A Great Place to Call Home
Greene County is a county located in central Virginia in the eastern United States. Greene County was established in 1838. Its county seat is Stanardsville.
Greene County, Virginia is a fast growing gateway between dynamic Northern Virginia and Charlottesville, a Money Magazine "100 best places to live." Centered at the crossroads between two major highways, U.S. 29 and U.S. 33, Greene County is only 100 miles southwest of Washington, DC, 20 miles north of downtown Charlottesville and 78 miles northwest of Virginia's capital city, Richmond. Greene is also close to interstates 64 and 81, and is only four miles from the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport.
Greene County is one of the few gateways to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah National Park. This Central Virginia county offers the stunning beauty of the Piedmont and mountains for visitors, cyclists, hikers and naturalists. With convenient access to Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail, Greene County is the perfect place to explore our natural beauty and revitalize your senses.
Greene County is a small, rural community that offers an array of unique experiences. Explore over 75,000 square feet of antiques in the Ruckersville Antique District. Discover the creativity of local artisans from potters to metalworkers, painters to woodworkers. Relax in a cabin, cottage, inn, or a bed and breakfast. Enjoy a taste of Virginia wines at our intimate vineyards. Celebrate your special occasion with breathtaking views at a rustic, formal, or outdoor venue.
Greene County's History
Around 1670, statutes aimed at controlling Indian trade prove that there existed extensive independent traders in the area. But in 1679, German scholar John Lederer led an expedition commissioned by Lieutenant Governor William Berkeley. They traveled along the Pamunkey River to the "Apalateaean (sic) Mountains", encountering what we believe to be many sites in Greene County including the Rapidan River, Swift Run River and Hightop Mountain. The more well known expedition of Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood set out on August 29, 1716 with 63 men and 73 horses. A preponderance of evidence indicates that they crossed the mountains at Swift Run Gap, traveling through what is now Greene County. The symbol of Greene County comes from this legendary trip, and the Greene County Historical Society's publication, A Greene County History, chronicles the legend: "We are told that [at the end of the journey, Spotswood] gave each of [his men] a golden horseshoe in which colored stones represented the nails. On one side was the Latin motto, 'Sic juvat transcendere montes' (How delightful it is to cross mountains). On the other side were the words, 'The Tramontane Order.' [Tramontane is a classical Italian-derived word referring to anything that comes from, or anyone who lives on, the other side of mountains]. Unfortunately the golden horseshoes, if Spotswood did actually present them to the men, have all been lost."
Within 20 years, almost all of what is now Greene County, except the more mountainous land, had been taken up in grants from the King of England, a total of c. 60,000 acres. One survey marker from an eight-piece (Octonia) grant still remains as a National and State Registered Historical site, the Octonia Stone. There were actually a number of rigorous requirements for keeping such a grant and after the initial eight grantees failed at meeting the requirements, the grant was renewed in 1729 to only one man - Robert Beverly. Through marriage into the Beverly family, William Stanard managed to inherit a significant portion of the Octonia grant in 1756. But after a lifetime of development of his own Stanard - ville and accession to membership in the Virginia House of Delegates, at his death William had sold or given away 4,520 acres of the inheritance. In 1816, a commission of three men, including William's son Robert Stanard, sold the remaining acreage. Despite the legal progression of land ownership, the village previously owned and heavily developed by William Stanard remains named after him and is the only legally recognized town in Greene County.
For reasons of distance from legal proceedings and a fear of the more dense slave population in lower Orange County, attempts began in 1819 to separate the "Upper District" from the "Lower District" in Orange. Finally in 1838, Senator Thomas Davis successfully passed "An Act Forming a New County out of the County of Orange." The new county was given the name of Nathanael Greene who gained fame in the Revolutionary War as second-in-command to General George Washington, and Stanardsville was chosen to be the County seat.
Source: Donald D. Covey, Greene County History 2002. Stanardsville: Greene County Historical Society. All information and photos available courtesy of the Greene County Historical Society, located on 360 Main Street in Stanardsville. The Greene County Historical Society is open to the public Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm, as well as other times by request. Call 434-985-1834.