Military history is represented by the homes of Revolutionary War general Edward Stevens and Confederate Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill. The town served as a staging area and hospital center for armies of both sides in the Civil War. Though a growing community, Culpeper preserves a genial, typically American small-town ambiance.

The Culpeper Historic District is bounded by Edmonson, Stevens and West Sts. and the railroad tracks, in Culpeper. The Culpeper Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center can provide you with "In and Around Culpeper," a brochure that includes 5 self-guided walking tours, and information on guided walking tours that start in June. Located at 109 South Commerce St., the Chamber is open 8:30am to 5:00pm weekdays, 10:00am to 4:00pm Saturdays, and 1:00pm to 4:00pm Sundays, or call 540-825-8628. The Museum of Culpeper History can provide you with more information on the history of Culpeper, and visit the website for details on the opening of their new museum.

Slaughter-Hill House

Maintaining connections to various phases of Culpeper's history, the Slaughter-Hill house began in the late 18th century as a one-room-plan structure built of planked log construction. A frame addition in the early 19th century doubled its size. The house was further remodeled between 1835 and 1840 when the older sections were renovated and enlarged. The core of the Slaughter-Hill house remains one of the region's rare examples of a one-room urban vernacular structure using planked log construction. It probably was built for John Jameson, who served as the country clerk from 1771 to 1810. The present name derives from Dr. Philip Slaughter, a prominent local physician who made the mid-19th-century modifications. The Hill name is from Sarah Hill, of the locally prominent Hill family, who purchased the house in 1888 and whose daughter owned it until 1944.

The Slaughter-Hill House is located at 306 Northwest St., in Culpeper. It can be viewed externally on one of the Culpeper Historic District's walking tours.

Hill Mansion

The Hill Mansion is a sophisticated example of the Italianate style, one of the several picturesque modes popular in the 1850s. The house was completed in 1857 for Edward Baptist Hill, member of a prominent Culpeper family. The front is sheltered by an arcaded veranda, a device advocated for southern houses in this period. Other noteworthy features are the scored stucco, the elaborate porches, both cast-iron and wood, as well as interior appointments, including a broad curving stair. The house served as a Confederate hospital and was visited both by Lieutenant General A. P. Hill, a brother of the builder, and Gen. Robert E. Lee, whose wounded son, Brig. Gen. W. H. F. ("Rooney") Lee, was nursed there. Later in the war it was used as headquarters for Union officers who permitted the Hill family to occupy two rooms.

Hill Mansion is located at 501 East St., in Culpeper. It is a private residence and is not open to the public. It can be viewed externally on one of the Culpeper Historic District's walking tours.

A.P. Hill Boyhood Home

Confederate Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill (1825-1865) lived in the original portion of this house from age seven until 1842, when he entered the U.S. Military Academy. Hill's parents enlarged the plain Federal town house into the present Italian Villa-style building just before the Civil War, expanding its depth and adding the third story, heavy bracketed cornice, and cupola. Later altered for commercial use, the building, situated on one of the town's main intersections, remains a dominant architectural element in downtown Culpeper. A. P. Hill was one of General Robert E. Lee's most valued lieutenants; he assisted him in nearly every major engagement of the Army of Northern Virginia until felled on April 2, 1865, just after the siege of Petersburg, and was brought to Richmond for burial.

The A.P. Hill Boyhood Home is located at 102 North Main St., in Culpeper and is occupied by commericial businesses. It can be viewed externally on one of the Culpeper Historic District's walking tours.

Culpeper National Cemetery

The Culpeper National Cemetery was established in April 1867, in a county that may have seen more Civil War combat than any other in Virginia. Several monuments commemorate the Union casualties of the battle of Cedar Mountain fought on August 9, 1862. Occupied by each army for months at a time, Culpeper County was the scene of the battle of Brandy Station on June 9, 1863, the largest cavalry battle of the war. Here also was the Union Army's winter encampment of 1863-64, when Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant arrived to take command. Union dead from those actions are interred in the cemetery. The cemetery was established in 1867 for the burial of more than 2,000 Civil War soldiers. The Second Empire-style superintendent's lodge was built in 1872 from a design by Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs. In 1978 the Veterans of Foreign Wars donated adjacent land that doubled the size of the cemetery and relieved pressure on Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery is in active use for the burial of veterans of all wars and their dependents.

The Culpeper National Cemetery is located at 305 U.S. Ave., in Culpeper. It is open between dusk and dawn. The office is open 8:00am to 4:00pm, Monday-Friday except holidays. Call 540-825-0027 for further information, or visit the website of the Veterans Administration - National Cemetery Administration.

Burgandine House

The Burgandine House has long been considered to be Culpeper's oldest dwelling. Architectural evidence suggests that as originally built, it was a story-and-half structure put up in the late 18th century or the first part of the 19th century, and was probably a laborer's residence. The original core employs plank log construction, a building material not unusual for area vernacular houses. It later received a porch and was covered with weatherboards. A wing (since removed) was added in the mid-19th century. At one time the Burgandine House was used as a tavern. Despite other modifications the original simple lines of the house betray its early origins. The house was donated to the town of Culpeper in 1966 and has since served as the headquarters of the Culpeper Historical Society. This small, historic dwelling was restored in 1997.

The Burgandine House is located at 107 South Main St., in Culpeper. Call 540-829-6434 for seasonal visiting hours and days as well as additional information.


During the early 19th century many rich, influential men of the western Piedmont contented themselves with small yet commodious plantation houses. Greenwood, built c.1823-24, possibly around an earlier section, for John Williams Green, judge of the Virginia Supreme Court, illustrates this dwelling type. With its dormered center section and one-story wings, the house shows how a standard vernacular type could be expanded and given a pleasing but unpretentious formality. The interior preserves most of its Federal woodwork. In 1825 Judge Green received at Greenwood the Marquis de Lafayette and former President James Monroe during Lafayette's celebrated tour as "guest of the nation." The Civil War touched Greenwood when Federal troops occupied the house and established a gun emplacement on the grounds.

Greenwood is located at 1931 Orange St., in Culpeper. It is a private residence, and is not open to the public.

Madden's Tavern

This simple log structure is a rare relic of pre-Civil War black entrepreneurship in rural Virginia. Completed about 1840, the tavern was built by, owned, and operated by Willis Madden (1800-1879) a free black, and was likely the only tavern in the region with a proprietor of Madden's race. Virginia free blacks were able to earn and keep wages and to own and operate a business, but were forbidden to vote, bear arms, testify against a white person, or be educated. Madden built the tavern on property purchased in 1835 on the Old Fredericksburg Road. The western half of the structure was Madden's family quarters; the eastern portion consisted of a public room and a loft for overnight guests. A general store and blacksmith-wheelwright shop were also on the property. Union troops sacked the place in 1863-64. The property is still owned by Madden's descendants.

Madden's Tavern is located east of Culpeper near Lignum on Rte. 610, north of Rte. 3 and west of Rte. 647. It is not open to the public, but a Virginia State Historic Marker can be read at the roadside.

Mitchells Presbyterian Church

This simple Carpenter's Gothic church contains the most elaborate example of late 19th-century, folk-style trompe l'oeil frescoes in the state. Executed in the 1890s, or possibly earlier, by the Italian immigrant painter Joseph Dominick Phillip Oddenino, born in 1831 in Chieri, Torino, the artwork is a curious transplant in rural Virginia of the ancient art of fresco, a common form of interior embellishment throughout Europe. The scheme is architectonic, consisting of a Gothic arcade on the side walls and an apse flanked by pairs of twisted baroque columns. The ceiling is painted to resemble beams framing rosettes. Mitchells Church was built in 1879 under the leadership of the Rev. John P. Strider. The frescoes, along with the church, underwent complete restoration beginning in 1979. Several other examples of Oddenino's work remain in the region; Mitchell's Church is the finest and most complete.

Mitchells Presbyterian Church is located off Rte. 652 in the small settlement of Mitchells. It is not regularly open to the public, call 540-825-1079 for further information.

Rapidan Historic District

A tiny village bisected by the Rapidan River, though with its principal section on the Culpeper side, Rapidan began in the late 18th century as a small milling community known as Waugh's Ford. Reflecting optimism for future progress, the settlement was renamed Rapid Ann Station with the coming of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad in 1854. It was renamed Rapidan in 1886. As a strategic railroad stop and river crossing, the village suffered several Civil War raids during which most of its buildings were destroyed. The village emerged from the war as a shipping point for wood products. Its current buildings, mostly dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s, range from simple vernacular structures to large Italianate and late Victorian farmhouses. Especially significant are the two 1874 Carpenter's Gothic churches: Waddell Memorial Presbyterian Church on the Orange County side and Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Culpeper County.

