Tag Archives: spotsylvania virginia

History In Our Backyard: Chapter 2 The Wilderness – The Early Years

Initially, this series on History in Our Backyard described how the Wilderness became the Wilderness.  Now we will delve into the early inhabitants who came to what would become known as “The Wilderness.” All things Wilderness were synonymous with Alexander Spotswood, the colony’s Royal Lt Governor in the early 1700s. He initiated the economic progress of the region through his efforts to establish Germanna fort and an iron industry. One source states that “there, thirty miles from the last outlying farms, the Germans set to work, clearing a site on the riverbank and building a fortified town.” The same source references the fort being supplied by pack-trains of mules and horses.


Exhibit 2 Germanna Fort

Those same pack-trains were instrumental in his 1716 venture into the mountains to the west. His band of adventure-seeking explorers departed from the Germanna fort accompanied by animals laden with supplies including a healthy supply of spirits. He later awarded each participant with a golden horseshoe pin thereby identifying them as the “Knights of the Golden Horseshoe” for eternity.

At the time of Spotswood’s term as Lt Governor of Virginia in 1722, he had firmly established his presence in the area. Through a somewhat devious plan he had accumulated over 80,000 acres of land. Records show that he never sold a single acre of the land, choosing instead to lease lots, mostly in 50 acre parcels, a few in parcels of up to 500 acres.

English law at that time dictated that settlers construct a home and plant an orchard on their leased property within three years. They also had to clear and plant a minimum one-acre garden and/or cropland. Initially, many chose to plant tobacco. The Colony was cash-strapped in those days and tobacco became the medium of exchange in most commercial transactions.

A 1724 inventory of Spotswood’s properties shows that he owned his fort, his large home, dozens of farm animals and the basis of the iron works, namely the Tubal site, about 12 miles east of his residence. At Germanna, he established the first County seat of Spotsylvania and held court in his home. The presence of the court quickly brought its own society; travelers arrived routinely for appearances before the justices.

County courts developed “Order Books” in those days. Both the Spotsylvania and later Orange (after 1734) books contain references to orders issued to Spotswood, primarily dictating that he organize work crews to maintain the road to Germanna and the bridge over Wilderness Run, located near the present day intersection of State Route 3 and US 20. Local residents provided the labor for the crews, usually their slaves. Spotswood did maintain the ferry that operated over the Rapid Anne River, today’s Rapidan. He also maintained his own road from Germanna to the Tubal Iron Works.

Eventually, small enterprises sprang up in the area. Those that were not located at the Court complex would be found along the Germanna Road. Retail stores, grain mills, saw mills, post offices, wagon makers and leatherworks businesses all found their place. Physicians took up residence in the area and church spires began to become part of the local scenery. By 1725 there were 7 plantations alone in the area surrounding the Tubal Iron Works site. The new Wilderness society was beginning to take shape.

Author:  Bob Epp

Date:  September 2017

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

History in Our Backyard: Chapter 1: How the Wilderness Became the Wilderness

Early May 1864 witnessed the first time that Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Union General Ulysses S. Grant – the two giants of the Civil War – met in battle in an area known then and forever more as the Wilderness.  The area had been known as the Wilderness for more than one hundred years before the Civil War but it was this bloody battle that would put the Wilderness on the map and in the history books forever.  What made these seventy square miles different from the rest of early Virginia?  How did the Wilderness become the Wilderness?  To answer these questions, we must go back to the early 1700’s when Virginia was still a British colony and Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood envisioned starting an iron smelting industry in this area.

Spotswood arrived in Hampton Roads in June, 1710, after being appointed Lieutenant Governor of the Virginia Colony.  Iron ore was known to exist in the area that would become the Wilderness even before Spotswood arrived in Virginia.  The British Government at that time restricted manufacturing to the home islands and looked to the colonies to produce and export raw materials back to England while importing finished goods manufactured from those raw materials.  Despite the lack of permission from the British Government to smelt iron in the colonies, Spotswood initiated the iron smelting operation in Virginia anyway. His initiative was in fact the first attempt at moving away from an agricultural to an industrial based economy in Virginia and actually in any of the colonies.  

There are three elements in that land that are critical to the smelting of iron ore:  the ground must contain iron ore; there must be large forests for fuel, and water for power must be available.  All of these features were abundant in what was to become the Wilderness and Spotswood began acquiring land in this area shortly after his arrival in Virginia. Within just a couple years he controlled over 80,000 acres in present day Orange and Spotsylvania Counties. 

