The town of Stephens City has gone through several name changes throughout its history. It started in 1758 as Stephensburg, and then became Newtown, then finally Stephens City. The original settlers were Scottish, Irish and German.
In the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth centuries, Stephens City, then known as Newtown, became prosperous as a crossroads village. Local craftstmen produced a sturdy wagon, the Newtown wagon.
Each spring, Stephens City celebrates town history with the Newtown Heritage Festival. Year round walking tours through Stephens City showcase historical homes and craft shops.
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Wades Mill, or Kennedy-Wade Mill, is situated in northwestern Rockbridge County and is still in operation as a water-powered grist mill. It was originally built in 1750 and includes a 21-foot overshot water wheel. Photo: Hank Zimmerman