The Rapidan Historic District is located at the junction of VA 614, VA 615, VA 673, in Rapidan.

The Residence

This compact plantation house was built c.1793 for William Madison, member of the Virginia House of Delegates for seven consecutive terms and brother of President James Madison. In 1793 James Madison asked Thomas Jefferson to supply plans for a house for his brother. Jefferson, a close friend of the president, suggested a floor plan for a seven-room house in a geometric configuration that is a hallmark of Jefferson's residential design. James Madison later wrote to Jefferson saying that William had adopted the plans. No Jefferson drawings have been positively identified as the Madison design, but the correspondence authenticates the Jefferson connection. The original, unacademic two-column portico suggests, however, that Jefferson was not involved in the execution.

In 1870 the property was purchased by Robert Stringfellow Walker, who remodeled the house in 1884. It was here that Walker founded Woodberry Forest School in 1889, naming it after the Madison plantation. The house was renamed the Residence and became the headmaster's house. Walker hired a tutor to educate his six sons and neighboring children. The first classes were taught in a room of The Residence. Additions made in 1884 changed the effect from Palladian to Victorian. Other renovations in 1948 created a large drawing room by eliminating partitions between three rooms, one of which was used as a back porch by the Madison family.

The Residence is located within the Woodberry Forest School, in Woodberry Forest and is the private residence of the headmaster. For more information visit the school's website.


Built c.1780 for Francis Madison, a younger brother of President James Madison, Greenway is a traditional vernacular building type commonly used in the Virginia Piedmont from the mid-18th to the mid-19th century. The original core, a single-pile, hall-parlor dwelling, is interesting confirmation that acceptance of such indigenous forms extended even to members of influential families such as the Madisons. The facade formerly had side-by-side entrances, one for each room. These were replaced in the early 20th century by a single entrance sheltered by the gable-roofed porch. A rear wing, added c.1790, preserves a fine original mantel with pilasters and paneled frieze. Greenway has been a working farm since the 18th century and includes several farm buildings. The property remains in the ownership of descendants of a stepson of Francis Madison's daughter Catherine.

Greenway is located just south of the intersection of State Rte. 230 and Rte. 15 in Madison Mills, just north of the Rapidan River and the Orange county line. It is a private residence and is not open to the public.

Wadell Memorial Presbyterian Church

Built in 1874, Wadell Memorial Presbyterian Church is Virginia's finest specimen of Carpenter's Gothic architecture. A forest of spires sprouts from the nave, transepts, and vestry of the board-and-batten structure. All of the details are formed from milled boards reduced by sawing to the desired shapes and nailed together. The country church was named in honor of James Waddell, a local blind preacher and key player in the battle for religious tolerance during Colonial times. J. B. Danforth, an amateur architect who also was chief clerk at Richmond's Mutual Assurance Society, designed the church. A tracing of Danforth's drawings by the Richmond carpenter-architect John Gibson, who presumably worked on the building, is in the possession of the church. The design called for a steeple that was deleted from the finished work. The church is romantically sited on a hill overlooking the Rapidan River and broad stretches of countryside.

In 1998, the small 40-member congregation began a preservation effort to restore the church, replacing louvers, rebuilding numerous spires, removing old layers of paint and repainting the exterior. They are now in the process of a second round of fundraising to restore the church sanctuary.

Waddell Memorial Presbyterian Church is located southeast of Rapidan on State Rte. 615. The Sanctuary is open to the public during daylight hours; the back of the church, where the offices are located, is not. Call 540-672-0672 for further information.

Willow Grove

Built in the late 18th century for Joseph Clark, the original frame residence at Willow Grove was substantially enlarged in 1848 by the addition of a brick wing and a unifying Tuscan portico. It is believed some of the woodwork in this Federal portion was executed by the same artisans who crafted Montpelier, President James Madison's lifelong Orange County home. The remodeling was done for Clark's son William, who inherited Willow Grove in 1839. The resulting building stands as an example of the influence of Thomas Jefferson's Classical Revival style on the country homes of Piedmont Virginia. The portico is accented by the distinctly Jeffersonian touch of Chinese lattice railings.

The mansion has withstood the ravages of two wars. Generals Wayne and Muhlenberg camped here during the Revolutionary War, and the mansion was under siege during the Civil War. Trenches and breastworks are visible near the manor house, and a cannonball was recently removed from the eaves. The house is enhanced by its pastoral setting and collection of outbuildings. Later the homestead of the Shackelford family, the house and outbuildings are now used as a country inn.

Willow Grove is located 2 miles northwest of Orange on the west side of Rte. 15. It is now the Inn at Willow Grove. For more information about the Inn and making reservations, please visit the Inn's website at or email

Orange County Courthouse

The Orange County Courthouse marks a radical departure from the traditional classical-style Virginia courthouse, illustrating public acceptance of exotic taste in late antebellum times. Designed by Charles Haskins of the Washington firm of Haskins and Alexander and erected in 1858-59, the building has all of the major characteristics of the Italian Villa style: deep bracketed cornices, shallow-hipped roofs, and square tower. The work is Orange County's fourth court building constructed specifically as such in the town of Orange. It replaced an existing courthouse that was taken down as the result of railroad construction. The arcaded openings on the first floor were filled in c. 1948, but were opened in 2003 during a recent restoration. The courthouse is complemented by its clerk's office, jail and Confederate monument. An architecturally sympathetic addition is currently under construction on the courthouse's north end, and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2004.

The Orange County Courthouse is located at the junction of North Main St. and Madison Rd., in Orange. The courthouse is currently closed until construction of the addition is completed in the fall of 2004. Call 540-672-3313 for further information.


St.Thomas Church

This expression of Classical Revivalism is the successor to the original church of St. Thomas's Parish, demolished after the disestablishment. Erected 1833-34, the church originally lacked its Tuscan portico in antis. This feature was probably added in 1853 when the church was remodeled and enlarged. The alteration of the windows into pointed Gothic windows was made between 1890 and 1895. The builders of the church have not been documented, but they may have been William B. Phillips and Malcolm B. Crawford who worked for Jefferson at the University of Virginia and later built finely crafted Classical Revival works in the central Piedmont. During the Civil War, Robert E. Lee and other Confederates worshipped here in the winter of 1863-64. St. Thomas's also served as a Confederate hospital after the battles of Cedar Mountain, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House. St. Thomas's is noted for its stained glass windows, including one by Tiffany.

The St.Thomas Church is located at 119 Caroline St., in Orange. Open by appointment. Call 540-672-3761 for further information.

Ballard-Marshall House

Lending a sense of continuity and place to the town of Orange, the Ballard-Marshall house demonstrates the pervasiveness of the Classical Revival tradition in the Virginia Piedmont. Distinguished by its pedimented roof, Classical trim, and systematic proportions, the house was built in 1832 for Garland Ballard, a local merchant. The builders are not known, but the use of finely crafted Flemish bond and informed detailing suggests a connection with local projects constructed by craftsmen formerly employed by Thomas Jefferson. During the mid-19th century the house was owned by the locally prominent Taylor family. In 1882 it became the home of Fielding Lewis Marshall, the local superintendent of public education and grandson of Chief Justice John Marshall. The property remained in Marshall family ownership until 1962. Rescued from a state of neglect in 1986, the house has been rehabilitated for apartments.

The Ballard-Marshall House is located at 158 East Main St., in Orange. It contains several private residences and is not open to the public.


The vibrancy that American architects gave to the Italian Villa style is no better shown than in Mayhurst, described by architectural historian William B. O'Neal as "a delicious Victorian fantasy." The architect has not been recorded; however, its stylistic similarity to Camden in Caroline County has led to its attribution to Norris G. Starkweather of Baltimore. The designer might also have been Charles Haskins of Haskins and Anderson of Washington, D.C., who designed the Villa-style Orange County Courthouse. The tall structure, decked out with a bracketed cornice, rusticated wood siding, and a cupola terminating in a scroll-ornamented finial, illustrates the mid-19th-century taste for the exotic. The house was commissioned by Col. John Willis, a great-nephew of James Madison and was begun in 1859. Restored in recent years as an inn, Mayhurst retains its park-like setting.

Mayhurst is located .4 mi. southwest of the junction of State Rte. 647 and Rte. 15, in Orange. It is now a bed and breakfast. Call 888-672-5597 for further information or visit the website at


Montpelier, the lifelong home of James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution" and fourth President of the United States, was also home to three generations of the Madison family from 1723 to 1844. The mansion core was built by Madison's father c.1760. Madison, born in 1751, married Dolley Payne Todd in 1794. After a second presidential term, the Madisons returned to Montpelier in 1817 where their legendary hospitality kept them in touch with world affairs.

