Railroads

Lost Communities of Virginia by Terri Fisher and Kirsten Sparenborg

Lost Communities of Virginia by Terri Fisher and Kirsten Sparenborg

You can find them on a map. Barely.  Little towns that used to be rather important hubs dot the Virginia countryside, dating from the days when agriculture ruled along with the horse and buggy or mule and wagon. These central spots, often near rail stations, rivers, or better roads, were communities in their own right and many have faded away as the interstate system grew. The Lost Communities of Virginia, by Terri Fisher and Kirsten Sparenborg, takes a look at these fading places, several of them near our area, including Mineral, Woodford, and Milford.

Fans of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café can relate to little Milford, situated in Caroline County and still located on a railroad line.  Originally the popular area here was Doguetown, named for the Dogue Indians who used the Mattaponi River for transportation. Milford, named for a nearby plantation in 1792, also used the river as a point for shipping—and inspecting—tobacco. The Mattaponi River was connected to both the York River and the Chesapeake Bay. By the early 1840s, the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad ran from Richmond to Aquia Creek with a stop in Milford. Milford’s North-South railroad connections made it a target in the Civil War. 

The Aquia Train Robbery

This account has been compiled from the Free Lance newspaper of Fredericksburg, Virginia, October 16, 1894 through September 27, 1895, by Robert A. Hodge.

Travel: Copyright-Free Illustrations for Lovers of History

By Bobbie Kalman

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Etchings with descriptive text provide a look at various modes of transportation--boats, sleighs, coaches, railroads, and even horseless carriages--of the past.

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A Long Hard Journey: The Story of the Pullman Porter

By Patricia McKissack and Fredrick McKissack

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Back in the 1930s and 1940s, the trains took everybody everywhere in Pullman sleeping cars. The people who looked after the passengers were called porters. They were mostly black, and they formed their own union to fight against unfair working conditions. This book tells, in their own words and photos, the story of how they won their fight for justice.

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Alum Spring Park: A Walk Through History

Alum Spring Park is a 34-acre woodland retreat off Greenbriar Drive with a playground and hiking trails. Its sandstone cliff, also known as the Alum Spring Rock, is 400 feet long and 40 feet high.

The Narrow Gauge Railroad

In 1852, Fredericksburg business men were concerned with the failure of the Rappahannock Canal (see Fredericksburg Times, Jan., 1978), the impassability of the turnpike, the incomplete state of the plank road and the loss of county trade to the Alexandria markets via the railroad.

Dr. Edward Alvey, Jr.: The Dean Who Lived and Chronicled a Century

When Dr. Edward Alvey, Jr., died at the age of 97 on July 11, 1999, generations of Mary Washington College students remembered him as their beloved Dean.

They -- and generations of Fredericksburgers -- also remembered him as a writer and historian who illuminated the life and times of our area.