Katherine Stoffregen Wilson

Katherine MacDonald Stoffregen Wilson lived from March 5, 1908 until May 9, 1975. She was born to father Robert Lee Stoffregen and mother Anne Gilmer Martin.

Much of Katherine’s scrapbook consists of photographs of her honeymoon to North Carolina, where she visited the historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Katherine took many photos of the countryside, capturing the beauty of the landscape that surrounded her. Along with photos, Katherine’s bridal book also includes a piece of lace, a tuft of cotton, and a leaf that we were unfortunately unable to scan. Though collecting items such as these may seem unusual to us today, they were ordinary for those in the 1930s, acting as keepsakes full of sentimental value.

Route 1’s Grand Opening

Katherine herself was involved in a momentous piece of local history – the grand opening of U.S. Route 1 in Fredericksburg. Route 1 spans 2,369 miles along the east coast, beginning at Fort Kent, Maine in the north and ending at Key West, Florida in the south.

On May 28, 1927, Route 1 was officially opened in Fredericksburg, connecting the city to other major hot spots along the east coast. To celebrate this achievement, the city held a pageant parade.

Katherine, being the prominent figure she was, can be seen participating in the parade. She is specifically seen on Float #35: “A Colonial Bouquet,” where she is leading a horse.

Without Route 1 bringing travelers from across the country, Fredericksburg as we know it could have been a very different city. This reality came close to fruition, with Orange County and Staunton both vying to be the connector for Richmond and Washington, D.C. Luckily for Fredericksburg, it won its position to connect Virginia’s capital with that of the nation’s, ushering in a new age of a bustling industry for historic tourism.

References

Bush, Erika. “Historic Highways.” University of Mary Washington – Great Minds. 2015. https://www.umw.edu/greatminds/2015/09/24/historic-highways/

Find A Grave. “Katherine McDonald Stoffregen Wilson (1908-1975).” Accessed Mar. 10, 2020. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/73175564/katherine-mcdonald-wilson

Photograph, “Katherine MacDonald Stoffregen Wilson ca. 1927” 2011-010-P-001, Rowe Collection, The Central Rappahannock Heritage Center, Fredericksburg, VA.

Photograph, “Katherine Wilson – Fredericksburg Parade 1927” [ca. 1927], 2009-063-P-040-001, Willis Collection, The Central Rappahannock Heritage Center, Fredericksburg, VA.

“U.S. 1 Was Boon for the ‘Burg.” Fredericksburg.com, August 28, 2012, https://www.fredericksburg.com/life/u-s-was-boon-for-the-burg/article_6fc6aa78-e5e8-5c4d-bc6d-9ee45c83c747.html