With advice of his friend, Thomas Jefferson, Madison enlarged the house, adding the Tuscan portico c.1797. Additional changes were made c.1809 by James Dinsmore and John Neilson, master builders working for Jefferson. A domed garden temple was also built on the property. The house was further enlarged c.1900 by William duPont. Today, it remains the nucleus of a 2,700-acre estate containing farmlands, forests, formal gardens, 135 buildings, and a steeplechase course. Upon his death in 1836, Madison was buried on the estate. Dolley Madison later returned to Washington where she died in 1849. Her grave is also in the Madison family cemetery at Montpelier.

Following Madison's death, the contents of the house were auctioned off and Montpelier changed hands six times until it was purchased in 1900 by William and Annie Rogers duPont. Mr. duPont enlarged the house dramatically and added barns, greenhouses, staff houses, and even a train station. Mrs. duPont created a 2.5-acre formal garden which has been restored by the Garden Club of Virginia. The duPont's daughter, Marion, took over the 2,700-acre property in 1928. Today, the Montpelier property is owned and exhibited by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The mansion is undergoing a $30 million restoration to return the plantation house in size, structure, form and furnishings to the home that James and Dolley Madison knew in their post-presidential years of the 1820s.

Montpelier, a National Historic Landmark, is located four miles west of Orange on State Rte. 20. The house is open daily for tours from April-October from 9:30am to 5:30pm, and November-March from 9:30am to 4:30pm, while the grounds and museum store are open one-half hour later than the house; closed Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. There is a fee for admission. Call 540-672-2728 or visit the website for further information. Montpelier has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey

Montpelier is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.

Somerset Christian Church

An unaltered example of a mid-19th-century country church, this diminutive building was erected c.1857 to serve a small but active community of the Christian denomination in the rural neighborhood of Somerset. With its bracketed cornice and porch echoing the Italian villa influence, the prominently sited church is a stylistic departure from the Greek Revival and Gothic modes that characterized most Virginia country churches of the period. The interior retains its original furnishings, including its pews, still decorated with painted wood graining. Maintained by a dedicated congregation, the church now holds regular Sunday services following a period of sporadic use.

The Somerset Christian Church is located on State Rte. 231, north of its intersection with State Rte. 20, 1500 ft. south of the Rapidan River. It is not open to the public.

Madison--Barbour Rural Historic District

Encompassing roughly 40 square miles of Piedmont countryside, the Madison-Barbour historic distirct (Viriginia's largest rural district) is one of the state's best-preserved cultural landscapes. The rolling, semi-mountainous terrain is broken periodically by broad stretches of fields and pastureland that attest to the area's rich tradition of agriculture and land preservation. A web of 18th- and 19th-century roadways offers expansive views of unspoiled pastoral scenery and early landscape features such as fence rows and old road beds. For more than two and a half centuries the area's gentry have exhibited their wealth by erecting some of the state's most impressive country houses. Sprinkled through the district are several 19th-century hamlets including Tibbstown, Barboursville, and Somerset.

The district's name refers to the area's two most prominent landowning families, the Madisons and the Barbours, who were responsible for its two nationally significant plantation complexes--Montpelier and Barboursville. The district also contains more than 200 contributing dwellings in various national styles and vernacular forms reflecting a broad socioeconomic spectrum, including Frascati, built c.1823 in the style of Thomas Jefferson; Rocklands, a significant architectural creation of early 20th century; and the Somerset Christian Church, c.1850.

The Madison--Barbour Rural Historic District is roughly bounded by Rte. 15, the Rapidan River and the Albemarle and Greene county lines. The district is several miles large and a driving tour is recommended.


Preserved as a ruin after its destruction by fire on Christmas Day, 1884, Barboursville was one of the largest and finest residences in the region. The only building in Orange County known to have been designed by Thomas Jefferson, Barboursville was constructed between 1814 and 1822 for Jefferson's friend James Barbour, Governor of Virginia (1812-1814), U.S. Senator, Secretary of War, and Ambassador to the Court of St. James.

Jefferson's drawings called for a dwelling with a recessed portico on the north front and a three-part bay sheltered by a portico on the south front, with dome above--a scheme resembling Jefferson's own home Monticello. The dome, however, was not built. Even in its ruinous state, the house presents a romantic image of the Jeffersonian ideal, a compact but architecturally sophisticated classical villa in a carefully contrived landscape setting. The great oval in front of the house was originally a racetrack. The stabilized ruins are now the centerpiece of one of Virginia's first large-scale wineries. They also serve as an exceptional background for the Four County Players' presentations of "Shakespeare at the Ruins" on August weekends.

Barboursville is located south of the junction of Rtes. 777 and 678. Self-guided tours of the ruins are allowed during the winery's hours of operation, 10:00am to 5:00pm. Monday-Saturday, and Sunday 11:00am to 5:00pm. Call 540-832-3824 or visit the website at for further information.

Gordonsville Historic District

The assemblage of 19th- and early 20th-century residential, commercial, and church buildings forming this Piedmont community reflects the vicissitudes of a Virginia railroad town. It was named for Nathaniel Gordon, a late 18th-century innkeeper here, whose tavern was frequented by such prominent statesmen as Thomas Jefferson and Major General the Marquis de Lafayette. The hamlet exploded into a thriving transportation hub with the arrival in the 1840s and early 1850s of two railroads and two major turnpikes. Dr. Charles Beale, Gordons' son-in-law, foresaw the arrival of the railroad and essentially planned the Gordonsville of today.

During the Civil War, Gordonsville was of vital importance to Robert E. Lee and his Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the transportation of troops and supplies. In 1862, Major General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson had his headquarters at the old Gordon Tavern for several days. Wounded soldiers were brought to Gordonsville to be cared for at the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital (centered around the Exchange Hotel) and in churches and private homes.

Gordonsville's growth, which reached its peak after the Civil War, ended suddenly with completion in the early 1880s of a north-south railroad bypassing the town to the west. The district centers on a 3/4-mile stretch of Main Street leading south past tree-shaded 19th-century residences and churches to the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway overpass. The solid row of brick commercial structures forming the town's business district were built up following fires in 1916 and 1920.

The Gordonsville Historic District is bisected by Rte. 15 in Gordonsville. Call 540-672-1653 or visit the website at for further information.

Exchange Hotel

This Gordonsville landmark is a forerunner of the large railroad hotels that played an important role in the transportation history of late 19th- and early 20th-century America. The galleried structure was built in 1860 for Richard F. Omohundro next to an important railroad junction, when the Exchange Hotel offered a welcome stopping place for weary passengers on the Virginia Central Railway. Waist-coated gentlemen and hoop-skirted ladies were treated to the sight of the hotel's handsome architecture of wide verandas and stately columns.

In March 1862, because of its strategic location, the Exchange Hotel became part of the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital, admitting more than 23,000 sick and wounded in less than a year. The wounded and dying from nearby battlefields such as Cedar Mountain, Chancellorsville, Trevilian Station, Mine Run, Brandy Station, and the Wilderness were brought by the trainloads. Although this was primarily a Confederate facility, the hospital treated the wounded from both sides. Twenty-six Union soldiers died here. By war's end more than 70,000 men had been treated at the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital and just over 700 would be buried on its surrounding grounds. The scene of untold agony and death, the building survived the conflict. It again became a hotel after the war and enjoyed a fine reputation until the 1940s when it went into decline. Historic Gordonsville, Inc., acquired and restored the hotel in the 1970s. It now serves as the Exchange Hotel Civil War Museum.

The Exchange Hotel is located at 400 South Main St., in Gordonsville. The Exchange Hotel and Civil War Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm, plus Sundays 1:00pm to 4:00pm June-August. Closed January through March 15 and on major holidays. There is a fee. For further information visit the museum's website or call 540-832-2944.

Boswell's Tavern

A landmark for travelers since Nicholas Johnson built its earliest section c.1735, this weatherboarded structure on the edge of the Green Springs Historic District is one of the state's time-honored rural taverns. It was purchased in 1761 by Johnson's brother-in-law, John Boswell, who served as proprietor until his death in 1788. A number of political figures, including Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and James Madison frequented the tavern. It served as a headquarters for the Marquis de Lafayette in 1781. British colonel Banastre Tarleton captured colonial troops here during his attempt to sieze Jefferson. The Marquis de Chastellux made reference to Boswell's hospitality in his Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781, and 1782. The tavern is divided into two sections: a public area containing two large public rooms, a warming room, stair hall, and bar area, and the innkeeper's wing with a winding corner stair leading to sleeping quarters. The building is now a private residence.

