Long known as the “Apple Capital”, Winchester and Frederick County once served as Shawnee Indian camping grounds to which Pennsylvania Quakers came to settle in 1732. The town was originally named Frederick Town, after Frederick, father of George III of England and renamed Winchester in 1752 in honor of the ancient English capital.
The “Great Washington” used the area as a military and political training ground, arriving at the age of sixteen to survey the lands of Thomas the Sixth of Fairfax. He was elected to his first public office while here and served as the county’s representative to the House of Burgesses. During the Revolutionary War local residents were among the first to come to Washington’s aid against the British while prisoners were housed in the neighboring countryside.>
The War Between The States brought considerable recognition to the region that possessed excellent roads to the north, South and east. Union supply lines for armies trying to reach Richmond were seriously threatened as they passed through this heart of the Confederacy. As a result of its strategic importance, Winchester and Frederick County became the scene of six major battles and the city itself changed flags around seventy times during the four year contest, it is said thirteen times in one day.
Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson headquartered on North Braddock Street in Winchester in 1861-62 and also enjoyed the companionship of his wife for the last winter of his life here. Additionally, just a few blocks away one will find the headquarters of Union General Philip Sheridan from which he started his 12 mile ride on October 19, 1864 to rally his retreating army at Cedar Creek.
Winchester and surrounding communities offer visitors a wonderful array of fascinating sites and events from the from past to present; from the early Indian occupation to the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival held in early May of each year attended by over 250,000; from the activities of the Revolutionary War to the closing days of the War Between the States.
Winchester has tastefully restored and renovated its downtown historic district to provide any visitor with a step back in time complete with courtyard seating along bricked streets and a variety of shops and eating establishments that will satisfy the desires of all comers. It’s no wonder this location is a perfect venue for “A Gathering of Eagles”