It shouldn’t be a surprise that Front Royal has a rich local history. The natural attractions of this location, from the Shenandoah River to the surrounding mountain beauty have brought a steady stream of settlers and visitors to the town throughout its varied history. Read on for nine fun facts about Front Royal’s local history, starting with the Native Americans and ending with Bing Crosby!
1. The Iroquois Once Hunted in Front Royal
The entire Shenandoah Valley, including the land that would become Front Royal, was rich in natural resources for Native Americans, and saw many tribes both pass through and build settlements. The Iroquois were the last Native American group really to take possession of the valley. Unlike some other tribes, their culture was based primarily on hunting, and they did not attempt to develop farms, but used the valley as hunting grounds. The Iroquois Confederation sold the land that included the future Front Royal to Colony of Virginia in 1744.
2. Front Royal was the Home of the Shenandoah Valley’s First Ferry
Front Royal sits at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River. It was here that the Shenandoah Valley’s first ferry was established in the 1730s. The ferry helped the Valley’s many travelers cross the Shenandoah River.
3. Front Royal’s Original Name was LeHewtown
The town that would become Front Royal first came into existence as LeHewtown in 1754. The name came from Peter LeHew, an early settler who bought a tract of property in what would become the center of the town.
4. Front Royal was a Popular Stop for Travelers
Front Royal (or LeHewtown) saw many travelers coming through. The Shenandoah River, brought many boatmen into town. The Shenandoah Valley was also a natural route for livestock drivers. At the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, and the tip of Massanutten Mountain range, Front Royal was a natural meeting point for travelers. Due to the large numbers of taverns that popped up to serve the passers-through, Front Royal also gained the nickname “Helltown.”
5. We’re not sure where Front Royal Got its Name
In 1788, Front Royal officially received the name it has today. No one is exactly sure where this name came from, but there are several interesting theories. Our favorite dates back to the days of the Revolutionary war. A camp of British soldiers was located near Front Royal. Comers to the camp must respond with the password “Royal” to the sentry’s challenge of “Front.” Thus the name “Front Royal” came into common usage.
6. Front Royal was the Home of Virginia’s Second Subscription Library
Front Royal was on the forefront of literacy in Virginia. In 1799, Front Royal became the home of the second subscription library in the State. This library has grown and changed location several times over its more than two hundred years. Now it exists as Front Royal’s Samuels Public Library.
7. Over 200 Confederate Soldiers are Buried in Front Royal
Front Royal has a rich Civil War history, and was the location of the Battle of Front Royal during Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley campaign. After the war, the remains of the Confederate soldiers who had died in Warren County were gathered and buried together at Soldier’s Circle in Front Royal’s Prospect Hill Cemetery.
8. Skyline Drive Put Front Royal Even More on the Map
The 1920s were a time of exciting developments for Front Royal, as the Blue Ridge Mountains were selected as the location of a National Park for the Eastern United States. This park came into existence as Shenandoah National Park, and its northern entrance station is located right in Front Royal. The National Park draws outdoors lovers to the Front Royal all year round, especially in the fall. They find a warm, small-town welcome, great facilities, and gourmet dining, in addition to the natural wonders of the park that have delighted generations of visitors.
9. Bing Crosby was a Fan of Front Royal
Singing and acting star Bing Crosby visited Front Royal several times. In 1949 and 1950, he helped raise funds for a baseball stadium by appearing at several fundraising events, and donating personally to the stadium. Today, Front Royal’s Bing Crosby Stadium is the setting of baseball fun all summer long.
From Iroquois Hunters to Civil War soldiers, and from Early Traders to Stars of the Screen, Front Royal has seen it all. Plan a visit to Front Royal to explore even more of our history and find out what our exciting small town has in store for you!
It’s the scene of beautiful drives, exciting hikes, and stunning fall vistas. Its northern entrance station is located in Front Royal. It’s Shenandoah National Park. Views of the tree covered slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains are gorgeous from Shenandoah National Park in the fall. The leaf colors are slowly changing, putting on a fantastic display. All this beauty draws in the crowds, making October Shenandoah National Park’s busiest month. In honor of another beautiful fall in Shenandoah National Park, we’re taking a look at the history of this popular Virginia destination. Read on for five fun facts about the story of Shenandoah National Park.
1. Shenandoah National Park has a Different Story from the National Parks of the West
The earliest national parks sprung up on the federally owned lands of the west. They were based around preserving natural wonders for public enjoyment. Thus, the Grand Canyon, the geologic wonders and amazing wildlife of Yellowstone, and the towering rock faces of Yosemite were all obvious selections. In the 1920s, a committee was formedto select an area in the east so that those unable to travel to the west could still have a national park to enjoy. Thus, Shenandoah National Park and its sister park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park came to be.