But there was still one feature missing before Spotswood could turn his dream into reality and that was the presence of experienced manpower that could conduct the smelting operations.  So he arranged for the emigration of German iron workers to Virginia; the first emigrants began arriving here in April, 1713.  They were the original settlers of the Germanna community, located on the south bank of the Rapidan River near today’s State Route 3 and Germanna Community College.  By 1715 Spotswood had established the Tubal Furnace below the confluence of the Rapidan and Rappahannock rivers and was smelting iron.  By 1750 there would be at least six blast furnaces smelting the area’s iron ore.

The smelting process required a fire hot enough to reach the iron ore’s melting point, 2,190 to 2,810 degrees Fahrenheit, and it had to be burning continuously for weeks at a time.  The amount of fuel for smelting the iron was enormous – nearly two acres of hardwood per ton of smelted iron – and some furnaces could burn as much as seven hundred acres of timber per year.  To obtain the fuel required clear cutting vast segments of the virgin forest in the area.  The second growth forest that sprang up afterward consisted of smaller, scrubbier trees which allowed the growth of ground covering vegetation.  The vines, briars, honeysuckle, poison ivy and other lower growing vegetation created an almost impenetrable wall of vegetation and resulted in the area, by at least 1750, becoming known as “The Wilderness.”  


Exhibit 1 The Wilderness Virginia

It was this second growth forest that was in place during the Civil War.  Although the 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville was fought in and around the Wilderness, it was really the first encounter of Lee and Grant in May 1864 – right in our backyard – that the iconic name of “The Wilderness” became forever etched in Civil War and American history.

Author:  Don Shockey

Date:  August 2017

Continue to Chapter 2: The Wilderness- The Early Years

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

history

History in Our Backyard: Introduction

 History in our Backyard, a product of the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield (FoWB), was created by FoWB’s Special Programs and Education Outreach Committees.  It consists of a series of articles designed to share the history of the Wilderness region with the residents who live in and around this hallowed ground.  The articles focus on either a particular event or a historical period that brings to life the area’s rich and vibrant history dating from the earliest settlers to the present day.  These brief glimpses into the Wilderness’ history are intended to encourage residents of all ages living in and around Spotsylvania and Orange Counties to learn and appreciate the significant impact that this area has had on our local and national history.

For years the Battle of the Wilderness has been under-appreciated by most Americans. Experience tells us that local residents have a limited knowledge of the 1864 battle’s impact, as the first battle in the Overland Campaign and the first face-to-face encounter between Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.  Further, many residents are unaware that the history of the Wilderness in general is both a microcosm of Virginia history  even predating the birth of our Nation  and a story of agricultural and general economic development in a rural setting.

History in our Backyard is also designed to capture our FoWB members’ wealth of knowledge about various aspects of the Wilderness.  We encourage our volunteers to share with others a particular moment, event, or period in Wilderness history about which they are knowledgeable.  These are not intended to be scholarly works of history but rather tidbits of information about the land for the people who share that land today.  We hope our neighbors will become more engaged with their surroundings by having their neighbors – our volunteers – share their insights into the region through this brief picture. 

Our initial concept was to make these short pictures into history available to local communities’ newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and websites.  But History in our Backyard is growing beyond our initial expectations.  We anticipated no more than a handful of articles a year but that number is increasing and we are reaching more local communities and at least one county-wide medium.  Possibly the most significant expansion will be this compilation of all the articles, as they get published elsewhere, residing on our webpage. 

We welcome your comments and suggestions for improving our product and for future subjects.  We would even welcome your participation as an author of an article on a topic that is of interest to you and would add to the knowledge of our readership.

This article was written by Friends of Wilderness Battlefield.
Continue to Chapter 1: How the Wilderness Became the Wilderness

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

Orange County VA

Top Things to Do In Orange County, Virginia

A meadow with a fence along a trail, representing things to do in Orange County Virginia.
Things to do in Orange County Virginia

Are you considering a visit to Orange County, Virginia? This is truly one of the most wonderful areas you can visit in this part of the country. If you need an activity-filled vacation, but don’t want to leave the US, visiting this county is truly one of the finest decisions you can make. And for those who don’t know exactly what to do around here, don’t worry – we’ve got some suggestions for things to do in Orange County Virginia! 

Staying in period cottages.

Before you start looking for things to do in Orange County Virginia, there’s one very important thing you need to ask yourself. Primarily – why are you coming here in the first place? If you’re looking to relocate here permanently, you’ll definitely have a lot to do before enjoying all the local amenities. You’ll have to find assistance for your move in Virginia, buy packing materials, and ship all of your stuff there. But if you’re just looking for a simple vacation, then the place where you’ll stay is important as well.  

