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KINGS PARK HERITAGE

by Herbert G. Persil

The land now occupied by Kings Park residents has been a part of the rich heritage of Virginia. Ownership of the properties can be traced to Lord Culpeper who, in 1690, transferred the lands which now include Kings Park and Ravensworth Farm to William Fitzhugh. The land passed through Martha Custis, the wife of George Washington, to her son George Custis, then to his daughter, Mary Randolph

Custis, who married Robert E. Lee at Arlington when he was a young officer in the U.S. Army. After the outbreak of the Civil War, Mary Custis Lee moved to relative safety at the Ravensworth Farm. Ownership of the property remained in the Lee family until World War I when the land was sold to the Glatfelter Pulpwood Company. The company removed most of the softwood trees but retained the hard wood, many of which are still in abundance in Kings Park. In the early 1950’s the properties were sold to a Baltimore investment firm and those which were to become Kings Park were later sold to Richmarr Construction Corporation.

 

A number of landmarks in and around Kings Park still retain vestiges of their early history. According to legend, Rebel Hill, known to a decade of Kings Park commuters, acquired its name from an ambush carried out by Colonel Mosby and his raiders during the Manassas Campaign. Braddock Road is said to have acquired its name from being part of the route followed by General Braddock, accompanied by George Washington, into Pennsylvania where General Braddock met his death at Fort Duquesne in 1755. Rolling Road is said to have been named for its use as a road on which to roll specially constructed hogsheads of tobacco to Occoquan Creek at Colchester. Herbert’s Crossing (Rolling Road and the Southern Railway tracks) may have had a share in Civil War activity. As recently as 1969, relics of the War, such as bullets and other Civil War accoutrements were discovered on the property of State Senator Omer Hirst, which adjoined the railroad tracks. In 1862, after a raid at Burke’s Station, famed Confederate Cavalry General Jeb Stuart is said to have telegraphed Secretary of War Stanton complaining about the quality of Union rations he had captured. Within Kings Park itself, from about the intersections of Clydesdale Road, Victoria Road, and Kings Park Drive, earthen emplacements could be traced along the hill running down to Piccadilly Place. These fortifications were destroyed with the building of homes in the area; however, it is possible that these were defensive positions constructed during the Manassas engagements or to defend portions of the railroad.

 

Kings Park, as we know it today, began in March 1960 when a 200 acre wooded tract was purchased by Richmarr. Initial construction began in late 1960 at the entrance of Kings Park Dr. from Braddock Rd. In July 1961, the Routh Robbins Corporation opened its sales office on the southeast corner of Victoria Road and Kings Park Drive near five model homes: the King, Queen, Prince, Princess, and Duke, with the Duchess added later. Construction proceeded down Victoria, east of Kings Park Drive, down Kings Park Drive, and east down Cromwell. (Homes were sold in the low $20s). Subsequent sections opened west of Kings Park Drive and in September 1961 the remaining 265 acres on the east side were acquired and filled out Kings Park as it is known today.

 

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