Tour 22

Warrenton-Washington-Sperryville-Luray-New Market; 58.9 m. US 211.

Asphalt-paved throughout. All types of accommodations, chiefly in towns.

US 211 bisects northern Virginia, rises through the Piedmont to the Blue Ridge and Massanutten Mountains, and descends into the Shenandoah Valley, traversing rolling pastures, vast forest preserves, ruggedly beautiful mountains, and many fertile valleys. General farming, stock raising, and fruit culture are the pursuits of the region.

US 211 branches west from US 29 (see Tour 4a) in WARRENTON, 0 m. (635 alt., 1,450 POP.), seat of Fauquier County and the social and trading center for a prosperous area. Here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, old and new Virginia meet. 'Horsey' folk in breeches share the crowded little business street with farmers in jeans. Old buildings stand beside newer ones in the few steep streets that are liberally shaded by trees. The Warrenton junior Hunt Pony Show is the oldest in this country and the Warrenton Garden Club, the first organized in the South, is a charter member of the Garden Club of America. Named in honor of General William Warren, hero of Bunker Hill, the town was incorporated in 1810. But Fauquier Courthouse already had a history coupled with that of the county. As early as 1712 there were settlers in this vicinity and Thomas Lee received a large grant of land here in 1718. By direction of his son, Richard Henry Lee, a survey was made in 1790 and half-acre lots were staked.

The FAUQUIERCOUNTY COURTHOUSE is an undistinguished, mid-nineteenth-century building of brick, painted cream. There is a four-columned Ionic portico above a high flight of steps across its narrow front. Among the portraits in the courthouse are the only one in existence of Governor Francis Fauquier, painted by Lesley Bush Brown from a miniature, and a portrait of Chief justice John Marshall by William D. Washington. Both Marshall and William Washington were natives of Fauquier County. Fauquier was formed in 1759 from Old Prince William and named in honor of the lieutenant governor.

A MONUMENT TO MOSBY, N. side of courthouse, celebrates, by a modest roughhewn obelisk of red stone, the partisan ranger, Colonel John Singleton Mosby, who came to Warrenton af ter the War between the States. He was arrested, however, by the Federal Government. After his release he practiced law here.

The WARREN GREEN HOTEL, erected shortly after 1875 on the site of the Norris Tavern, is a rambling three-story building of red brick with a double-decked veranda. When in 18ig Thaddeus Norris conceived the idea of erecting a brick tavern, 'he right worthily carried out his conception, and mason and joiner, and even Mr. Baker, the old silversmith at the comer of Main and Culpeper streets, who has a penchant for taming mice, heartily seconded and encouraged it.' The old gentleman's contribution was a thin plate of silver with the date the work began-found beneath the cornerstone in 1875 when the tavern was destroyed by fire. After the death of Norris, the building housed a private school but later, under the name of the Warren Green, was again an inn.

The MARR HOUSE, 342 Culpeper St., a small frame dwelling on a brick basement hidden by bushes, was the home of Captain John Quincy Marr, a Confederate who was shot June 1, 1861, at Fairfax Courthouse.

The SMITH HOUSE, 521 Culpeper St., courthouse-Eke with its portico and cupola, is constructed of brick, stuccoed yellow. On the grounds are long old brick stables. Most of the house was built in 1845 by Governor William ('Extra Billy') Smith (see Tour 16a).

Left of Warrenton on State 29 to County 744, 1.1 m.; L. here 0.9 m. to LEETON FOREST (L) a low, red brick house with a gabled roof and a small Ionic portico. This was the home of Charles Lee, attorney general of the United States from 1795 to 11801. Lee was a naval officer during the Revolution and one of the counsel for the defense in Aaron Burr's trial for treason. Leeton Forest was part of the tract Of 4,200 acres granted in 1718 to Thomas Lee. The ridge on which the house stands commands afar view of the Piedmont and the Blue Ridge.