Boswell's Tavern is located on the north side of State Rte. 22, 1 mile southeast of the intersection of Rtes. 22 and 15 in the Gordonsville vicinity. It is a private residence and is not open to the public.

Green Springs Historic District

From the earliest days of settlement in the Piedmont, the Green Springs area has been known for its exceptional fertility, prosperity, and beauty. The Green Springs Historic District is six and one-half miles long, four and one-half miles wide, bounded by Route 15 and Route 22 in the western end of Louisa County. Its farms, buildings, and families represent many generations of agricultural, architectural, and social history.

Contrasted with the surrounding hilly land with its thin soil and scrub woodlands, this 14,000-acre bowl, a geological formation that defines Green Springs, is composed of lush, rolling pastures. In the 1720s a group of Quakers settled near Camp Creek, followed soon after by several Hanover County, Virginia families, who established major farms and, over succeeding generations, intermarried, adding farmhouses and manors through the mid-1860s. Altogether, more than 250 original 18th- and 19th- century homes, barns and other outbuildings survive. The area has been farmed continuously for more than 200 years and the fertility of the land has made possible its remaining unspoiled today. In the 19th century Green Springs was famous for its abundant wheat crops. In 1841 Cyrus McCormick chose to test his reapers on the wheat fields of Green Springs.

Two families in particular, the Morrises and the Watsons, built a number of plantation houses in the area. One of the earliest settlers, Richard Morris, built Green Springs in 1772 (visible from Route 617). The house is a fine example of Virginia formal vernacular style, with four exterior chimneys. Here Morris entertained his good friend, Patrick Henry. In the 1790s Morris developed the springs for which the district is named into a popular spa. Other notable Morris family homes includ Sylvania, Grassdale (visible from Route 15), and Hawkwood–designed by well-known architect Alexander Jackson Davis for Richard Overton Morris in the 1850s. Ionia Farm on Route 640 was built by Major James Watson in 1770. It is one of the best preserved story-and-a-half plantation houses of its type in Virginia. Other Watson-family properties include Bracketts (Route 640) and Westend (Route 638).

These and numerous other buildings form an assemblage of rural architecture of outstanding variety and quality embellishing this gently civilized countryside. After the Civil War, when coaches and carriages, as well as money were less abundant, a neighborhood place of worship became necessary. At the intersection of Route 640 and Route 613 is St. John's Chapel, built in Carpenter's Gothic style in 1888 by the Overton, Morris and Watson families. Prospect Hill, the plantation home of the Overton family, is now a secluded country inn on Route 613. Also within the Green Springs Historic District is Boswell's Tavern, one of Virginia's time-honored rural taverns.

The Green Springs National Historic Landmark District, part of the Shenandoah National Park, is located on Rte. 15, 1.5 miles north of I-64, from exit 136, in Zion Crossroads. The district is a National Historic Landmark. Call 804-985-7293 (ext. 301) or visit the website for further information.


Until it was gutted by fire in 1982, Hawkwood was the best-remaining example of the Italian Villa-style houses designed by New York architect Alexander Jackson Davis. Completed in 1855, the house was built for Richard Overton Morris, a wealthy planter who promoted scientific agricultural methods to restore Virginia's depressed economy. While much of Davis's architecture was inspired by Greek and Gothic forms, he also was a popularizer of the Italian Villa style fostered in America by his collaborator Andrew Jackson Downing. Downing wrote that with its shading eaves, verandas, and picturesque massing, the villa style was most appropriate for country houses in the South. A hallmark of the style, demonstrated in Hawkwood, is the square tower. Hawkwood's walls and tower were spared in the fire and have since been stabilized and re-roofed. Complete restoration of the house is contemplated.

Hawkwood is located on the west side of Rte. 15 south of Gordonsville. It is not generally open to the public, but check with the Green Springs Historic District office for special arrangements.

Southwest Mountains Rural Historic District

Extending from the Orange County line to the outskirts of Charlottesville, with the Southwest Mountains forming its spine, this 31,000-acre district includes some of the Piedmont's most pristine and scenic countryside. Characterized by undulating pastures, winding roadways, forested hills, and small hamlets, the district contains a broad range of 18th-, 19th-, and early 20th-century rural architecture, reflecting the evolving cultural patterns of 260 years of settlement. Althoughknown primarily for historic estates with fine dwellings such as Castle Hill, Cobham Park, and Cloverfields, many of the district's structures are the products of a continuous vernacular building tradition. Several African-American settlements also lie in the area. Scattered throughout the district is a remarkable range of farm buildings including early barns, granaries, corncribs, stables, and sheds. A strong sense of community pride has enabled preservation of the district's pastoral character.

The Southwest Mountains Rural Historic District is over 31,000 acres bordered by 1-64 just before Charlottesville on the south, Rte. 20 on the west, the Orange county line on the north, and the C & O Railroad tracks on the east.

Castle Hill

The earliest portion of this two-part house is a traditional colonial Virginia frame dwelling built in 1764 by Dr. Thomas Walker, a colonial leader and explorer of the west. Here in 1781 Walker's wife delayed the British colonel Banastre Tarleton to give the patriot Jack Jouett time to warn Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia legislators of Tarleton's plan to capture them. The stately brick portion, an example of Jeffersonian classicism by master builder John M. Perry, was erected in 1823-24 for William Cabell Rives, minister to France, U.S. Senator, and Confederate congressman. Columned conservatories were added in 1844 by William B. Phillips. Rives's granddaughter Amelie, wife of the Russian painter Prince Pierre Troubetzkoy, was a novelist and playwright. She and her husband made Castle Hill their home in the early decades of the 20th century.

Castle Hill is noted for its extensive gardens and landscaped grounds. Castle Hill is located .8 mile northwest of Rte. 231, 2 miles NE of its intersection with Rte. 600 in the Cismont vicinity. It is a private residence and is not open to the public.

Grace Church

This much-admired specimen of the earlier, more picturesque interpretation of the Gothic Revival is the only known Virginia work of William Strickland, a leading American architect of the first half of the 19th century. Strickland is better known for his monumental Greek Revival works. He designed commercial and administrative buildings, theaters, and churches. He also designed engineering projects, including several railroads, canals and dams. Strickland played a major role in the transformation of the city of Philadelphia due to the size and number of his commissions there. He also contributed to the gradual professionalization of the architectural field. Grace Church, built c.1847, is a rare example of his Gothic style. The church was commissioned by Judith Walker Rives of nearby Castle Hill. Strickland's original drawings are preserved at the University of Virginia. The original interior woodwork, executed by E.S. McSparren, an English master carpenter, was destroyed by fire in 1895. The church was soon rehabilitated with a new roof, new interior, and chancel addition. Its walls and tower remain essentially as designed and continue to serve an active congregation.

Grace Church is located on the southeast side of Rte. 231, .5 mile northeast of its intersection with Rte. 600, east of Cismont. The church is open Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 3:00pm. Call 804-293-3549 for further information.


In view of Monticello, Edgehill was the home of Thomas Jefferson Randolph, favorite grandson of Thomas Jefferson. The stately brick house was built for Randolph in 1828, his family having outgrown the 1799 frame house built for his father, Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., husband of Jefferson's daughter Martha. The house was designed and constructed by the University of Virginia builders William B. Phillips and Malcolm F. Crawford, who continued the Jeffersonian style into the antebellum period. Specific Jeffersonian features are the Tuscan porch with Chinese lattice railing and the Tuscan entablatures. In 1829 Mrs. Thomas Jefferson Randolph opened a small school in the 1799 dwelling, which had been moved a short distance to make way for the present house. The school was continued by her daughters until 1896. The main house was gutted by fire in 1916, but was sympathetically rebuilt within the original walls.

Edgehill is located north of Shadwell on State Rte. 22 and just north of its intersection with I-64, over one mile west of Charlottesville. It is a private residence, and is not open to the public.


Clifton was the home of Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. (1768-1828), son-in-law of Thomas Jefferson, who served as Governor of Virginia and in the U.S. Congress. The original portion of the rambling, much-evolved structure was built by Randolph in the first quarter of the 19th century to be the hub of the never-to-be port of North Milton. Randolph and several partners planned the town adjacent to the Milton Canal to support the agricultural and commercial development occurring in the area and to compete with the then-prosperous but now extinct community of Milton across the Rivanna River. Originally Randolph's warehouse, the house later became his residence. His office outbuilding remains on the grounds. The house was considerably expanded by later owners and now serves as a country inn. The present portico replaces a 19th-century one-story veranda.

