The National Park Service, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development's Virginia Main Street Program, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), proudly invites you to explore current Virginia Main Street Communities as well as those that have at some time participated in the Main Street Program. Across the Commonwealth, you'll find unique Main Street communities, each recognized for historic architecture, one-of-a-kind businesses, special events, historic and natural attractions, and old-fashioned hospitality. This travel itinerary highlights more than 50 historic places listed in the National Register of Historic Places that are playing a role in the downtown revitalization of these communities and are worth visiting.
Architectural gems can be found in each of these communities, such as Lynchburg's Academy of Music, Marion's Lincoln Theater, and Harrisonburg's Rockingham County Courthouse. Communities such as Warrenton, Winchester, Culpeper and Manassas are rich in Civil War history and are important stops in honor of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.
While Main Street communities host a variety of special events all year long, fall is a special time of year for the many Main Street communities near the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. These two national parks intersect near Waynesboro. Many communities, such as Bedford, Berryville, and Rocky Mount, plan special holiday activities in November and December.Virginia's beautiful rivers meander through a number of Main Street communities, including Radford and Franklin. A variety of noted individuals can trace their roots to Virginia's Main Streets: President James Madison's home Montpelier is outside Orange, President Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, while both Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Confederate Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson lived in and are now buried in Lexington.
The Virginia Main Street Communities travel itinerary offers several ways to discover the places that reflect each town's history. Each highlighted site features a brief description of the historic place's significance, color photographs, and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page, the visitor will find a navigation bar containing links to four essays that explain more about Virginia Main Street, Commercial Architecture in Virginia, Agriculture and Industry, and Transportation. These essays provide historic background, or contexts, for the places included in the itinerary. In the Learn More section, the itinerary links to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, and lodging and dining possibilities. This section also includes links to other websites and a bibliography. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit Virginia Main Street Communities in person. Visitors may be interested in visiting Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to find member hotels located in communities featured in this itinerary.
Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development's Virginia Main Street Program, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), Virginia Main Street Communities is an example of an exciting cooperative program. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to promote public awareness of history and encourage tourists to visit historic places throughout the nation, the National Park Service cooperates with a variety of public and private organizations to create online travel itineraries. The itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trips by highlighting the amazing diversity of destinations listed in the National Register of Historic Places and providing information on how to visit them. Virginia Main Street Communities was the 32nd travel itinerary successfully created through such partnerships. Additional itineraries have and will continue to debut online. The National Park Service hopes you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of Virginia Main Street Communities. If you have any comments or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.
Since 1985, Virginia Main Street, a program of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, has been helping localities revitalize the economic vitality of historic downtown commercial districts. The results have been remarkable. Entrepreneurs are opening new businesses, investors are putting their money into once vacant buildings, tourists are visiting new shops and restaurants, and residents are enjoying renewed community pride.
The Virginia Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program and the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program have proven to be important economic tools for the successful revitalization of these communities.
Virginia Main Street's approach to assisting communities with their revitalization efforts was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation's National Main Street Center. This national model began as a three-town demonstration project in 1977 at a time when retail sales were shifting from downtown to shopping centers and malls at the outskirts of communities. "Main Street America" was deteriorating and the future of our historic downtowns appeared bleak.
The highly successful demonstration projects helped downtown advocates formalize several revitalization strategies: buildings need to be adapted for new economic uses; merchants need training and coaching; exciting and new promotional efforts are needed to reposition historic downtowns in consumers' minds; and like malls, "Main Street" needs a market strategy. The strategy, developed by the National Main Street Center and adopted by more than 1,600 communities in 40 States, is known as the Main Street Four Point Approach™.
The guiding principles of the Main Street Four Point Approach™ are Design, Promotion, Economic Restructuring, and Organization. Design promotes the enhancement of the physical appearance of historic downtowns through the rehabilitation of historic buildings and the encouragement of new construction that reinforces the character of downtown. Promotion helps create and market a positive image based on the unique attributes of downtown districts. Economic Restructuring strengthens the districts' existing economic base, yet expands to meet new opportunities and challenges from the changing business environment. Organization establishes consensus and cooperation among all downtown stakeholders, whether they are local government officials, banks, merchants, civic organizations, civic-minded individuals, or downtown property owners.
Main Street organizations have a variety of budget, population, volunteer, and staff sizes. Each community pursues the incremental and comprehensive Four Point Approach™ with its own locally appropriate revitalization strategy, but the end goals are the same across the board: to increase businesses and jobs downturn. Since 1985, designated Main Street communities in the Commonwealth have generated more than $600 million in private investment, completed more than 4,500 rehabilitation projects, and created more than 13,500 new jobs and 4,600 new businesses.
