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along Route 15 in Virginia's Piedmont
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Recent and historic views of Leesburg streetscapes
Historic photographs courtesy Virginia Department of Historic Resources, color photographs courtesy of Scenic America

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.

Loudoun County Courthouse, in Leesburg
Photograph courtesy of Scenic America

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.


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