ST. LEONARDS (R), 3.1 m. on State 29, is a long, two-story mansion constructed of fieldstone, at the end of a lane that winds through a grove of old trees. This was the residence of John Barton Payne (1855-1935), Secretary of the Interior under President Wilson, chairman of the U.S. Shipping Board and chairman of the Red Cross under four Presidents. judge Payne's philanthropy made possible the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (see Richmond).

CLOVELLY (L), 3.2 m., first called Cedar Grove, has a stone house with two long rambling additions and a columned porch. It is on a small hill landscaped with trees, hedges, stone walks, and lawns. The oldest part was built in 1746 by Peter Kemper.

The entrance (L) to NORTH WALES (L), 3.5 m., is marked by a stone lodge. This structure, now a country club, has foundation walls six feet thick. The central section and its irregular wings, almost entirely covered with ivy, open onto porches with slim columns. Paneling and old iron locks are features of the interior. An old grandfather clock here, once the property of Governor Spotswood, is reputed to have been the first in Fauquier County. There is a stable for 40 hunters, a three-quarter-mile track, and a tanbark ring. The oldest part of the house was built in 1773 by William Allison.

At 4.3 m. is a junction with County 681; R. here 0.8 m. to WOODBOURNE (L), a T-shaped stone house of two stories on a high basement. It has a small entrance portico, and the wings are buttressed by two massive stone chimneys. Woodbourne was the home of Isham Keith, soldier in the Revolution and son of the Reverend James Keith, first of that name in Virginia. Isham's sister Mary became the mother of Chief justice John Marshall.

FAUQUIER WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS (R), 7.1 m. on State 29, is chiefly a pavilion and a group of red brick buildings in various stages of dissolution. For more than half a century before the War between the States, this was one of the fashionable watering places of the East. As many as 600 guests were entertained at one time. Two great hotels, 90 double cabins, as well as servants' quarters and stables, were here. In a huge ballroom assembled belles and elegant young men from many States. Many people of national importance came here, and the Virginia assembly sat here from June 11 to August 17, 1849.

A TANXNITANIA VILLAGE SITE is at the northern edge of the grounds, spread along the Rappahannock for half a mile. It was noted by Captain John Smith in 16o8, and a land grant in this section, made in 1717, mentions 'a poison field where an Indian town formerly stood.'

On August 22, 1862, during Lee's campaign against Pope (see Tour 4a), General T.J. Jackson's corps, moving westward along the south bank of the Rappahannock River, arrived opposite this point. General John Pope ordered a force Of 25,000 men to operate against the Confederates here but accomplished nothing. During the evening of the 24th Jackson, replaced by Longstreet, withdrew to Jeffersonton.

In JEFFERSONTON, 10.3 m. (82 pop.), a crossroads hamlet, is the McDERMOTT HOUSE, a three-story stone building erected early in the nineteenth century; it has been a home, store, barroom, and post office. In early days the postmaster would dump the mail on the floor and allow customers to find their own letters. From this village, on August 24, 1862, General Jackson, after conferring with General Lee, started at midnight with 22,000 men on the great march that covered 56 miles in two days and circled the Federal army.

US 2 11 runs westward from Warrenton across the rolling Piedmont country.

At 17.1 m. is a junction with State 49.

Right on State 49 to the entrance of BEN VENUE (R), 0.2 m., a 5,000-acre estate with a very large, brick house, painted yellow. Built in mid-nineteenth century, it now stands deserted in a tangle of vines and weeds. Among many outbuildings are an overseer's house and, across the road, four slave cabins of red brick. Twenty miles of old stone fences divide the vast property into fields of workable size.

Little WASHINGTON, 22.7 m. (693 alt., 550 POP-), is the seat of Rappahannock County. An apple grading plant here ships 30,000 barrels a year. A stone monument, setting forth the town's principal claim to fame, recites: 'The First Washington of All, surveyed and platted by George Washington, with the assistance of John Lonem and Edward Corder as chainmen, August 4, 1749 . . . Town organized Dec. 14, 1796-Incorporated Feb. 12, 1894.'

