By John Cowgill
Occoquan, Virginia, is a little town on a river that flows into the Potomac River. It began with mills and warehouses and a large stone house known as Rockledge, and was a port town. This little town saw skirmishes during the Civil War and was later destroyed by a big fire that burned many of the structures.
As you cross the Occoquan River on Interstate 95 or U.S. Route 1 or Virginia Route 123, you’ll see this small town to the west. This little town, one of the smallest suburban towns in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore metropolis, has big stories to tell.
Start by taking a walk along Mill Street. There are fine restaurants, nice coffee shops and art studios where great artists sell their great masterpieces. Maybe you’re not interested in “stuff,” but enjoy seeing the old structures and homes, even though most of the original structures are gone. Make your way to the west end of Mill Street and look up to Rockledge, the home of the man who established the town. You’ll see a small stone building that was once a mill, and it now houses a small museum. Walk around Mill Park (erected on the site of a cotton factory from the 1820s to the 1860s), and you can look out over the Occoquan River. There’s a nice view of a small waterfall across the river.
Visit Local Colour, an art store at 408 Mill St., just a short walk from Mill Park. Local Colour hosts ghost walks on Sunday nights; you’ll get a guided tour of the town and hear the many stories of people and events of this town. While there is much walking, including climbing a few hills, it is family friendly. Get more information about these tours at occoquanspirits.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Cowgill (email@example.com) loves to visit historic places to include lesser known sites. He loves taking road trips, loves railroads and is a photographer who takes lots of pictures. You can also follow him on Facebook at ‘John Cowgill: Photographic Journeys’ and John Cowgill: DC Railroad Examiner. You can also check out ‘John Cowgill: Stories of the Railroad’ at johncowgillstoriesoftherailroad.com.