Historic Downtown Abingdon Walking Tour
The town of Abingdon is the historic hub of Southwest Virginia. Situated at the intersection of two Native American trails, a small settlement of European colonists sprang up during the late-1760s and early 1770s. First known as Wolf Hills and then Blacks Fort, the settlement grew into a full-fledged town, being formally incorporated in 1778 as Abingdon. Abingdon played a pivotal role during the American Revolution, serving as the northern-most mustering location for the Overmountain Men of the Battle of Kings Mountain. After the War of Independence and throughout the mid-1800s, Abingdon prospered and flourished as the administrative center of Washington County and the greater region. Many of Abingdon’s Antebellum buildings remain intact today. However, when the Civil War erupted 1861 most of Abingdon’s able-bodied men joined the Confederate Army and fought in several famous battles, such as Gettysburg and the Seven Days’ Battles. The town also lost its courthouse to Union arson during Stoneman’s Raid in 1864. Following the war and into the modern era, Abingdon became a quaint mountain town with world famous attractions such as the Barter Theatre and the Martha Washington Inn & Spa. The Historic Downtown Abingdon Walking Tour begins with the Fields-Penn House and continues east on Main Street, making stops at the Martha Washington Inn & Spa and the Barter Theatre. The walking tour then makes stops at the Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church and the Washington County Courthouse. The last three stops on the tour are located within the core of Abingdon’s historic district: the Tavern is Virginia’s oldest pub and Abingdon’s oldest building, the Abingdon Bank building, and the unique Dr. William H. Pitts House.