Virginia December 09, 2016
Most People Don’t Know How These 11 Towns In Virginia Got Their Start
If you’ve been lucky enough to call Virginia home for some time now, you’re probably familiar with the unique small towns that fill the state. Even if you recognize the names of these places, you may not realize just how they got started (and you’d be in good company). So here is a brief summary of how some of our state’s most beloved towns came to be.
Along the western shores of the Chesapeake Bay, this community developed due to the abundance of Atlantic menhaden in the nearby water. This caused an economic boom and in the late 1800s, Reedville was one of the wealthiest towns in the whole country. The area is named after Elijah Reed, a prominent sea captain at that time.
This town of under 2,000 is located in Smyth County and is named after a Native American word for "valley of many deer." In the 1700s, this area was the frequent beginning point to hunting expeditions.
The tiny town of Fries (pronounced 'freeze') is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Grayson County. The area is named for Colonel Francis Henry Fries, who once owned the land where the town would develop.
This unincorporated community in James City County was once known as Hollywood. Later it was renamed to Croaker due to the amount of Atlantic croakers in the nearby water.
5. Short Pump
Not too long ago, Short Pump was mostly farm land on the outskirts of Richmond. Today, the area is home to many housing developments and a shopping mall. The name Short Pump derives from a short handled pump that used to be under a nearby tavern.
The town of Saltville is located in southwestern Virginia and is named for the salt marshes in the area. In fact, during the Civil War this town was a major saltworks for the Confederate Army, which was important in the preservation of meats and other food.
7. Seven Mile Ford
Seven Mile Ford is another town in Smyth County. The area is named for being just seven miles from Royal Oak, by means of the river. Today the charming town has a population of less than 1000.
It's fitting that Fincastle sounds vaguely British, as it's named after Virginia's last royal governor's son, Lord Fincastle. The town was founded in 1772 as a supply station for travelers heading westward.
Located at the very northern tip of the state, Lovettsville is a small town established in 1836 by German immigrants. The town is named for David Lovett, who divided his property into smaller lots about a quarter of an acre in size.
While it may seem like Troutville is named after a certain kind of river fish, it's actually named for John, Jim, and George Trout, three brothers and the only residents of the area in 1881.
Not be be confused with Woodstock, New York, this tiny town is the county seat of Shenandoah County. The area was developed from a land grant from Lord Fairfax in 1752. A few decades later, Thomas Jefferson himself designed the courthouse.
What other small towns with a fascinating history would you add to the list? We’d love to hear from you!