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The Pike at 200

Great Falls Day on May 5 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the historic Georgetown Pike.

The Great Falls Historical Society is presenting Great Falls Day on Sunday, May 5, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the historic Georgetown Pike.

Georgetown Pike began as a buffalo trail. Native Americans used it as a footpath. And early settlers built their homes, cultivated their farms, and grazed their dairy herds along the road. Two hundred years ago, the construction of "The Pike" began in order to connect Georgetown markets with the rich agricultural land and growing manufacturing interests in Leesburg and beyond. It took 14 years to complete this vital byway, and since its inception, the windy and picturesque road has been a key connection for local commerce, a magnet for nature lovers, and the heart of the Great Falls community. The road is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, demonstrating the best of early 19th century road-building engineering standards. Its engineered roadbed remains in tact today.

The Great Falls Historical Society is showcasing this local and national treasure by sponsoring this family-friendly event at the Great Falls Grange Park. The festival will feature 20 history tents of the early families of Great Falls, vividly depicting life along The Pike, work at the grain mills, the farms, and everyday life in the village. There will be four keynote presentations on the origins and early history of Great Falls, including George Washington's role in the development of the area. The Historical Society's extensive collection of historic photos will be projected on a large screen throughout the day that will show all aspects of life in our village—churches and schools, local mom and pop stores of a bygone era, barns, social events and families across the generations.

Live entertainment, food treats from local noted chefs, historic games for the children and more will be part of the festival, which is from noon to 6 p.m., at 9818 Georgetown Pike in Great Falls. Admission is free.

"We're bringing local history to the community in an enjoyable way," said Kathleen Murphy, president of the Great Falls Historical Society. "Our objective is to make history come alive for local families, to bring the stories of Great Falls and the people and their daily lives to life in a fun way, and to help people appreciate the local roots of our area."

The Great Falls Historical Society was founded in 1977 as a non-profit group to share Great Falls history, conduct local historical research, promote historic preservation and encourage community spirit.

For more information, contact Kathleen Murphy at president@gfhs.org, 917-673-3149, cell.