Frequently asked questions about Bridgewater

  1. What is the Lawn Party?
  2. Why is it called Bridgewater?
  3. What is that steeple that looks so pretty at night?
  4. What kinds of fish are in the North River?
  5. What is the best way to “make the most of
    Harrisonburg”?
  6. How many students are there at Bridgewater College?

What is the Lawn Party?

Bridgewater’s Lawn Party is a summer celebration that includes
carnival-type rides, lots of good food, an antique car show, the Firemen’s Parade, and other events. It is held in the heart of Bridgewater, on the Lawn Party Grounds (also known as Harrison Park). People come from all over for the Bridgewater Lawn Party experience. It goes on for the better part of a week, and the proceeds go to support the Bridgewater Fire Department. Here’s more about the Lawn Party.

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Why is it called Bridgewater?

The short answer to this question is that the town is named after
the bridge over the North River. However, it’s a little more complicated than that. Even before the time of the early settlers, there was a natural crossing point near where today’s Route 42 crosses the river and becomes Main Street of Bridgewater going north. The oldest recorded name of this crossing is Magill’s Ford, after the Magill family, Scotch-Irish immigrants who owned the nearby land. Around 1820 Jacob Dinkle built the town’s first bridge, and the name of the community was changed to “Bridgeport,” reflecting the presence of a river port for shipping. When the town was first granted a charter in 1835, it was under the current name of “Bridgewater.”

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What is that steeple that looks so pretty at
night?

That’s the steeple of Bridgewater College’s Carter Center for Worship and Music at the corner of College and Third streets. This building was built as the home of the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren and served in that capacity until 1998, when the Church moved into its current building on the hill served by College View Drive. For many years, visitors assumed that the building was owned by the College because visually it appeared to be part of the campus. With the transfer of the building to Bridgewater College in 1998, that became correct.

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What kinds of fish are in the North River?

The North River is a typical Eastern U.S. river, with diverse fish species including largemouth and smallmouth bass, sunfish, catfish and a variety of bottom-feeding fish such as carp and suckers. Trout find their way into the North River from tributaries such as Mossy Creek, an excellent trout stream. Unfortunately, from the viewpoint of local game fishermen, the water quality of the North River is not high enough to permit the bass to dominate the other species — and so, to some extent, the carp have “taken over.” The most common large fish in the river are carp.

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What is the best way to “make the most of
Harrisonburg”

Answer: Live in Bridgewater.

Actually, that’s a joke, sort of. Bridgewater is to a large degree a residential community, in that a lot of people live in Bridgewater but work in other localities including Harrisonburg. However, the town is far more than a bedroom community for Harrisonburg, with community resources and a flavor all its own.

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How many students are there at Bridgewater
College?

About 1,800. The college is at or near its highest enrollments in history, but is committed to retaining the small-college atmosphere.

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