drawing of goose creek bridge

Links:

Trees at the bridge

Birds seen

Aerial view of the bridge

Map of bridge

 

Save the Bridge

The Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club is a member of the Garden Club of Virginia and the Garden Club of America and is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Funds need to be raised to ensure the maintenance and preservation of this historic and scenic area. Please help support this work by making a tax-deductible contribution to:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...............................................................drawing by E. A. Moran

 

The Goose Creek Bridge

This beautiful structure is one of the last four arched stone bridges left in Virginia. It was built about 1801-1803, during President Thomas Jefferson's first term in office, as part of the Ashby Gap Turnpike. The Turnpike was a privately funded improved road that greatly facilitated our country's western reach for expansion.

A toll house stood just east of the bridge with posted rates of three cents for a horse, six cents for a riding cart, twelve cents for a carriage and from three to seven cents for a wagon depending upon the width of its wheels. Drovers paid six cents for a score of hogs or sheep and twelve cents for a score of cattle. Today the bridge sits as a monument to the past and is a registered historic landmark of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The bridge became a major choke point during the opening phase of the Battle of Upperville fought on June 21, 1863. Union General Alfred Pleasanton had been assigned the task of taking his 7,000 cavalrymen west along the Ashby Gap Turnpike to the Shenandoah Valley in order to report on the whereabouts of General R. E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia which was believed to be there and heading for a possible invasion of the North. Facing Pleasanton's cavalry was the cavalry force under Confederate General J. E. B. Stuart whose job was to delay the enemy and ultimately prevent him from crossing into the Shenandoah Valley. Dismounted Confederate cavalrymen and two batteries of artillery held the hill to the west while two artillery batteries, cavalry and infantry held the high ground to the east. An artillery duel raged for over an hour with dreadful effect and finally the Federal forces attacked down the steep embankment to cross Goose Creek and ultimately force the Confederates to retire to the next high ground to the west. General Stuart's stand held the Federals at bay for over two hours and gave him the time needed to consolidate his cavalry just east of Upperville. After the war, Loudoun and Fauquier Counties shared the expense of repairing the bridge.

The bridge is 212 feet long and 23 feet wide and carried traffic until 1957 when Route 50 was straightened and the bridge was abandoned. This site has become extremely popular with hundreds of visitors from all part of the world signing the guest book each year. Their comments tell that they have come individually or with school groups, Civil War tours, Civil War re-enactors, horticultural tours, bicycling or motorcycling tours. They include canoeists and even some researching historian and bridge aficionados. As part of the Mosby Heritage Area, the bridge is a frequent stop on the Virginia Civil War Trails as well as a featured stop on both the Prelude to Gettysburg audiotape tour and the Upperville Trinity Church Hunt Country Stable Tour.

The Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club, custodian of the bridge since 1976, has undertaken extensive restoration work to preserve this historic structure. The stone work has been repointed, the arches strengthened and the deck resealed. A scenic overlook has been built and historic markers erected for visitor interpretation.

Senator John Warner generously donated the twelve-acre meadow along the creek to The Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club and it has been placed into scenic easement. Work is ongoing to insure the view of the Bridge remains much as it was 200 years ago. There are paths and labeled plant material, along with bird houses for some of the 54 bird species that have been sited thus far. In celebration of the Centennial of the Garden Club of America in 2013, Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club has planted and labeled 19 different trees native to the Piedmont Region, including the Virginia Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus), Tupelo/Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica), White Oak (Quercus alba), Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), Service Berry (Amelanchier arborea), Common Hackberry, (Celtis occidentalis) and Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana), making the area a learning laboratory for the many visitors each year.