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Leesylvania State Park, Virginia

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Leesylvania State Park is a Virginia State Park located on the Potomac River 25 miles south of Washington D.C. The park gets its name from the Lee Family that once owned the land. The park has a beach, an old civil war fort, ruins of the Fairfax family estate, historic sites, a cemetery, and miles of trails that take you through wooded areas. After reading all of this, some of you are beginning to wonder what in the world this has to do with railroads.
Today, CSX trains along with Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express Trains run right through the center of the park, but it was not the first rail route through the park. In 1872, the Alexandria and Fredericksburg Railroad built the first rail line through what is now the state park, but it was not a straight line. As it came from the north and crossed the cove north of the park, it curved its way through the park before it exited the park at the south end. While the line was on this routing, there was a derailment which damaged the tracks. A temporary trestle was built while the tracks were being repaired. The trestle was built using ropes from trees. It delayed many trains including the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus Train. P.T. Barnum was impressed saying that he had been all over the country and never saw a railroad tied to a tree. The rail line went this route until 1925 when it was straighten out through the land which it still runs to this day. The land was still in private hands until Daniel Ludwig donated the land in 1978 to eventually become the state park today. You can hike the Lee Woods Trail and still see the railroad trough where the railroad originally passed through.
Leesylvania State Park is located at 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive in Woodbridge, Virginia just minutes from U.S. 1 and Interstate 95. An admission fee is required to enter the park. Go to http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/leesylvania.shtml for more information.

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