DescriptionFront Royal began as Lehew Town, a frontier village on the packhorse road to the east. According to local lore, its current name derives from the command by frustrated military officers for unruly troops to “front the royal oak,” which once stood in the public square.
Belle Boyd, the Confederate spy who charmed military secrets out of her Union suitors, used Front Royal as one of her most effective bases. On May 15, 1862, Boyd overheard plans that the Union troops were exiting Front Royal, leaving behind a small force. Boyd relayed this information to Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, and on May 23, Jackson led his troops into town; the Battle of Front Royal ended with the capture of 750 of the 1,000 Union soldiers.
A popular stopping point for visitors bound for the Skyline Drive, Front Royal has preserved some of its 19th-century atmosphere on Chester Street, in the historic district. The 1787 Balthis House is the oldest building in town.
Visitor InfoFront Royal-Warren County Visitors Center 414 E. Main St. FRONT ROYAL, VA 22630. Phone:(540)635-5788 or (800)338-2576
Self-guiding toursA 10-stop driving tour of the Battle of Front Royal is available at the visitor center, as is information about 1863 and 1864 Civil War actions involving “the Gray Ghost,” Col. John S. Mosby, and generals Jubal Early, Philip Sheridan and Ulysses S. Grant. Brochures describing a walking tour of the historic district also are offered.
Things to SeeBalthis House