(Washington, D.C.) -- Fort Myer -- Upperville -- Ashby's Gap -- BoyceWinchester (Romney, W.Va.). US 50.
District of Columbia Line to West Virginia Line, 87.8 m.
Paved roadbed throughout, chiefly asphalt. All types of accommodations, chiefly in larger towns.
US 50, the Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway traverses the rolling fields of northern Virginia, the foremost dairying section of the State, and rises gradually through a country of fine horses and hunting, scales two mountain ranges, and crosses the Shenandoah Valley between them.
US 50 crosses the District of Columbia Line 0 m. at the western end of the Arlington Memorial Bridge at a point 1.4 miles from the zero milestone below the White House.
Left here on Memorial Avenue through a U.S. AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT FARM where rows of hothouses and other buildings stand among cultivated plots on what was once a part of Arlington, the Custis-Lee estate. Here George Washington Parke Custis kept the first flock of imported Merino sheep, brought to America in 1803 to stimulate the wool industry.
The highway comes to a dead end at Ridge Road and the Arlington Court of Honor, 0.5 m.
Left here into ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY (open daily, sunrise to sunset), entered between white pylons and iron gates. This largest of the National burial grounds contains the graves of more than 44,000 men and women of the service. Its 4oo landscaped acres overlook the Potomac.
ARLINGTON HOUSE (open 9-5 daily, March to Oct.; 9-4:30, Oct. to March; 9-6, April only), built by the step-grandson of George Washington, became the home of Robert E. Lee. The mansion, high above the Potomac on the crest of a wooded hill, has a massive Doric portico with six heavy columns, effective at a distance but somewhat heavy when seen close at hand. Set between magnolias that screen flanking wings, the portico is reminiscent of the Greek temple at Paestum. The lines of the stuccoed brick house, painted buff with white trim, are simple. The present furnishings are largely copies of those first used here.
The estate of 1,100 acres was bought in 1778 by John Parke Custis, Martha Washington's son, and named for an older Custis estate (see Tour 2). Construction of the great house was begun about 1802 by George Washington Parke Custis but not entirely completed until after the War of 1812. In 1820 it was remodeled under direction of George Hadfield, an architect, who added the present portico. The large rooms were well designed for entertaining on a lavish scale.
Here in 1831 Mary Ann Randolph Custis, only child of George Custis, married Lieutenant Robert Edward Lee (1807). As a military man Lee was often absent, but Mrs.Lee and her seven children lived here until the three boys left for West Point or college. Driven out in 1861, the family never returned.
The estate was used as a training camp, and the title passed to the Federal Government in 1864, when the land was seized for unpaid taxes illegally imposed. Nearly 20 years later, the Government paid Custis Lee $150,000 for the property. Restoration of the house as a museum began in 1925.
Robert E. Lee was reared by his invalid mother. His father, the dashing, improvident, lovable 'Light Horse Harry' Lee, brilliant officer in the Revolutionary War, governor of Virginia, inmate of a debtors' prison, last saw Robert when the boy was six years old and the Revolutionary veteran was leaving for the south to regain his health. Five years later the older Lee died on Cumberland Island, Georgia. Graduating at West Point, second in the class of 1829, Robert E. Lee distinguished himself in the War against Mexico and was superintendent of West Point f rom 185 2 to 1855. His last conspicuous service in the U.S. Army was the capture of John Brown at Harpers Ferry. In 1856 he wrote to his wife: '. . . slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil in any country . . , a greater evil to the white than to the black race . . .'But when the lines were drawn five years later, he resigned his commission in the U.S. Army, refusing to lead it against Virginia. He wrote, 'I shall return to my native state and share the miseries of my people and, save in defence, will draw my sword no more.' Eventually, however, he led the Confederate forces and proved himself one of the great military commanders of all time. Within six months of the surrender at Appomattox, he became president of Washington College in Lexington, where he died in 1870.
