Spotsylvania County History And Culture

Picturesque Spotsylvania County offers an unusually diverse mix of rich history, cultural activities and outdoor recreation. It's a place where everyone can expect to find -- and feel -- something that's just a little different.

Spotsylvania's unique heritage began in 1721, when the County was a young colony of Virginia. Extending far beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains, this frontier outpost was named for Alexander Spotswood, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Much of Spotsylvania's early development is attributed to Spotswood's ironworks founded in the early 1700s. Spotswood's Iron Mines Company, a mining and smelting operation founded in 1725 at Germanna, was the first fully equipped iron furnace in the colonies and the County's first industry. A wharf was built at the mouth of Massaponax Creek for ships to load wares for colonial ports, including firebacks, pots, pans and kettles. A blast furnace, also founded by Spotswood, was operated in the area from 1730 through 1785. Remnants of the ironworks are still found in the County.

Under Spotswood's resourceful leadership, a road network for transporting the iron was laid out, and skilled laborers were imported from Germany. At his death in 1740, Spotswood left behind a nearly self-sufficient iron empire that set in motion the rise of America's iron and steel industry. Spotswood's furnace was acquired in 1842 by the U.S. Government, which set up a forge and foundries. Here, the government made hundreds of cannons to supply the Mexican War, making it one of the most important cannon works in the country.

Four major Civil War battles were fought on Spotsylvania soil, including one of the bloodiest of the war, the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in May 1864. Here, the armies of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee saw one of the most intense clashes in American history -- the Union attack on the Confederate-held "Bloody Angle." This battle marked the beginning of the fall of the Confederacy. It was at Chancellorsville in Spotsylvania County that Stonewall Jackson fell to the mistaken fire of his own men. The National Park Service maintains more than 6,000 acres of Civil War battlefields in various locations throughout Spotsylvania County. Find more about Spotsylvania's historic battlefields here.

Today, Spotsylvania Is A Great Place To Live And Visit, With Something Unique For Everyone:

 

Civil War Historic Sites and Battlefields

like the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and the Confederate Cemetery.
 

Nature and Outdoor Attractions

like Lake Anna, golf, wineries, parks and marinas.
 

Shopping

from quaint gift shops and antique shops to County farm markets and Spotsylvania mall stores, in one of the East Coast's largest retail shopping areas.

 

    

 

Sister City Program

promotes world peace in an individual level and encourages citizens to better understand community, by contrasting their way of life with another culture.

 

Sports and Recreation

such as golf courses, bowling alleys, arcades, sports recreation centers, water sports, soccer fields and movie theaters.
 

Scenic Drives

that take in the County’s lovely country vistas and water views.
 

Wineries and Spirits

showcasing the best of local vineyards, distilleries and breweries.
 

Dining

at over 100 restaurants, from fast food to elegant fine dining.
 

Places to Stay

including lovely bed and breakfasts, modern hotels, rustic campgrounds and everything in between.
 

Upcoming Events

for history buffs, nature lovers, foodies, art and music enthusiasts and more.