The Natural Bridge History

Virginia's Natural BridgeNatural Bridge is one of the oldest tourist destinations in the United States. The Natural Bridge of Virginia is located
in the community of Natural Bridge, which is located in Rockbridge County.

The History of the Bridge

The Bridge has been included in several “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” lists, mostly in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark, a Virginia Historic Landmark, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

A very long time ago

Natural Bridge was formed when a cavern collapsed and left the span that stands today.

A long time ago

Monacan Indian legends tell that the Natural Bridge appeared just as they needed to escape from an advancing enemy.

In 1750

Legend holds that a young George Washington surveyed the Natural Bridge site for Lord Fairfax. The initials “GW” are carved into the side of the bridge.

In 1774

Just before the American Revolution and writing of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land including the Natural Bridge from King George III of England for 20 shillings.

Late 1700s

The property’s development as a retreat began when Jefferson built a two-room log cabin – one room was reserved for guests.

Early 1800s

In 1833, Jefferson’s heirs sold the site and the new owner erected the Forest Inn to accommodate the increasing number of visitors.

Late 1800s

During the 1880s Natural Bridge attained resort status under the ownership of Colonel Henry Parsons.

Early 1900s to now

Natural Bridge continues to welcome visitors from all over the world.

In 1998

Designated a National Historic Landmark by the US Department of the Interior.

GPS Address:

6477 South Lee Highway | Natural Bridge | VA | 24578