Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

111-0149 Fall Hill

Fall Hill
Photo credit: Elizabeth Lipford/DHR, 2021

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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 04/17/1973

NRHP Listing Date 06/18/1973

DHR's Virginia Board of Historic Resources easement

NRHP Reference Number 73002062

This hilltop plantation next to the falls of the Rappahannock River originally was included in the 8,000 acres of Spotsylvania County patented by Francis Thornton I ca. 1720. Francis Thornton III (1711-1749) maintained a summer residence at Fall Hill. A 2013 dendrochronology study determined that the current house at Fall Hill was constructed in 1779, likely by Francis Thornton IV (1737-1794), for his son Francis Thornton V (1760-1836). Francis Thornton V later served as Spotsylvania County justice of the peace. The house was extensively remodeled in the 1840s by Francis Thornton V’s granddaughter and her husband, John Roberts Taylor, who closed up several windows and replaced the woodwork. During the Fredericksburg campaign Gen. Robert E. Lee established a breastworks at the foot of the hill to guard the river crossing. The Fall Hill property, with its ancient trees, scattering of outbuildings, and panoramic view of downtown Fredericksburg, remained under the ownership of Thornton descendants into the early 21st century.

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

Updated: January 14, 2022