For more information about Virginia Main Street, please contact: Virginia Main Street, Department of Housing and Community Development, 600 Main Street, Suite 300,Richmond, VA 23219, 804-371-7030, e-mail: email@example.com or visit the website at: www.dhcd.virginia.gov/mainstreet.
Agriculture has played a dominant role in the Commonwealth of Virginia's development since the establishment of the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown in 1607. John Rolfe, a 17th-century colonist and husband of Pocahontas, introduced tobacco to England via the Virginia Colony in 1614. Thereafter, tobacco was king in the Tidewater area colony throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Colonists only grew corn and wheat for use by their families. Other crops were grown, but mostly for individual consumption. As Virginia's Piedmont became more populated during the 19th century, the area became a major tobacco producer. Lynchburg, Blackstone, and Danville were tobacco centers, with Lynchburg being one of the largest in the world in the early 19th century.
The Jamestown colonists introduced both wind-powered gristmills and water-powered gristmills to their settlement in the Virginia colony. These mills were necessary to grind grain into grist or meal. The meal could then be sifted into flour necessary for making bread. The early gristmills in Virginia are documented as having been built on plantations by wealthy colonial officials or by a group of neighboring estate owners. They were of two types: "plantation gristmills" for grinding the grain of the landowner (and mill owner) and that of a few neighbors, and "custom gristmills" which ground the grain for neighboring planters. A third type, "merchant mill," was a commercial mill which bought and ground grain into a grist or meal which was then sifted into flour for export.
It was not until the third quarter of the 18th century that merchant milling blossomed in Virginia as a result of wheat becoming the colony's second largest export crop. Scots-Irish and German settlers were following the Valley Road from Pennsylvania into the fertile Shenandoah Valley and began growing crops such as wheat and corn. In fact, the Shenandoah Valley was often called the "Breadbasket of the Confederacy" during the Civil War, and had strategic importance as a major food supplier for the army. Much as villages and towns sprang up around courthouses, so did they around the larger mill complexes.
Beef, pork, poultry and dairy products became major exports early in
Virginia history. Peanuts began to be commercially grown here prior to
the American Civil War. Southampton County, in which Franklin is located, leads the State in peanut production today. Rockingham County, of which Harrisonburg is the county seat, has been a national leader in the poultry industry. Currently, Virginia
is the sixth largest producer of apples in the United States with 11 varieties
grown in the Commonwealth. The development of vineyards and the wine industry
in Virginia began as early as 1619 at Jamestown. Today, numerous vineyards
are found throughout the Commonwealth. Currently, Orange
County produces more wine grapes than any other county in Virginia.
The Town of Saltville, near Marion, was significant for its salt mines. Salt was especially valued for preserving food. A variety of salt byproducts were also made in Saltville, including hydrazine which powered the Saturn rocket in the first manned moon landing in 1969. Niter or saltpeter, (from which is derived potassium nitrate), the main component of black powder, was also mined in Virginia. During the Civil War, Virginia was the leading producer of saltpeter with a total production of approximately 500,000 pounds. The saltpeter deposits were mined on a small scale at more than 100 caves in western Virginia.
During the 20th century, other materials mined included the only arsenic deposit east of the Mississippi River. The Brinton Mine extracted arsenic during its operation from 1912 to 1917. Barite production in Fauquier County continued from 1845 to the mid-1950s. Titanium ore was mined and processed from the 1940s to the early 1970s. Beginning in the late 19th century, the mining of materials used in construction including clay, dimension stone, gneiss, granite, gravel, gypsum, limestone, sand, sandstone (including Aquia sandstone from Government Island in Stafford County which was used in the construction of the Capital, the White House and other governmental buildings in Washington, D.C.), shale and others began in Virginia and continues into the 21st century. More than 50 minerals have been mined in Virginia, which has contributed vastly to the Commonwealth's economy.
During the 20th century, textiles and furniture manufacturing became major industries in the Virginia Piedmont as the tobacco industry waned. Both Danville and Martinsville experienced a shift in their economies from tobacco manufacturing to furniture and textiles.
Most Virginia Main Street communities trace their beginnings to the mid-18th to early 19th centuries, when the line between commercial and domestic architecture was often blurred. This was especially true for taverns or ordinaries, which frequently occupied former residences. In fact, many tavern keepers simply rented houses in order to conduct their business. These ordinaries were some of the first businesses in many of the Main Street communities, especially those that served as county seats, river ports, or ferry crossings.