Clifton is located on State Rte. 729 in Shadwell south of I-64, and over 1 mile east of Charlottesville. Now an inn, it is not open for tours, but to contact the inn you may call 888-971-1800.


Thomas Jefferson called Monticello his "essay in architecture." Reflecting the genius and versatility of its creator, Jefferson's Monticello is a monument to a scrupulous interest in architecture, landscaping, agriculture, and domestic comforts. The remarkable house, one of America's most famous, is filled with ingenious devices and mementos of this revered founding father. The author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States, Jefferson studied buildings in ancient Rome and began his dwelling atop the "Little Mountain" where he had played as a boy, after leveling the top in 1768.

Jefferson worked on Monticello for more than 40 years, altering and enlarging it as his taste developed, reflecting the pleasure he found in "putting up and pulling down." Before 1795 the house had a Palladian-influenced tripartite form with two-level porticoes. After seeing the work of Boullée and Ledoux in France, he returned to Monticello with his head full of new ideas, above all, about its dome, and an aversion to grand staircases, which he believed took up too much room. When an extensive revision was finished in 1809, it had become a 21-room amalgam of Roman, Palladian, and French architectural ideals, a unique statement by one of history's great individuals. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation has maintained Monticello as a place of pilgrimage for millions since 1923.

Jefferson's attention to garden design paralleled his interest in architecture. Both ornamental and vegetable gardens, as well as two orchards, a vineyard, and an 18-acre "grove," or ornamental forest, were included in his landscape plans. Jefferson's detailed records and recent archeological discoveries have made possible an accurate recreation of his gardening scheme. Since 1987, Monticello has included the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants.

Monticello, a National Historic Landmark, is located in the Virginia Piedmont about two miles southeast of Charlottesville, Virginia, off of State Rte. 53. Open daily 8:00am to 5:00pm March-October, 9:00am to 4:30pm November-February, closed Christmas Day. Tours of the house and gardens available March-October. House tours offered daily; seasonal outdoor tours offered March-October. There is a fee for admission. Call 434-984-9822 or visit the website for further information. Monticello is also a designated World Heritage Site. You can also download (in pdf) the Monticello National Historic Landmark nomination.


James Monroe, U.S. Senator; Governor of Virginia; Minister to France, England, and Spain, and fifth President of the United States, purchased this farm, originally named Highland, in 1793. Monroe's friend and mentor Thomas Jefferson selected the house site within view of Jefferson's Monticello. Monroe had hoped to move immediately from his farm at the present site of the University of Virginia so that he could be closer to Jefferson. But when Monroe's appointment in 1794 as minister to France indicated a long stay abroad and a delay in house construction, he sent instructions from Paris giving Jefferson full authority to locate the house at Highland and to plant its orchards. Monroe completed the simple farmhouse, the western portion of the present building, in 1799. Calling the house his "castle cabin" he added to it over the next 20 years.

The Monroe family considered Highland its home for a quarter century. Monroe intended Highland to be a working farm. To increase its productivity, he experimented with diverse crops and planting methods, becoming, like Jefferson, an early advocate of scientific agriculture. In addition to his principal crops of timber, tobacco, and grain, he, also like Jefferson, tried to cultivate Bordeaux grapes for wine, a frustrating endeavor for all farmers until modern agricultural methods were developed.

Throughout his two terms as President, 1817-1825, Monroe often spoke of retiring to Highland Unfortunately, pressing debts, largely as the result of government service, combined with Mrs. Monroe's poor health, forced Monroe to sell the estate in 1826, and retire to Oak Hill. He described Highland at that time as 3,500 acres with a "commodious dwelling house, buildings for servants and other domestic purposes, good stables, two barns with threshing machine, a grist and sawmill with houses for managers and laborers . . . all in good repair."

About 1840, by which time subsequent owners had changed the name of the house to Ash Lawn, one wing of the Monroe house was damaged by fire and partially removed. In the 1880s, Parson John Massey, a retired Baptist minister and later Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, built the two-story Victorian section of the house partially over the foundation of the damaged Monroe wing, expanding the house to its present size. Jay Winston Johns of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, purchased the plantation in 1930 for his residence and formally opened it to the public, and after his death willed the property to the College of William and Mary, which Monroe had attended prior to his service in the American Revolution. The College began systematic research and restoration of Ash Lawn and reopened the property for public visitation in 1975.

Highland is located southeast of Charlottesville off Rte. 53. It is open from March-October daily 9:00am to 6:00pm and from November-February daily 10:00am to 5:00pm, there is a fee for admission. Call 804-293-9539 for further information or visit the website.

Charlottesville & Albemarle County Courthouse Historic District

Charlottesville has served as an important regional political center since its selection as the site of the Albemarle County Courthouse 1762. In addition to its strong associations with Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia, the town is significant for its diversity of 19th-century governmental, commercial, residential, and industrial architecture. Typical of many 19th-century American towns is its courthouse square, containing the courthouse and several 19th-century brick offices set about a small public green. This compact quarter in the heart of downtown Charlottesville preserves the atmosphere of a mid-19th-century Piedmont county seat. The Albemarle County Courthouse of 1803 also served originally as a community church, and here, in what he called the "Common temple," Thomas Jefferson sometimes attended Sunday services. The square has been a focus of county activity from the time it was laid out in 1762, and it was not unusual in the early 19th century to see Jefferson conversing here with James Madison and James Monroe. The town hall was built across from the northeast corner of the square in 1851. In 1887 this tall Classical Revival building was purchased by Jefferson M. Levy, then the owner of Monticello, Albemarle County Courthouse located on Charlottesville's courthouse square Photograph courtesy of Shannon Bell and converted into the Levy Opera House. Around the rest of the square sprang up numerous taverns, law offices, and residences. Among the early tavern buildings remaining are the former Swan Tavern and the former Eagle Tavern, both dating from the second quarter of the 19th century. The most notable law office is No. 0 ("No. Nothing") Court Square, a plain but handsome Federal building of c.1823. The courthouse was enlarged in the 1870s with the addition of the south wing with its Ionic portico. Except for the multistoried Monticello Hotel building, the district maintains a consistent scale and architectural harmony, being composed primarily of brick two- and three-story buildings in a Federal or Federal Revival idiom. Also in the district is a centrally located late 19th-century main street, with numerous 20th-century modifications including a 1970s pedestrian mall. A turn-of-the-century railroad passenger station with adjacent industrial buildings and several adjoining residential neighborhoods complete the district. While not devoid of intrusions, the district gives Charlottesville's downtown a strong sense of historical continuity and architectural cohesiveness.

The Charlottesville & Albemarle County Courthouse Historic District is roughly bounded by Park, Water, Saxton, and Main Sts., in Charlottesville. The Visitors Center, located on Rte. 20 in front of Piedmont Community College, offers a map suitable for walking tours. The Albemarle County Historical Society, located at 200 Second St., NE, Charlottesville (phone 804-296-1492) offers a walking tour every Saturday morning at 10:00am through the district, and can be contacted for special tours. Call 804-977-1783 for further information or viist the city's website.

University of Virginia

Thomas Jefferson's design for the center of today's sprawling university is internationally regarded as one of the outstanding accomplishments of American architecture. Jefferson's ambition of many years was to found a great university that would serve as "the future bulwark of the human mind in this country." It was not until he was more than 70, after he retired from a long life of public service, that Jefferson found the time to devote to the achievement of his dream. As a skilled architect, Jefferson was aware that an institution such as he contemplated must be given appropriate architectural expression. Jefferson's concept was an "Academical Village," where students lived in close proximity to the professors and their classrooms. Between 1814 and 1826 he designed and supervised the construction, created the curriculum, and selected the library and faculty. Flanking an elongated terrace open to the south, called the Lawn, 10 two-story pavilions housed the professors, each building embellished with a different version of an order of Roman architecture to serve as models for instruction. To connect the pavilions, Jefferson provided low colonnades fronting student dormitories. Additional student rooms were located in arcaded "ranges" paralleling the Lawn buildings. Each range contained three "hotels," or dining halls. As the focal point of the complex, Jefferson placed at the head of the Lawn the domed Rotunda, a scaled-down version of the Pantheon in Rome, to serve as the library.

