The Rich History of Manassas

Arcadia Run residents know that Manassas has the perfect mix of urban influence and historic charm – with its proximity to Washington, D.C. and quaint Old Town, it’s the ideal combination of old meets new.

But what is it about Manassas that makes it so historic, anyway? Various sites and stories exist, but the following is a list of some of Manassas’s most historically significant sites:

• Manassas National Battlefield Park: Perhaps the most well-known historical attraction in Manassas, the national battlefield park is where the Civil War saw its first major land battle – the name of which would’ve depended on who you asked. The North tended to name battles after nearby rivers, streams and creeks, whereas the South generally named battles after nearby towns or railroad junctions. Hence, the North referred to the battle as The First Battle of Bull Run, referring to nearby Bull Run stream, and the South referred to it as The Battle of First Manassas. This bloody battle in July of 1861 ended in a Confederate victory, and dashed any hopes on either side for a short war. The Union and Confederate forces again clashed on the battlefield here a little over a year later, ending in another Confederate victory at the height of their power.

• Liberia Plantation: The Liberia Plantation was one of the most successful plantations in pre-Civil War Prince William County. During the Civil War, Liberia Plantation served as the headquarters for both Union and Confederate troops – first, as the headquarters for General Pierre Gustave Toutant (aka P.G.T.) Beauregard, a Confederate general who ordered the first shots of the Civil War at Fort Sumter. Later, as Union forces advanced, Liberia Plantation became headquarters for Union general Irvin McDowell – a classmate of Beauregard at the U.S. Military Academy.

o Fun fact: When it was built in 1825, the Liberia Plantation was valued at $2,876 – and although this was a significant amount of money for the time period, it certainly doesn’t seem like much today.

• Manassas Junction rail depot: What is now the city of Manassas has its roots in Manassas Junction, the area where the Orange and Alexandria Railroad intersected with the Manassas Gap Railroad. The aforementioned generals Irvin McDowell and P.G.T. Beauregard both realized the strategic importance of Manassas Junction in the Civil War, as it provided the best overall route to the Confederate capital of Richmond, as well as provided access to Washington, D.C. The highly coveted railroad junction resulted in the nearby battles of Bull Run/Manassas.

• Olde Towne Inn: According to local lore – and firsthand accounts from visitors – the Olde Towne Inn in Old Town Manassas is haunted. The staff affectionately refers to the alleged ghost as “Miss Lucy”, who is said to be a spirit from the Civil War-era that plays pranks on visitors in rooms 50, 52, and 54.

• Manassas Industrial School and Jennie Dean Memorial: The Jennie Dean Memorial is a five-acre park commemorating the Manassas Industrial School for Colored Youth, which originally resided on the land. The Manassas Industrial School was chartered in 1893 by Jennie Dean, a former slave who worked tirelessly to improve education for African American students in Northern Virginia. It took almost a decade to raise the necessary funding for the school, and it remained a private institution until the 1930’s. In 1937, the Fairfax, Fauquier and Prince William County public school systems purchased the land and buildings to create a regional high school for African-American students.

Manassas’ rich history is only a part of the reason it’s one of the best places to live in the Washington, D.C. region. It’s no wonder that so many people are eager to make Manassas’ history a part of their future. And for those apartment hunters who are looking to experience the Manassas in style, our luxury apartments at Arcadia Run are the perfect fit – allowing residents to enjoy modern amenities in one of the most historically significant areas in the state.

SOURCES:, The History Channel, (The Great American Stations), Potomac Local News, National Park Service