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Exchange Hotel
Photograph courtesy of Scenic America: Deborah L. Myerson

This Gordonsville landmark is a forerunner of the large railroad hotels that played an important role in the transportation history of late 19th- and early 20th-century America. The galleried structure was built in 1860 for Richard F. Omohundro next to an important railroad junction, when the Exchange Hotel offered a welcome stopping place for weary passengers on the Virginia Central Railway. Waist-coated gentlemen and hoop-skirted ladies were treated to the sight of the hotel's handsome architecture of wide verandas and stately columns.

In March 1862, because of its strategic location, the Exchange Hotel became part of the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital, admitting more than 23,000 sick and wounded in less than a year. The wounded and dying from nearby battlefields such as Cedar Mountain, Chancellorsville, Trevilian Station, Mine Run, Brandy Station, and the Wilderness were brought by the trainloads. Although this was primarily a Confederate facility, the hospital treated the wounded from both sides. Twenty-six Union soldiers died here. By war's end more than 70,000 men had been treated at the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital and just over 700 would be buried on its surrounding grounds. The scene of untold agony and death, the building survived the conflict. It again became a hotel after the war and enjoyed a fine reputation until the 1940s when it went into decline. Historic Gordonsville, Inc., acquired and restored the hotel in the 1970s. It now serves as the Exchange Hotel Civil War Museum.

The Exchange Hotel is located at 400 South Main St., in Gordonsville. The Exchange Hotel and Civil War Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm, plus Sundays 1:00pm to 4:00pm June-August. Closed January through March 15 and on major holidays. There is a fee. For further information visit the museum's website or call 540-832-2944.

 

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