Washington DC MTDCommunity
Loudoun County, VA
Loudon County was officially established in 1757 when Fairfax County was divided. The first settlers in the area started arriving in the 1720s and a number of them started large tobacco plantations throughout the county. These early settlers included Quakers, Germans, Irish and English.
Loudoun County served as a temporary refuge for the President during the War of 1812. President James Madison found refuge here, along with a number of important state papers, as the British burned much of Washington D.C. The Constitution and other state papers were safely kept in Rokeby while President Madison set up his headquarters in Belmont. During the Civil War, Loudoun County was the site of a number of battles, including the Battle of Ball’s Bluff.
For much of the county’s first two centuries, the dominant industry and way of life in Loudoun County was based around agriculture. In the early 1960s, Dulles International Airport opened in the southeastern part of the county, starting a major shift in the county’s economic base. The opening of the airport attracted new businesses, workers and families to the county. This newly inspired economy, along with major road improvements, made commuting to and from Washington D.C. easier—spurring the county’s population to explode from about 20,000 in the 1960s to almost 200,000 people today.
Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park
—This regional park’s mission is to preserve the site of the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, an 1861 Civil War battle. The battle was the largest Civil War battle to take place in Loudoun County and took place along the banks of the Potomac River. The park features a small national cemetery, one of the smallest in the nation in fact, and a mile-long hiking trail with interpretive signs.
—Just outside of Leesburg, Morven Park features a Greek Revival mansion, which was home to two former state governors, on 1,200 acres of pristine countryside. Tours of the mansion are available and include a tour of the Museum of Hounds and Hunting, the only museum dedicated to foxhunting in the world. Also included is a look at the Winmill Carriage Collection which features 70 horse-drawn vehicles from the turn-of-the-century.
Historic Aldie Mill
—The Aldie Mill is a five-story brick mill built in 1807. The building was donated to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation in 1981 and is now available for tours Sunday, April through October. These tours include looks at early grain grinding machinery and other artifacts relevant to that task.
The Loudoun Museum
—Loudoun County’s past and present is celebrated in the Loudoun Museum, located in Leesburg, the County Seat. Exhibits spanning three centuries focus on the local history. A restored 1767 log cabin houses the museum’s gift shop. The museum offers guided tours, by appointment, of the Leesburg Historic District.
Leesburg Historic District
—The Leesburg region has been an important commercial center for centuries and even pre-dates European settlement. Long before any settlers arrived, the lush area between the Potomac River and the Blue Ridge Mountains was used by Native Americans for trading. By the early 1700s, the European settlement of Georgetown was a booming trade center and, in 1758, was chartered as Leesburg. Today, the Historic District is still a commerce magnate with more than 65 restaurants and 250 retail stores.