In 1860 Bessie & Andrew Low began to build a high-style Italianate, brick mansion named “Vint Hill” on their prosperous cattle and sheep farm. Throughout the Civil War, the Lows and their children (believed to be 15) flew the Union Jack flag, a symbol of neutrality, over the property to save their newly built home. In 1863, one known incident, the “Grapewood Encounter” broke this unspoken Civil War neutrality agreement. Colonel John S. Mosby and his rangers skirmished with Union forces near the back gate.
Rich in heritage, the property’s original farmhouse was remodeled and renamed, Silvermead, for the Low’s eldest son Douglas and his new bride, Marie in 1885. At the time, the newlyweds were conspicuously missing a kitchen, as Bessie Low preferred the young couple eat at the manor house.
Mitchell Harrison, a Philadelphia entrepreneur purchased Vint Hill in 1911. He renovated the mansion in 1916, converting the home to a Colonial Revival-style Country house, doubling its original size. The mansion became a hub of Fauquier County Society, with elegant parties for fashionable guests. Unprecedented in Fauquier County, Mr. Harrison modernized the farm into a premier country estate with purebred livestock.
During World War II, in June of 1942, the United States Army bought the farm and immediately the Second Signal Service Battalion began interception of enemy radio communication, establishing the country’s first “listening post” and intelligence training headquarters. It later became the Officers’ Club and Quarters and in 1992, the post commander made the facility a community club and renamed it “The Inn at Vint Hill.” The United States Vint Hill Farms Station was decommissioned in the late 1990s allowing the Inn to fall under private ownership. Today the community of Vint Hill offers a superior quality of life with the Inn as its centerpiece.
Historical Moments of Warrenton, Virginia
The settlement which would grow into the Town of Warrenton began as a cross roads at the junction of the Falmouth-Winchester and Alexandria-Culpeper roads, where a trading post called the Red Store was located.
In the 1790s, a courthouse was built in the area, and the location was known as Fauquier Courthouse.
The Town of Warrenton was incorporated on January 5, 1810, and named for General Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary War hero. Richard Henry Lee donated the land for the county seat.
In 1909, a fire destroyed almost half the structures in the town, and was halted with dynamite, which was used to create a firebreak to stop the flames from spreading.
In 1951, the federal government established the Warrenton Training Center just outside of Warrenton. The center is a secret Central Intelligence Agency communications facility, which also houses an underground relocation bunker containing communications infrastructure to support continuity of government in the event of a nuclear attack on Washington, DC.
A bypass route around the town was built in the early 1960s, which attracted restaurants, gas stations, and shopping centers, but also drew businesses away from the center of town.
In 2007, Mayor George B. Fitch proposed providing all of the town's energy by processing methane from a local landfill.
The Warrenton Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Other listings include Brentmoor, Dakota, Hopefield, Loretta, Monterosa, North Wales, The Oaks, the Old Fauquier County Jail, and Yorkshire House.
Historical People in Warrenton, Virginia
John S. Horner, Secretary of Wisconsin Territory and Acting Governor of Michigan Territory, was born in Warrenton.
John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was from nearby Germantown, Virginia modern-day Midland.
Colonel John S. Mosby made raids in the town during the Civil War and later made it his home and practiced law in Warrenton.
The Warren Green Hotel building hosted many famous people including Marquis de Lafayette, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, President Theodore Roosevelt, and divorcée Wallis Simpson. General McClellan bade farewell to his officers on November 11, 1862 from the steps of the Hotel. It now hosts some offices of the Fauquier County Government.