History of the Purcellville Preservation Association
Founded in 1985, the PPA initially had two goals: the restoration of the Mahlon-Taylor Springhouse (east end of town) and the rescue and subsequent restoration of the Train Station (downtown historic area).
In September of 2001, the PPA was proud to participate in the placement of a historical marker at the site of the Emancipation Grounds on A Street. The PPA has resolved to work with the Town to identify additional historically significant sites in and around the town and to pursue preservation and re-use of historical sites and structures when possible. We have worked several programs in the last several years such as a Historical Buildings Survey, the Carver Center committee in their efforts to preserve the historical significance of the school during the renovations, involvement in the"Main Street Loudoun" program, a preservation-oriented downtown revitalization program; and currently the consultation process and preservation of the farmstead at Cole Farm, soon to be developed as the Purcellville Gateway.
In the fall of 2001, the PPA showcased six vintage home in a Homes Tour that attracted visitors from all over the area, including surrounding counties and from Washington DC It is our hope that, with volunteer and town support, we can provide another successful tour of historic homes and gardens.
Also in 2001, the PPA began its annual sale of Christmas Ornaments based on the theme of local historic structures. The first ornament in the series was the Train Station, the second year ornament, White Palace, and the third year was Hampton Hall. The most recent fundraiser was a cookbook titled "The Spice of Life," with anecdotes and family photographs by local residents.
Restoration of the Purcellville Train Station was completed in September of 2002 and our goal of making the Train Station available for community use by the citizens of Purcellville and the surrounding areas became a reality. The Town of Purcellville now owns and manages the station for community use. To book a meeting or event at the station, call the town directly. It was in October of 2002, after fifteen years of diligent efforts, the PPA entered into an agreement with the Town of Purcellville, the Loudoun Museum, and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. For its part, the Loudoun Museum was eager to have an additional venue to present historical exhibits of local interest. The Park Authority wanted to ensure that the townspeople and visitors who enjoy the W&OD Train would now access to the restrooms in the Train Station. The donation of the train station to the Town of Purcellville took place in July of 2004.
Additionally in 2003, we planted the five Red Oak trees that were purchased with proceeds from the Heritage Day 2001 Dunk Tank fund.
In celebration of our town, the PPA for several years hosted "HERITAGE DAY IN THE PARK" in May, making a huge contribution to the community with its many educational and fun activities throughout the day. It is our hope that, with the many residents and guests in town, that we were able to connect hundreds to the rich heritage of our hometown. The last Heritage Day was in May of 2012. The PPA hopes in future years to once again host this special day of history with the help of new members and a growing enthusiasm for the history of Purcellville.
For several years the PPA hosted its annual Heritage Day in May, in celebration of National Preservation Month. 2012 was a banner year as the PPA honored the Greatest Generation a local veterans from that time in history.
To support the African American Community in the celebration of Emancipation on the third Saturday in September; to highlight vintage properties throughout town on its tour activities; and to support the Town of Purcellville in efforts to preserve and highlight what makes our community special.
The Purcellville Preservation Association (PPA), is a non-profit organization, dedicated to promoting community pride and awareness of the Town's historical and natural resources and enhancing the environment through preservation and beautification. We welcome you to join and become part of the legacy of the Town.
Hisory of the Town of Purcellville, Virginia
Purcellville is one of seven unique small towns in scenic, historic Loudoun County, Virginia. We are situated about 50 miles west of the Nation's Capitol at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain range.
Our Main Street is an illustration of the history of our small town, and its unique features are testament to the influences that shaped its character.
Main Street began as an ox cart path winding westward from the county seat in historic Leesburg. The first known settler in Purcellville, James Dillon, arrived from Bucks County, PA in 1764 and began a great tradition of agriculture which continues today in the rolling hills of the countryside surrounding the town.
Later, that path became part of the "Great Road", an early turnpike system connecting Alexandria, which lay across the Potomac River from the Nation's Capitol, to Leesburg, then further westward by stagecoach from Purcellville across the Blue Ridge via Snickers Gap and then on to Winchester. As progress moved to Purcellville, beautiful homes and thriving commerce developed along the Great Road.
The railroad that led to Leesburg prior to the Civil War was extended to Purcellville in 1874. Purcellville's agricultural industries and related services thrived as the railroad brought milk from surrounding dairy farms, lumber from the saw mills and other farm products eastward. The train also brought city residents to the countryside wehre they could escape the heat and humidity of Washington summers.
The old W&OD railroad bed is today one of the county's most popular, heavily used parks. In the old days, a bicyclist could be fined a considerable $2.50 for riding on Purcellville's wooden sidewalks. But now thousands of cyclists who travel along the popular 45-mile long linear park come to see the beautiful town and historic train station (preserved by the PPA) that lies at the terminus of the W&OD trail. (See "Save The Trail".)
Although our history dates to the 18th century, the Town of Purcellville was officially incorporated in 1907. (One of the PPA's most recent efforts is its participation in the Centennial Committee - in an effort to plan a celebration of Purcellville's upcoming Centennial Celebration in 2007.)
In 1914, a devastating fire swept through the downtown destroying most of the local businesses (but not the train station). New building codes required that the new structures of block and brick. Those early 20th century buildings still exist today, must the same as they were originally built.