A rustic cottage in the countryside.

Orange County Virginia offers plenty of period cottages to stay in!

That’s why we recommend spending some time to think where you’ll stay in Orange County Virginia. If you truly want to feel the rustic spirit of the country, staying in one of the numerous available period cottages is a fine idea. For example, the Boxwood Villa is found on the outskirts of the town. And this is truly an ancient home, dating all the way back to 1850, but recently renovated to receive guests. Seeing as its structure was in fine shape, all it needed was some touching up. These days, it’s one of the best cottages in the area. 

Try the local brews and wines 

Naturally, when people visit a new part of the country, everyone looks for different things. Some like visiting historical sites, while others like scenic tours of the area. And while all of that is well and good, there are other region-specific things to try out. With that in mind – trying the local alcohol is one of the most fun things to do in Orange County Virginia. As you make your journey around the town and the surrounding area, you’ll find that it offers plenty of interesting breweries and wineries.  

Beer bottles next to a pile of caps on a shelf, representing craft beer.

There are many great small breweries around here!

Interesting breweries 

For example, you’ve got the intriguing Red, White Bleu and Brew brewery. If you’re a fan of both exquisite beer and historical sites, this is definitely a place you shouldn’t miss. So, what makes it one of the things to do in Orange County Virginia? Well, for one – it’s three quarters of a century old, which makes for a lot of combined experience. They focus on products related to Virginia, but they’ve got some international offerings as well. With that in mind, know that you’ve got a beer selection here that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in the region. As you explore the area, this is one of the best places to stop and rest with a nice cold one! 

Historical sights 

As we’ve already mentioned, this is definitely a historic area, with lots to offer to people who like to have a sense of the past on their vacations. So, bearing this in mind – are there things to do in Orange County Virginia that are fun for the fans of history? Well, absolutely! Trust us, by the time you’re done exploring Orange County Virginia, you’ll want to buy a cabin home here. But before you do – here are some suggestions on historical sites! 

Christ Episcopal Church 

Even if you’re not particularly religious, there’s no reason not to appreciate the historical architecture of the local churches. And if you are, this is a double pleasure for you! For example, you can visit the majestic Christ Episcopal Church here. Its ecclesiastical structure makes it a classic Gothic-style church, but not a particularly sprawling one. Nonetheless, the locals have maintained it extremely well, which makes it a worthy sight to see.  

Barboursville Ruins 

But are there other historical things to do in Orange County Virginia? Naturally! Why not visit the ruins of Governor Barbour’s mansion? These days, this is just a historical landmark, as a fire wrecked a lot of it back in 1884. Regardless, it’s still an interesting place. Thomas Jefferson actually designed it himself, and he wanted it to be the grandest home in all of Orange County. The inside boasted a majestic octagonal parlor, while the facade is Flemish brickwork. The eponymous Barbour was the first governor of Virginia at the start of the 19th century. And his mansion was the center of a great agricultural estate, so it’s definitely one of the most memorable historical sites in the region. 

James Madison’s Montpelier 

While you’re visiting the homes of important historical figures, why not catch a glance at the private life of James Madison? The man obviously needs no introduction, being the father of the Constitution, as well as the primary creator of the Bill of Rights. Interestingly enough, his wife, Dolly Madison, was actually the first wife of a president to be named ‘First Lady’.  

Bronze statues of James Madison and his wife on their estate.

Explore the life of James Madison and his wife!

And the two of them lived on an estate nearby. So, why not go on a historical tour of the lives of the Madisons – who were one of the most important couples in the country’s history? Their private life is intertwined with the rise of democracy in America, as you’ll see while you visit their home. Naturally, you’ll also see a sharp contrast with their political efforts, as their plantations were operated by slaves. 

Once you arrive, you’ll see that you can do plenty of things around here and see a lot of intriguing historical facts. The locals have preserved the Madisons’ beautiful gardens, a local forest, and a lot of walking trails for tourists. All of these are open to the public all year long, so missing out on any of this would definitely be a mistake! 

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

battlefield

Who or What are the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield (FOWB)?

Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, Inc. (FoWB) began in 1995 as a small group of local residents who recognized a need to assist the National Park Service (NPS) in the preservation and maintenance of the Wilderness Battlefield which was located in their back yard.  Over the years the organization has evolved and grown to over 200 members with dozens of member volunteers who not only provide maintenance assistance to NPS, but also provide education and advocacy for the Park, the battlefields and the local area.

