The settlement of the area that is now Bluemont began in the 1770s when a connection was made between the old Winchester Pike, which led from Loudoun to Winchester via Keyes' (Vestals) Gap, and the Colchester Road which ran from the port of Colchester to Winchester via Snickers Gap (named after Edward Snickers, who operated a ferry across the nearby Shenandoah River).
The new connector road greatly reduced the distance one had to travel to get to Winchester from points east along the Winchester Pike and quickly became widely used. At the intersection of these two roads (present day Clayton Hall Road and Snickersville Turnpike) a small community began to develop, centered around the home of William Clayton, Clayton Hall, and the dependencies he built for his farm at the gap. The settlement was christened Snickers' Gap in 1807 when a post office was established there.
Seventeen years later, in 1826, the town was incorporated by the General Assembly as Snickersville, though it would take another six years for the post office there to change its name. The completion of the Leesburg and Snickers Gap Turnpike in 1832 (present day Virginia State Highway 7) brought new prosperity and prestige to the community, and the last major growth it would see for the next half-century. Despite the strategic importance of Snickers' Gap during the Civil War, Snickersville saw surprisingly little action save the coming and going of the armies through the gap. The only major action in the town was one of eight small partisan skirmishes in the area which took place May 23, 1864, when 14 Confederates surprised and routed 22 Federals resting in the town.
In 1875, the Washington and Ohio Railroad, which began in Alexandria, was extended to Round Hill. The lure of the Blue Ridge some four miles west prompted a livery service to run from Snickersville to Round Hill to pick up travelers and take to them to one of the several hotels that began to spring up in and about the town. By 1900, the success of the resorts in the vicinity of Snickersville, including Jules DeMonet's Blue Ridge Inn at Bear's Den, prompted the Southern Railway (which had acquired the Washington & Ohio's route) to extend its tracks to the town, which became the final western terminus of line. The extension permitted the steam railroad's passengers to travel to the base of the Blue Ridge from a terminal in Washington, D.C.
To promote the resort nature of the town, the railroad petitioned the United States Postal Service to change the name of the town to Bluemont. The Postal Service acquiesced to this request on September 7, 1900. The zenith of the town came in 1908, when its population peaked at 200.
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Data last updated: Apr 4, 2020 4:55:am.