The history of the town of Quantico dates back to 1654 when the first land patents were given to English settlers. The town survived many wars including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War, as troops moved supplies and personnel near the town down its roads and waterways.
The Quantico Company was formed in the early 1900s to bring new life to the small town. The company decided to promote it as a tourist excursion and established picnic areas, beaches on the Potomac, a refreshment stand and a dance pavilion.
In 1917, the destiny of the town of Quantico would change forever. The day the United States declared war on Germany and entered WWI, the commandant of the established a board to look for land that would be suitable for training Marines for the war on the east coast. Quantico was found to be suitable and the land was leased from Quantico Company in 1917, and a year later was purchased from the company, which was reportedly financially unstable and owned more land than it could dispose of.
The land that was purchased just happened to border the small town of Quantico and it was destined to become famous as being the only town within a military installation, and it remains so today.
For decades to come the the town’s progress closely followed their neighboring base as the town which once thrived on its railroad industry and its timber, sulfur mining and fishing enterprises, began to slowly embrace a new business venture–the service of the Marines that called Quantico their home.
As restaurants, tailors and barbers began to line the streets of the Town of Quantico, the town became the focal point of Marines coming to the base. Because the town was bordered by land and the Potomac River, the town slowly became known as the “town that cannot grow.”
The self -sustaining town has kept its spirit alive through the , which has endeared itself to the town.
Nevertheless, amongst the community of approximately 480 people an estimated 60 businesses stretch across its roads to the Potomac River and all of the town’s businesses are designed to help meet the needs of personnel on base and their families, as well as the town inhabitants.
The town’s police force works closely with the base’s Provost Marshal Office in protecting and serving their residents and he base and town also share some other services such as the Quantico fire department, which has been around since the inception of Base Quantico.
But, with the thriving of their Marine counterparts came a rich history found in a small town.
Many presidents have traveled the streets of the town of Quantico, from Teddy Roosevelt, who cracked jokes in front of an old hardware store, to Franklin Delano Roosevelt traveling in his touring car followed by a motorcade and even Harry Truman, who traveled from the Marine Headquarters through Quantico town to ride upon the waters of the Potomac River.
Much history lingers in the town and veterans and retired military who have served at Quantico as well as active duty Marines aboard base, visit its streets every day. More history is to be made as the town continues its relationship to Base Quantico.