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Monthly Presentation - Where Have All the Bullfrogs Gone: Historic Aquia Creek

Thursday June 17th 2021 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Today’s use of Aquia Creek for recreational boating and fishing is only a footnote to over three centuries of commercial activity.  John Smith explored and mapped Aquia Creek in 1608 and as early European settlers spread through coastal Virginia, the land along Aquia Creek was some of the first to be patented.

Recognizing the potential of the creek, in 1680 the Virginia Assembly ordered the establishment of a town on what is still called Brent’s Point.  By 1734, the location of the town had shifted about seven miles upstream.  Containing an official tobacco warehouse, stone wharf, houses, taverns, and assorted businesses, the town of Aquia was an important international shipping point until c.1800.

The tall ridges that frame the creek are comprised of a useful sandstone called Aquia freestone.  Functioning as an industry from the mid-seventeenth century until the 1970s, the stone was used for architectural purposes throughout America’s east coast and was chosen for use in Washington, DC’s early public buildings.

Also on the creek was Coal Landing, which was the primary shipping point for Accokeek Iron Furnace (c.1721 to c.1760) as well as for numerous freestone quarries.

The Union army used Aquia Creek for the delivering of supplies and personnel during the Civil War.  After the peace, business on the creek quickly resumed and until the 1930s, hundreds of sailing and steam-powered vessels plied the creek, picking up all manner of products and delivering merchandise for sale in Stafford’s country stores.


On Thursday, June 17 local historian Jerrilynn Eby MacGregor will present to the Stafford County Historical Society a Powerpoint program about the history of Aquia Creek.  The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the George L. Gordon Administration Center.  It is free and open to anyone who is interested in learning more about this long-important tributary of the Potomac River.