Abingdon, Virginia

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Abingdon is a town in Washington County, Virginia, USA, 133 miles (214 km) southwest of Roanoke. The population was 7,780 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Washington County[3] and is a designated Virginia Historic Landmark. It has historic treasures, and a fine arts and crafts scene centered around the galleries and museums along Main Street.

Abingdon is part of the KingsportBristol (TN)Bristol (VA) Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.

Contents

History

The land on which the town of Abingdon is situated was originally surveyed between the years 1748 and 1750 by Dr. Thomas Walker and was part of the Great Road that Colonel William Byrd III ordered cut through the wilderness on to Kingsport, Tennessee.[4] In 1760, famed frontiersman, Daniel Boone, named the area Wolf Hills, after his dogs were attacked by a pack of wolves during a hunting expedition. The original location of the attack is located on 'Courthouse Hill' and is also the location of The Cavehouse Craft Shop. For a time, 27 wolf sculptures are found around the city, most were sold at an auction to raise money for Advance Abingdon.[4] During Lord Dunmore's War, Black's Fort was established in 1774 by Joseph Black to protect local settlers in the region from Indian attacks.[4] It consisted of a log stockade, with a few log cabins inside, to which nearby settlers were to repair in event of attack, as they did in 1776 when harassed by Dragging Canoe.[5] Between the years 1765 and 1770 James Douglas, Andrew Colville, George Blackburn, Joseph Black, Samuel Briggs and James Piper settled in and around present day Abingdon under purchases from Dr. Thomas Walker. The settlement later became known as Black’s Fort prior to its present name of Abingdon. Abingdon was then the crossing point of two great Indian trails, themselves following ancient animal migration trails, and thus presented a logical location as a trade center and access point to the west and south. Black, Briggs and Walker donated the 120 acres of land upon which the original town of Abingdon was laid out. In 1776 the community of Black's Fort was made the county seat of the newly formed Washington county. In 1778, Black's Fort was incorporated as the town of Abingdon, said to be named for the ancestral home of Martha Washington. Martha Washington College, a school for women, operated in Abingdon from 1860 to 1932 in a former private residence; since 1935 the building has been occupied by a hotel, the Martha Washington Inn. The Barter Theatre, the state theatre of Virginia, was opened in Abingdon in 1933. Virginia Governors Wyndham Robertson, David Campbell, and John B. Floyd lived here. Abingdon is also the final stop along the Virginia Creeper Trail, which allows pedestrian, cyclist and equestrian traffic. This trail is 35 miles long extending from White Top Mountain through Damascus, VA with the trailhead in Abingdon. The Washington County Historical Society is located in Abingdon and serves as a regional genealogy center, in addition as a repository for Washington County history.

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