Gordonsville is a town in Orange County in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. Located about 19 miles northeast of Charlottesville and 65 miles northwest of Richmond, the population was 1,496 at the 2010 census.
The town celebrated its bicentennial in 2013, two hundred years after local innkeeper Nathaniel Gordon was appointed the area's first postmaster, thus officially creating the area known as Gordonsville. It was strategically important during the Civil War, due to its location on the Virginia Central Railroad.
In 1787, Nathaniel Gordon purchased 1,350 acres (5.46 square km) of land, then known as "Newville," from a cousin of President James Madison.
In 1794, or perhaps earlier, Gordon applied for and was granted a license to operate a tavern there, which, as was typical of the time, was used as a place to eat, lodge and discuss local matters. It sat at the intersection of two highways: "The Fredericksburgh Great Road," a stage route from Charlottesville, through Orange, to Fredericksburg; and "The Richmond Road," which led from the Virginia capital, through Louisa, west over the Blue Ridge Mountains into the Shenandoah Valley. President Thomas Jefferson described the tavern in 1802 as a "good house" when recommending the best route south to Charlottesville from the recently established national capital on the Potomac. The building was known as Gordon's Tavern, Gordon Tavern and later as Gordon Inn. The commemorative marker at the site lists prominent Americans as guests at the tavern: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, James & Philip Pendleton Barbour, James Waddel, William Wirt and Henry Clay. Another famous visitor was Major General the Marquis de Lafayette.
Gordon was named the first postmaster of the area in 1813, and the area became known as Gordonsville.