New London, Virginia facts for kids
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New London, Virginia
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New London is currently an unincorporated community and former town in Campbell County, Virginia, United States. The site of the colonial community is eleven miles southwest of downtown Lynchburg, Virginia. In 1754, Bedford County was formed and New London was established as the county seat. Situated near the intersection of the Great Wagon Road and the Wilderness Road, the town was an important stopping point for settlers heading west.
It was in the courthouse located in New London that Patrick Henry delivered his famous "beef" speech during the John Hook trial. Other prominent historical figures with connections to New London include Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson constructed his retreat, Poplar Forest, near New London in Bedford County. New London was also home to a Revolutionary-era arsenal. In 1781, Bedford County was divided in two, forming Campbell County. The Bedford county seat was then relocated to Liberty, later known as the town of Bedford. After the county seat and court were moved, the former bustling commercial center declined.
In the 19th century, the rising popularity of mineral springs sparked a brief revival. The Bedford Alum Springs Hotel, located in New London, drew visitors seeking the benefits of the nearby natural springs. The town sought to capitalize on this attraction and changed its name from New London to Bedford Springs in 1880.
New London is home to several historic structures. Mead's Tavern is the sole remaining building from the colonial era, but several historic buildings from the later period are still standing. These include the former Bedford Alum Springs Hotel, the office of Dr. Nicholas Kabler, the W.W. Driskill General Store, two Methodist churches, and the Holt-Ashwell house. The New London Academy (Virginia) is still in operation today as an elementary school.
In 2015, the Friends of New London, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving historic New London, sold Mead's Tavern to Liberty University. Current archaeological and architectural studies at Mead's Tavern are contributing to what is known about the building, the town, and the people who lived and worked there.
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