Dumfries The Oldest Chartered Town in Virginia.

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marketing Specialist for CJ Realty Group/Cindy Jones Broker

Virginia's Oldest Chartered City
Most people think Old Town Alexandria is Virginia's oldest chartered town but they would be wrong. As you drive down Route 1 between Woodbridge and Quantico you pass through an area known as Dumfries. It doesn't seem much like a historic area but it is.

However chartered one day before Old Town on May 11, 1749, Dumfries was a thriving cultural and commerce center in its time. Founded by Scottish merchants, the town had large tobacco warehouses and was the second largest port in the colonies only surpassed by Boston. Dumfries was also known as a cultural center with theaters, race tracks and artisans.

When historians talk about thriving port cities of the 1700's they mention Boston, Charleston and Alexandria but not Dumfries. Perhaps part of the reason is because today there is no port. Try as hard as you would like but you won't find any remnants of the port and in fact as you are driving on Route 1 you are actually driving where the port used to be. For reasons that are still unclear in the early nineteenth century silt began filling the port making it unusable.

There are plenty of new waterfront developments being built close to the Dumfries area in eastern Prince William County so perhaps in a 21st century way the town will regain some of the glory of the past.


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Shannon Lewis
Beringer Realty - Champaign, IL
Realtor, Broker - Champaign-Urbana, IL

Pat, I love that whole area of Virginia around D.C. for all the history. What an intriguing story Dumfries has!

Sep 13, 2011 07:28 AM #1
Pat Fenn
Marketing Specialist for CJ Realty Group/Cindy Jones Broker - Springfield, VA

Shannon-it's a surprise to many people who think Alexandria is the oldest city in our area.

Sep 13, 2011 11:39 AM #2
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