By Delia Engstrom
In Prince William County, sprawling subdivisions and modern amenities share the space with buildings and properties that date back hundreds of years. These historic sites are accessible to present-day residents and visitors through the efforts of the Prince William Historic Preservation Foundation (PWHPF).
Formed in 2003, PWHPF is a non-profit organization that aids the Department of Public Works Historic Preservation Division in preserving Prince William County-owned historic properties. Restoration projects and programming wouldn’t be available without the fundraising efforts of the foundation.
From the Route 66 corridor to the shores of the Potomac, access to over 750 acres of Prince William County’s history is available through special events and seasonal programming scheduled at different locations. From May through October, guided tours of the pre-Revolutionary War era Rippon Lodge in Woodbridge and the former Manassas Confederate field hospital of Ben Lomond are available. Only $5 per person and free for children under six, these tours are an affordable opportunity for time travel!
Visitors can also enjoy tours of the 28-acre Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre. The property includes a former one-room school house that served the local students until 1944, as well as a 19th century courthouse, church, and farmhouse. The remaining building, the Brentsville Jail, is the current fundraising focus of PWHPF. Period rooms and exhibits will showcase the jail’s intriguing history. Once completed, it will be one of only a handful of pre-Civil War era jails to be restored in the nation.
“We are excited to be a part of working to get one of Prince William County’s historic treasures, the Brentsville Jail, totally interpreted for today’s tourist and future generations to come,” says Mark Trobivoch, current President of the Board of Directors of Prince William County Historic Preservation Foundation.
Self-guided walks of these historic sites are always an option for visitors year-round from dawn to dusk. Additional opportunities to enjoy the natural resources of the area are available at the Julie J. Metz Neabsco Creek Wetlands Preserve, Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park, King’s Highway Heritage Park and the World Trade Center Monument.
Learn more about the county’s historic towns and step back in time on free walking tours offered once a month at different locations during the summer. History buffs can also ease their feet and envision Civil War history from a shoreline vantage point on a Potomac Blockade Boat Tour.
To learn more about all of the upcoming programming focusing on the rich history of the area and support the efforts of the Prince William County Historic Preservation Foundation, visit preservepw.org . They can also be found on Facebook or visited at their very own historic property known as Williams Ordinary, located at 17674 Main Street in Dumfries.
Delia Engstrom (email@example.com) is a contributing writer for Prince William Living.