A Cape Town Castle Military Museum tagged image from photographer – Ken Lund as published on Flickr.
Historic Fredericksburg, Virginia
Image by Ken Lund
Fredericksburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,286.
Located 49 miles (79 km) south of Washington, D.C. and 58 miles (93 km) north of Richmond, Fredericksburg is part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area.
Located near where the Rappahannock River crosses the Fall Line, Fredericksburg was a prominent port in Virginia during the colonial era. During the Civil War, the town, located halfway between the capitals of the opposing forces, was the site of the Battle of Fredericksburg and Second Battle of Fredericksburg, preserved in part as the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Tourism is a major part of the economy, with approximately 1.5 million people visiting the Fredericksburg area annually, including the battlefield park, the downtown visitor center, events, museums and historic sites.
The 40-block Fredericksburg Historic District, on the National Register of Historic Places, embraces the city’s downtown area and contains more than 350 buildings dating to the 18th and 19th centuries. Crowds of tourists are drawn to the historic district of Fredericksburg during the summer months.
Within the historic district, four 18th-century historic sites have been managed by Preservation Virginia but, following a full, statewide reorganization by that organization, the newly created “Washingon Heritage Museums” group will acquire the sites by 2014: the Mary Washington House, where George Washington’s mother spent her final years; the late 18th century Rising Sun Tavern and the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop (the fourth is only open on Historic Garden Week). Important public buildings include the 1852 courthouse designed by James Renwick, whose works include the Smithsonian Institution’s castle building in Washington and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and the 1816 town hall and market house. The latter building now houses the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. Another site of interest is St. George’s Church. The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library is located on the site where Monroe practiced law from 1786 to 1788. The museum is housed in a building that is made up of three individual structures, constructed at different times, beginning in 1816.
Nearby the historic district is Kenmore, the plantation home of Washington’s sister Betty and her husband patriot Fielding Lewis.
The area’s Civil War battles are commemorated in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Formed by an act of Congress in 1927, the national military park preserves portions of the battlefields of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House. The Fredericksburg National Cemetery, also part of the park, is located on Marye’s Heights on the Fredericksburg battlefield and contains more than 15,000 Union burials from the area’s battlefields.
Notable 20th-century sites and structures include the campus of the University of Mary Washington (begun in 1911), and Carl’s Ice Cream, an Art Moderne roadside ice cream stand on the National Register of Historic Places on U.S. Route 1.
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