History
& Heritage

Grasping the stories of the past is a sensory process. Sifting the soil for artifacts makes history a tactile experience. Walking the same hallways as America’s founders affirms the steps ahead. Orange County embraces its role in the American narrative—and illuminates it in a meaningful way.

Museums

Carver 4-County Museum

From 1948 to 1968, George Washington Carver Regional High School was the secondary school educating African American students in the four-county region. The museum celebrates the contributions of its groundbreaking students, faculty and administrators.

9432 James Madison Highway (Rt 15)
Rapidan, VA 23373
(540) 547-2530

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Orange County Historical Society

The Orange County Historical Society illuminates the past for present enjoyment.

130 Caroline Street
Orange, VA 22960
(540) 672-5366

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The James Madison Museum of Orange County Heritage

Celebrating Orange County’s historic footprint, exhibitions honor the people and places that paved the way for America today.

129 Caroline Street
Orange, VA 22960
(540) 672-1776

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Exchange Hotel and Civil War Museum

Originally built as a hotel in 1860, this architectural gem became a receiving hospital for 70,000 soldiers from the Union and the Confederate armies. It is Virginia’s only Civil War Receiving Hospital standing today.

400 South Main Street
Gordonsville, VA 22942
(540) 832-2944

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James Madison’s Montpelier

The home of James Madison, father of the Constitution and architect of the Bill of Rights, is a gleaming national treasure. From guided tours to galleries, family experiences to expansive walking trails, Montpelier delivers history and hands-on fun.

11350 Constitution Highway
Montpelier Station, VA 22957
(540) 672-2728

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Audibert Tours

Phil Audibert is an enthusiastic historian who conducts local history tours. Offerings include tours of Civil War battlefields, heritage sites and historic downtowns.

(540) 832-3509

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Historical Sites

Wilderness Battlefield

Part of the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, the Wilderness Battlefield recalls the tragic cost of the Civil War. Visitors may walk the trails, take driving tours and visit battle sites.

35347 Constitution Highway
Locust Grove, VA 22160
(540) 693-3200

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Orange Historical Commercial District

Spanning Orange’s heritage from a courthouse town to a modern commercial center, the Orange Historical Commercial District features public, religious and business structures with architectural flair.

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Orange Train Station

In the early 1900s, railroads revolutionized commerce across America. Built in 1910, the Orange Train Station served and sustained the county in a powerful way. Passenger service was discontinued in the 1970’s, but the Colonial Revival-style building remains a worthy stop, as it’s home to the Orange County Visitors Center.

122 East Main Street
Orange, VA 22960
(540) 672-1653

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Orange County Courthouse

Constructed in 1859, this Italianate-style courthouse is famed for its central three-stage tower with overhanging eaves. 

130 West Main Street
Orange, VA 22960

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Fort Germanna Visitor Center

Located near the Germanna Fort close to the Rapidan River, the Visitor Center, library, museum and memorial garden honor the first German immigrants settling in Virginia in 1714.

2062 Germanna Highway (Rt 3)
Locust Grove, VA 22508
(540) 423-1700

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Ellwood Manor

Located on the Wilderness Battlefield, Ellwood Manor served as the headquarters for the right wing of the Union Army. The home and grounds feature exhibits of interest to all ages.

36380 Constitution Highway (Rt 20)
Locust Grove, VA 22508
(540) 786-2880

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Barboursville Ruins

This stately mansion, designed by Thomas Jefferson for Governor James Barbour, was leveled by a fire on Christmas Day, 1884. Preserved as a historic landmark, the ruins stand among the vines at Barboursville Vineyards.

17655 Winery Road
Barboursville, VA 22923
(540) 832-3824

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Orange County
Up Close

The Wilderness Battlefield spans over
2,700 acres

Montpelier’s 8 miles
of trails feature wildflower meadows, wildlife and mountain views.

In its heyday,
the Barboursville mansion (now the Barboursville Ruins) had its own racetrack.

Related
Topics

Step Into History: Introduction

Featured | history / May 1st, 2020

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Step Into History: Germanna Foundation

Featured | history / May 1st, 2020

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