Journey Through Time: Uncovering the Hidden History of Ben Lomond Historic Site

Darley and Kevin standing in front of bed, with a reproduction of Lieutenant Colonel William Fitzhulee's uniform.
Darley and Kevin standing in front of bed, with a reproduction of Lieutenant Colonel William Fitzhulee's uniform.

Ben Lomond: Unveiling the Legacy of a Civil War Confederate Hospital: Podcast Episode + Travel Tips

In this episode of the Travels with Darley podcast, Darley Newman takes listeners on a captivating journey back in time to the Ben Lomond Historic Site in Northern Virginia. This hidden gem, just a stone’s throw away from Manassas Battlefield National Park, offers a unique opportunity to experience history with all five senses. Darley Newman invites listeners to delve deep into the past alongside historian and author Kevin Pawlak, as they uncover the secrets and stories hidden within the walls of this Civil War-era landmark. Listen to this episode here!

Podcast episode:

The journey begins as Kevin leads Darley through the grounds, which are about 6 acres with 5 historic outbuildings including a smokehouse, slave quarters, and the main house. They explore the rich history of Ben Lomond, once a civil war hospital and home to enslaved people from the Colonial era to the Civil War. They uncover the stories of the Pringle family, who lived in the house during this tumultuous period. From their experiences renting enslaved people to the challenges they faced when their home was commandeered as a hospital, each chapter of their story adds depth to the rich tapestry of Ben Lomond’s history.

 

Exterior of the house which Confederate soldiers used as a hospital.
Exterior of the house which Confederate soldiers used as a hospital.

Darley and Kevin take a look at the slave quarters, where Kevin shares insights into what life was like for the enslaved people who lived here. Then, they step inside the main home, where immersive exhibits allow visitors to experience the sights, sounds, and even the smells of a civil war hospital. From the pungent aroma of the barnyard to the lingering scent of gangrene, every detail is meticulously recreated to transport visitors back in time.

Ben Lomond hospital room that was used to treat diseases.
Ben Lomond hospital room that was used to treat diseases.

As they explore further, they uncover the graffiti left behind by Union soldiers and the poignant reminders of the lives that once passed through these walls. From the stories of bravery to the everyday struggles of those who called Ben Lomond home, each artifact serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

 

Travel Facts and Tips:

  • Ben Lomond is actually not a person, but a Scottish term that means “beacon mountain”.
  • The slave quarters at Ben Lomond is 1 of 3 that still stand in Prince William County and the only one still open to the public. According to the census of 1860, there used to be over 400.
  • Wondering where the exhibit gets a hold of these smells? There are actually companies that specialize in recreating different scents, both pleasant and unpleasant. Yes, the smells in this exhibit are very strong and pungent, but it is still a great immersive experience for adults and children.

As you listen to this episode, may it inspire you to seek out the hidden histories that await at destinations like Ben Lomond, where the echoes of the past resonate with timeless stories of courage, compassion, and resilience.

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