Monday, March 25, 2019

Area Communities

Caroline County

Caroline County, (Welcome to Caroline County, Virginia!) with a U.S. Census 2003 population estimate of approximately 22,800, operates under a County Administrator/Board of Supervisors form of government, with each of the five Board Members elected every four years from their respective districts. These districts include Bowling Green, Madison, Mattaponi, Port Royal, and Reedy Church.

The Board of Supervisors appoints a five-member Planning Commission and a seven-member Industrial Development Authority (each with four-year terms). There are numerous opportunities for citizen participation and appointment to other boards and commissions.

There are more than 35,000 volumes in the library system, which is headquartered in Bowling Green and serves branches in Dawn, Ladysmith and Port Royal.

The county has an extensive parks and recreation program. Local service organizations sponsor recreational activities for the public, including softball leagues and special events. The Rappahannock and Mattaponi Rivers are used extensively for boating and fishing.
There are numerous community activities throughout the year, including the Harvest Festival on the third Saturday in October, the Christmas Parade and Bazaar on the first Saturday in December. Other routine events include fish fries, dances, barbecues, and more. Downtown Bowling Green is the site of most of these events.  Visitors often remark that the historic downtown has considerable charm and is tailor-made for such events as street festivals.  

Town of Bowling Green

The Town of Bowling Green, is governed under a Mayor-Council form of government, with a town manager hired by the seven-member Town Council to carry out the council’s policies on a daily basis. The Town Council appoints a seven-member Planning Commission (four-year terms) and a five-member Board of Zoning Appeals (five-year terms).
The town of Bowling Green was earlier known as New Hope. One of the earliest stage roads in the colony ran through the area from Richmond to the Potomac River, where a ferry crossing was operated to Charles County, Maryland. One of the first stage lines in America to maintain a regular schedule operated along this road. New Hope Tavern was built along the road in the 18th century and the area around it became known as New Hope.

The town was renamed for "The Bowling Green" which was the plantation of town founder, Major John Thomas Hoomes who donated the land and funds for a new courthouse when the community became the county seat in 1803. The origin of the plantation's name is not definitive but may be based on the 2-acre (8,100 m2) green sward in front of the plantation house itself. The Bowling Green Estate was the site of one of the first tracks built to race horses in America. The plantation house, pre-Georgian tidewater colonial in style, was built circa 1741. A prominent colonial landmark, it is one of the oldest houses in original condition in Virginia and is listed on both the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.
The present Caroline County Court House was built in 1835 and Bowling Green was incorporated as a town about 2 years later, in 1837. The town is best known as the "cradle of American horse racing" and as the home of the second-oldest Masonic Lodge.

Town of Port Royal

Port Royal, settled in 1652 when John Catlett and his half-brother, Ralph Rowzee patented 400 acres, was once the only chartered town in Caroline County. An important colonial shipper of tobacco to Britain, it later served as a warehouse center and mover of grain, freight, and passengers on 3-masted schooners. Traces of this colorful past can still be found today in the historic section of this old town.

The town grew up around a ferry and a tobacco warehouse. Its fortunes were reversed, first by the coming of the railroad, then by construction of a bridge over the river.

The Rt. 301 bridge upstream is built over part of the wharf which ran out to deep water in midstream where ships could tie up. Tobacco barrels were rolled out to the ships. Later pushcarts running on rails were used for moving cargo between ship and shore. During the Civil War, Union Army engineers built a floating wharf to mid-river for its gunboats.

John Wilkes Booth sought refuge here after his shooting of Lincoln. He was killed two miles outside the town, west of the intersection of present day Rts. 301 and 17 Regular schooner service to Baltimore and Norfolk began operations in 1828 and served as a pipeline to the outside world. The last passenger ship - the schooner Edna Bright Howe to Baltimore - left here in 1932.

