The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Event recalls Route 1 heyday
Lafayette Boulevard gets the spotlight in this year’s Vintage Route 1 Tour and Downtown Community Day sponsored by Historic Fredericksburg Foundation Inc. Saturday.
“It’s part of the original U.S. Route 1. It’s rich in history,” said Emily Taggart Schricker, HFFI volunteer and event coordinator, speaking of busy Lafayette Boulevard. A section of the road runs parallel to the city’s train tracks and adjacent to the National Cemetery, final resting place of thousands of Union soldiers.
The story of Fredericksburg is inextricably bound to its highways. In the early 20th century, U.S. 1 ran straight through town via Princess Anne Street and Lafayette Boulevard, with sections also once known as Prussia Street and National Boulevard.
For many years, all northbound and southbound travelers had to travel that route. Townspeople accommodated them with convenient tourist homes, hotels, restaurants and gas stations. Car dealers did business along that main drag as well.
Later, U.S. 1, known as “the bypass,” was built around town for the north–south travelers, and later still, Interstate 95. Each brought dramatic changes to the region.
Still, many of the remnants of the earlier era remain, some transformed for new uses, and others continuing as longstanding landmarks.
Here’s a sampling of upcoming festivities:
- Streetcar tour of a section of Lafayette Boulevard.
- Walking tours of the historically African–American neighborhood starting at the 500 block of Princess Anne Street.
- Various events at downtown businesses featuring everything from live music to tips on how to spot quality furniture. The Bowery Tattoo Co. will cover the history of American tattoos.
- Vintage fashion show, antique cars, and children’s activities at Riverfront Park.
- Displays at the Masonic Lodge of Fredericksburg’s 20th-century history, including drugstores, ice cream and lunch counters, hotels and tourist homes, the civil rights movement in Fredericksburg and along U.S. 1 throughout Virginia and the 500 block of Princess Anne St., gas stations and auto repair shops.
Most events are free. Tickets are $20 for the trolley tour, $10 for the walking tour. Tickets are sold in advance at the Visitor Center, 706 Caroline St. (cash or check only); the HFFI Lewis Store, 1200 Caroline St. (any form of payment, including credit cards); online at vintageroute1.com. Advance purchase is recommended, but tickets will also be sold at the Fredericksburg Masonic Lodge, 803 Princess Anne St., the day of the tour.
Proceeds benefit HFFI, which preserves, protects and revitalizes the city and its history.
Last year’s event, the first, featured Princess Anne Street near the original U.S. 1 entrance at the north end of the city.
Jennifer Strobel: 540/374-5432