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A short story by Etta Belle Walker

Waynesboro And Afton

Title:     Waynesboro And Afton
Author: Etta Belle Walker [More Titles by Walker]

"Mad Anthony Wayne," the Revolutionary hero, has a town named for him in Virginia--Waynesboro. This is a beautiful place which has become even more popular upon completion of the projected Skyline Drive southward from Swift Run Gap.

The State Conservation Commission has erected an historical marker which states briefly:

"Here on one of the first roads west of the Blue Ridge, a hamlet stood in colonial times. The Walker exploring expedition started from this vicinity in 1748. Here, in June 1781, the Augusta militia assembled to join Lafayette in the East. A town was founded in 1797. It was established by law in 1801 and named for General Anthony Wayne."

In 1854 the countryside was very much excited over the trip made by the first train travelling west of the Blue Ridge. Crowds gathered to see the phenomenon and half of them left in fright, we are told, as the iron horse chugged off. Incidentally, mules hauled the first passenger engine over the high mountains and set it down for its memorable exodus.

For the most part the buildings one sees in the town have been erected since 1861, for in that year a devastating fire wiped out the landmarks of pioneer days.

The last battle in Northern Virginia during the War Between the States occurred here in March 1865, just about a month before the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox. Hoping to protect Rockfish Gap, General Early had his Confederate forces quartered in the town. Sheridan, the Union General, surprised him and captured more than half the rebels.

Furnishing power for the large manufacturing interests are the numerous springs of Waynesboro, which have a capacity of millions of gallons of water a day. If you are unfamiliar with springs such as Virginia has, you should stop at Brunswick, Baker's, or Basic Lithia Springs for an unusual sight.

Swannanoa, one of the finest estates in Virginia, is on top of the mountain between Waynesboro and Afton. It is said by numbers of people that two of the loveliest views in America may be had from this point: Rockfish and Shenandoah valleys. You will probably agree with the statement when you stand where you may get a commanding view of the country below you. The large home on the estate is now a country club. Nearby is the site of "Old Mountain Top Tavern," widely known years ago for its fine hospitality. A group met at the tavern in 1818 to decide the location of the proposed University of Virginia. Among them were Madison, Monroe, Marshall and Jefferson.

Driving along the roads you see some of the finest peach orchards in Virginia, for the section is famed for its high quality fruit. Not only do peaches abound here, but you will also see splendid apple orchards. If you happen along at the right season you will be able to stop at a roadside market to buy the renowned Albemarle Pippins--the apples which are grown for miles around--and some of the luscious peaches.

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Etta Belle Walker's short story: Waynesboro And Afton