For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF
VLR Listing Date 12/10/2015
NRHP Listing Date 02/02/2016
NRHP Reference Number 15001047
The Natural Bridge Historic District tells the story of the commercial development of the resort and tourist area surrounding the Natural Bridge landform, which is a National Historic Landmark. The district’s period of significance spans from around 1740 to 1965, marking the earliest known European discovery of the Natural Bridge and extending through completion of a rebuilt Natural Bridge Hotel. Owned originally by Thomas Jefferson, Natural Bridge soon became commercialized after the property left the possession of the Jefferson family. As the landmark drew more tourists, by 1835 the first hotel arose. During the 1880s, landscape architect Charles Eliot developed the area into a park-like setting. With the advent of automobile transportation in the early 20th century and growing tourism, the Natural Bridge Hotel was built in 1906 and expanded in 1917. The hotel burned in 1964 and a large three-story Colonial Revival-style, brick building replaced it. Other important features in the Natural Bridge Historic District include Washington Hall, Colonial Revival-style domestic buildings, a scattering of late-18th- to mid-19th-century domestic buildings, early-20th-century commercial buildings affiliated with the Natural Bridge Hotel, as well as a trail system around Natural Bridge.
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark
Updated: February 2, 2022