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Historic Rugby




   Rugby founder Thomas Hughes calls his Rugby venture "the last castle in Spain I am ever likely to build."




   In 1880, amid world-wide publicity, English author-social reformer Thomas Hughes launched his new colony in America. Calling Rugby a "lovely corner of God's Earth," he urged colonists in his opening day address to treat it lovingly and reverently while working cooperatively for the good of all. He also stressed that Rugby was not meant to be exclusively English and that private ownership of land and freedom of religion and expression would prevail.



   Rugby both flourished and floundered for a decade reaching a peak population in 1884 of around 450. Some 70 buildings graced the townscape, many with the high peaked roofs, gabled windows and decorative millwork of the Victorian era. A tastefully designed and furnished hotel (shown above) was built in 1880 by the founding corporation, The Board of Aid to Landownership. Named for the Tabard Inn of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, it quickly became the social center of the colony. In the future, Rugby visitors will find lodging at the Tabard Inn, scheduled for reconstruction on it's original foundation.



   Today's Rugby is a small community determined to protect it's greatest asset-it's rural, historic identity. Seventeen of the original buildings still stand in rugged, river gorge surroundings and are on the National Register of Historic Places.




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Rugby Map

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