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!
The Shenandoah Valley is probably most famous for its Civil War history. But to those who know and love the beauty and natural fertility of this area, it should come as no surprise that the Shenandoah Valley had human inhabitants well before Europeans arrived. In honor of these fascinating early peoples, we’ve rounded up six fun facts on the Native American History of the Shenandoah Valley.
1. There’s a Lot We Don’t Know about Native American History
This is more of a non-fact than a fact, but it’s important to keep in mind! Native Americans aren’t the easiest people to learn about. They lived quite a long time ago, and they left behind few remains for our historians to find. The Native Americans were often nomadic people whose relationship with the natural world seems to have been one of great respect. They made an effort to leave little impact on the natural systems of which they were a part. However, they did leave some traces of their presence, including pottery shards and burial mounds. Some of the more permanently settled Native American groups also left behind evidence of villages and food storage systems.
2. The Keyser People were among the more settled inhabitants of the Shenandoah Valley
The Keyser people were a group of Native Americans believed to have immigrated to the Shenandoah Valley from the Ohio valley. They seem to have enjoyed a more farm-based and stable culture than some of their hunter-gatherer counterparts, and left traces of large villages of up to 200 inhabitants. Artifacts of shellfish and quartz suggest that the Keyser people were also importing goods from coastal and other regions. It is believed that they exported deer hides from the Shenandoah Valley. Remains of a Keyser village have been discovered near Front Royal.
3. There were tensions between hunter/gatherer and farming tribes
It is believed that the Iroquois, whose culture was based primarily on hunting and gathering, may have been responsible for emptying the Shenandoah Valley of its Native American farmers and villages. These hunter-gatherers thrived in lands otherwise devoid of human settlers. They may have forcibly removed the villagers, whose settlements threatened their own way of life.
4. Native Americans blazed the trail for some modern day Shenandoah Valley roads
It was buffalo, and the Native Americans hunting them, who originally formed the trail that would become Virginia’s Route 11. Running north and south through the Shenandoah Valley, Route 11 closely parallels the busier and less scenic I-81. Whether on the highway or the byway, many modern travelers through the valley are following a Native American route more or less closely.
5. Native Americans formed a complex trail system in the Valley
Native Americans traveled the Shenandoah Valley for many purposes. Hunting, trade, warfare, and the search for the best seasonal forage areas were among their many reasons for travel. Their journeys eventually formed a system of trails known as the Great Warrior Path.
6. Visitors can see Native American Artifacts at the Strasburg Museum
The Strasburg Museum is found in Front Royal’s neighboring town of Strasburg. It’s a fascinating historic building, and a treasure trove of local history. You’ll find Virginia history since the time of the Colonial Era here. If you’re interested in finding out more about the first known human inhabitants of the Shenandoah Valley, you can see Native American artifacts too.
The story of the Native American inhabitants of the Shenandoah Valley is a fascinating, and often overlooked part of the Valley’s history. But exploring the Shenandoah Valley with these facts about its earliest human inhabitants in mind can provide a thrilling new perspective on one of Virginia’s most beautiful landscapes.
Winter is probably the least enticing time of year for venturing outdoors, yet it’s important for your physical and mental health to keep some kind of outdoor activity going through the winter. The good news is that the Front Royal area is a great place to get outdoors all year long. Whether you made a New Year’s resolution to spend more time outdoors, or are simply looking for a breath of fresh air to clear your head this winter, read on. We have six great tips for enjoying being outside around Front Royal all year long.
1. Plan Ahead
If it’s hard for you to take that first step out of your door on a cold day, planning specific outdoor adventure that you’ll enjoy is a good way to overcome this mental block. Whether you decide to take a ten minute walk around your neighborhood, or head to Shenandoah National Park for an afternoon of adventure, you’re more likely to get out there if you know what you’re going to do, and how long (or short!) it’s going to take.
2. Find a Buddy
Having some accountability can make all the difference if you’re on the fence about whether to leave your cozy home on a winter’s day. Find a friend (furry friend is good too!) who’s also committed to getting more outdoor time and make them your winter buddy. If you’ve set a time to meet up, you’re much more likely to go. Or make it a date and have your accountability partner be your spouse or significant other.
3. Be Realistic About What You’ll Enjoy
The beginning of a New Year is a classic time for making unachievable resolutions and ending up frustrated and depressed. If you’re excited about a resolution to get outdoors more, make sure it’s a realistic one. You’re more likely to succeed at something you genuinely enjoy. If you’re not much of an outdoor adventurer during the rest of the year, don’t plan on a five mile hike once a week in the winter. The good news is there a lots of ways to get outdoors in the winter. Just step outside and look around! Front Royal has some amazing views! A window-shopping walk down Front Royal’s Main Street could be a great option. Or if you have kids, plan a trip to one of Front Royal’s fantastic parks. On the other hand, if you already love to hike, planning some winter adventures might be a great way to keep enjoying the outdoors during the cold season.
4. Dress Appropriately
Having warm enough clothes can make a huge difference to your enjoyment of a winter outing. Warm socks, a hat, and gloves, are all key items to help retain body heat. And you’ll need a good warm coat too, of course. For all your winter clothing needs, check out Mountain Trails on Front Royal’s Main Street.
