A journey through hallowed ground


From Thomas Jefferson’s beloved Monticello to the sacred battlefield where Abraham Lincoln delivered his immortal Gettysburg address, one road meanders through a region where 17 presidents carved out their lives, shaped their legacies and made their homes.

Spanning three states Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania Route 15 is a 180-mile long stretch of highway that bisects a 75-mile-wide region that is said to hold more historic sites than any other in America, including the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation.

Recently designated as The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, the area is also home to sites from the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Dubbed by some as “where America happened,” the region was an active transportation route during the Revolutionary War, a critical transition zone for the Underground Railroad and a key battleground during the Civil War. Now a bucolic corridor, this passageway once served as a roadbed through the many stages of our nation’s creation.

But while the names Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln are commonly associated with this region, 14 other presidents added to the rich history of an area that is home to James Madison’s Montpelier, James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farm, Teddy Roosevelt’s Pine Knot and Herbert Hoover’s hunting cabin, all of which are open to the public weather permitting and provide a unique look back at presidential history this Presidents Day weekend.


Ash Lawn-Highland  Home of President James Monroe

Open to the public. Located in Albemarle County, Va.

James Monroe’s 550-acre estate recreates the atmosphere of a working farm, with strutting peacocks, spinning and weaving demonstrations, open hearth cooking demonstrations and tours of the house and gardens. (434-293-9539)

Eisenhower National Historic Site  President Eisenhower’s weekend retreat near Gettysburg

Open to the public. Located in Adams County, Pa.

The farm is the only place President and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower ever called home. Today you can tour the home, grounds and barns preserved as they were in the Eisenhower days. (717-338-9144)

David Wills House  Site of the final edits of the Gettysburg Address

Open to the public. Located in Adams County, Pa.

President Lincoln stayed here on the eve of his Gettysburg Address and this is where he did the final edits to one of his greatest speeches. (717-334-8188)

Montpelier and Madison’s Tomb  Lifelong home of James Madison

Open to the public. Located in Orange County, Va.

Montpelier, the lifelong home of James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution” and fourth president of the United States, was also home to three generations of the Madison family from 1723 to 1844. (540-672-2728)

Monticello  Home of Thomas Jefferson

Open to the public. Located in Albemarle County, Va.

Monticello is the autobiographical masterpiece of Thomas Jefferson, designed and redesigned and built and rebuilt for more than 40 years. The gardens at Monticello were a botanic showpiece, a source of food and an experimental laboratory of ornamental and useful plants from around the world. (434-984-9800)

Soldiers National Cemetery  The site of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Open to the public. Located in Adams County, Pa.

It was here that President Abraham Lincoln spoke of “these honored dead …” and reunited the war-torn nation with his most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address. (717-334-1124)

For more information on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway or to download maps for the region, visit www.HallowedGround.org