History of Waterford, Virginia
About Waterford Virginia
Waterford was founded about 1733 by Amos Janney, a Quaker from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Other Quakers followed him there. Mills were built along Catoctin Creek. The village grew until it was the second largest town in Loudoun County (this was before the Civil War). Many buildings still in use in the village were built before 1840.
Known as Janney's Mill until the 1780s, the early commercial center then became the village of Waterford. See below on how Wateford got its name.
Waterford's stagnation as a commercial center after the Civil War meant it was not worth demolishing the old to make way for new development. The old town and its surrounding farms were able to slumber undisturbed, like Rip Van Winkle, for many years, By 1937, when the Historic American Buildings Survey was completed in Waterford, most buildings in the village were falling into disrepair – or falling apart.
That same decade, members of old Waterford families, beginning with brothers Edward and Leroy Chamberlin, began buying and restoring buildings. These restorationists established the Waterford Foundation in 1943 to "revive and stimulate a community interest in re-creating the town of Waterford as it existed in previous times with its varying crafts and activities.
The Foundation has played an important role in revitalizing the physical fabric of Waterford as well as increasing the public's knowledge of life and work in an early American rural community. In 1970, Waterford and 1,420 surrounding acres were designated a National Historic Landmark.
Another 1943 milestone was the creation of the Waterford Homes Tour and Crafts Exhibit. This annual event now draws some 30,000 visitors the first weekend every October.
Waterford is 379 ft above sea level, Latitude 39N11, Longitude77W37
Waterford had two or three names in colonial times; Janney's Mill,
Fairfax, and Milltown. While the first two names are part of the historical
record, the third's textural appearance in found first in 1915, the
anonymous writer asserting that "Mill Town" was a name for
the village in its founding era. ... the same anonymous writer,
who in 1915 first called the early hamlet "Mill Town," also
forwarded to us the origin of the village's present name: "One
of the most enterprising citizens an Irish Shoemaker by the name of Thomas
Moore had emigrated this country from or near Waterford in Ireland.
And he very patriotically named the rising city for the place of his
birth..."* As to when the name changed, my property, on the Old
Wheatland Road west of Waterford, is described in a 1770 deed as on "the
Great Road to Janney's Mill." Twelve years later the farm is on "the
Great Road from The Gap [later Hillsboro] to Janney's Mill, now Waterford." Thomas
Moore might have had persuasive powers, for the bustling seaport city
of Waterford has little in common with the village, save for the latter's
two fords and water. Waterford, Ireland, though, did have a substantial
Quaker community.And there were several Janney's mills in Loudoun County.
* Although, Thomas Moore is generally credited with naming the village of Waterford after his hometown in Ireland, this is unsubstantiated. It is at least as likely that the village was named for the critical ford which crossed Catoctin Creek at the present location of the Mill bridge. The ford would have been an important feature as the village expanded over the terrace area adjoining Janney's Mill.