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Mullins sells part of historic farm
Controversial Chancellorsville battlefield site to be developed by one of the nation's largest residential builders

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Date published: 4/2/2004

By RUSTY DENNEN

Toll Brothers to build upscale homes

One of the nation's largest builders will soon begin putting up luxury homes on land that figured prominently in the Civil War Battle of Chancellorsville.

Toll Brothers Inc. has purchased a portion of John Mullins' land off State Route 3, where it intends to build 30 houses on 150 acres.

Other land acquisitions are in the works: The company says it will build up to 225 homes on the nearly 800-acre tract.

The property has been the focus of a fierce battle between preservationists and Mullins, who bought the land nine years ago as an investment and who has vowed to move ahead with development plans.

The subdivision will be called Chancellorsville Hunt and is already being advertised on Toll Brothers' Web site. The property's historical significance and proximity to the Chancellorsville battlefield will be a selling point, Webb Koschene, Toll Brothers' vice president, said yesterday following inquiries by The Free Lance-Star.

"We're especially excited about being able to offer our first community near a site of such enduring historic significance," he said in a written statement.

Toll Brothers plans to offer the the 30-lot section beginning in May. Lot sizes would average about 31/2 acres; house prices would start at $400,000.

The first section has been approved by Spotsylvania County; another 136-acre section is on the drawing board.

There's also a 56-acre commercial site on the tract. Mullins has been advertising pad sites there for several months.

Mullins' land, just east of the Chancellorsville portion of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, was part of nearly three days of fighting in the spring of 1863. But some parts of the tract are more historically significant than others.

For example, the Ashley-Orrock tract where the first sections of houses are planned was not part of the first day's fighting.

However, the 273-acre parcel is within the Lick Run Element where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee crossed after that battle.

Part of Mullins' land does sit on acreage where the historically significant first-day fighting occurred on May 1, 1863.


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