Three Notch'd Road



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The following is based on a paper "The route of the Three Notch'd Road" an abstract of which was provided by Mary Richardson. (See: Source:Pawlett and Newlon, 1976) Also used is ALBEMARLE COUNTY ROADS, 1725-1816 By Nathaniel Mason Pawlett, 1981


DS Tavern, Albemarle County, VA


From:Source:Pawlett and Newlon, 1976
Approximate Route of Three Notch'd Road, from Richmond to Rockfish Gap. The blue line represents Three Notch'd Road. The green shaded area represents Borden's Grant, and the pink represents the rough boundaries of Beverly's Manor. These depictions should be considered as "approximate". The Fry-Jefferson map used as a base is not entirely accurate, and some distortion has been introduced into the outlines of both Borden's Grant and Beverley's Manor, inorder to make them fit between the Blue Ridge to the east, and North Mountain range to the west.
[On 17 May 1737 O.S.] an order for what would ultimately become the other end of the Three Notch’d Road was also issued. This gave Michael Wood permission to clear a road from the “Blew Ledge” or Blue Ridge, sometimes merely “the Ledge” or “Great Mountains,” down to Ivy Creek. This road ran from Wood’s Gap (now Jarman’s) down along the ridge where Crozet now stands, crossing Mechums River near the depot of that name, thence to what must have been the end of the Mountain Road at the place later called D.S. An unusual circumstance surrounding this part of what was to be the later Three Notch’d Road was that it exactly reversed the usual order of settlement and road building in this area, for Michael Wood had come south through the Valley into Virginia from Pennsylvania, moving eastward through the mountains to settle below Wood’s Gap on the eastern side. Thus the road came to be built from west to east rather than the more usual east to west direction. Pawlett, 1981

Three Notch'd Road was an important transportation route between eastern Virginia, and the Valley of Virginia. The route, also known as "Three Chopt Road", probably coalesced from individual trails and road segments beginning in the 1730's. Originally it is thought that the roadway was marked with three "blazes" to guide travelers, hence the names "Three Notch'd Road" and "Three Chopt Road". The route of the road approximates the modern US 250, portions of which still retain the original name. Interstate 64 also parallels the original route, and serves the same basic function of carrying traffic from the Richmond area of Virginia westward through Rockfish Gap, down into the Valley of Virginia. During colonial times "Three Notch'd Road" served settlers heading to the Valley of Virginia from the Tidewater and Piedmont regions, as well as providing for travel from the Valley back to the developed areas of Virginia. Those going to the Colonial Capitol of Williamsburg would have traveled Three Notch'd Road for much of the way. [1]


  1. Note: The boundaries of Borden's Grant and Beveley's Manor are based on Hildebrand's maps of these two areas. His maps utilize a slightly different projection than the Fry & Jefferson map of 1757 used for the geographic background. Also, while the Fry & Jefferson Map provides a good overview of the area, its details differ, in someways significantly, from modern depictions of the area. As a result of these two factors it is not possible to exactly match the boundaries of Borden's Grant and Beverley's Manor, with topographic features of the Fry & Jefferson map. Beverley's Manor, for example, required considerable distortion to "make it fit". What is shown, however, is a reasonable compromise, and the mapping should be sufficient to meet the needs of those who only wish a general idea of the location of these areas.