11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Historic Northern Virginia Piedmont

Year Listed: 1994
Location: Waterford, Virginia
Threat: Development

Significance

The Northern Piedmont's gentle landscape is dotted with Civil War battlefields and pre-Revolutionary villages and roads. Today, much of the countryside would still be recognizable to George Washington, who farmed here, and to Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, the Confederate Army colonel who earned his nickname by his unwavering stand against the Union Army during the first Battle of Manassas. But the Walt Disney company's trying to turn this part of history into a 405-acre theme park. The Disney project would create, in effect, a new city, with a $650 million theme park at its core. It and other planned developments, including a major thoroughbred racetrack, a 21,000-seat amphitheater and a Formula One racecourse, threaten to reduce this area of rolling hills, scenic rivers and productive farmland to a sea of strip malls, motels, pizza parlors, souvenir stands, and t-shirt shops.