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Located in Albemarle County, Virginia, Free Union is a small unincorporated community known for its historical significance and picturesque landscape. Over the centuries, this serene region has witnessed several remarkable historical events that have shaped its identity and the broader narratives of Virginia and the United States. Here are seven fascinating historical events that have taken place near Free Union.

1. The Founding of Free Union: In the early 19th century, Free Union was established as a thriving agricultural hub. This event marked the beginning of a settlement that would endure for generations, providing a community for farmers, traders, and craftsmen in the area.

2. The Civil War and the Battle of Rio Hill: The American Civil War (1861-1865) deeply affected Albemarle County, including Free Union. On March 2, 1865, the Battle of Rio Hill unfolded just south of Free Union. Union forces under General George Custer attacked Confederate defenders commanded by General Thomas Rosser, resulting in a Union victory.

3. The Arrival of the Railroad: In 1877, the Charlottesville and Transit Railway extended its railway line to Free Union. The advent of the railroad brought improved transportation and connected Free Union with other communities, contributing to the growth and development of the region.

4. The Creation of Shenandoah National Park: During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the federal government implemented President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal initiatives, including the establishment of Shenandoah National Park. This park, encompassing areas near Free Union, aimed to preserve the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and create recreational opportunities.

5. The Civil Rights Movement: While not limited to Free Union, the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century had a profound impact on the region. Activists like Dorothy Holcomb Dandridge, a Free Union resident, and her husband, Bruce Dandridge, worked tirelessly for racial equality, fostering positive change within their community.

6. The Monumental Greensboro Free Union School: In 1948, the Monumental Greensboro Free Union School was constructed. This landmark educational facility served as the heart of Free Union's African American community, providing quality education for over two decades until the desegregation of Albemarle County schools.

7. The Preservation of Rural Heritage: Over the years, the Free Union community has made substantial efforts to preserve its rural heritage and natural landscapes. Organizations like the Free Union Historical Society have worked diligently to collect and preserve artifacts, stories, and records documenting the area's history, ensuring it is remembered and celebrated for future generations.

These seven historical events near Free Union, Virginia, have left an indelible mark on the community and shaped its present-day character. From the founding of Free Union and its growth as an agricultural center to the Civil War's impact, the construction of Shenandoah National Park, the fight for civil rights, and the preservation of its heritage, Free Union continues to honor its rich history while embracing a future that reflects the blend of tradition and progress.

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