Manassas is a famous town full of history rich roots and while you are in town you will have the opportunity to explore places of profound American history. In July 1861 the First Battle of Manassas was found right here in Manassas. Still not ringing a bell? The First Battle of Manassas is better known as the First Battle of Bull Run was the first major land battle of the American Civil War. One year after the first fight here the Second Battle of Manassas was also fought here. Manassas was at this time was better known as Manassas Junction and was called so because it was a railroad crossing used mostly for the transportation of goods. This is why the area was highly sought after because it goods could be stopped or delayed other sides would not have access to new rations. Following the war these crossroads and railway junctions grew into the town of Manassas and thanks to carful preservation the Museum of Manassas together with the National Battlefield Park can recreate these events for you through artifacts, exhibits, and restored buildings. The park has plenty to offer from great views to historic sites. The Henry Hill Visitor center will welcome you to the park from there you can watch the 45 min introduction movie that covers the First and Second Battles. There are plenty of artifacts and exhibits to see in the Visitor museum. Other buildings to explore besides to Visitor center at the park include the Brawner Farm Interpretive Center where you will find exhibits and audio-visual programs that provide an overview to the Second Battle of Manassas and the Stone House. All together the park has just over 5,000 acres for you to explore and learn about a piece of American history.
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A fun stop in Manassas is the Hopkins Candy Factory which in and of itself comes with an interesting history. The factory began producing candies in an old frame factory in downtown Manassas in 1900. With only 25 employees and such a small space it comes as a surprise that they were about to put out an assortment of Stick candy, Rock candy, peanut bars, and coconut bars. Because Manassas was not much of a town at the time traveling salesmen had to head out by train and wagon with sample cases because the candies were rich and cheap they quickly became a regional favorite. Unfortunately just as the business was flourishing there was a horrible fire that nearly destroyed the company in 1905. However Hopkins turn tragedy into opportunity was as able to purchase a burnt-out lot along the railroad tracks on Battle Street for a steal of a price. With the savings he had from getting the land so cheap he was able to build a new factory. In 1907 the company was moved into the new building. Standing four stories tall the building was called the most modern factory in the day. Things like “machine dipped chocolates” were introduced and new candies were made here that could not be found elsewhere. The company seemed at its prime and was shipping out 5-10 tons of candy daily however somehow the company was closed by 1917. Today the building has been fully restored and includes the Merchant Family art gallery, theater, and studio classroom facilities and is the centerpiece of Manassas' growing art community. A fun stop on any visit while you are win Manassas.