Fauquier Springs is the site of an early spa town in the county that was a watering hole of the rich and famous. On the grounds of what is today the Fauquier Springs Country Club, a thriving health spa and hotel in the early 1800s.
The land, originally consisting of 300 acres, was granted to Col. Edward Barrow in 1717. A year later, this parcel was combined with 4300 acres granted to Thomas Lee. The area was once called Lee’s Springs after Hancock Lee, II, who built a lodge here in 1792. President’s Madison and Monroe once owned cottages on the property. The spa was also visited by President Van Buren, Chief Justice John Marshall, and Mrs. Henry Clay.
Of note, the first steeplechase in Virginia was run here in 1844 and, in the summer of 1849, the Virginia General Assembly met here due to a cholera epidemic that was raging in Richmond. During the Civil War, a fierce battle was fought for the possession of the bridge spanning the Rappahannock River. During the battle, many cottages and the hotel were burned down. Voluntary archaeological studies and a detailed analysis of all the above ground remains of buildings might reveal much of the undocumented history of the spa, its guests, and workers. The 1914 Map of Fauquier County reveals a number of residences along Opal Road that still remain today as defining historic features of the Village of Fauquier Springs.