Blacksburg & Christiansburg
Franklin County - Carolina Road
Henry County - The Carolina Road
Lee County & Wilderness Road S.P.
Lexington & Rockbridge County
Martinsville City - The Carolina Road
Rocky Mount - Carolina Road
Winchester Frederick County
Historic Abingdon, Virginia has enjoyed a rich and vibrant history during the past 250 years. Long a center of culture and commerce, Abingdon traces its modern roots to 1750 when Dr. Thomas Walker was granted over 6,000 acres of land by King George II. Joseph Black purchased some of this land from Dr. Walker, settled on it, and built a small fort. The area became known as “Black’s Fort”.
Sites in Abingdon
Blacksburg, Christiansburg and Montgomery County proudly boast of their history as the location where Daniel Boone prepared and wintered for his crossing of the Continental Divide into the Great Wilderness. The area’s residents and long term visitors have included Davy Crockett, Booker T. Washington, Lewis & Clark, George Washington, and many others.
Sites in Blacksburg & Christiansburg
Early travelers following the Great Road crossed the James
River near the town of Buchanan in Botetourt County. The
county seat, Fincastle, was one of the last outposts before
the Western frontier serving as a supply station for settlers
heading West. Lewis and Clark set off from Fincastle on
Sites in Botetourt County
In Bristol, you’ll find stories of epic proportions—many that are still being written today. Stories that started with humble beginnings and grew into cultural phenomena. Like a recording session that spawned a musical genre. Or the place where the pivotal Revolutionary War battle of King’s Mountain was planned. Just two of the reasons that Bristol is Layin’ Down Tracks—Livin’ Up to Legends.
Sites in Bristol
The Cumberland Gap is a natural break in the mountains which provided a passage into Kentucky for thousands of early pioneers. Today, as part of the National Park System, visitors stand in awe at this great gateway and the many miles of trails and scenic features found in the park.
Sites in Cumberland Gap
In 1834 the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to develop a route known as the "Fincastle Turnpike", or "Cumberland Gap Turnpike", from the Wilderness Road at Fincastle to Cumberland Gap. This was to be a toll road maintained by each county. The 248 miles of the road was completed around 1841. Militia forts dotted the road as it traversed the counties of Botetourt, Craig, Giles, Bland, Tazewell, Russell and then rejoined the Wilderness Road in Scott and Lee Counties.
Sites in Fincastle Turnpike
For history buffs seeking a true 18th century roadbed, Franklin County’s Waid Recreation Park is the only place to go. The multi-use park features one-fourth mile of the original Carolina Road. Local heritage also springs to life at the Franklin County Historical Society Museum and the Depot in Rocky Mount. East of town visitors can explore the nation’s African American history at the Booker T. Washington National Monument.
Sites in Franklin County - Carolina Road
The Wilderness Road passed through what became the center of Harrisonburg-- Court Square. Those who traveled the path—Iroquois to Cherokee, German to Scots-Irish—fell in love with Harrisonburg’s scenic beauty and wealth of natural springs. Much like the people who inhabit the land today, these settlers loved their land, their family, and their God.
Sites in Harrisonburg
Nestled among the Blue Ridge foothills of Southern Virginia, Henry County is steeped in early history. The Native Americans who lived here long before William Byrd’s 1728 survey are highlighted in exhibits at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. George Washington, Patrick Henry and Joseph Martin (Martinsville’s namesake) all had ties to the area. To explore the history of regional families, visit the Bassett Historical Center.
Sites in Henry County - The Carolina Road
Martin’s Station, built in 1775, by Joseph Martin and a party of woodsmen in Powell Valley, was approximately 12 miles from the Cumberland Gap. Martin’s small fort stood along Boone’s Trace bound for Kentucky, which became known as the Wilderness Road. The station served as a welcome refuge for weary settlers headed west in the early days of southwest Virginia and Kentucky settlement.
Sites in Lee County & Wilderness Road S.P.
Rockbridge County was formed in 1777 thanks to Benjamin Borden’s 92,100 acre land grant. Lexington, the county seat, was established in 1778 by mostly Scots-Irish families self-sufficient in farming, milling and blacksmithing. The town grew to include the Lexington Arsenal (1739), which became Virginia Military Institute in 1839, and Liberty Hall Academy (1782), which became Washington and Lee University in 1870.