The MEMORIAL AMPHITHEATRE is a large open auditorium of white marble, designed by Carr&e and Hastings after the theater of Dionysus at Athens and the Roman theater at Orange, France. It accommodates several thousand persons. At the east end is a pavilion (open 9-4:30 daily), containing a reception room, trophy room, stage, museum, and chapel. The TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, dedicated in 1931 as a memorial to the unidentified dead in the World War and designed by Thomas Jones and Lorimer Rich, is on a terrace near the amphitheatre.
The U.S.S. MAINE MEMORIAL is an eagle-topped column, bearing the mast and conning tower of the sunken battleship. The CONFEDERATE: MEMORIAL is a bronze monument in baroque style, the work of the Virginia sculptor and soldier, Moses Ezekiel, who is buried near by.
US 50 turns R. on Ridge Road and swings L. to the entrance (L) to FORT MYER, 2.4 m. (exhibitions and polo matches, information at post headquarters), home of the crack Third U.S. Cavalry, the first battalion of the Sixteenth Field Artillery, and the Machine Gun Troop, Tenth Cavalry. The administration building, officers' and enlisted men's quarters, and rows of brick stables bordering the parade ground are on land that was once part of Arlington. During the War between the States Fort Whipple, one of the chain of 127 forts defending Washington, was on the present reservation. It was renamed in 1881 to honor Brigadier General A.J.Myer, creator of the Army Signal Corps. U.S. Army Radio Station WAR is here. At 2.8 m. is a junction with an unmarked road.
Left here 0.8 m. to (L) the U.S. NAvy RADIO STATION NAA (visited only on pass from Director of Naval Communications). Three tall towers, one 6oo feet and two 450 feet, are visible for miles. Communication is maintained through a powerful shortwave system with U.S. warships in every part of the world.
At 6.9 m. is a junction with State 7 (see Tour 13).
At 13.4 m. is a junction with US 29-211 (see Tour 4a), which unites with US 50 for 2.8 miles.
At 16.2 m. is the western junction with US 29-211 (see Tour 4a).
CHANTILLY, 22.7 m., is a crossroads, sometimes called Ox Hill, which Stonewall Jackson reached on Sept. I, 186 2, in a movement to prevent the Federal troops under General Pope from retreating to Alexandria. During spirited action here General Philip Kearny was killed.
Right from Chantilly on County 657 to FLORIS, 3.3 m., a hamlet in which is FRYING PAN CHURCH (R), a small frame building with circular pulpit, a gallery, long benches, and an old floor of wide boards. The Reverend Mr.Jeremiah Moore, who became a Baptist dissenter in 1772, was one of the pastors here.
Near the SITE OF MOUNT ZION CHURCH (L), 33.4 m., in July 1864, Colonel John S. Mosby attempted to cut off a Union cavalry force under Major W.H.Forbes. Mosby reached the road near the church, set his cannon, and charged. Forbes, pinned under his horse, was captured. This, oddly enough, was the beginning of a lifelong friendship between the families of the two leaders.
At 34.1 m. is a junction with US 15 (see Tour 3a), with which US 50 umtes for 6.6 miles.
MIDDLEBURG, 40.5 m. (300 pop.), is at the western junction with US 15.
WELBOURNE (R), 41.8 m., is an old house set back in a beautiful garden. Several skirmishes took place near by during the War between the States, when this was the home of Colonel R.H.Dulaney, organizer of horse shows and hunts. Harry Payne Whitney later established stables here.
At ATOKA, 44.7 m., a hamlet, on June 10, 1863, Colonel John S. Mosby organized Company 'A' of his guerillas.
The UPPERVILLE HORSE SHOw GROUNDS (L), 47.5 m., attract large numbers of sportsmen to annual shows-the oldest organized horse show in the United States, started by Colonel Dulaney in 1853.
UPPERVILLE, 49.5 m. (550 POP.), is a leisurely town lying in rolling country. Heavy trees arch over the long main street, where dignified homes make room here and there for general stores, an antique shop, a bank, and the post office. Upperville, once a post village on the Ashby Gap Turnpike, is the headquarters of the Piedmont Foxhounds, a pack established in 1840.
A small old stone TOLLGATE (R), 51.6 m., is a relic of turnpike days.