Construction of the buildings began in 1817, and the General Assembly officially chartered the school as the University of Virginia in 1819. While the university represents a major achievement in the history of American education, its architectural scheme was revolutionary and provided a prototype for numerous campus designs. Except for the burning of the Rotunda in 1895 and the demolition of the Anatomical Theater in 1938, Jefferson's original buildings have survived without significant alteration. The open south end of the Lawn was closed in the first decade of the 20th century with the construction of three architecturally outstanding academic buildings--Cabell Hall, Cocke Hall, and Rouss Hall--all designed by Stanford White, who was brought to Charlottesville to design the rebuilding of the Rotunda. White also designed the former university commons, now Garrett Hall, which is in the district. Other buildings of significance in the district are Brooks Hall of 1877, the Gothic Revival University Chapel of 1889, and the McIntire Ampitheater of 1921. Acknowledged as one of the most beautiful collegiate groupings in the world, this assemblage of buildings and spaces forms a living monument to Jefferson's genius.

The University of Virginia is bounded by University and Jefferson Park Aves. and Hospital and McCormick Rds., in Charlottesville. The district is a National Historic Landmark. There is a pamphlet that can be used for self-guided walking tours of the campus, while free guided tours of the campus are conducted from the Rotunda during the school year except during the three-week holiday break in Dec.-Jan. and during the final exam period during the first three weeks of May. Call 804-924-7969 or visit the website for further information. The University of Virginia is also a designated World Heritage Site.

The University of Virginia is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.

The Rotunda

The Rotunda is the most important individual architectural work of Thomas Jefferson, who, had he pursued no other activity, would be considered one of America's leading architects. Designed when he was more than 70 and completed in 1826, the year of his death at age 83, the Rotunda was the principal element of the complex Jefferson provided for the University of Virginia. Jefferson modeled it after the Pantheon in Rome, which he considered to be the most perfect example of what he called "spherical" architecture. He reduced the proportions of the Pantheon by half, making the Rotunda 77 feet in diameter and in height. For its interior, Jefferson ingeniously divided the first two floors into suites of oval rooms to serve as classrooms and lecture halls. The domed top floor, with its ring of paired columns in the Composite order, was surely one of the most beautiful rooms ever created in America and served as the university's library.

The Rotunda was gutted by fire in 1895, leaving only the finely crafted Flemish bond brick walls intact. New York architect Stanford White designed a new interior. In his rebuilding White eliminated the first-floor oval rooms, creating one large two-story domed space. He also added the north portico and the north esplanades, connecting them to the original south esplanades by handsome colonnades. The Stanford White interior was removed in a mid-1970s remodeling which attempted to recreate, though with numerous modifications, the appearance of the Jeffersonian interior.

The Rotunda, a National Historic Landmark, is located on the University of Virginia campus. Free guided tours of the Rotunda are given year-round except during the three-week holiday break in Dec.-Jan. and during the final exam period during the first three weeks of May. Tours are given from 10:00am to 4:00pm on the hour (except at 12:00pm) starting at the Rotunda entrance facing the lawn. Call 804-924-7969 or visit the website for further information.

Fluvanna County Courthouse Historic District

Termed by architectural historian Talbot Hamlin the "Acropolis of Palmyra," this tiny cluster of court structures, dominated by a temple-form Greek Doric courthouse, stands grandly overlooking the surrounding village. General John Hartwell Cocke, the owner of nearby Bremo plantation and a friend of Thomas Jefferson, served as one of the five commissioners who drafted plans for both the courthouse and jail and took primary responsibility for their final appearance. The 1829 stone jail, built by John G. Hughes, is markedly similar to the distinctive brick and stone outbuildings at Bremo. It is now a museum.

Construction of the courthouse, completed in 1831, was supervised by Walker Timberlake, a Methodist preacher who undertook various architectural and engineering works in the county. Fluvanna's is one of the state's few antebellum courthouses to remain without additions and retain its original interior arrangement and many original fittings. The Greek Doric portico of the courthouse features typical Greek columns without bases. Like most antebellum courthouses in Virginia, the columns are not fluted, although that is a hallmark of the Greek Doric order. The Fluvanna courthouse is also distinguished by the extensive use of stone for the column and pilaster capitals, steps, water table, window sills, and lintels. Two levels of windows on the sides as well as the three arched windows at the rear are separated by pilasters. Conspicuously inscribed on the stone lintel above the entrance is: "THE MAXIM HELD SACRED BY EVERY FREE PEOPLE - OBEY THE LAWS."

Fluvanna County Courthouse Historic District is located along Rte. 15, in Palmyra. The Courthouse, still in operation, is open during normal business hours. At other times, access to the courthouse can be provided from the the Stone Jail Museum, which is open weekends mid-April to mid-September, 10:00am to 5:00pm, or from the Office of the Clerk across from the courthouse.


Hallowed Ground: Richard M. Ketchum, a noted authority on the Revolutionary War, has written that "if any land in America deserves to be called Hallowed Ground, it is the red clay soil of Virginia on which so much of this nation's past is preserved."

Nowhere in America does history live more vividly than in the Old Dominion. Virginians' love of their past is legendary. And it is no wonder. As Professor C. Vann Woodward noted, an astonishing portion of the early American story unfolded in Virginia, and especially in the northern Virginia Piedmont--a rolling landscape stretching from the falls of the Potomac, Rappahannock, and James Rivers to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The region is 50 miles wide, more or less, and 100 miles in length. At its northern corners stand Washington, D.C., and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia--on the south, Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia.

Across this lovely landscape are landmarks, celebrated and obscure, and byways where one can feel a personal intimacy with the nation's founders and the land they knew. From all across the continent, families come to visit the Piedmont to see where an ancestor died in the Civil War that saved the young democracy.

Within a little more than an hour's drive from the Prince William County community of Haymarket lie 16 Civil War battlefields, 20 historic towns, 17 historic districts, and about 60 sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A concentric circle extending the drive another hour would include nearly 200 National Register sites, and the great battlefields of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Courthouse.

Visitors to the region, no matter how well versed in American history, go away much impressed that Presidents Jefferson, Madison and Monroe, who led the new nation for 32 of its first 36 years, lived, worked, and died in such close proximity as neighboring farmers. In the same region lived Chief Justice John Marshall, Jefferson's relative and political rival, who transformed the Supreme Court into an equal of the Legislative and Executive branches in the federal balance of power.

But the Piedmont's charm and historical richness derives not from the famous battlefields, Presidential estates, or national landmarks alone, but from the nooks and crannies and houses, churches, and public buildings where sub-plots of U.S. history unfolded.

Although many areas are facing urban sprawl, much of the Piedmont still retains its rural personality. The lush, gentle landscape, set off by the Blue Ridge Mountains on the west, is graced by lesser peaks of the Catoctin, Bull Run, Pig Nut, and South Mountains that Jefferson once called, "the Eden of the United States." To many visitors and residents alike, the villages, country lanes, livestock farms, vineyards, and churchyards set on the hills and tucked into valleys, are reminiscent of rural England.

The Loudoun County town of Waterford, settled by Quakers in 1733 and now a National Historic Landmark, passes the decades without discernible change. So do stone houses in other communities such as Lincoln, also in Loudoun County. William Brown, a former parliamentarian of the U.S. House of Representatives, and his wife, Jean, live in a 1730s house that has been occupied by his family for eight generations.

Every county in the region has its own timeless places, its own heroes, its own niche in the American saga. U.S. Route 15, once a trail used by Iroquois hunting parties and then known as the Carolina Road, remains a main artery. From it, short detours lead to quiet spots where history resonates as powerfully as it does at the battlefield parks or at the homes of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. In a long swath between the Bull Run and Blue Ridge Mountains are houses, churches, and inns where John Singleton Mosby, the "Gray Ghost of the Confederacy," hid out, conspired, and organized guerrilla raids so effective that several counties came to be known as "Mosby's Confederacy."

Outside Middleburg, Sergeant John Champe, a young farmer who made a heroic, though unsuccessful, attempt to kidnap the traitor Benedict Arnold from the British, is honored by a hauntingly unpretentious monument on his home site. It is largely unnoticed by passing motorists.

In Thoroughfare Gap beside Interstate 66, stand, half hidden in the trees, the ruins of a huge mill that was producing flour when George Washington surveyed in the area. Twice burned and repaired during the Civil War, it operated until Harry Truman was President, and only recently burned for a third time.

To the south, visitors in automobiles can approximate the route taken by Colonial Governor Alexander Spotswood and his "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe" when they journeyed from Williamsburg across the Piedmont to enter the Shenandoah Valley in 1716. In the valley, Spotswood claimed the river and everything to the west for England.

