Shenandoah University's History and Tourism Center sits on land once owned by the Hollingsworth family. The Hollingsworth home, "Abram's Delight," is now a nearby museum.
One of the first settlers to come to the Shenandoah Valley, Abraham Hollingsworth settled on 582 acres of land that had a large spring. Tradition states that Abraham paid for the property three times: "First, a cow, a calf and a piece of red cloth to the Shawnee Indians; next, a sum of money to the King's agent; and finally, a sum of money to Lord Fairfax."
After Abraham's death, his son, Isaac became the owner of the property. "Abram's Delight," the oldest existing house in Winchester, was built in 1754 by Isaac near the spring that his father had declared a "delight to behold." The nearby stone mill building was built in 1833 by David Hollingsworth, the great-grandson of the original settler, Abraham. It was built on the site of an earlier grist mill operated by family members since the mid-18th century.
The body of water before you is produced by a spring that attracted the first Hollingsworth to choose the property to be his family's home. Built before 1753, this important resource was used to turn the wheels of the first mill, as recorded in the diaries of the Morovian Single Brethren, who stopped at the Hollingsworth mill to purchase feed for their horses in October 1753.
The pond also provided many recreational opportunities for the citizens of Winchester. During the late 19th century, people often used the small island on the pond for picnics, arriving by small boats. An article in the Winchester Star in June 1907, said: "One of the most delightful moonlight picnics given at Rouss Spring...took place last evening, when a large party of young people strolled to the delightful resort and feasted on seasonable refreshments until a late hour."
Rouss Spring was purchased by the city of Winchester in 1890, and it supplied the city with water for many years.