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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Woolwine in Patrick County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Rock Castle Gorge

 
 
Rock Castle Gorge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
1. Rock Castle Gorge Marker
Inscription.  The gorge is best seen from Rocky Knob's summit, where one can look into the valley 1800 feet below. An old road parallels the creek through the gorge. Initially a trail and later a wagon road, the old road has reverted to its former use as a hiking trail.

Six-sided crystals of colorless quartz occur here. The crystal shapes reminded settlers of castle towers, hence the name "Rock Castle."

The first settlers came before the American Revolution to farm the steep hills. The rocky soil yielded oats, corn, buckwheat, sorghum and apples. Chestnuts provided a cash crop for the farmers, as well as food for foraging hogs.

Frame houses replaced log cabins when sawmills began operating in the late 1880s.

At one time the gorge community boasted 30 families. By 1935, when the federal government began buying the land, only 12 families remained.

Although an occasional homestead remnant can still be seen, Rock Castle Gorge is slowly returning to its primeval state.
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker
Marker detail: Clear quartz crystal image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Clear quartz crystal
The shape of clear quartz crystals resembles rock castles, giving the gorge its name.
is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureRoads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Blue Ridge Parkway series list.
 
Location. 36° 48.729′ N, 80° 20.757′ W. Marker is near Woolwine, Virginia, in Patrick County. Marker is on Blue Ridge Parkway (at milepost 168.8), 3˝ miles south of Parkway Lane South (Virginia Route 8), on the left when traveling south. Marker is located at Rock Castle Gorge Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Woolwine VA 24185, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. America's Rural Landscape (approx. 0.2 miles away); Buffalo Mountain (approx. 0.8 miles away); You Buy 'Em, We'll Fly 'Em! (approx. 5.3 miles away); Rural Life In Appalachia (approx. 5.4 miles away); Meadows of Dan (approx. 6.3 miles away); Former Site of an African-American School (approx. 6.8 miles away); Albert Tappe Howard’s Milk House (approx. 6.8 miles away); Floyd (approx. 7 miles away).
 
Marker detail: Austin House image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Austin House
The Austin house is the only home remaining in the gorge. Built in 1916 and considered the finest house in the community, it remains in private ownership.
Rock Castle Gorge Marker (<i>wide view from overlook parking area</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
4. Rock Castle Gorge Marker (wide view from overlook parking area)
Rock Castle Gorge (<i>view from near marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
5. Rock Castle Gorge (view from near marker)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 30, 2019. It was originally submitted on May 30, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 107 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 30, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Dec. 5, 2020