History

A story of ordinary people who did extraordinary things.

Well into the 20th century most Americans lived and worked on farms or in small towns much like this one. Few of those places remain much as they were. Waterford, miraculously, is one that has.

Walk with us through time for clues to Waterford’s character and tenacity. It is a story of ordinary people who did extraordinary things. They built a thriving town from wilderness; they endured a long and bloody war that threatened to destroy it; and in good times and bad they held tightly to their vision of a special place.

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.

1733 The Quakers

In 1733 Amos and Mary Janney, members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), traveled south from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to the wilds of northern Virginia in search of open land and opportunity...

1747 Rapid Growth

The county began to build and improve local roads to facilitate the movement of goods to and from Janney’s Mill and, by the time Francis Hague died in 1780, the tiny village had begun to grow rapidly...

19th c. African Americans

African Americans for 150 years made up a quarter of this old village and contributed immeasurably to its life and character...

1861 The Civil War

Waterford suffered greatly during the Civil War. In some ways it never recovered from the physical, economic, and psychological blows...

1865 Restoration

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...

1910 Waterford Old School

The Old School, constructed in 1910 as one of Loudoun County’s earliest public schools, sits on five acres at the northeastern entry point to the village of Waterford...

Waterford Architecture

As you walk around the village, you will see an astonishing variety of architectural styles...

Waterford News

During the Civil War three young Quaker women dared to publish a defiant pro-Union newspaper in the village...

Phillips Farm

The rolling vistas of farmland surrounding Waterford have been part of the village’s visual history for hundreds of years...

Second Street School

It wasn’t until 1867 that the first public school—“Colored ‘A,’ Jefferson District” now known as the “Second Street School”...

Historical Archives

Over the years, the Waterford Foundation has gathered all types of materials—from books to buggies—that explore the architecture...