September 25, 2013

10 Recommended Stops on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground

  • By: Katherine Flynn

Oak Hill, James Monroe's country estate. Credit: Gordon Beall
Oak Hill, James Monroe's country estate

The 180-mile long, 75-mile wide Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area stretches from Gettysburg, Pa. to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello near Charlottesville, Va. Featuring hundreds of historical treasures such as presidential homes (including James Monroe’s Oak Hill, featured in the Fall issue of Preservation,) National and State Parks, Civil War battlefields, and historic towns and villages, the heritage corridor affords visitors the unique opportunity to take in centuries of overlapping American history and to walk in the footsteps of some of our country’s most influential leaders.

We’ve rounded up a top 10 list of lesser-known Hallowed Ground sites that are well worth a stop on the journey:

Manassas Industrial School & Jennie Dean Memorial

Located on the original site of the Manassas Industrial School for Colored Youth, this archaeological site commemorates both the school and Jennie Dean, a former enslaved woman who chartered the academic and vocational institution in 1893 after a decade of fundraising.

Pry House Field Hospital Museum

Located in the historic Pry House on the Antietam Battlefield, this site, used by Union medical director Dr. Jonathan Letterman during the battle, is considered the birthplace of military and emergency medicine. Explore the house’s 19th century-style medicinal and kitchen garden, filled with herbs and vegetables.

The Graffiti House

A local family residence converted into a hospital after the Battle of Kelly’s Ford in 1863, this house is marked with charcoal drawings done by wounded Union and Confederate soldiers during their recovery. The Brandy Station Foundation purchased the house in 2002 and operates it as a memorial to all Civil War soldiers.

Gilmore Cabin, near Montpelier. Credit: starfish235, Flickr
Gilmore Cabin, near Montpelier

Gilmore Cabin, near Montpelier

Gilmore Cabin, built by former enslaved African-American George Gilmore in 1873, places an emphasis on interpreting the transition that formerly enslaved people from Montpelier made post-emancipation. Members of the Gilmore family lived on the farm until the early 1930s.

George C. Marshall International Center at Dodona Manor

Located in Leesburg, Va., the George C. Marshall International Center at Dodona Manor commemorates the life and work of General George C. Marshall, a man who is recognized as the organizer of the Allied victory in WWII. Through an interpretation of Marshall’s home, visitors can learn about this Nobel Peace Prize winner’s 44-year military and public career.

Hessian Barracks

These barracks in Frederick, Md., built in 1780, held captured German soldiers during the American Revolution. Weapons, a hearth kitchen, and an antique classroom are all on display when the barracks open on the second Saturday of every month.

Old Jail Museum

A four-cell jail built in 1808 with a larger stone prison added in 1823, the Old Jail remained operational until 1966 and is now one of the most perfectly preserved historic jails in Virginia. Repurposed as the county historical museum, visit the Old Jail to learn about the area’s industry, Native American history, and Civil and Revolutionary War history.

Bull Run Mountains Nature Preserve. Credit: Vicky TGAW, Flickr
Bull Run Mountains Nature Preserve

Bull Run Mountains Nature Preserve

Occupying 2,486 acres on the Fauquier/Prince William County line, the Bull Run Mountains Nature Preserve offers hiking and environmental education programs year-round. The nature preserve is also home to the Chapman’s/Beverley Mill, a Civil War-era mill and site of the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap.

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park/Trail

Standing as a testament to America’s early transportation history, the C & O Canal National Historical Park offers biking and hiking, boat tours, camping, and tours of lock houses and other historic structures along the canal.

Ball’s Bluff Regional Park and National Cemetery

Efforts to restore the Ball’s Bluff Battlefield began in 2004, and since then the area has been returned to its appearance in October 1861, when the Union was defeated in Loudon County’s first Civil War battle. Visitors can tour the battlefield from April through November.

Katherine Flynn is a former assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores, and uncovering the stories behind historic places.


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