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Before Busch Gardens, Water Country USA and countless other Williamsburg, Va., businesses and attractions first opened their doors, there was Anvil Campground, according to The Virginia Gazette. 

In 1953, original owner Ralph Raymon Jump bought a soybean farm, where he lived in a small cinder block house with his wife and son, Jerry. As the story goes, a traveller approached the Jump family in the spring or summer of 1954 asking if he could park his camper overnight on their property.

“Ralph not only said yes, he also plugged an extension cord into a socket in his home and passed the cord out the window to the man, thus providing an electric hook-up for the first of countless campers to come,” said Patricia Jump, wife of second-generation owner Jerry Jump.

Thus, Anvil Campground was born.

The soybean fields were leveled by hand to make way for six original numbered campsites and 65 years later, the four-acre campground is still running strong as a family-owned business.

“I’ll never forget, they told my grandpa Ralph that he was never going to make any money because we were so far out of town,” current owner Chris Jump said. “Three miles from Williamsburg, and back then that was way out of town, but now everything has grown around us.”

The campground’s name takes its inspiration from the family’s history in blacksmithing. Chris said his grandfather and great-grandfather, James Riley Jump, contributed to the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg from 1929 to 1935 as blacksmiths, making original wrought iron works including tools, locks, hinges, shutter dogs and gates.

Through the years, the business was passed on from Ralph Jump to his son, Jerry, who ran the campground until his death in 2005.

“(The campground) is in your heart and soul. Jerry was 12 when he moved there, and he was there when the first camper came and stayed, so he grew up in it,” Patricia Jump said. “He would get excited and enthusiastic and put all his energy and gather input from people to make his projects go.”

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