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Sterling in Loudoun County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Vestal's Gap Road in the 1800s

 
 
Vestal's Gap Road in the 1800s Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), December 30, 2020
1. Vestal's Gap Road in the 1800s Marker
Inscription.  In 1814 due to the British advance on Washington, it was deemed wise to remove the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and other valuable state documents to a safe place. They were transported across Chain Bridge into Virginia. The custodian became greatly alarmed at the advance of the enemy, and he secured wagons necessary to move the documents to Leesburg. The only feasible route was the venerable Vestal's Gap Road.

In August 1825 President Adams and Marquis de Lafayette visited former President Monroe at Oak Hill. They participated in ceremonies at Leesburg, then in further festive activities at Belmont and Coton, the Lee Estates. They spent their last night in Loudoun at Belmont, and the next day they were advised to take Vestal's Gap Road instead of the recently constructed turnpike on their trip back to Washington. The ancient Gap road had been so badly neglected, since the opening of the turnpike, that the sector near Sugarland Run was so impassable in light vehicles, that the party returned to Belmont and entered the turnpike before resuming their journey.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in
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these topic lists: Roads & VehiclesWar of 1812. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #05 James Monroe, and the Lafayette’s Farewell Tour series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1814.
 
Location. 39° 1.054′ N, 77° 24.178′ W. Marker is in Sterling, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker is on Old Vestals Gap Road, on the right when traveling west. Located on a foot path along the Vestal's Gap road trace, near the Lanesville Historic Site in Claude Moore Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sterling VA 20164, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lanesville Outbuildings (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lanesville Families (about 300 feet away); Lanesville House and Vestal's Gap Road (about 300 feet away); Lanesville Historic Area (about 300 feet away); Lanesville Architecture (about 300 feet away); Vestal's Gap Road (about 300 feet away); The Braddock Campaign (about 400 feet away); Guilford Signal Station (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sterling.
 
More about this marker. On the left side of the marker
Vestal's Gap Road in the 1800s Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), December 30, 2020
2. Vestal's Gap Road in the 1800s Marker
is a facsimile of the US Declaration of Independence. On the right are portraits of President John Adams and Marquis de Lafayette.
 
Vestal's Gap Road Trace image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, June 14, 2009
3. Vestal's Gap Road Trace
Today, as at the time of the dignitaries visit, this portion of the Old Vestal's Gap Road is a difficult path for vehicles. Heavy rains the day before this photo was taken saturated the road trace, making it difficult for even visitors on foot.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 20, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,351 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 30, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   3. submitted on June 20, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

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Feb. 27, 2024