Business revived in 1950 when Rt. 301 was improved. Port Royal lay a convenient distance from New York City for southbound travelers, and motels, restaurants, and service stations flourished. This was taken away in the 1960's by the building of Rt. I-95.
Port Royal's 17th century pirate is immortalized in the name Peumansend Creek. A French pirate, a Monsieur Peuman, was the scourge of the settlers. Eventually they chased him up the creek and killed him. Thus the name "Peuman's End", a name which appeared on deeds as early as 1670.

The earliest dwellings in the area were probably of log construction, none of which exist today. What the visitor can enjoy, however, is a collection of 18th and 19th century homes in a setting largely unchanged in the town's 250 year old history.

Port Royal was incorporated as a town in 1744. The "town green", upon which stands today the Town Hall and the firehouse, was forever reserved "for public and civic use".

Fredericksburg and Surrounding Counties

Located North and West of Fort A.P. Hill, the City of Fredericksburg is bounded by Spotsylvania, Stafford and King George Counties. The region’s prime position along the I-95 Mid-Atlantic urban corridor has enabled it to be one of the most vigorously growing areas in the state and the nation, with a total population numbering more than 200,000. Fredericksburg is located almost equidistant from Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va.

Part of the greater Fredericksburg area’s attractiveness to new business and families is its ability to maintain small town charm while offering urban prosperity and opportunities.

Originally, the region’s location on the Rappahannock River shaped its destiny. It thrived through the Colonial and Civil War eras as a port center with important transportation links to other communities.

The region boasts a wide range of entertainment and recreational opportunities. Proximity to Washington and Richmond provides easy access to nationally acclaimed musical and theatrical talent. Locally, Mary Washington College, volunteer organizations, and privately run galleries sponsor art displays and community theater productions.

Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania County, Aqua Po Beach Park in Stafford County, and the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers are easily accessible and provide scenic beauty as well as canoeing, water-skiing, fishing and camping. The Chesapeake Bay is a short drive to the East. Public and private facilities for tennis, swimming and golf are numerous. Sporting events such as football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey can be seen locally; professional sporting events, just short distance away in Washington and Baltimore.

The region’s rich historical background provides a wealth of attractions. Revolutionary and Civil War sites attract nearly a million visitors the region annually. Carefully preserved as National Parks are four local battlefields: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania. There are 13 parks, which total more than 200 acres of land for families to enjoy.

King George County

King George County ( lies between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers at the entrance to the Northern Neck of Virginia. It is the county almost due north from Fort A.P. Hill on the north side of the Rappahannock River. Named after King George I of England, the county was settled in the late 1600's, originally along the two rivers. It was, however, not until the 1700's that the population began to spread with an influx of settlers from Lord Baltimore’s colony in Maryland.
In 1776, the present boundaries of the county were established. Prior to that date, King George County included Ferry Farm, George Washington’s boyhood home, site of the "Cherry Tree incident" and where legend has him throwing the silver dollar across the Rappahannock River.

In 1752, James Madison was born near Port Conway in King George. Madison, a Colonial statesman became known as the "Father of the Constitution." He became the fourth President of the United States and led the country through the War of 1812, our second war with England.

King George County had its share of skirmishes during the Civil War. Both Union and Confederate gunboats used the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers during the war and raiding parties who came ashore destroyed many of the county’s early records.
After assassinating President Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth reportedly made his escape through King George County, taking a boat from Popes Creek, Maryland, to Gambo Creek, at the present Dahlgren Naval Surface Weapons Center. He continued on to Port Royal, where he died in the Garrett barn, the site of which is along Route 301, in Caroline County, near the northernmost portion of Fort A.P. Hill.

King George is rural county with an urban culture which makes use of the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers for both business and pleasure. It is a county with a long, rich history and an eye on the future.

King George County is governed by a five-member elected Board of Supervisors. The day-to-day activities of local government are supervised by a full-time County Administrator. Other county functions are managed by a number of elected and appointed officials.