|Coordinates (city): Coordinates:|
|County||Culpeper & Orange|
|Established||Mid to late 1700s|
|• Total||49 sq mi (130 km2)|
|Elevation||430  ft (131 m)|
|• Density||30/sq mi (10/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
Rapidan is a small unincorporated community in the Virginia counties of Culpeper and Orange, approximately 5 miles (8 km) northeast of the Town of Orange. The community, being located on both sides of the Rapidan River, was established in the late eighteenth century as mill town known as Waugh’s Ford. Upon the arrival of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad through the town in 1854, and the establishment of a post office at the river crossing, its name was changed to Rapid Ann Station. Milling remained a major industry in the area up through the mid-twentieth century.
Its strategic location along both a railroad and a river brought about several destructive raids during the Civil War. Willis’s mill (ca. 1772), which stood in the location of the current mill, was burned along with several homes and other structures. Because of this, most of the buildings in the community are of post-Civil War construction. A notable exception is the miller’s house, which was constructed soon after the original Willis’s mill was built.
Following the end of the Civil War, the village of Rapid Ann Station resumed its prominence as a regional shipping point, particularly for lumber and wood products. Its name was changed once again in 1886 to the present-day Rapidan.
The Rapidan Historic District, encompassing 35 contributing buildings and 3 noncontributing buildings within 182 acres (74 ha), was designated a National Historic District in 1987 and added to both the Virginia Landmarks Register (VLR) and the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Included in the district’s contributing buildings is the Waddell Memorial Presbyterian Church, listed separately on the VLR and NRHP. Although not within the Rapidan Historic District, the community of Rapidan is also home to an eighteenth-century middle-class farmhouse known as Locust Grove (also known as Goodwin farm), which was listed on the VLR and NRHP in 1985.
The community and surrounding counties are served by the Rapidan Volunteer Fire Department, officially formed in 1978.
- Zip code 22733 Data (Rapidan, VA). Retrieved 16 November, 2013. https://www.zip-codes.com/zip-code/22733/zip-code-22733.asp
- "Rapidan Historic District." National Register of Historic Places registration form. February 1986. Form prepared by David Edwards and staff, Virginia Division of Historic Landmarks. Retrieved 15 November 2013. http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Culpeper/023-0052_Rapidan_Historic_District_1987_Final_Nomination.pdf
- "Locust Grove (Goodwin farm)." National Register of Historic Places registration form. June 1985. Form prepared by the Virginia Division of Historic Landmarks. Retrieved 15 November, 2013. http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Culpeper/023-0049_Locust_Grove_1985_Final_Nomination.pdf
- "RVFD History". Rapidan Volunteer Fire Department. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
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