Front Royal is the county seat of Warren County, Virginia, and is considered the Shenandoah Valley's "gateway" to Northern Virginia, as it is located within a few miles from I -81, at the westernmost exit with I-66. From there, Washington D.C. is less than an hour east.
Front Royal was once annexed as a hunting area for the Iroquois Confederation during the mid-17th century. 1n 1744, the Iroquois formally sold their entire claim east of the Alleghenies to the Virginia Colony. Front Royal was originally settled in 1754 under the name LeHewtown. The town also had a well-known nickname, "Helltown," because it had been a popular spot for rowdy livestock wranglers and Shenandoah River boatmen. It became the incorporated town of Front Royal in 1788. Rail service was established in 1854.
The Civil War Battle of Front Royal yielded a Confederate victory in 1862. After the Civil War, lumber, agriculture, manufacturing and grain mill industries provided employment in the region for a long time.
The George Washington National Forest, Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area, Shenandoah National Park/Skyine Drive, and Andy Guest State Park, located the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, offer a variety of outdoor recreation: Hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, rafting, and swimming. Skyline Caverns is located on US Route 340, just one or two miles south of the northernmost entrance to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive.
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Historic Belle Boyd Cottage is the home of a young, female Confederate spy during the American Civil War. Now restored and open to the public as a living history museum.
Historic Belle Boyd Cottage is the home of a young, female Confederate spy during the American Civil War. Now restored and open to the public as a living history museum.Photo: Hank Zimmerman