Washington Heritage Trail
During the French and Indian War (c. 1750) Virginia Militia Col. George Washington supervised the construction of Fort Hedges, a stockade fort built along the Warm Spring Road at the heavily-traveled Skinner's gap atop North Mountain (740 feet elevation). The town, laid out by Josiah Hedges in 1832, and established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1836, is a collection of historic original log cabin buildings that primarily date from the town's establishment to the Civil War era.
A natural limestone spring, which had been an Indian meeting place before the arrival of the European settlers, provided water for the entire village and reportedly has never been effected by draught. A law passed in the village's early days made it unlawful to "sit or loiter about the Town Spring drinking spirits."
The little village was much crossed by invading armies of both the North and the South in the Civil War.
A mile east of the village the Battle of North Mountain was fought, it resulted in the capture of 1,500 Union soldiers who were marched into the south to prisoner of war camps.
The picturesque brick building is oldest Episcopal Church in the county, Mt. Zion Episcopal Church (1818) predates the establishment of the town, and replaced an even earlier meeting house where George Washington, while a young
man and a surveyor, occasionally worshipped. It is the burial site of many members of the Hedges family. John Marshall, a founding member of the U.S. Supreme Court, had a sister who likewise attended the church.
Snodgrass Tavern, one of the oldest known buildings in West Virginia (1742) is located on the east side of Back Creek along the well used Warm Springs Road (WV9). In the early 1800s, Robert Snodgrass also operated a ferry over Back Creek. The tavern was apparently a common entertainment spot and in 1828 he was reprimanded by local Presbyterians for allowing dancing. A store was established at the tavern in 1832 and in 1847 the house ceased to operate as a tavern. Dr. Joseph E. Snodgrass (1813-1884) grew up at the Tavern and later moved to Baltimore where he was a Doctor and aspiring writer. He and Edgar Allen Poe became close friends and colleagues.
The tavern's most famous guest was George Washington. In 1769, while on his way to Warm Springs with his young stepdaughter, George Washington stopped at the inn and recorded in his diary: "...bated at one Snodgrasses and dined there, 7s, 6d. Lodgings cost 11d."
A story was handed down in the Snodgrass family that a servant dropped Washington's trunk while carrying it across Back Creek soaking the fine clothes it contained. Washington, a fastidious man, refused to come
to the dining room without a change of apparel and ordered his dinner served in his room while the careless servant dried his clothes by the kitchen fire. During another journey on September 8, 1794, President Washington wrote in his diary, "Dispatched my wagon (with the baggage) at daylight and at 7 o'clock followed it. Halted at one Snodgrass's on Back Crek and dined there."