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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

053-5116 Willisville Historic District

Willisville Historic District
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 09/19/2019

Surrounded by farmsteads, woodlands, and open vistas, the Willisville Historic District encompasses a rural village that was settled by African Americans prior to and after the Civil War in Loudoun County, where approximately 30 African American communities once existed in the 1800s. A tight-knit community, Willisville stretches along the unpaved Welbourne Road, a one-time 1740 boundary line between two Lord Fairfax land grants. Most Willisville lots follow their original 19th century property lines. The village includes eleven historically contributing vernacular dwellings, some constructed of log and stone during the late 19th century by freedmen, with 20th century additions erected as fortunes and families grew. Also contributing to the district are a chapel (1924), store (ca. 1922-1924), and a schoolhouse (1921, enlarged 1934), as well as two cemeteries and two barns. Some descendants of the village’s founding families retain ownership of lots. During the early 20th century, as the county’s agricultural economy grew, many villagers worked as farm laborers, gardeners, or butlers and chauffeurs serving the white owners of prosperous farmsteads, located within walking distance to Willisville. Today, Willisville, along with the village of Howardsville, stands as a unique and distinct historical vestige of African American architecture and culture within Loudoun County.


Abbreviations:
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated September 19, 2019