Nathaniel Lee pictured with a map of railroads in the Virginia area on loan from the Franconia Museum.
Photo by John Esper/The Connection
Nathaniel Lee was always inspired by the long history of trains and railroads. As a child he stumbled upon an abandoned train station while exploring the woods of Northern Virginia. “I grew up next to the railroad. What started me on the book was I walked back into the woods and found the old roadbed and a missing station that no one knew about,” Lee said. In his presentation of his book “The Iron Road of Franconia: A History of the RF&P Railroad in Fairfax County” to the Burke Historical Society on Sunday, May 22, at the Abiding Presence Lutheran Church, Lee wove the history of the RF&P Railroad with interesting sources, funny anecdotes and a keen understanding of the history. He also provided an old map of the railroads in the Northern Virginia area to help provide a better understanding of this work.
“Most of our history, because we are such a local community, is in people’s basements, in their old dairies… that’s where you get the best information.”
Lee works for the Franconia Museum and searched high and low in the Franconia area to find sources and information for his book, “Most of our history because we are such a local community, is in people’s basements, in their old dairies… that’s where you get the best information.” It took Lee 11 months to write his book and he feels that it has shed a lot of insight into the local history of Franconia. “We found things we didn’t know, new ways of understanding how our community name developed, how our community developed from a farming community into a much larger community because of the railroad,” said Lee. Members of the Burke Historical society were impressed by his book discussion and thanked him for his time. Nathaniel Lee’s book can be bought at www.createspace.com/6190241 or on retail bookselling sites such as Amazon.