Amissville VA - Post Civil War

The 1870s found the village recovering from the war with its first school house and founding of the Bethel Baptist, one of the area's first Black churches. In 1800 Amissville contained three churches (adding the Episcopal Church), a distiller, a hotel, two merchants, two physicians, a sawmill, Hinson's grist/flour mill, and 14 surrounding farms.

At the turn of the century Amissville's population was over 150 and growing slowly. A regular bus service established between Luray and Warrenton used Amissville's Hackley's Store as a rest stop and driver change point. The village's structures now spread along both sides of Viewtown Road and what would become Lee Highway, an improvement of the route pushed by the "Good Roads" movement and designed as a "National Road" from New York City to San Francisco. A quarry south of the village supplied materials for the construction.

The opening of Skyline Drive made Amissville a major stop for tourist traffic as Lee Highway was one of its primary access routes from Washington DC. However, the same highway and attraction which had stimulated the growth of the village also had a major impact on it when in the 1970s the old two-lane road was targeted for expansion to four lanes. It was presented as a solution to the traffic backups, particularly in the fall, which often extended from the National Park past Amissville. Unfortunately, it also caused the buildings on the northern side of the village, many over 100 years old, to be lost or displaced. It was possible to purchase any structure in the path of the new lanes for $1.00 as long as you moved it within 30 days!

Today, Amissville is too often missed in a blur by passers-by traveling at 55 mph to other destinations. It retains, however, its rural village character and heritage. Amissville contains a community, a heritage, and a character that is becoming unique in the northern Virginia area.


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