The RAPPAHANNOCK COUNTY COURTHOUSE, a plain, rectangular structure of red brick with four white stuccoed pilasters, was erected in 1871The clerk's office, smaller but of similar construction, adjoins it. The CONFEDERATE MONUMENT near by is a stone shaft inscribed with the names of soldiers and their organizations and surmounted by four stacked muskets. Rappahannock County was formed in 1833 from Culpeper and named for the river forming its eastern boundary.

SPERRYVILLE, 28.4 m. (350 pop.), has an apple grading plant and a score of houses by the Thornton River. General John Pope's Army of Virginia, ordered June 26, 1862, was organized from troops under Generals Banks, Fremont, and McDowell. The troops began to arrive in this vicinity early in July and took up positions extending east and west about 30 miles. On August 7 Pope arrived to review the corps of General Franz Sigel who succeeded General Fremont in command of his corps.

Left from Sperryville on State 16 to MONTPELIER (L), 5.9 m., a huge, stuccoed block of a house, 112 feet long. Across its three-story facade stretches a great veranda with eight massive columns and Victorian scrollwork trim. The older, middle section of stone was erected before I1760 by Colonel Francis Thornton for his son William. In the nineteenth century the house was lengthened in brick and the portico was added. Thornton's Gap and Thornton River were named for this family

At 31.3 m., the highway crosses the eastern boundary of SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK (see Tour 4A).

BRYAN BAPTIST MEETING HOUSE (R), 33 m., a small, one-story frame structure with a stone chimney, was built in 1797. Chiefly responsible for its erection was an ancestor of William Jennings Bryan. In his Memoirs Mr. Bryan says: 'William Bryan is the most remote forefather of whom I have knowledge. He lived in what was then a part of Culpeper (now Rappahannock) County and near the town of Sperryville, Virginia ... He belonged to the Baptist Church in that neighborhood, which was known as the Bryan Meeting House.' William's cabin, now part of a larger house and about half a mile north of Sperryville, became the birthplace of Silas Lillard Bryan, father of William Jennings Bryan. When Silas was a child, the family moved to Mount Pleasant on the Ohio River in what is now West Virginia. In the little meeting house are two pulpit chairs, presented by Mr. Bryan about 1908.

THORNTON GAP or PANORAMA, 35.6 m. (2,300 alt.), is the summit of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Here is a junction with the Skyline Drive (see Tour 4A). The highway climbs steadily from Sperryville to the gap in a series of curves and hairpin turns, from which open views, more impressive at each higher level, of mountains, deep valleys with sparkling runs, and the twisting ribbon of road far below just south of the gap are two of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge: Stony Man, 4,010 feet; and Hawks Bill, 4,049 feet. To the north are other peaks-many more than 3,000 feet high. The Massanutten Mountain rears a jagged crest beyond, and on the far western horizon lie the hazy peaks of the Alleghenies. Confederate and Union troops used Thornton Gap constantly throughout the war.

LURAY, 44.6 m. (835 alt., 1,450 POP.), seat of Page County, is shopping headquarters for the central Shenandoah Valley, and a tourist center. Its principal streets are fined with stores, agencies for farm implements and automobiles, restaurants, small hotels, and tourist homes. Luray produces flour, corn meal, and stock feed and ships thousands of baby chicks and turkey poults from hatcheries near by.

The town was laid out in 1812 by William Staige Marye, son of Peter Marye, who built the first turnpike--a toll road-to cross the Blue Ridge from Culpeper into the Shenandoah Valley. The site of Luray was part of a tract that belonged to the family of William Marye's wife.

The PAGE COUNTY COURTHOUSE, a two-and-one-half-story brick structure surmounted by a cupola, is entered through a loggia that extends also along the front of low wings.

Page County was formed in 1831 from Rockingham and Shenandoah and named for Governor John Page. Although Luray is the county seat, it is not within the section that was settled first. In 1729 Jacob Stover received a grant Of 5,000 acres along the South Fork of the Shenandoah River at the base of Massanutten Mountain, which forms the western boundary of the county. A group of German-Swiss settlers, chiefly from Pennsylvania, founded along the river a colony known as Massanutten Town.

The SALTPETER CAVE is at the southern edge of the town. Here the Confederate forces established a nitrate plant and used the product in the manufacture of ammunition.

