Just a short 35 minute drive to Dulles International Airport, Warrenton is right in the middle of all the action and smack in the heart of the famous Virginia’s horse country. A one hundred percent urban town with a population of 9,803, according to City Data, this little town is growing and thriving yet has still managed to hold true to its historic roots.
The Town of Warrenton website explains that town’s history goes all the way back to 1790 when a court house and jail were built at a junction connecting Falmouth-Winchester and Alexandria-Culpepper roads where once stood Red Store, a trading post.
Named for a hero of the Revolutionary War, General Joseph Warren, Warrenton became a bustling little town. In 1810, the Town of Warrenton was incorporated when 71 acres of land were donated by Richard Henry Lee for the county seat.
The Old Courthouse and Old Jail now house the Fauquier Historical Society.
These buildings are now a museum displaying an Indian artifacts collection, Colonel John S. Mosby exhibit and a revolutionary era Civil War exhibit. According to the Warrenton website, the original cells remain as does the prisoner exercise yard. The Old Jail is one of a handful of old jails in the Commonwealth that have been perfectly preserved.
Another popular landmark, according to the Warrenton website, is the Chief Justice John Marshall statue. Erected in 1959, the statue resides on Main Street near the Old Courthouse. Justice Marshall was a native of Fauquier County and Warrenton was where he began his career. When the Civil War came to a close, Warrenton hit the map, known nationwide as a mecca for brilliant lawyer.
It also became known as a paradise for horse lovers. The Warrenton Hunt was established in 1883 and the Warrenton Horse Show was established in 1900. The Virginia Gold cup Race was first run in 1922 and the horse industry only grew from there.
Whether you visit Warrenton for the history or the horses, you won’t be disappointed. Regardless of why you go, take a moment to take a stroll along the brick sidewalks, have a cup of coffee at a cafe and chat with the locals and when the Old Courthouse strikes the hour, take a moment to listen to the echoes of history.