Settlement on Warm Springs Mountain

Settlement on Warm Springs Mountain (HMMWH)

Location: Williamsville, VA 24487 Bath County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 3.064', W 79° 45.962'

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You are standing on the site of a tollhouse which served the Warm Springs Mountain Turnpike during the nineteenth century. This mountain gap was occupied by humans long before its use as a turnpike tollhouse. Archaeological research at the site indicates that groups of Native Americans lived in this area several hundred years before the initial English settlement at Jamestown. According to local inhabitants, the existing course of Route 39 is based upon an Indian trail which crossed Warm Springs Mountain. This site on top of the mountain proved to be a favorable spot for both prehistoric and historic settlement due to its proximity to a nearby spring.

According to historical records, a road over Warm Springs Mountain was formally surveyed as early as the 1750s. Archeological evidence and historic documents indicate the site was initially occupied as a tollhouse during the 1830s. Although the primary function of the tollhouse was to collect tolls from travelers, it was also home to several generations of the Hodge family and operated as a self-sufficient farm. Several descendants of the Hodge family still live in the Bath County area.

An 1883 etching and late nineteenth-century and late nineteenth-century photograph depict a wood frame house and several outbuildings at the site. According to family descendants, the first floor of the house was divided into a main room and the parent's bedroom. A winding staircase, located next to the hearth, provided access to a loft where the children slept. Later, a kitchen was added to the northwest gable end of the house and food was stored in straw-lined storage pits under the floor. Beyond the main house were at least two outbuildings, a privy, and a small kitchen garden.

The tollhouse and Hodge farm were abandoned in the 1910s, possibly at the same time the Warm Springs Mountain Turnpike was transferred from private ownership to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Once abandoned, the buildings fell into disrepair and by 1927, only a portion of one wood frame barn was left standing.
Placed ByVirginia Department of Transportation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 5th, 2014 at 9:48am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 608265 N 4212199
Decimal Degrees38.05106667, -79.76603333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 3.064', W 79° 45.962'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 3' 3.84" N, 79° 45' 57.72" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 404 Mountain Valley Rd, Williamsville VA 24487, US
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