We moved to the area of Front Royal Virginia last summer and slowly we are learning our way, and learning the rich history of the area. I am struck by this illustration, which, while it depicts a certain civil war conflict, also depicts the fields and mountains of the Blue Ridge in the distance. In modern day, you can drive the ridge on Skyline Drive which begins in Front Royal. Last week, high winds, dry winter conditions, and some human errors, combined to cause wild fires. I first spotted plumes of smoke coming from the mountain tops as I drove home from the grocery store Valentine weekend. Now, almost three weeks later the fires are under control or out. The mountains are heavily wooded, and I was told that during the depression era, most of the mountains were clear cut for firewood to burn for homes cooking and heat, and power factories. I don’t know how true that is, but it is true, I don’t see many ancient trees. I hope to verify that and learn more about the native trees and plants of the area.
Illustration above: “Front Royal, Manassas Gap Railroad, Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance-the Federal army entering the town. Front Royal is situated on the Manassas Gap Railroad, on the banks of the Shenandoah, is ten miles from Strasburg and fifty-one miles from Manassas Junction. General Banks, at the head of his troops, dashed down the mountain and through the romantic village of Front Royal, which resounded with the rumble of wagons and clatter of hoofs, mingled with the music of the church bells calling to morning service. Hastening on toward the scene of conflict, to his surprise he brought up against his own pickets, and found that, instead of his own column, Fremont was upon the enemy.”— Frank Leslie, 1896, in Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War Graphic Copyright: 2009, Florida Center for Instructional Technology.