One of the pressing questions we, as an organization, continuously ask is “How do we instill a sense of ownership in the general public so that they feel compelled to preserve our national treasures, like our battlefields?”  One of the answers is “Educate folks on the rich and varied history of the area in which they live”. 

This series of articles called History in our Backyard will hopefully help local residents, and all visitors to the area for that matter, realize that the local history of Orange and Spotsylvania Counties needs to be preserved and shared with generations to come.

Kudos to all of our volunteers who have taken the time to write these great articles!

Mark Leach, President FoWB

Begin History in Our Backyard: the Introduction

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

300 Granite Rd

Spotsylvania, Virginia Home For Sale Now OFFICIALLY SOLD!!! By Pat Licata

300 Granite Rd, Spotsylvania, VA 22553

Come on home to a country feel yet minutes to everything you could need. Close to the Spotsylvania and Orange County line you will find this cozy home nestled amongst the trees with plenty of privacy. Let the children play and the chickens roam, the chicken coop will even convey. The wood stove does not convey but there is the perfect place waiting for you to install your own if you chose to do so. Detached garage provides plenty of storage and work space. Many updates have been made to this home, you must see it!There is nothing quite like a quaint country home with it’s charm and tranquility. Hurry! This one won’t last long!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

st patty day

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at Wilderness Run Vineyards

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year at Wilderness Run Vineyards and 1781 Brewing Company located at: 11109 Plank Rd, Spotsylvania VA 22553. They are located on the right hand side of Route 3 (if you’re coming from Fredericksburg, VA) and right before you cross into Locust Grove, Virginia. They are known for their beautiful vineyard wines and tasty brewed beers.

On Saturday, March 16th, 2019 from 5PM to 8PM the Celtic Sessions band will be playing, so come listen to some music and enjoy a glass of wine or pint of beer! Dinner will be available from the Pifer Bros BBQ Truck, yum!

If you’re not sure what to do this St. Patrick’s Day, don’t miss this event, especially if you haven’t had the opportunity to try this vineyard and brewery’s wine and beer!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

lake anna nursery

Small Business Spotlight: Lake Anna Nursery & Landscaping

By: Central Virginia Small Business Development Center

Brandon Groome grew up in Mineral and had a career as a firefighter and paramedic. His wife Valerie is from Ferncliff and worked as a general manager at the Best Western, Zion Crossroads. In April 2017 the Louisa natives made the decision to leave their jobs behind and work together, purchasing Lake Anna Nursery from its original owners. Both feel that their past experiences in serving others will help them succeed as business owners – and they’re also happy to be more available for their three young children.

The Groomes have maintained the onsite retail nursery and garden center, but have also expanded into some exciting new areas – now providing residential and commercial property management services and landscape/hardscape design and installation. In October of 2017, the business added a full service florist on site and also plans to have an e-commerce business up and running soon!

Spring ViolaLake Anna Nursery grows all of its own annuals, hanging baskets and perennials. The Garden Center also carries a full line of trees and shrubs, the bulk of which come from Virginia and North Carolina sources.

Stop by Lake Anna Nursery, say hello to Valerie and Brandon and support this local small business. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

224 harpers ferry DRONE pic

Build Your Dream WATERFRONT in Lake of the Woods!

Welcome to 224 Harpers Ferry! Offered at $550,000!

The best was saved for last! Here’s your one and only chance to grab the last truly exceptional waterfront lot in amenity-rich Lake of the Woods! Offering 265 ft of water frontage ideally situated, you’ll capture spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Spanning the main lake as well as the cove, the best of both worlds awaits! Golf, pools, stables, fitness center, Clubhouse dining & so much more!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, that’s the #1 question asked by home sellers. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. The Question is how much is it worth? Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

daughter dance

Father Daughter Dance Happening in Fredericksburg, Virginia

Fathers! Have you been wondering what you could do for your special little girl this Valentines Day??

Don’t miss taking her to the Annual Valentine’s Dance! To all the fathers, stepdads, grandpas and uncles who have been wanting to do a little something special for their little girls. It will be a magical evening with a professional photographer available to take portraits of the special night for you both. Light refreshments will be available. Dress code is everything from casual to fancy – have fun with it! Dress-up for a fun night of dancing!

Moms will not be allowed since this is for the gentlemen and their little girls! Girls must be between 4 and 12 years old. Cost at the door will be $15 per couple (additional $8 for each additional daughter) or $12 per couple ($6 for each additional daughter) if you pre-registerhere.

Save the date! February 1st from 6:30pm – 8:30pm at the Dorothy Hart Community Center located at: 408 Canal St, Fredericksburg, VA 22401. Call 540-372-1086 for any additional information!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.