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    Do you recognize one of the oldest tourist destinations in the US? This beauty has been included on several "Seven Natural Wonders of the World" lists, was surveyed by George Washington in 1750 and was once owned by Thomas Jefferson as a personal retreat. While you're visiting don't forget to swing by the legendary Foamhenge, explore the Natural Bridge Caverns and get your photo taken with a baby tiger at the Natural Bridge Zoo. Photo credit: @takeiteasybee #loveva #virginia #vaoutdoors #naturalwonder #naturalbridge #howisummer #vatravel #virginiaisforlovers #photooftheday #fatherson
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  • The Natural Bridge

    by Casey | Posted on May 23rd, 2013

    The Natural Bridge

    The Natural Bridge of Virginia is one of the oldest tourist destinations in the United States. It’s located in the city of Natural Bridge, in Rockbridge County.

    Popular with Europeans in the 18th and 19th centuries, Natural Bridge and Niagara Falls were the two wonders of the new world. The Bridge has been included in several “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” lists, mostly in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Vacationing guests from all over the world took day trips from Natural Bridge on horseback or horse drawn carriages to explore the countryside. The braver guests could be lowered over the edge from the top of the bridge in a hexagonal steel cage while a violinist played.

    It has been designated a National Historic Landmark, a Virginia Historic Landmark, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

    History of the Natural Bridge

    A very long time ago:
    Natural Bridge was formed when a cavern collapsed and left the span that stands today.

    A long time ago:
    Monacan Indian legend has it that Natural Bridge appeared just as they needed to escape from an advancing enemy.

    1750:
    Legend holds that young George Washington surveyed the Natural Bridge site for Lord Fairfax. Landmarks remain of the work and on the wall of the bridge where he carved his initials.

    Late 1700s:
    In 1774, Thomas Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land including the Natural Bridge from King George III of England for 20 shillings. It has remained privately owned since. Jefferson also built a two room log cabin, with one room was reserved for guests.

    The Bridge served as a shot tower during the Revolutionary War. Bullets for American firearms were manufactured by dropping molten lead 245 feet from the top of the Bridge into Cedar Creek’s cold water below.

    Early 1800s:
    During the War of 1812, ammunition was made beyond the Bridge, along the trail at Saltpeter Cave and Lost River.

    In 1833, Jefferson’s heirs sold the site and the new owner erected the Forest Inn to accommodate the increasing number of people.

    Mid 1800s:
    In the 1850s Herman Melville references the Natural Bridge when describing the whale in Moby Dick: “But soon the fore part of him slowly rose from the water; for an instant his whole marbleized body formed a high arch, like Virginia’s Natural Bridge…”

    From 1861-1865, Civil War soldiers made ammunition in Saltpeter Cave and Lost River locations along the trail, just beyond the Bridge.

    Late 1800s:
    During the 1880s Natural Bridge attained resort status under the ownership of Colonel Henry Parsons.

    Early 1900s to now:
    In 1927, U.S. President Calvin Coolidge inaugurates the night light presentation, The Drama of Creation.

    In 1998:
    Designated a National Historic Landmark by the US Department of the Interior.

    Natural Bridge, Wonders of the World, Old School

    Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

    | 3 Comments

    3 Responses to “The Natural Bridge”

    1. Casey says:

      There are many lists of wonders and seemingly, they’re updated annually. Natural Wonders, Modern Wonders, Ancient Wonders …

      In the 19th century the Natural Bridge was indeed considered a major natural wonder of the world. Consider how much more we know about and have seen of our world now versus then. Of course the lists change with every new amazing discovery. Most certainly the Natural Bridge of Virginia has been included in at least one list, if not more, of seven natural wonders.

      To dive deeper into the significance of the Natural Bridge and learn why a road goes across the top of it, please see http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Rockbridge/081-0415_Natural_Bridge_1997_Final_Nomination.pdf. It’s loaded with historical data and references.

    2. SARA LAKS says:

      WHERE IS IT ESTABLISHED IN PRINT ANYWHERE AS ONE OF THE NATURAL WONDERS OF THE MODERN WORLD?

    3. SARA LAKS says:

      THIS PLACE IS NOT WORTH THE FEES CHARGED OR SEEING IT. THEY FRAUDULENTLY REPRESENT THE ROCK (THAT IS ALL IT IS-A BIG ROCKWITH A HOLE THROUGH IT THAT YOU WALK THROUGH) AS ONE OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD WHEN CHARGING YOU ABOUT $32 PER PERSON TO WALK THROUGH FIRST THEIR GIFT SHOP AND THEN ONTO A PATH TO THE ROCK. THERE IS NOTHING NATURAL ABOUT THE ROCK. IT IS HIGHLY COMMERCIAL. THE PEOPLE OWNING THIS OPERATION REALLY MUST STOP FALSELY REPPING IT AS ONE OF THE 7 WONDERS OF THE WORLD. THIS IS HIGHLY INSULTING TO OUR INTELLECT. THE ROCK ACTUALLY SERVES AS A ROADBED TO THE HIGHWY ABOVE. DON’T GO AND DON’T WASTE YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY THERE. GO ELSEWHERE. I REGRET HAVING SPENT ALL THAT MONEY THERE.

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