The name Appomattox is synonymous with the words “defeat” and “victory” in the minds of Americans. Here ended the four-year-long struggle between two ideologies, the remnants of which continue to be rallying points today for differing opinions over the Civil War's meaning and its legacy. Robert E. Lee's surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox was a turning point in the nation's history, effectively if not officially ending the war.
In 1845 Appomattox County was formed from the surrounding Buckingham, Prince Edward, Charlotte, and Campbell counties. The county, site of the headwaters of the Appomattox River, took its name from the river that, in turn, had been named for a tribe of Native Americans living at the falls of the river. Clover Hill, a tavern stop on the stage line between Richmond and Lynchburg, was named its county seat. The village that grew up became known as Appomattox Court House. A few years later, in 1854, the Southside Railroad came through the area and established a stop three miles southwest of Appomattox Court House, marking the beginning of the small community's decline. The rural character of the county did not change, however, with the coming of the railroad. With the exception of the Pamplin Pipe Factory (AP9), a manufactory of clay pipes for smoking tobacco, the county knew little of industrial development or industrial building types. Only in the late nineteenth century, with the relocation of the courthouse, did the new town of Appomattox become prosperous enough to support the architectural expression of an emerging entrepreneurial class. Today, the town is the retail hub for the area and its major employers are Walmart and the public school system.
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