And along the foot of the scenic Southwest Mountains, visitors can trace the night time ride of Jack Jouett, a Revolutionary hero, little known beyond the Virginia Piedmont. In the spring of 1781, Jouett rode through the night, 40 miles from Cukoo Tavern in Louisa County to Monticello, to warn Governor Thomas Jefferson of Redcoats approaching on a mission to kidnap him. Jefferson got away, else Virginia's history, and the nation's, might have been different. While history remembers the midnight ride of Paul Revere, Virginians remember the ride of Jack Jouett.

But there are, in the old villages and along the by-ways of the Piedmont, ghosts of other heroes never known and deeds never told, lost in Hallowed Ground.

A former Los Angeles Times correspondent, Rudy Abramson is author of Hallowed Ground, Preserving America's Heritage. In 1994, he was executive director of Protect Historic America. He is currently co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Appalachia.


Virginia's northern Piedmont is a rolling, open, well-watered region of farms and scattered villages and towns. It occupies the land between two principal Civil War battlegrounds: the Shenandoah Valley and the Washington-Fredericksburg-Richmond axis. During the war, the Manassas Gap and the Orange and Alexandria Railroads traversed the area, augmenting the long-established road network and furnishing the opposing armies with strategically vital transportation and supply routes.

Waves of military activity, large and small, swept through the region periodically. In 1861, the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) took place near the Manassas Junction of the two railroads in Prince William County, with troops being rushed into battle by railroad for the first time in American history. The next year, Gen. Robert E. Lee launched his attack into Maryland that culminated at Antietam Creek (Sharpsburg), after first winning important victories at Cedar Mountain in Culpeper County and at the Second Battle of Manassas. In 1863, following his brilliant success at Chancellorsville, just west of Fredericksburg, Lee began his invasion of Pennsylvania after a massive cavalry battle at Brandy Station in Culpeper County. Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, screening the Confederate infantry's march west to the Shenandoah Valley, fought engagements at Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville in Loudoun and Fauquier Counties. In the fall, after the defeat at Gettysburg, Lee turned on his pursuers and launched an ill-executed attack on the Union army at Bristoe Station in Prince William County. The following spring, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant began his drive south toward Richmond and Petersburg from the Federal winter encampments in Culpeper County.

For most civilians in the Piedmont, their daily lives were interrupted only briefly by the intermittent storms of war. There were two lengthy exceptions: the 1863–1864 winter encampment of the Union and Confederate armies in Culpeper and Orange Counties respectively, and the exploits of Col. John S. Mosby in Fairfax, Fauquier, and Loudoun Counties--an area known as "Mosby's Confederacy."

After the Confederate defeat at Bristoe Station in October 1863, Maj. Gen. George G. Meade pressed Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia south across the Rapidan River into Orange County. The Union army then settled in for the winter around Culpeper Courthouse in Culpeper County, while the Confederates encamped along the south bank of the Rapidan.

For some five months, the two combatants studied each other, resupplied and reinforced their armies, and tested each other's lines with occasional thrusts. In March 1864, Grant arrived in Culpeper County, having been appointed commander of all Union armies by President Abraham Lincoln and having decided to accompany Meade rather than remain in Washington. With his presence, the war in Virginia would enter a new and even bloodier phase when the Federals crossed the Rapidan on May 4th to begin a campaign that would inflict some 45 percent casualties on each army within two-and-a-half months.

In the northernmost part of the Piedmont, meanwhile, Mosby's Rangers (43d Battalion, Partisan Rangers) harried the Union army's supply lines. Organized by Mosby late in 1862, the Rangers operated successfully until the end of the war and Mosby was mentioned more often by name in Lee's reports than any other Confederate officer. Although they never numbered more than 800, the Rangers were effective against their vastly more numerous foes because Mosby maintained tight discipline and struck quickly when the odds favored him. Grant became so annoyed by their tactics that he ordered captured Rangers hanged without trial. When Mosby immediately retaliated in kind with captured Federals, Grant rescinded the order. Rather than surrender his men, Mosby disbanded the Rangers at Salem, in the heart of his Confederacy, on April 21, 1865.

After the war, the northern Piedmont soon reverted to its peaceful ways. In the second half of the 20th century, however, the growth of the Washington metropolitan area in Northern Virginia placed increasing development pressure on this rural region. The battlefields of Manassas, Brandy Station, and Bristoe Station became the scenes of fierce engagements between developers and preservationists. Although the economic recession of the late 1980s slowed growth in the region, it may have delayed rather than prevented the steady destruction of this national treasure. The last battle for this hallowed ground has yet to be fought.

John S. Salmon, Staff Historian
Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Scenic America: Protecting the Piedmont's Special Scenic Character

The Virginia Piedmont is one of America's most significant landscapes, encompassing centuries of historic sites located in scenic settings. The "spine" of this region is historic, scenic Routes 15 and 20, a corridor whose integrity is critical to the region. Highlighting sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground travel itinerary offers a taste of the wealth of historic buildings, landscapes, and communities along Route 15. The beauty and history of the Piedmont's landscape, which encourage recreation and tourism, enrich not only local quality of life but the local economy too.

While much of the Virginia Piedmont included in this itinerary is relatively pristine - for instance, along Routes 20 and 231 - other areas, most notably in portions of upper Loudoun County, are facing increasing urban growth. If a consensus is not reached on standards of development throughout the region, the Piedmont could be in jeopardy of losing the very qualities for which it is cherished: scenic beauty, historic towns, magnificent vistas, and rural character.

Over the past three years, Scenic America, working with the National Register of Historic Places, the Piedmont Environmental Council, the Conservation Fund, the Preservation Alliance of Virginia, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and other state and local groups, has sought to draw attention to the incomparable scenic and historic resources along Route 15. Yet this work has only just begun.

Preserving a Rural Economy While Encouraging "Smart Growth"
The historic, lush landscape that characterizes the beauty of the Piedmont also fuels the rural economy along Route 15. Many Piedmont communities realize that tourism can continue to flourish only as long as the rural character of the local landscape is protected and preserved. "Smart growth" refers to well-planned development that integrates quality of life and sustainability concerns with transportation and land use planning. In our work on Route 15, Scenic America and our partner organizations are helping communities fully document the special scenic, historic, cultural, and natural features of the corridor and consider how to protect this unique landscape, including adopting "smart growth" principles for development. This work is exciting, as local officials, residents, and others realize their critical role in the future development of the region.

Hope for the Region's Future
Scenic America's work to protect the scenic and historic landscape of Route 15, along with the efforts of other groups, is bolstering several promising trends in the region. It is critical that we nurture the sense that the Piedmont's spectacular rural heritage is worth saving for generations to come. While on one level, the goal of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground travel itinerary is to create an enjoyable leisure trip for the Internet traveler, it is also an effort to encourage the protection of the endangered Piedmont landscape that is host to these historic and scenic treasures.

Our best hope for preserving those qualities which make the Virginia Piedmont so special lies in raising public awareness of the historic value of the area, as this National Register itinerary does. Appreciation of the Virginia Piedmont's historic places supports sustainable development that ensures quality of life. Scenic America works to provide citizens with specific strategies and tools to promote sound development patterns and collaborates with area merchants, tourism officials, and others to protect the community character that supports the local economy. We hope you will join us in making this vision a reality.

This essay was contributed by Scenic America, a national nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting America's natural beauty and preserving communities' distinctive local character. The organization provides technical assistance across the nation on scenic byways, billboard control, context-sensitive road design, cell tower location, transportation policies, and other scenic conservation issues. They also promote scenic conservation by educating Congress and state legislatures and participating in site-specific projects in various states. In addition, the organization produces a full range of publications on preserving scenic beauty, open space, and quality of life that contribute to our environment and economy. For more information about Scenic America, please visit their web site or contact them directly at Scenic America, 801 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20003 202-543-6200

Bibliography of Virginia Piedmont History

Ayers, Edward L. and John C. Willis (eds.). The Edge of the South: Life in Nineteenth-Century Virginia. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991.

Bearr, David W.C., ed. Historic Fluvanna in the Commonwealth of Virgina: A Sketchbook of the People, Places and Events of Fluvanna County, Virginia.
Palmyra, VA: Fluvanna County Historical Society, 1998.

Jordan, Ervin L. Charlottesville and the University of Virginia in the Civil War. Lynchburg, VA: H.E. Howard, 1988.

Joyner, Ulysses P., Jr. The First Settlers of Orange County, Virginia: A View of the Life and Times of the European Settlers of Orange County, Virginia and their Influence upon the Young James Madison, 1700-1776. Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press for the Orange County Historical Society, 1987.

