Visitor Center Remodel 2014
Over the next several months there will be new changes coming to the Visitor Center. Presently we are remodeling the bookstore area to give it more of a country theme. Next the exibit area will get all new exhibits. Thank you for your patience and support
Oak Ridge Campground and Chopawamsic Backcountry Closure
Oak Ridge Campground and Chopawamsic Backcountry area will be closed December 1st, 2013 to February 28th, 2014.
Outside firewood is prohibited in Prince William Forest Park, unless it is certified USDA 'bug free' firewood. Dead and downed wood may be collected from designated areas for use while in the park. Help us protect the forest from invasive species!
The Florence Family
The Florence Family has traced their Virginia roots back to the 1600s. Their family was once in the heart of the Hickory Ridge Community, where today's Scenic Drive meet Burma Road. The family has put together a small book (PDF) on their family history. Their 320 acre track, purchased by the park on Friday, August 28th, 1936. In addition to the house and outbuildings, the tract contained a gasoline power grist mill, Joe Florence's store , and a neighborning school known as the Thornton School, which was on land donated by the Florence family. The land was purchased for $6/acre at the cost of $1,935.
The oldest grave in the graveyard is for Irvin Florence, who was born on September 28, 1883 and died 13 months later of consumption (now known at Tuberculosis). Irvin was the son of Benjamin and Alice Florence, and sibling to Lucy, Joseph, and John.
Alice L. Florence was the matriarch of the family. She was born on September 15, 1850 and Died on December 2, 1914. Alice applied for pension file after her husband's death due to his service in Company B of the 49th Virginia Infantry.
Her Husband was Benjamin Florence, who was born on August 14, 1836 and died on April 3rd, 1885.
Their daughter Lucy was born on March 17, 1867 and died at the age of 20 on April 14th, 1887, reportedly of convulsions.
Ralph Florence is also buried in the cemetery. He was the son of Alice and Benjamin's son John and his wife Lula McAlister Florence. He was one month old when he died on August 3, 1918.
Did You Know?
By the 1900s, Beavers were entirely extirpated from Virginia and were difficult to find across the entire lower 48 states due to over-consumption by humans. In 1950, Boy Scouts reintroduced 5 beavers into Prince William Forest Park. Today are more than 80 beavers in the 15,000 acre park.