PARIS, 53.1 m. (ioo pop.), is a general store and a group of frame dwellings.
ASHBY GAP (I, I 5o alt.) 53.8 m., through the Blue Ridge Mountains, was named for Captain Thomas Ashby, who settled near here about 1710. A hill here (L) was used as a signal station, first by the Confederates and later by the Federals.
ASHBY's TAVERN (R), 55.1 m., is a small, dilapidated wooden building at which British prisoners from Yorktown rested on their way to Winchester in 1-81. Thomas Ashby's son John, who kept an ordinary here, was sent by Washington to convey to Governor Dinwiddie news of Braddock's defeat.
BURWELL'S MILL (R), 59 m., a two-story field-stone structure with a steep pitched roof and heavy wooden door, was built in 176o by Daniel Morgan (see below).
MILLWOOD, 59.6 m. (225 POP.), with a few stores, garages, churches, and a school, is a local service center for several large estates near by.
I. Right from Millwood on State 255 to CARTER HALL (R), 0.2 m., a vast mansion with stuccoed brick walls, facing acres of rolling lawn and a wide view of the mountains.
The principal structure is behind a great flat-roofed portico 72 feet long with six Roman Ionic columns. In the hall a fine stairway rises in a circular sweep. Two dependencies-of stuccoed brick, like the main house they flank-are almost mansionsize.
Nathaniel Burwell built the house in 1790-92 and named it for his great-grandfather, 'King' Carter (see Tour 16b). The house was altered in 183o and in 1855; the portico probably dates from one of these years. Edmund Randolph, governor of Virginia and first attorney general of the United States, died here in 1813, and here Stonewall Jackson had his headquarters in October 1862.
OLD CHAPEL (L), 3.1 m., an ivy-covered stone building, was erected about 1790. Its high peaked roof, stone chimneys, heavy shutters, and whitewashed interior attract antiquarians. Bishop William Meade, the church historian, was rector here for many years. In the sycamore-shaded graveyard are buried Nathaniel Burwell, who donated two acres on which the first chapel stood; Edmund Randolph; members of the Page, Nelson, and Pendleton families; some Negro servants; John Esten Cooke, novelist; Philip Pendleton Cooke, poet; and 18 other Confederate soldiers.
2. Left from Millwood on County 624, 1.2 m., to County 626 and R. to LONG BRANCH (L), 2.2 m., a large brick dwelling, with an Ionic portico on one fagade and a Doric portico on the other. From a deck roof rises an airy cupola. A large transverse hall, adorned with columns midway, has a gracefully curving staircase. There is fine scenic wallpaper in two rooms. Legend has it that secret rooms and a concealed staircase exist. Long Branch was built in 1805-6 by Captain Robert Carter Burwell.
The brick-arched entrance (L) to TULEYRIES is at 60.9 m. The large block of a mansion with portico and cupola was erected in 1833 by Colonel Joseph Tuly. It is said that Sheridan spared the house in 1865 because of the carved eagle over the door. After the war much of the furniture from the White House of the Confederacy in Richmond was kept here. Part of the estate is now an experimental farm operated by the University of Virginia.
SARATOGA (L), 61.1 m., a gaunt but massive stone house, was the home of Daniel Morgan, hero of Saratoga and Cowpens. It is said that when Morgan erected the house in 1781-82, he used Hessian prisoners as workmen.
BOYCE, 61.6 m. (572 alt., 325 pop.), is a busy little town on the Norfolk and Western Ry.
At 64 m. is a junction with County 655.
Right here to County 620, 1.2 m., and R. to THE BRIARS (R), 1.7 m., a barnlike stuccoed stone house built about 183o by Dr.R.P.Page. After 1869 it was the home of Dr.Page's son-in-law, John Esten Cooke, novelist, historian, and Confederate soldier, who died here in 1886. Born at Ambler's Hill in Winchester, Cooke was one of the 13 children of John R. Cooke.
GORE, 83.5 m. (125 pop.), is a trading post for mountaineers.
US 50 crosses the West Virginia line at 87.8 m. 26 miles east of Romney, W. Va. (see West Virginia Guide)