Rippon Lodge in Woodbridge VA was built around 1747 and still stands today as the oldest still standing home in Prince William County VA. Though it is not as grand as other local historical homes, Rippon Lodge has a beautiful vantage point across Neabsco Creek and played a significant role in Virginia history. Richard Blackburn the original owner of the home was an architect. He designed the original Mount Vernon Estate owned by George Washington.
With it's prominent location on the "Kings Highway" (now Route 1), Rippon Lodge was often a stopping point for George Washington and George Mason among other well known early Americans. Rippon Lodge had it's own port on Neabsco Creek making it an ideal location to ship tabacco and other crops out of the area or to the larger Port of Dumfries just a few miles down river.
When Richard Blackburn died in 1757 the home passed to his son, Col Thomas Blackburn. Papers from the time include Rippon Lodge as being where Col. Thomas Blackburn formed the first volunteer military company to fight in the American Revolution. Thomas Blackburn's family also continued to the close relationship with George Washington's family One of Col. Thomas Blackburn's daughters (Ann Blackburn) married Bushrod Washington; and a granddaughter ( Jane Blackburn) married John Augustine Washington. These ladies of Rippon Lodge each in turn became mistresses of Mount Vernon and are both buried at Mount Vernon.
Some who stop by Rippon Lodge to see the main house, the "Little Cabin" and outbuildings, thinking that is all there is to see on the grounds. However if you follow the path through the dogwood bushes and wooden arch you will find the signs leading you to a cemetery. Though many of the headstones are worn leaving you wondering who they belong to, Richard Blackburn and his wife's graves are well marked. Before you leave the grounds make sure you take in the view of Neabsco Creek through the trees and imagine how it might have looked in the 1700 and 1800's.
Rippon Lodge is open for tours Thursday through Sunday's in October from 11 AM to 4 PM. It's well worth the trip to see this piece of local and American history right in your own backyard.
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