5. Make the Most of Winter Weather Conditions
If the weather’s snowy, it may be unsafe to drive, but you have a great chance to try some winter sports that can’t be enjoyed under any other conditions. Enjoy the stillness and the sights of a snowy walk around your neighborhood, build snowmen in your backyard, or venture a little further to find a sledding hill (Front Royal’s Skyline Middle School has one that’s a local favorite!). If the roads are clear, you could head to Shenandoah National Park and try snowboarding, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing for even more snowy excitement.
6. Reward Yourself with a Treat
Once the chill wears off, we hope you’ll find that the outdoors in winter is so enjoyable that you don’t need any other special treats to help get yourself outside. But if you’re in the camp of those who still aren’t excited about it, reward the extra effort you’re making with a little treat. You could buy (or make) yourself a cup of your favorite hot drink to sip on while you walk or watch your kids at the park. You could enjoy your favorite baked goods when you get home. Or promise yourself a beer and burger as you warm up and refuel from that epic winter hike. Getting outdoors in the winter isn’t always easy. If you’ve risen to the challenge you deserve a reward!
Getting outside in the winter can be more difficult than in any other season. Use these tips to make sure you keep on getting outside this winter. You’ll enjoy the benefits of better health and a better mood all winter long.
Fishing can be relaxing, rewarding, thrilling, or extremely frustrating! But the addictive lure of this sport keeps anglers coming back time and time again. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and immerse yourself in nature, while even (perhaps!) putting some food on the table. With spring temperatures slowly rising and fish becoming more active, now’s a great time to start dreaming about that trophy catch . . . and planning out some fishing spots to hit this season. With the Shenandoah River running right through town, Front Royal boasts loads of exciting fishing opportunities. Read on for our handy guide to fishing around Front Royal. You’ll find some local favorite fishing spots, as well as ideas for making the most out of fishing in Front Royal.
Front Royal’s Favorite Fishing Spots
It’s not too hard to catch sight of the Shenandoah River in Front Royal, but finding an access point where fishing is allowed can be more of a challenge. A great place to start is Eastham Park, where the Boat Launch area provides public access to the river. Morgans Ford Boat Landing is another popular public access point. As the river flows by here, it’s shallow enough for wading, and the boat landing is a popular spot for local fishermen of all ages.
It won’t put you on the banks of the Shenandoah River, but the Gertrude E. Miller Community Park in town is a fun pick for a family fishing trip. With a stocked stretch of Happy Creek running through the park, it’s often possible to get some bites, especially if you arrive not too long after the stocking truck! With playgrounds, the town swimming pool, picnic shelters, and more all close by, you can plan a fishing day at the park that everyone will love.
If you drive a little bit out of town, you’ll find two more easy-to-access fishing spots on the Shenandoah River. Shenandoah River State Park is a wonderful place to fish. With 5.2 miles of river frontage at the park, you’ll find access from secluded trails, as well as from a large riverside picnic area. Or head to Front Royal’s neighboring town of Strasburg and access the river from the Town Park there. You’ll find yet another boat landing and public riverside area where you can throw in your line.
For lake fishing, explore nearby Lake Frederick, where you’ll find a stocked lake that’ll give you a good chance of reeling in some bass.
If you’re looking for more of a fishing challenge, head to Shenandoah National Park or George Washington National Forest. Both of these famed outdoor destination have opportunities to enjoy the adventure of fishing for trout small mountain streams. They are especially sought after destinations for lovers of fly fishing.
Shenandoah River Fishing Trips
The Shenandoah River is a beloved smallmouth bass fishing destination, and you may want to do more than fish from the bank. If so, why not book a fishing trip with Front Royal Outdoors? You can spend a relaxing day enjoying the river, and have access to many more fish than you would from a shore fishing spot.
Already own a boat? Use this map of Front Royal’s boat landings to plan your own fishing trip. Or if you have a boat but need a buddy to pick you up downriver, why not take advantage of Downriver Canoe Company’s shuttle service?
Spending a Fishing Weekend in Front Royal
For enthusiastic fishermen looking to spend a full weekend on their favorite hobby, finding a place to stay near the river can be a dream come true. We have you covered there too. Check out Low Water Bridge Campgrounds for a fun campsite that’s right on the Shenandoah River. If you’re looking for a river trip, you can rent kayaks, canoes, and tubes here too. For RV campers, Twin Rivers RV Campground is another great option. Or head to Elizabeth Furnace Campground in George Washington National Forest, and enjoy family friendly fishing and camping on the banks of scenic Passage Creek.
Looking for something a little more comfortable than a campsite? Rolling River Holidays may have the lodging you’ve been dreaming about. This family-owned-and-operated vacation home company has several gorgeous homes in Virginia’s farmland available to choose from, and many of them include access to the riverfront. Book with Rolling River Holidays and enjoy a vacation on the Shenandoah River with your family or friends (and lots of time to fish included!).
Front Royal’s Licensing and Harvest Regulations
There’s nothing that can spoil a fishing trip like getting a ticket (except maybe not getting any bites!). Don’t forget that if you plan on exploring one of Front Royal’s public fishing spots, you’ll need to make sure you’re carrying the appropriate fishing license for the State of Virginia. If you plan on bringing your catch home, also make sure you’re aware of the specific harvest regulations for the location where you’re fishing.
Front Royal awaits as the destination for your Shenandoah River fishing trip. With a wide choice of river access points, riverside lodging, and fun river trips awaiting, it’s a great starting point to plan an adventure in the famed smallmouth bass waters of the Shenandoah River.
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