An Early History of Appomattox, VA

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The abuse attorneys of Appomattox are the sponsors of this article. Discover the Town of Appomattox and learn all about its history.

History of Appomattox

Appomattox is a town and county seat of Appomattox County, Virginia. Part of the Lynchburg Metropolitan Statistical Area, it was named after the Appomattox River, which was named after the Appomattoc Native American tribe who once lived east of the current town. However, the town was originally named Nebraska in 1885. Forty years later, its name was changed to West Appomattox.

During the American Civil War, the town was a stop on the Southside Railroad (now the Norfolk Southern Railroad) going between Petersburg and Lynchburg. Located three miles to the west of the historic village of Appomattox Court House, the area was also the site where Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. Because of this surrender on April 9, 1865, slavery finally ended in the southern states. In 1892, the Appomattox Court House was relocated to the Town of Appomattox after the original building was destroyed in a fire. In 1894, the town became the county seat.

Today, Appomattox has a total area of 2.2 square miles. As of the 2010 census, its population is 1,733 people. The main roads serving the area are Richmond Highway (U.S. Route 460), Old Courthouse Road (Virginia Route 24), Confederate Boulevard, and Red House Road (Virginia Route 727).

Learn more about the History of Fort Lee, Virginia.

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park

The Appomattox Court House National Historical Park was established in 1935 as a preserved 1800s village of Appomattox County. It features the Old Appomattox Court House, the Wilmer McLean House where Robert E. Lee officially surrendered, a number of restored buildings, ruins, and cemeteries. On October 15, 1966, the park was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). On July 6, 1971, it was designated on the Virginia Landmarks Register (VLR). Every April, a luminary ceremony is held at the park to commemorate the 4,600 slaves that were freed in Appomattox County.

Appomattox River Bridge

The Appomattox River Bridge was designed to commemorate the end of the Civil War. Built in 1930, it featured stylized designs of the Union's stars and stripes flags and the Confederate battle flag. Located in the Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, it was added to the NRHP and designated on the VLR in 2005.

Appomattox Historic District

The Appomattox Historic District is a national historic district in the Town of Appomattox. It encompasses 297 buildings, six structures and three objects in Courthouse Square, the Appomattox depot, the commercial district around the railroad tracks, and the residential areas. Notable buildings in the district are:

  • The Appomattox Courthouse
  • Appomattox County Jail
  • Bank of Appomattox
  • "The Nebraska House"
  • County Office Building
  • Appomattox Pentecostal Holiness Church
  • Appomattox Middle School
  • Knickerbocker Hotel

In 2001, the Appomattox Historic District was designated on the VLR. On May 16, 2002, it was added to the NRHP.

Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center

The Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center was built in 1937 by workers of the Works Progress Administration as the WPA camp. However, the camp was not put to use until the 4-H Club took it over in 1941. To date, the camp has expanded and is being leased from the State Department of Forestry. Situated in the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest, it is also referred to as the Surrender Grounds Forest and Holiday Lake 4-H Camp. The Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center was listed on the NRHP in 2011. Prior to that, it was designated on the VLR in 2010.

Holiday Lake State Park

Also located in the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest, the Holiday Lake State Park sits adjacent to the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center. It is one of four recreational areas that were developed by the Virginia Division of Forestry, which is now the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. The park features a 150-acre manmade lake where visitors love fishing at, Picnic Shelter #1, the Dam, Spillway, Bridge and Lake, Wellhouse, and more.

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