September 23, 2021

Three Markers at Swift Run Gap

 Blog Post #7680

Swift Run Gap is a wind gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains that has long been used as a route from eastern Virginia to the Shenandoah Valley. Here U.S. Highway 33 crosses Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail.

In 1716, the first major colonial expedition crossed the mountains here. These markers commemorate the occasion.

On 5 Sept. 1716, in this region, it is believed, Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood and his party of government officials, gentry, Native Americans, soldiers, and servants crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains into the Shenandoah Valley. Their adventure into Virginia’s western lands began at Germanna late in Aug. and ended when they returned there on 10 Sept. According to legend, Spotswood gave his companions small golden horseshoes on their return and the group became known as the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe. The journey has been fictionalized and mythologized in literature since the 19th century.
The marker on the pyramid begins “Sic Juvat Transcendere Montes," which means "thus it is a pleasure to cross the mountains." This phrase was inscribed on the golden horseshoes. The marker goes on to name some of the explorers and can be read on Historical Marker Database.

The marker on the boulder is inscribed with a lovely poem by Gertrude Claytor titled Alexander Spotswood Discovers the Valley of the Shenandoah.


  1. Interesting bits of info to learn from these markers.

  2. Probably different civic groups must have decided to post their markers, which have different kinds of info. They could have at least put them a few blocks apart, instead of this silly gathering of markers!


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