Waterford Historic District

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NHL Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


Nestled in the countryside of Loudoun County’s northern tip, the village of Waterford developed as a 19th-century Quaker milling community. The Waterford Historic District traces its origins to circa 1733 when Amos Janney and other Friends arrived from Pennsylvania and established a mill complex. By the 1830s, Waterford was a flourishing community of some seventy houses with a tannery, chairmaker, and boot manufacturer, along with shops and a tavern. Commerce declined by the early 20th century, leaving Waterford a remarkably preserved hamlet free of modern intrusions. Its quiet shady streets remain lined with examples of regional vernacular styles, both freestanding and attached, in a variety of materials including brick, stone, and log. A mid-19th-century mill stands at the north edge of town. Aggressive preservation efforts by the Waterford Foundation since the 1940s have maintained the town’s unique character. Since the time of its listing, over sixty properties in the Waterford Historic District have been protected through preservation easements.

The Waterford Historic District was listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places in 1969 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970. In 2015, additional documentation was prepared to provide a brief overview of the historic district’s integrity and to assign a status of “contributing” to a recently identified and researched agricultural resource.
[NRHP Approved: 12/23/2015]

Updated National Historic Landmark documentation on the Waterford Historic District was accepted in 2023.  Originally designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970, the 1,420-acre Waterford district survives as an intact and exceptionally well-preserved 18th- and 19th-century agricultural service village landscape, possessing intact architecture and layout in the village core with surrounding open space and agricultural areas that are integral to understanding its history and evolution. The Waterford Historic District is also nationally significant  for the sustained and creative 20th-century historic preservation campaign that ensured its present high degree of integrity. Waterford’s remarkably intact village architecture and expansive agricultural setting survives with such high integrity because of a multipronged and intensive campaign that employed several emerging preservation approaches and a diverse set of preservation tools. Spearheaded by private citizens, this decades-long collaborative effort represents a laboratory for experimental private preservation strategies that resulted in the conservation of a living landscape where most properties have remained in private ownership.
[NHL Approved: 12/11/2023]

Last Updated: December 26, 2023

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

For additional information Read

Nomination Form

1970 NHL Documentation
2015 Nomination Update
2022 NHL Nomination Update


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