Prince William County: History in Our Own Backyards

    In Virginia, you can soak in some history every direction you turn. We’re surrounded by rich historical sites throughout the state, but do you know about those in our own backyard? Spend a day or two visiting these historical sites and learn about Prince William County’s fascinating past.

    Old Manassas Courthouse

    The Old Manassas Courthouse is located at the intersection of Grant Avenue and Lee Avenue in Old Town Manassas. The courthouse and county seat were moved to Manassas in 1897 and this building was used as the county courthouse until 1982. In 1911, President Taft stood on the grounds of the courthouse to kick off the Peace Festival, a week full of festivities. This festival marked the 50th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas. In 2001, the building was renovated, and the top floor was converted to a ballroom, which is now open to the public to rent for special events. What a great spot for an elegant evening!

    Ben Lomond Historic Site

    Ben Lomond and its outbuildings were constructed for Benjamin Tasker Chinn in 1832. Following the 1861 Battle of First Manassas, Confederate forces used Ben Lomond as a hospital. You can still see the signatures and graffiti from Federal soldiers who occupied the property in 1862. This site is an incredible glimpse into history in the Civil War days. Don’t forget to explore the restored slave quarters, smokehouse and dairy, as well as the extensive rose garden. Ben Lomond Historic Site boasts one of the largest Old Garden Rose collections in the area. Soak in some history AND fragrant blooms!

    Rippon Lodge

    Rippon Lodge is the oldest home in Prince William County. The home was built in 1747 by a man named Richard Blackburn. Blackburn and his son owned many acres of land, which they used for farming. By 1842, another family — the Atkinsons — owned the property for about 90 years. It was later sold to Wade Ellis in 1924, when he and his wife purchased more than 500 acres and began restoration projects to the home. And in 1952, another owner, Richard Blackburn Black, purchased the home and continued to preserve its history. His daughter sold the property to Prince William County in 2000, and extensive renovations took place up until 2007, when they opened the home for public tours. Now, Rippon Lodge Historic Site consists of 43-acres, the Blackburn and Atkinson Family cemetery, formal gardens and walking trails. This is a great site for birdwatching and catching spectacular views of the Potomac.

    Get out and explore this summer. Take some time to study up on the history that surrounds us in Prince William County. It truly is fascinating!

    Chris Colgan is the CEO and Team Leader of the Chris Colgan Real Estate Team. Chris was born and raised in Gainesville, Virginia and has been in real estate for 10 years. He is a member of the Re/Max Hall of Fame and is in the top 25 for sales in the state of Virginia out of all Re/Max agents. He has been recognized as one of the United States’ and Canada’s Top 500 Marketing Experts by the National Association of Expert Advisors.

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