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Partygoers including Tom May (center) catch up over snacks at Gordonsville's 200th anniversary celebration.
Photos by SUZANNE CARR ROSSI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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The town of Gordonsville, whose history was driven
'A GOOD HOUSE'
It started in April 1787, one month before George Washington presided over the opening of America's constitutional convention in Philadelphia. Nathaniel Gordon bought a 1,350-acre plantation in Orange County and operated a tavern at a crossroads there.
Stage traffic on the "Fredericksburg Great Road" and the "Richmond Road" kept the enterprise busy, and Gordon's Tavern became a gathering place for notables, including Washington, Thomas Jefferson (who described it as "a good house"), James Monroe, Henry Clay and the Marquis de Lafayette, among others.
On Feb. 2, 1813, the tavern and its dependencies came to be known as Gordonsville, when Gordon was appointed its first postmaster.
'A SPECIAL PLACE'
Welcoming the assembled crowd Saturday, Gordonsville Mayor Bob Coiner cited his town as holding "a special place in history, and a special place in our hearts," and asked guests to honor the memory of the town's founders and "those who spent their life working tirelessly for Gordonsville."
Speakers, including 30th District Del. Ed Scott, Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Teel Goodwin and Orange County Historical Society President John Tranver Graham, added their congratulations to letters from President Barack Obama, Gov. Bob McDonnell, Sen. Mark Warner, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
The birthday party featured music from the Kenwood Players, the Gordonsville Community Choir and Duke Merrick and his band. Food offerings included BBQ Exchange, Fabio's, Pomme and Gordonsville's Famous Fried Chicken.
Young students of the Brushwood School of Dance provided an exuberant demonstration of their art. A documentary on the town's history--"Gordonsville A Strong Fabric," produced by Phil Audibert and Ross Hunter--was shown. Audibert noted that the entire range of background music for the production was performed by Gordonsville musicians.
RIDING RAIL COATTAILS
Railroads added to the town's prominence in the early 1800s, when the Louisa Rail Co.'s extension of its line from Louisa Courthouse to Gordonsville brought growth and prosperity to the area. In 1854, the Orange and Alexandria Railroad completed another rail line to Gordonsville.