A Look Back In Time!
Native Americans populated the area surrounding the Occoquan River long before the first English settlers arrived. It was the Dogue, a Powatan Indian tribe, who gave the Occoquan its name, meaning at the end of the water. Like many other native Americans, the Dogues subsisted by fishing, hunting and cultivating corn and other vegetables. They also were hunters of migratory birds such as geese, swans and ducks. Then, suddenly, around the year 1681, the Dogue tribe disappeared.
The Occoquan forms by a junction of the Broad and Cedar Run at the western end of Prince William County. It feeds Lake Jackson and flows down to its first dam just east of Dumfries Road (Rte 234), where it continues its scenic journey approximately 13 miles before it merges with the Bull Run River to form the Occoquan Reservoir. Its shoreline alternate prosaically between river willows, marsh grasses, spectacular cliffs, and parklands harboring an abundance of wildlife and bird sanctuaries.
The Bull Run begins in Loudoun County and flows for several miles to Manassas where it becomes a national historic benchmark. On July 21, 1861 the two great armies from the North and South clashed for the first time on the fields overlooking the Bull Run. This encounter left 900 dead and 3,800 missing and wounded. Thirteen months later, during the Second Battle, which lasted three days, 3,400 soldiers were killed and 20,000 missing and wounded. The Bull Run continues to flow south, receiving 22 million gallons of treated water a day from the Upper Occoquan Sewage Plant, before it merges into the Occoquan Reservoir. This Plant, which has been in operation for over twenty years, treats raw sewage and is the only one of its kind in the State of Virginia.
The 2,100-acre reservoir extends for about 15 miles to the intake of the Fairfax County Water Authority, which provides drinking water for a population of more than one million people. From there it flows through the historic town of Occoquan, on to Woodbridge, where it feeds into the Potomac River.