Historic preservation meets modern amenities in Downtown Ashland.
Railroad tracks course right down the center or our unique main street, making Ashland a popular destination for rail history buffs and train watchers. The historic buildings and leafy trees that line Railroad Avenue provide a scenic backdrop for photographers.
Ideal for strolling (or pedaling), Downtown Ashland is pedestrian and cyclist friendly with wide and well-manicured sidewalks, crosswalks, benches, and bike racks. Free public parking is available in lots and on the street, and Ashland’s Visitor Center, stocked with information to plan your trip, is located inside the train station.
Downtown Ashland Association’s signature events, Train Day and Light Up the Tracks, take place in the heart of Downtown, and many of Ashland’s locally-owned independent businesses occupy the historic buildings that line Railroad Avenue.
Ashland owes its beginnings to the Richmond Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad Company, which first laid tracks to a mill near the Slashes of Hanover, birthplace of Henry Clay, during the Industrial Revolution. Rail gave rise to hotels, hotels to a village, a village to a town that became a popular mineral springs resort in the 1840s.
Officially incorporated in 1858, the Town of Ashland continued to grow and expand. In 1868, Randolph-Macon College relocated to Ashland, transforming the town from a resort into a small college town with a community and unique character all its own.