Sites in Lexington & Rockbridge County
Nestled among the Blue Ridge foothills of Southern Virginia,
Henry County is steeped in early history. The Native
Americans who lived here long before William Byrd’s 1728
survey are highlighted in exhibits at the Virginia Museum of
Natural History. George Washington, Patrick Henry and
Joseph Martin (Martinsville’s namesake) all had ties to the
area. To explore the history of regional families, visit the
Bassett Historical Center.
Sites in Martinsville City - The Carolina Road
Pulaski County once formed part of a vast tract of American frontier reaching to the Mississippi River. The first settlement west of the New River was established here in 1745. Over time, several ferries carried travelers across the New, and one became the main crossing on the Wilderness Road. The first county seat was established in the town of Newbern.
Sites in Pulaski County
In 1762 William and Mary Draper Ingles established Ingles Ferry at a spot on the New River between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. It was the beginnings of a commercial center. Then in 1796, an enterprising settler built a tavern on the stagecoach route. The tavern was called Lovely Mount and also included a general store and blacksmith shop. Rich in character, beauty and heritage, the City of Radford offers great opportunities for travelers to discover today.
Sites in Radford
Crossroads to Settlement:
Imagine if there were only a handful of interstate highways and all intersected in one special place. The Roanoke River Valley in southwestern Virginia was that special place. As early as the 17th century, the Roanoke Valley was a hub granting Native Americans and frontiersmen access into the Trans-Appalachian West. Visit the Roanoke Valley and walk in their footsteps to discover the diversity of the region through historic districts, museums and live interpretation.
Sites in Roanoke Valley
For history buffs seeking a true 18th century roadbed,
Franklin County’s Waid Recreation Park is the only place to
go. The multi-use park features one-fourth mile of the
original Carolina Road. Local heritage also springs to life at
the Franklin County Historical Society Museum and the
Depot in Rocky Mount. East of town visitors can explore the
nation’s African American history at the Booker T.
Washington National Monument.
Salem began in 1802 when developer James Simpson realized that travelers along the Wagon Road would need a convenient wayside of taverns and horse traders before heading to the western frontier. Two centuries later, Salem remains a popular stop for travelers. Come explore the unique history of an American hometown.
Sites in Salem
The territory now occupied by Scott County was in the domain of the Cherokee. The first white settler arrived in 1769. The Wilderness Road blazed by Daniel Boone in 1775 following a buffalo trace/Indian warpath began at the Anderson Blockhouse just east of Moccasin Gap, the gateway to the west.
Sites in Scott County
Shenandoah, a Native American word that means “Daughter of the Stars”, is in the “Heart of the Shenandoah Valley”. This area offers trails into history of its first settlers — American Indians, Germans, Swiss, and Revolutionary and Civil War time periods. While exploring our history and natural beauty, stay while as our combination of great hotels, restaurants and attractions create wonderful memories to last a lifetime.
Sites in Shenandoah County
Gateway to Smyth County: H.L. Bonham Regional Development & Tourism Center, Chilhowie, Virginia. Start your exploration from the pioneer’s farthest point west in 1750. Discover local history from woolly mammoths to men on the moon and NASCAR to Mt. Dew. Get maps and information on attractions, lodging, restaurants and more.
Sites in Smyth County
Staunton is in the “Heart of the Shenandoah Valley.” Shenandoah is a Native American word that means “Daughter of the Stars.” This area offers trails into history of its first settlers — American Indians, Germans, Swiss, and Revolutionary and Civil War time periods. While exploring our history and natural beauty, stay awhile as our combination of great hotels, restaurants and attractions create wonderful memories to last a lifetime.
Sites in Staunton
Winchester, the first city established west of the Blue Ridge
Mountains, and Stephens City and Middletown, two Frederick
County towns, were havens of hospitality for pioneers traveling
“The Great Road.” Famous people who shaped our nation’s
history lived here. Hospitality is still practiced by all.
Sites in Winchester Frederick County
Wythe County was founded in 1790. German and Scots-Irish
settlers traveled the Wilderness Road through what is now
Wytheville’s Main Street. In 1792, a place near the middle of
the county was chosen as the place for the county seat,
and Evansham, which eventually became Wytheville, was established.
Sites in Wytheville
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