2. Shenandoah National Park once had Human Inhabitants
Because Shenandoah National Park was created less organically than the parks of the west, the area chosen for the park already had private landholders and residents. One of the earliest stages in the process of building the park was purchasing privately owned land and evicting squatters who had lived on the land without owning it for generations. Some landowners and residents were happy to comply. Others resisted until they were forcibly evicted. In order to allay public uneasiness with this process, several reporters visited the area. They painted a picture of the mountain people as near-savages who would be better off resettled in more urban civilization. It now seems that these reports were exaggerated or even falsified. The U.S. government’s treatment of these mountain residents remains controversial to this day. Today, remains of the homes of these early inhabitants can still be seen at the park.
3. Many of Shenandoah National Park’s areas of Wilderness were Planted
Because Shenandoah National Park had been the site of human settlements, areas of the forests had been cleared for orchards, pastures, gardens, and human habitations. One of the jobs of the park’s builders was to destroy human habitations, orchards, and farmlands, and replant these areas with native species. A nursery was even established for this purpose at Big Meadows.
In 1933, President Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to provide work for young men and relieve the unemployment crisis of the Great Depression. The President established six CCC camps in Shenandoah National Park in 1933. These civilian workers completed much of the important work on the national park, including working on the park’s central roadway (Skyline Drive) as well as building trails, picnic sites, bathrooms, and more.
5. Skyline Drive was Meant to Give Travelers a Sense of Flying
When Shenandoah National Park was built, car travel was becoming popular, but airplane travel and skyscrapers were still uncommon. Driving along Skyline Drive, atop the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, was the closest many residents of the Eastern United States ever got to flying. With sweeping panoramas on either side, it’s easy to see why taking a spin along Skyline Drive makes you feel on top of the world!
With its northern entrance station in the town of Front Royal, Shenandoah National Park is a great fall destination. Enjoy an amazing fall adventure at the park, and don’t forget to check out delicious dining and exciting shopping in Front Royal on your way in or out.
The town of Front Royal may be small, but it’s anything but sleepy! With a full calendar of fantastic events, there’s always something exciting to do. Mark your calendar and make your plans to attend a fun-filled event in Front Royal this fall, starting this weekend! There’s something for everyone, from relaxing at a vineyard to throwing axes and stargazing. Check out Front Royal’s events calendar and see what’s in store for the glorious season of fall.
September 2022 in Front Royal: Cars, Music, Axes, and History
Front Royal’s fall events get started this weekend, with a jam-packed schedule of fun, education, music, and more.
First up, and lasting the whole weekend, the NCMTFC Tour is planned for the Front Royal area. If you happen to own an antique car, you’ll want to jump right in on this one. Imagine exploring the stunning Front Royal countryside by road, and taking your vehicle on the iconic Skyline Drive. With stops planned at fantastic Front Royal restaurants you’ll get to enjoy so much of what our town has to offer. This event is a great one for all car enthusiasts. If you’re not driving, check the itinerary and figure out where you can enjoy watching a parade of antique cars pass by!
On the afternoon of September 24, history lovers should head to Bel Air house at 2 p.m.. Enjoy a tour of this local historic home, along with readings from the diary of Civil War era resident, Lucy Buck.
In honor of Public Lands Day, National Parks are offering free admission on Saturday, September 24. Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. Take a hike, pack a picnic, go for a drive, and enjoy the day!
Find out more details here.
If Blues Music is your jam, make sure to be in the Front Royal area on September 24th. You can head to nearby Woodville and explore the John Jackson Piedmont Blues Music Festival. Spend the whole afternoon/evening relaxing with live music, book signings, food trucks, and more.
September 24th is also the date of the Shenandoah Valley Axe Company’s grand opening celebration. Axe throwing is a fresh new entertainment trend that we’re so excited to see in Front Royal. Help Shenandoah Valley Axe Company celebrate making a fresh beginning in a new Front Royal location. There’ll be live music, mud trucks, a knife throwing demonstration, and more. And, of course, you can try your own hand at axe throwing.
Wine lovers won’t want to miss with Sunset in the Vineyard event at Fox Meadow Winery on September 24th. Sip on into the evening until 9 pm at this gorgeous vineyard, and enjoy live music.
September is truly going out with a bang in Front Royal this year. After a weekend of fun, Front Royal residents should mark their calendars for the Civic Pride Workshop on September 27th. Noted speaker Jeff Siegler will help residents learn how to give the local community a boost.
October 2022 in Front Royal
October is a month when the crowds head to Front Royal to see the leaves change. Whether you live in Front Royal or are one of many planning a fall Front Royal trip this October, check out our events calendar to get the most from your time in Front Royal.
