The official National Register District boundaries include 81 historic resources on 51 properties within a 115 acre area of the town. Rectortown includes two churches, a school, an Odd Fellows hall, a post office, multiple commercial buildings, several cemeteries, and a number of historic residences.
The 54 historic properties in the district illustrate the story of the community’s and the region’s development over a period of more than two hundred years. Six properties date to the last half of the 18th century; eight to the first half of the 19th century; 25 to the 1880-1910 period, seven to the 1920-1954 period; and eight to the modern period. These structures feature log, stone, and brick construction methods in the Piedmont for over two centuries.
Rectortown was a bustling town of 100 residents by 1835 with all the requisite craftsmen such as blacksmiths, tavern keepers, wagon makers, boot and shoe makers, tailors, and physicians. In 1852, the town received a huge economic boost with the arrival of the Manassas Gap Railroad. Alfred Rector, a shareholder in the railroad apparently gave the railroad the land necessary to make a loop past his property in Rectortown. As a result, stores were expanded and new buildings appeared even as much of the rest of the South suffered disinvestment after the Civil War.
Old Rector’s store was used as a prison for captured Federal troops during the Civil War. It was also the site of Union General George McClellan’s headquarters in November, 1862, when he received word from President Lincoln that he was being relieved of his post.
Rectortown also features a historic African-American community that was oriented around the Mt. Olive Baptist Church. This community was formed at least by 1870 by freed blacks after the Civil War, but had also essentially been in existence with the institution of slavery from the time the town originated in the 18th century.
Buildings listed as contributing structures in the National Register district are eligible for grants and tax credits.