Snickersville Turnpike Added to Historic Register

The Snickersville Turnpike corridor is among nine historic places newly listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register.

The commonwealth’s Board of Historic Resources approved the additions during its quarterly meeting March 17. The application was sponsored by the Snickersville Turnpike Association and compiled by historic preservationist Jane Covington.

The new listings also include a recreational services facility in eastern Virginia for Black soldiers during military segregation in the 1940s, one of the Shenandoah Valley’s earliest apple processing and storage facilities, and the sprawling farm of one of Southwest Virginia’s most prominent political figures and industrialists.

Snickersville Turnpike stretches between Aldie and Bluemont. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources provided this description of the area: “Before colonial traders and settlers began using it for exploration and commerce in the 18th century, the route served as part of a migratory and hunting footpath for the Sherando American Indians. Chartered in 1810 and completed in 1829, the 15-mile turnpike passes through the late-18th and early-19th century villages of Philomont and Mountville. It crosses over the historic Hibbs Bridge and winds between agricultural vistas of the Loudoun Valley. In the 19th century, the Snickers Gap Turnpike Company developed the route for commercial use by adding toll gates and adapting the road for wagon travel. The turnpike provided overland transportation for Loudoun’s agricultural products, but deteriorated for over half a century following the Civil War, before it was restored in the 20th century for automobile travel. Today, the turnpike follows its original 19th- and 20th-century alignment, serving the local community, farmers, and tourists alike.”

Other newly listed properties are: 

• The Byrne Street USO Club in Petersburg, built in 1942, offered recreational services and entertainment programs for African American troops during World War II and remained in use as a recreational and community center into the 2010s.

• The C. L. Robinson Ice and Cold Storage plant in Winchester was purchased by Charles L. Robinson in 1902 and its growth paralleled the rise of the apple industry in Virginia, and by the mid-20th century, Winchester was widely recognized as the apple capital of the eastern U.S. The closing of the plant in 1997 ended an era in the city’s industrial past.
• The 19th-century Fulton Farm, in Wythe County, was home to Andrew Steele Fulton, a prominent attorney, political leader, and industrialist of Southwest Virginia, and his family. The property overlooks the New River and the New River Trail, and features the Fultons’ two-story Greek Revival residence and significant farm buildings.
• The Chatsworth School in Henrico County provided education to Black children in grades 1 through 4 during Virginia’s era of public school segregation. Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, contributed a matching grant for the school’s construction shortly before establishing the Rosenwald Fund in 1917. The school also functioned as an immunization and health clinic for surrounding communities throughout its years of operation. Henrico County closed the school in 1955 as part of its consolidation efforts to accommodate increased enrollment levels.

• The Rivermont School in Covington exemplifies the Virginia Department of Education’s initiative to supply students with spacious, well-ventilated, and amply lit instructional areas. Constructed in 1938, it is one of the county’s most intact mid-20th-century educational buildings. 

• The Green Hill Cemetery in Luray was established in 1877 as a commercial venture by Daniel Fagan, a local marble cutter, Civil War veteran, and former mayor of Luray, as an alternative, “rural” burial ground for the town after observing issues of overcrowding in church graveyards, health concerns from diphtheria and typhoid outbreaks, and the population growth as a result of the 19th-century railroad boom. 

• The Shockoe Hill Burying Ground Historic District in Richmond was laid out in 1799 for the purpose of establishing “a public burying ground for white persons.” The cemetery continued to expand throughout the 19th century. The tract encompasses three major properties previously listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the Almshouse, Shockoe Hill Cemetery, and Hebrew Cemetery. Additionally, three sites—the City Hospital and Colored Almshouse Site, the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground, and the City Powder Magazine Site are included in the expansion area.

• The Timberneck historic site in Gloucester County was increased to include another 31.88 acres and a late 19th- to early 20th-century well house, a 19th-century cemetery of the Catlett family, and archaeological site.

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