Fairfax Stone State Park
Fairfax Stone State Park, near Davis, West Virginia, has no boating, no hiking, and no camping. It does not even have a restroom. In fact, it is a diminutive 4-acre park. However, it has immense importance to the Potomac River and the history of the region.
A spring, marked by an organized pile of mossy rocks, is the beginning of the North Branch of the Potomac River. A mere 383 miles downriver, that trickle transforms into the 11-mile wide mouth of the Potomac River, spilling into the Chesapeake Bay.
Before the American Revolution, it was the tradition that English kings would reward loyal friends with large parcels of land in the territories. A plaque on a six-ton rock at the entrance of the park commemorates the western boundary of land granted to Lord Fairfax by King Charles II of England in 1746.
His bounty was, “bounded by and within the heads of the Rivers Rappahannock and Patawomecke”. Known as Fairfax Stone, it is one of the oldest markers in the United States. This plot of land has been part of many boundary disputes.
There may not be many amenities in this charming park, but it is a good reminder that even the largest rivers start as a trickle.