Luray is at the junction with State 12 (see Tour 5A).

The BELLE BROWN NORTHCOTT MEMORIAL TOWER (R), 45.7 m., is a carillon, a square stone tower with a vaulted entrance in the base, which is slightly larger than the shaft. Under the peaked roof are 47 bells behind three Gothic arches. Programs are given at frequent intervals.

Here is the entrance (R) to the grounds of LURAY CAVERNS (open daily; adm. $1.50, children 750), the largest cave in Virginia. Among the subterranean rooms are the 'Cathedral,' in which there is a remarkable organlike formation of stone, 'Giants' Hall,' 'Throne Room,' and the 'Ball, Room.' Two small bodies of water, 'Dream Lake' and the 'Silver Sea,' help to vary the underground wonders. The Smithsonian Institution long ago reported: 'It is safe to say that there is probably no cave in the world more completely and profusely decorated with stalactitic and stalagmitic formations than Luray.'

OLD MEETING HOUSE (R), 47.8 m., built in 1770 and known as Mill Creek Church, is a rectangular structure of weatherboarded logs. Inside, a small gallery looks down on the old pulpit and upon austere benches to which comfort-loving modern worshipers have added backs. A stove bears the inscription: 'D. Pennybacker, 17992 Records show that the Reverend John Koontz, a Baptist, came in 1770 to Mill Creek and organized a church. Under his persuasive influence almost every one in the vicinity-including Mennonites-became Baptists.

At 49.1 m. is a junction with County 646.

Right here to WHITE HOUSE (R), 0.5 tn. a two-story structure built of stone and wood. A cellar with vaulted stone roof is similar to others in the neighborhood. The cellar and first-story walls are pierced for loopholes. A large paneled room occupying the entire first floor was used by Mennonites for meetings. White House is believed to have been built about 1750 by sons of Martin Kauffman, whose stone house survives not far away. He was a Mennonite convert of the Reverend Mr.Koontz.

At 50 m. on US 22 is a junction with County 6 15.

Left here to LOCUST GROVE (R), 0.8 m., a two-story house constructed partly of brick and partly of stone, with stone chimneys at each end. The cellar, built about 1760, was fortified against Indian raids. Window sills are fastened with wooden pins. This was once the home of Isaac Strickler and in its day the most pretentious on the Massanutten grant. A chimney bears the date: 1791. A veranda that ran the length of one side was swept away in the flood of 1870.

On County 61S is the WILLIAM BRUBAKER HOUSE (R), 1.6 m., built of brick on the site of the Brewecker (Brubaker) ancestral home, which was plundered and burned by the Indians in 1758. Tradition is that the Brubaker family was saved by a premonition of Mrs.Brubaker's. One evening she told her husband she could see a party of Indians on the mountains--could even count them as they sat around a camp fire. She insisted that the Indians would attack the next morning and persuaded her husband to take the family to a safe place. The neighboring Stone family ridiculed Mrs.Brubaker's premonition and were victims of the attack she had accurately prophesied. John Stone was killed in his house. His wife, baby, a son about seven, and a young George Grandstaff were carried off as prisoners. It was found that the Indians, tallying even in number with Mrs.Brubaker's count, had camped at the very spot she had pointed out, two miles away. Mrs.Stone and her baby were killed later by their captors, but Grandstaff returned to the settlement after three years. The Stone boy grew up with the Indians. Years later he returned, claimed his father's property, sold it, went back to his Indian friends and was never heard of again.

The highway crosses the eastern boundary of the GEORGE WASHINGTON NATIONAL FOREST, 52.2 m. (see Tour 8), and climbs Massanutten Mountain, following a road laid out in 1746 along an older Indian trail.

A FOREST SERVICE CAMP is at 54.1 m.

NEW MARKET GAP, 55 m. (1,850 alt.), was formerly known as Massanutten Pass.

At 55.1 m. (R) is a road maintained by the Forest Service and leading northward along the mountain crest.

NEW MARKET, 58.9 m. (540 pop.) (see Tour 5a), is at the junction with US 11.

BACK | FORWARD