The annual Homesteaders of America Conference takes place at Warren County Fairgrouds October 7 and 8. Noted homesteading speakers such as Joel Salatin, Justin Rhodes, and Shawn and Beth Dougherty will teach attendees how to take more steps to raise, preserve, and prepare their own food. Homesteading is a fast growing movement, and you’ll find plenty to interest you whether your efforts at food production are confined to your kitchen or include a few acres and some livestock.
For thrills and fun, head to the Warren County airport for the Wings and Wheels event on the morning of October 8th. With planes, skydiving, cars, and more the Wings and Wheels event is a fun one for the whole family. Call 540-635-3570 for more information.
Front Royal has plenty of small-town festival fun in store this October, too. Head our way October 14th and 15th for the fiftieth annual Festival of Leaves. The excitement kicks off with a Friday night block party in Front Royal’s historic downtown. Come back any time on Saturday for fall festival fun, with craft vendors, live music, food drink, and family friendly activities.
Round your October out Front Royal’s Hometown Halloween celebration on October 29th. Enjoy an afternoon and evening of Halloween fun, with pumpkin painting, costumes, and more. Head back to Fox Meadow Winery in the evening for another Sunset in the Vineyard event.
With changing leaves, glorious fall colors, and fun events, fall is an exciting season in Front Royal. Mark your calendar so you don’t miss a moment in our favorite Shenandoah Valley small town!
Independence Day is an iconic American holiday, and a midsummer event that’s full of potential for adventuring and memory-making. With warm weather, schools on summer break, and tents full of fireworks everywhere, it’s not too hard to get in vacation mode whether you’re celebrating over a week, a long weekend, or just for the day. Front Royal has all you need to make Fourth of July glorious this year, no matter how you plan on celebrating. Read on for some ideas on celebrating Independence Day in the Front Royal area.
Plan a Back Country Camping Trip
What better way to celebrate independence than by reducing your dependence on modern conveniences for a weekend? Independence Day falls on a Monday in 2022, giving many of us a three day weekend. Take advantage of the opportunity for an extended break from work and get away from it all in the great outdoors. The Front Royal area has great options for backpacking and back country camping. Start with Shenandoah National Park, which has plenty of scope for adventure with over 196,000 acres of wilderness. Not sure where to start? Check out this list of back country trips in the park. They’re all categorized by level of difficulty so you can find something that’s exciting but not too much of a challenge to be safe or enjoyable. George Washington National Forest is another nearby area with primitive camping options that will provide peace and solitude and challenge experienced backpackers.
Want to spend a weekend camping, but not feeling ready for the adventure of the back country? Shenandoah National Park and George Washington National Forest both offer a range of camping options so most families and groups can find something to suit their wishes. For more camping ideas in the Front Royal area see here.
Enjoy the Front Royal Outdoors with Friends and Family
You may not have a whole weekend to plunge into a camping adventure, but spending a day of Fourth of July weekend outdoors with friends and family is still a great way to recharge and celebrate. Front Royal has so many opportunities for families and groups to enjoy themselves in the great outdoors. For epic relaxation and fun, plan a river trip in the Canoe Capital of Virginia.
If a river trip doesn’t suit, why not just get everyone together for a fun afternoon of lawn games and grilled food at Shenandoah River State Park’s riverside picnic area. You can enjoy wading or fishing from the banks, and relax with some lawn games in the shade. Or see here for loads more ideas of summertime fun that’s waiting in Front Royal.
Attend an Event in Front Royal
If you’re looking for a Fourth of July Party, Front Royal is a great place to be. The celebration starts on the evening of Friday July 1st, with fireworks at the NOVA 4-H Center. With food trucks and live music starting at five, followed by fireworks at nightfall, this FREE event is an evening of classic Fourth of July fun you won’t want to miss.
The Town of Front Royal presents, 'Let's Celebrate our Independence' on Sunday July 3! The day will begin with car show at Lindsay Chevrolet Front Royal from 12 - 4 p.m. and FREE Double Header with the Front Royal Cardinals at Bing Crosby Stadium. To top the day off, there will be a FIREWORKS SHOW after the 2nd game!
Come hang out at Mac's Roller Rink for their first annual summer fest! Featuring games, inflatables, face-paint, cookout with burgers/hotdogs, slip n slide, music, cornhole, fireworks, AND more!! A day for the whole family!
Kids wristbands $15. Supervising parents/adults are FREE.
Food Tickets $5 includes burger and drink or 2 hot dogs and drink.
Enjoy a day out and some summer fun for all ages!
On Fourth of July itself, find the party at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club. Enjoy an afternoon/evening of live music, DJ fun, an epic Slip N Slide, and a buffet of delicious food. Get your tickets here.
Whether you’re looking for family fun, fireworks, or a weekend in the great outdoors, Front Royal is the perfect small town to celebrate Fourth of July. Join us for adventure, excitement, and relaxation, and you’ll a Fourth of July that’ll leave you with great memories for years to come.
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