If you’re looking for a lesson in Virginia history with a side of small town community, look no further than Palmyra’s Walking History Tour. Recently updated to ensure accuracy and authenticity by the Palmyra Area Revitalization Committee, this insightful tour is a love letter to Fluvanna’s roots.
The tour begins in Civil War Park, which features a granite monument dedicated by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1901. Accompanying the monument are two Union Civil War cannons added in 1909, and a large granite stone and plaque dedicated to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
Following the Green Tour to the Village Center, visitors will see Fluvanna County’s Courthouse, which had originally been the site of Reverend Walker Timberlake’s home, built in 1825. Further down the street, the tour highlights a building affectionately named Maggie’s House, built in 1854. The building was named after the deputy sheriff’s wife, Mrs. William “Maggie” Conrad, who cooked food for the prisoners in the jail next door during the 1950’s. Today, Maggie’s House is home to the Fluvanna Historical Society and archives, which is open to the public.
The former Fluvanna County Courthouse is another notable stop on the Green Tour. Designed by John Hartwell Cocke and supervised by Reverend Walker Timberlake, this building is one of few antebellum courthouses still in its original form, with no additions or alterations to the inside. During the Civil War this building acted as an operating room.
Moving on to the Blue Tour through the River District, you will find the recreational Rail Trail, on the bed of the Virginia Airline Railroad, which was active from 1908 to 1975.
In 1824, the General Assembly granted Reverend Walker Timberlake permission to build a covered bridge over the Rivanna River. The bridge was completed four years later on stone piers, which are still standing today. In 1930, the Highway Department burned the bridge and updated it with a modern steel truss bridge, which has since been replaced.
Finally, on the Red Tour through the North End, you will find the site of Connie Haden Street’s Millinery Shop. Street employed an African American woman named Callie Gallery to work in her shop, and the two became lifelong friends, attending the Methodist Church together. After her passing, Street left her 1908 home to Gallery, who remained a parishioner of the church.
The final stop on the North End is the Village Park, owned by the Fluvanna Historical Society. A few yards north is the National Historic Register District.
There are many more stops on the Palmyra Walking History Tour and the best way to experience them is to plan your own visit!