Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County, Virginia is a geological formation in which Cedar Creek has carved out a gorge of the limestone mountainous terrain, forming an arch 215 ft 66 m high with a span of 90 ft 27 m. It consists of horizontal limestone strata, and is the remains of the roof of a cave or underground tunnel through which the creek once flowed. It is crossed by a public road, U.S. Highway 11. Natural Bridge has been designated a Virginia Historical Landmark and a National Historical Landmark. Natural Bridge is also known as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Before the settlers came to the New World, the Natural Bridge was a sacred site of the Native American Monacan Indians. As a young surveyor, George Washington came to the site in 1750 on behalf of Lord Fairfax. Landmarks remain of his work and on the wall of the bridge where he carved his initials. Thomas Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land including the Natural Bridge from King George III of England in 1774. Jefferson built a two room log cabin, with one room reserved for guests, beginning its use as a retreat.
Natural Bridge was one of the wonders of the new world that Europeans visited during the 18th & 19th centuries. Vacationing guests from all over the world took day trips from Natural Bridge on horseback or horse drawn carriages to explore the countryside. In 1833, a new owner erected the Forest Inn to accommodate the increasing number of people. During the 1880's Natural Bridge attained resort status under the ownership of Colonel Henry Parsons.
The Drama of Creation, a sound and light show depicting the seven days of creation as told in the Bible in the book of Genesis, was inaugurated by U.S. President Calvin Coolidge in 1927. Phineas Stevens, celebrated lighting engineer, had designed and installed an impressive system of lighting which at night transformed the Bridge and glen. Musical accompaniment was added to form a moving drama of creation, interpreted by some of the greatest symphonic compositions of all time and vocal music of unusual quality and appeal.
The outdoor program is held each evening at dusk under the Natural Bridge, subject to seasons and weather.Web Sites and Links
Virginia Gold OrchardProducing several varieties of organic Asian pears. Questions and answers, hours and sales, directions to orchard, and on-line order form.