View from Skyline Drive near Thornton Gap
|Elevation||2,460 ft (750 m)|
|Location|| Page / Rappahannock counties, Virginia,|
|Range||Blue Ridge Mountains|
Thornton Gap is a wind gap located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia separating the Shenandoah Valley from the Piedmont region of the state.
Thornton Gap was named for Francis Thornton (1711–April 14, 1749), owner of the land to the east and the "F.T. Valley". In 1740, he built a mansion in the Piedmont region near Nethers in Rappahannock County.
Historian J. Houston Harrison indicates in 1737 the Harrison family migrated through the Gap from Alexandria before their settlement in the valley and founding of Harrisonburg.
The privately owned Thornton's Gap Turnpike Company was formed to build a road over the mountains at Thornton's Gap. The toll road opened in 1806.
Thornton Gap was one of the passages through the Blue Ridge Mountains between the Shenandoah Valley and the Piedmont region of Virginia used by Confederate General Stonewall Jackson to move his famous "foot cavalry" troops during the American Civil War.
Prior to the building of the Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive by the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression, the town of Beahm was located at Thornton Gap.
Sculptor William Randolph Barbee was the son of a toll collector at Thornton Gap; his son Herbert later erected a bust in his memory at the site.
Thornton Gap is the site of the mountain crossing of U.S. Highway 211. It is located at the border of Page County and Rappahannock County. At Thornton Gap, there is an entry point for the bucolic Skyline Drive, which runs between Front Royal and the northern terminus with the Blue Ridge Parkway at Rockfish Gap. The Skyline Drive generally following the mountain ridge tops through the Shenandoah National Park, which has its headquarters near Thornton Gap in the Town of Luray. The Appalachian Trail also passes through Thornton Gap.
Waynesboro, is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 21,006.
Warren County is a U.S. county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The 2010 census places Warren County within the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 37,575. The county seat is Front Royal.
Rockingham County is a county located in the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 76,314. Its county seat is the independent city of Harrisonburg.
Rappahannock County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, US. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,373. Its county seat is Washington. The name "Rappahannock" comes from the Algonquian word lappihanne, meaning "river of quick, rising water" or "where the tide ebbs and flows."
The Shenandoah Valley is a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia in the United States. The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, to the north by the Potomac River and to the south by the James River. The cultural region covers a larger area that includes all of the valley plus the Virginia highlands to the west, and the Roanoke Valley to the south. It is physiographically located within the Ridge and Valley province and is a portion of the Great Appalachian Valley.
The Great Valley, also called the Great Appalachian Valley or Great Valley Region, is one of the major landform features of eastern North America. It is a gigantic trough—a chain of valley lowlands—and the central feature of the Appalachian Mountain system. The trough stretches about 1,200 miles (1,900 km) from Quebec to Alabama and has been an important north-south route of travel since prehistoric times.
U.S. Route 211 is a spur of US 11 in the U.S. state of Virginia. Known for most of its length as Lee Highway, the U.S. Highway runs 59.09 miles (95.10 km) from Interstate 81 (I-81) and Virginia State Route 211 in New Market east to US 15 Business, US 29 Business, and US 211 Business in Warrenton. US 211 connects the Shenandoah Valley with the Piedmont town of Warrenton via Luray and Sperryville, where the highway runs concurrently with US 340 and US 522, respectively.
The Battle of Manassas Gap, also known as the Battle of Wapping Heights, took place on July 23, 1863, in Warren County, Virginia, at the conclusion of General Robert E. Lee's retreat back to Virginia in the final days of the Gettysburg Campaign of the American Civil War. Union forces attempted to force passage across the Blue Ridge Mountains and attack the Confederate rear as it formed a defensive position in the upper Shenandoah Valley. Despite successfully forcing the passage at Manassas Gap, the Union force was unable to do so before Lee retreated further up the valley to safety, resulting in an inconclusive battle.
Skyline Drive is a 105-mile (169 km) road that runs the entire length of the National Park Service's Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, generally along the ridge of the mountains. The drive's northern terminus is at an intersection with U.S. Route 340 (US 340) near Front Royal, and the southern terminus is at an interchange with US 250 near Interstate 64 (I-64) in Rockfish Gap, where the road continues south as the Blue Ridge Parkway. The road has intermediate interchanges with US 211 in Thornton Gap and US 33 in Swift Run Gap. Skyline Drive is part of Virginia State Route 48, which also includes the Virginia portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but this designation is not signed.
The Page Valley is a small valley geographically and culturally associated with the Shenandoah Valley. The valley is located between the Massanutten and Blue Ridge mountain ranges in western Virginia.
Rockfish Gap is a wind gap located in the Blue Ridge Mountains between Charlottesville and Waynesboro, Virginia, United States, through Afton Mountain, which is frequently used to refer to the gap.
Swift Run Gap is a wind gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains located in the U.S. state of Virginia.
The Knights of the Golden Horseshoe Expedition, also known as the Transmontane Expedition, took place in 1716 in the British Colony of Virginia. The Royal Governor and a number of prominent citizens traveled westward, across the Blue Ridge Mountains on an exploratory expedition. It is a frequently recounted event of the History of Virginia.
Sperryville is a census-designated place (CDP) in Rappahannock County, Virginia, United States. The population as of the 2010 Census was 342.
Panorama Resort was one of the early resorts that lined what is now Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park (SNP) in the United States, located at Thornton Gap. Like Skyland Resort and Little Switzerland, it was one of many private mountain resorts with nature themes that predated Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Once one of Virginia’s best-known resorts, Panorama most recently operated as a restaurant destination in the Shenandoah National Park and was run by Aramark Parks and Resorts, the commercial vendor inside SNP that operated sister resorts Big Meadows and Skyland Resort. It was demolished in 2008.
William Randolph Barbee was an American sculptor recognized for creating idealized, sentimental classical figures. Barbee's most notable works were the marble sculptures entitled Coquette and Fisher Girl.
Snickers Gap, originally William's Gap, is a wind gap in the Blue Ridge Mountain on the border of Loudoun County and Clarke County in Virginia. The gap is traversed by Virginia State Route 7. The Appalachian Trail also passes across the gap. Bear's Den and Raven Rocks are adjacent to the gap.
Pignut Mountain is a mountain in Rappahannock County, Virginia. It is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Its summit lies within Shenandoah National Park.
Neighbor Mountain is a mountain in Page and Rappahannock Counties, Virginia, near the city of Luray. It is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Its summit lies in Page County, within Shenandoah National Park.
Shenandoah National Park is an American national park that encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the state of Virginia. The park is long and narrow, with the Shenandoah River and its broad valley to the west, and the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont to the east. Skyline Drive is the main park road, generally traversing near the ridgeline of the mountains. Almost 40% of the land area—79,579 acres —has been designated as wilderness and is protected as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The highest peak is Hawksbill Mountain at 4,051 feet (1,235 m).
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