Bluemont Heritage Tour
The backbone of this tour of a Virginia village is the historic Snickersville Turnpike, authorized by the Virginia General Assembly in 1809, built and managed by the Snicker's Gap Turnpike Company. It was the nation's first operating toll road--admired by Thomas Jefferson as a key investment in the new nation's infrastructure.
Snickersville Turnpike, Snickers Gap, and Snickersville (the village we now call Bluemont) all took their names from Edward Snickers (probably a corruption of Dutch name, "Snygert"). Edward Snickers was a French and Indian War veteran who operated an inn and ferryboat concession on the Shenandoah River.
A young surveyor named George Washington recorded in his diary that he stopped there August 11, 1769, for "baiting" [fishing], on the way home from a trip to Charles Town.
1. Snickersville Academy (1825): The village’s first school & church. Take the old right-of-way on the left of Carrington House, follow the asphalt, then the gravel path to cross the footbridge. 33685 Snickersville Turnpike, www.BluemontVA.org.
Served as a church until 1851 and as a school through the Civil War, when skirmishes were fought just a stone's throw away on the turnpike. Original tuition was $3 per semester. The quarter-acre of land was donated by Elizabeth and Amos Clayton (son of village founder William Clayton).
A legal "indenture" states:
..."Amos Clayton for a consideration of one dollar to him in hand paid by the said trustees, the receipt whereof & hereby acknowledges hath granted, bargained, alloted and by these presents doth grant, bargain, & sell unto the said Robert Chew, William Bradfield, Timothy Carrington, William Woodford & Townsend Clayton trustees aforesaid & their successors for the purpose of building a house for a public school & place of divine worship (but to be put to no other use) a certain lot or parcel of ground lying & being on the South East side of the Blue Ridge, and on the South side of Snickersville... "
William Bradfield's daughter Lucy Ann, who was eight years old in 1825, expressed her gratitude for the schoolhouse in her elaborate "Snickersville Academy Sampler," dated 1826.
Having received the log structure and its small plot as a gift from the Hatcher Family in 2010, Friends of Bluemont, a nonprofit local historical association restored the Snickersville Academy with the help of many generous donations and community support.
2. Carrington House (~1820): Timothy and Margaret Carrington bought the lot from Amos' sister, Martha Clayton, and built the house. Tradition has it that, during the Civil War, both Colonel Mosby's rangers and Union troops stopped in this tavern for refreshment--not at the same moment, of course. A private residence. 33679 Snickersville Turnpike.
3. Clayton Hall (~1797): Built by William Clayton, who first invisioned and plotted off the village of Snickers Gap (later called Snickersville and, still later, Bluemont) in this spot. In 1792, William Clayton purchased 624 acres of land from the estate of Richard Wistar of Philadelphia, who had bought it from Edward Snickers in 1777. A private residence. 18323 Clayton Hall Rd.
4. Boulder Crest Retreat for Veteran and Military Wellness: Unique charitable campus providing rest, recreation, and healing for wounded veterans and their families. Please respect "private retreat in progress" signs when posted on the gate. To contact or tour the facility, go to www.bouldercrestretreat.org. 18370 Bluemont Village Lane
5. Bluemont General Store: (~1846): Offers fresh eggs and milk; chocolate pebbles; sundries and necessities; andwiches, soup, and chile. This store has been in more or less continuous operation for a century and a half. Featured in film, "Crazy Like a Fox," www.bluemontstore.com. 33715 Snickersville Turnpike.
6. Old Dance Hall (1922): “Nielson’s Village Center,” commercial complex at corner of Snickersville Turnpike & Bluemont Village Lane. Owned by Epling Landscaping, it houses Iron Gate Antiques, Apple House Carpentry, Wild Hare Hard Cider, Furyworks Productions, Shoulder2Shoulder, and more.
7. E.E. Lake Store (~1901): Corner Railroad Street & Snickersville Turnpike. Grand emporium being restored by Bluemont Citizens Association. as a Loudoun County Welcome Center.
8. Bluemont Mill & Railway Museum (train operated 1900-1938): This early 1900s mill recently has been built taller to function as a cell phone tower. A replica of the Bluemont train station sits at the foot. Bluemont was long the terminus of the Washington and Old Dominion Railway (W&OD). In the 1950s the train tracks were taken up and sold; the original station building was dismantled and repurposed as three small houses. Visit the informative historical marker. 18292 Railroad Street.
9. U.S. Post Office: An easy-to-spot landmark on your tour. 33775 Snickersville Turnpike.
10. Mountain Shadow School (~1872): Bluemont’s 2nd schoolhouse and first public school. In 1872, the state of Virginia adopted public schools, and built the Mountain Shadow School in Bluemont. A private residence.
11. Bluemont United Methodist Church (1851): Founded as a nondenominational ("free") community church. Today it houses an active congregation in a beautiful setting. 33843 Snickersville Turnpike.
12. Bluemont Community Center (1921): The buildin>that is now the Bluemont Community Center housed the Bluemont School (1921-1962). It was built through the help of a donation of land and $5,000 from Dr. Rufus Humphrey to the Loudoun County School Board. It became the third school house. A scene at a "New England" high school was filmed here for a West Wing TV episode. 33846 Snickersville Turnpike.
13. Whitehall Estate & Winery (~1787): This classic, southern, white-columned, plantation-style building is the oldest home in the village. Today it is a setting for weddings and elegant events. To visit, go to website: www.historicwhitehall.com. 18341 Whitehall Estate Road.
14. Points of Interest Nearby the Village--
Drive to These Sites:
- Great Country Farms: Offers pick-your-own fruit and vegetables, along with a great variety of family farm fun--from spring strawberry picking to the fall "Pumpkin Chunkin." www.greatcountryfarms.com. 18780 Foggy Bottom Road.
- Bluemont Vineyard: A winery with a spectacular view of the Loudoun Valley. www.bluemontvineyard.com. 18755 Foggy Bottom Road
- Dirt Farm Brewing: The Brewery's tasting room offers its own craft beers in a family atmosphere. 18701 Foggy Bottom Road.
|Bluemont Heritage is a project of
Friends of Bluemont and the Bluemont Citizens Association