Statement of Significance (as of designation - August 11, 1969):
General Philip Sheridan defeated Confederate General Jubal Early at Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864, climaxing the struggle for the Shenandoah Valley. Belle Grove, built by James Madison's brother-in-law Isaac Hite, Jr. between 1794-1797 as the center of his 7.500 acre plantation, served as Union headquarters during the battle.
The Route I-81 corridor particularly is undergoing rapid commercial development. Radio and cell towers in the area are proliferating at an alarming rate. The view shed is deteriorating. Planned I-81 widening will encroach on sensitive battlefield and plantation lands resulting in increased traffic, noise, loss of view shed and property along with danger to Belle Groves Manor house, battlefield and archaeological sites during construction. The planned Corridor-H presents the same threat as the I-81 widening. From I-81 Exit 302, Middletown, VA along Route 11 to I-81 Exit 298, rapid expansion of high-density housing and commercial development is encroaching on both open space and the view shed.
Recommendation/Change since last report:
Funding for context-sensitive design of the section of Route I-81 which intersects with properties in the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, including sensitive Civil War Battlefield lands and nearby Belle Grove Plantation is recommended. Also recommended are an archaeological survey, a boundary study, a Historic Structures Report for Heater House, HABS/HAER documentation, and Middletown, VA National Park Gateway Community Planning Funds.