Koons, Kenneth E., and Warren R. Hofstra. After the Backcountry: Rural Life in the Great Valley of Virginia, 1800-1900. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2000.

Loth, Calder, ed. The Virginia Landmarks Register. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1999.

McLaughlin, Jack. Jefferson and Monticello: The Biography of a Builder (reprint edition). New York: Henry Holt, 1990.

Miller, Ann L. Antebellum Orange: The Pre-Civil War Homes, Public Buildings, and Historic Sites of Orange County, Virginia. Orange, VA: Moss Publications, 1988.

The Nature Conservancy, et al. Uncommon Wealth: Essays on Virginia's Wild Places. Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing Company, 1999.

Olson, Ted and William Lynwood Montell (preface). Blue Ridge Folklife (Folklife in the South Series). Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1998.

Phillips, John T., II. The Historian's Guide to Loudoun County, Virginia. Leesburg, VA: Goose Creek Productions, 1996.

Robertson, James I. Civil War Sites in Virginia: A Tour Guide. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991.

Salmon, John S., compiler. A Guidebook to Virginia's Historical Markers (revised and expanded edition). Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994.

Templeman, Eleanor Lee, and Nan Netherton. Northern Virginia Heritage; A Pictorial Compilation of the Historic Sites and Homes in the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Fauquier, Prince William and Stafford, and the Cities of Alexandria and Fredericksburg. Arlington, VA: privately published by E. L. Templeman, 1966.

Tyler, Lyon Gardiner, ed. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publications, 1998.

Wilson, Richard Guy, ed. Thomas Jefferson's Academical Village: The Creation of an Architectural Masterpiece. Charlottesville: Bayly Art Museum of the University of Virginia (distributed by University Press of Virginia), 1993.

Zenzen, Joan M., and Edwin Bearss. Battling for Manassas: The Fifty-Year Preservation Struggle at Manassas National Battlefield Park. State College, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1988.

Virginia Piedmont Children's Literature

Cocke, William. A Historical Album of Virginia. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1995.

Fritz, Jean. The Great Little Madison. New York: Putnam, 1998.

Hakim, Joy. Making Thirteen Colonies. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999

Knight, James E., and George Guzzi (illustrator). Journey to Monticello: Traveling in Colonial Times. Mahwah, NJ: Troll Association, 1999.

McGovern, Ann, et al. If You Lived in Colonial Times. New York: Scholastic Trade, 1992.

Pflueger, Lynda. Dolley Madison: Courageous First Lady. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1999.

Young, RobeRte. A Personal Tour of Monticello (How It Looked). Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Company, 1999.

Links to Piedmont Tourism and Preservation

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Heritage Area
Learn more about the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. Find information about plans to visit, maps, educational resources, and news about upcoming events at each site.  

Scenic America
Read about this organization's approach to conservation and how they can help your community.

Virginia Department of Historic Resources
Find further information on the Virginia State Historic Preservation Office.

Rural Heritage Program
This program of the National Trust is dedicated to the recognition and protection of rural historic and cultural resources.

Virginia Tourism Board
Tourist information on events, attractions, travel, and tourism throughout the state of Virginia. Thier History section includes information on Morven Park, Manassas National Battlefield, Oatlands Plantation, Aldie Mill, and others historic sites.

University of Virginia Press
Visit the website of the publisher of the The Virginia Landmarks Register (upon which place descriptions in this itinerary were based) and many other preservation and architecture books.

Virginia Historical Markers
An interactive map and list to photos of Virginia's historical highway markers.

Loudoun County Government
View this site for links to: travel and events (history, culture, and tourism). Search on Parks to get a listing of the 15 parks in Loudoun County as well as additional information from the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services.

Fauquier County Chamber of Commerce

Provides visitor information. Go to the Visitor's Guide, then to Attractions and Parks for more information on historic sites, including the Fauquier County Jail Museum. Click on Fauquier's Links for a listing of local organizations and tourist information.

Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority

Information on locations and hours for parks, museums, and trails in Loudoun County.

Monticello Avenue
The website for the Albermarle and Charlottesville community, providing useful information on local events, historic sites, tourism, and the arts.

Shenandoah National Park
Provides visitor information for this National Park located just west of the Piedmont.

World Heritage Sites
Monticello and the University of Virginia, highlighted in this itinerary, are also a desingated World Heritage Site.

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Learn about the programs of and membership in the oldest national non-profit preservation organization.

Historic Hotels of America
A feature of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Heritage Traveler program that provides information on historic hotels and package tours in the vicinity of this itinerary, including Clifton.

National Park Service Office of Tourism
National parks have been interwoven with tourism from their earliest days. This website highlights the ways in which the NPS promotes and supports sustainable, responsible, informed, and managed visitor use through cooperation and coordination with the tourism industry.

National Scenic Byways Program
This website, maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, includes information on State and nationally designated byway routes throughout America based on their archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities. Visit the America’s Byways Journey Through Hallowed Ground website for more ideas.

Links to Piedmont Historic Sites

Waterford Foundation

Visit Waterford online through this website's virtual walking tour of the Waterford Historic District.

Veterans Administration - National Cemetery Administration
Visit the website for the Federal agency that maintains our National Cemeteries, including Ball's Bluff and Culpeper.

George C. Marshall House
Dodona Manor is also the George C. Marshall International Center, a non-profit organization devoted to preserving and fostering the legacy of George C. Marshall and the principles of the Marshall Plan.

A National Trust property, this site includes further information on this plantation home.

Manassas National Battlefield Park
Find further visitor information including walking tours, driving tours, and hiking trails.

Museum of Culpeper History
This website includes a brief history of Culpeper, a timeline beginning in 1649, information on famous people, places, and events, as well as information on the opening of the new Museum (in July 2000).

Woodberry Forest School
Discover further information on this private boys' school and The Residence within the General Information/History section.


A National Trust property, Montpelier's website has valuable tourist information.

Exchange Hotel
Learn more about the history of the building, now the Exchange Hotel Civil War Museum

Green Springs National Historic Landmark District
Find further visitor information for this rural cultural landscape district.

Visitors can plan their visit to Monticello, explore educational programs, read about Jefferson, his home, and his properties.

World Heritage Sites
Monticello and the University of Virginia, highlighted in this itinerary, are also a desingated World Heritage Site.

Find out further information about James Monroe, his home in Albemarle County, and special events taking place there throughout the year.

City of Charlottesville
Visit this site for background on the city's history, links to the Chamber of Commerce.

University of Virginia
Find further information on Jefferson's Rotunda and "Academical village", as well as a virtual tour.



Journey Through Hallowed Ground, was produced by the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Department of the Interior, in cooperation with Scenic America, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), and the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC). It was created under the direction of Carol D. Shull, Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, Patrick Andrus, Heritage Tourism Director, and Beth L. Savage, Publications Director. Journey Through Hallowed Ground is based on information in the files of the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmark collections. These materials are kept at 800 North Capitol St., Washington, D.C., and are open to the public from 9:00am to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday.

Scenic America, directed by Meg Maguire, conceptualized and compiled materials for the itinerary, under the guidance of their Program Director, Deborah L. Myerson. AICP. Site descriptions were primarily excerpted from The Virginia Landmarks Register (4th edition, 1999), published by the University Press of Virginia. We are grateful for this significant contribution provided by Calder Loth, Senior Architectural Historian with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and Editor of The Virginia Landmarks Register. Contextual essays were written by Rudy Abrahmson, author of Hallowed Ground, Preserving America's Heritage; John S. Salmon, Staff Historian of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources; and Deborah Myerson, AICP of Scenic America. Nathan Poe and Shannon Bell (both of NCSHPO) created the design for the travel itinerary. Shannon Bell coordinated project production for the National Register, and was greatly assisted in the website's compilation by Jeff Joeckel and Rustin Quaide (both of NCSHPO).

Many other individuals made important contributions to this project. Marc C. Wagner, National Register Manager, and Suzanne K. Durham, Archivist, of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, assisted with color and historic images. Special recognition should be given to Elizabeth M. Gushee (Library of Virginia); the Museum of Culpeper History; the Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center for Genealogy and Local History, Bull Run Regional Library, Prince William County; Carolyn M. Book (Monticello); Patricia C. Muth (George C. Marshall International Center); Loudoun County Parks and Recreation; Barboursville Vineyard; Carolyn Homes (Ash Lawn-Highland); and W. Michael Gillespie (Fluvanna County Historical Society) who also supplied color and/or historic photographs. Ben Pugno, intern from the University of California at Davis, assisted with preparing the photographs for the web, and Mary Downs, National Council of Preservation Educators intern, compiled the Learn More section.


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