Many of the original commercial buildings were constructed of frame, as this was the quickest and least expensive construction method. A number of early Virginia towns gave deadlines by which structures had to be built on newly laid-off lots, thus leading to dense development of highly flammable buildings. Ordinances then had to be passed regulating the style of chimneys, and the composition of roofing material (slate, for example, was generally more fire resistant than wood shingles). Not surprisingly, fire was of great concern in early Virginia towns, and it did occasionally take its toll on the picturesque 18th-century frame buildings that remained in some towns.
Buildings that developed during this time (1780s to 1820s) are generally referred to as being of the Federal, or Adamesque style, and display well proportioned, restrained, symmetrical facades and double-hung windows containing combinations of six-pane and nine-pane sashes. The relatively spartan exterior of these buildings was contrasted by the lively paint and wallpaper schemes used in the interior. Interior and exterior woodwork generally used Roman forms, as opposed to those that used Greek styles in the next major architectural period in the Commonwealth.
As the Virginia Main Street communities developed, there was a movement to begin building out of brick. Masonry structures were obviously more fire-resistant, and they also conveyed the impression of permanence and success. The core commercial district of a town quickly became the place to showcase new architecture, and the Greek Revival style of the 1820s to 1850s, which is often considered to be the first truly American style, can be seen in stores, warehouses, mills, offices, courthouses and churches throughout the Main Street communities. A Greek Revival building can often be identified by its heavy stone lintels over windows and doors and porticos with pediments supported by various orders of columns. Most of these buildings used double-hung (or sometimes triple) windows, usually with six panes of glass, or lights, per sash.
After the Civil War, the Italianate style began to take prominence in Virginia towns and influenced commercial architecture through the turn of the century. Commercial buildings in this style often carry much more subtle details than their residential counterparts. Early Italianate buildings featured widely overhanging eaves, bracketed cornices and sometimes towers or cupolas. An excellent example of this is the Orange County Courthouse, located in the town of Orange. Later in the 19th century, this style evolved into a form common in dense commercial business districts, and shapes the overall look and feel of what today's travelers see when they visit Virginia's Main Street communities. These buildings, which often connect to one another, feature double-hung windows with two panes per sash, a storefront with display windows and an entry door (often in one unit) on the first floor and sets of three windows (or bays) on each upper floor. The cornice is generally constructed of wood and exhibits ornate brackets. Another common cornice detail consists of corbelled bricks, which are sometimes formed into triangular patterns.Later additions to Virginia's commercial architecture include the Art Deco style, which was popular from the 1920s to 1940s, especially on government edifices, banks and theaters, and various "modern" styles that can be seen on banks and office buildings from the 1950s to 1970s. These buildings of the recent past, like their more "quaint" predecessors, are a sign of their times, and are joining the ranks of historically significant buildings in Virginia's commercial districts.
The establishment and maintenance of public roads were among the most important functions of the county court system during the colonial period in Virginia. Each road was opened and maintained by an Overseer (or Surveyor) of the Highways appointed yearly by the Gentlemen Justices of each county. For these purposes, he was usually assigned all the able-bodied men (the "Labouring Male Tithables") living on or near the road. These individuals then furnished their own tools, wagons and teams and were required to work on the roads for six days each year.
Some of Virginia's most prominent early roads include:
These roads were often poorly maintained and caused severe problems for those wishing to move goods from one location to another. Virginia's rivers, such as the Blackwater River through Franklin, provided a smoother mode of transportation and were used as trade routes early in the Commonwealth's development. First navigated by double dugout canoes or larger boats (often called batteaux, a derivation of bateaux, the French word for boats), many of the Virginia's rivers, including the James, Appomattox, Maury, New, Staunton/Roanoke, Rappahannock, Rivanna and Potomac, began to receive "improvements," such as wing dams, sluices (channels for swift water) and even locks. As the systems of canals and locks adjacent to the relatively wild rivers were developed, towns in their vicinity flourished. Virginia Main Street communities that were particularly impacted by advances in river navigation include Lynchburg (James River), Radford (New River), and Winchester and Berryville (Shenandoah River).
When the railroad began to take prominence in the mid-19th century, their holding companies purchased many canals, laying tracks on their towpaths (paths running parallel to the canal that allow mules to tow canal boats via a rope). It did not take long for the railroad to become the premier mode of transport in Virginia. In fact, every Virginia Main Street community has or had a rail line running through it. Many of these communities have restored their train depots and auxiliary buildings, including Staunton, Rocky Mount, Orange, Manassas, Bedford and Lynchburg.
The Virginia State Highway Commission was established in 1906, with responsibility for construction and maintenance of the State highway system. In 1918, Virginia's General Assembly designated a network of 4,002 miles of roadway, with the counties responsible for lesser roadways. By the late 1920s, the automobile had firmly established itself as the newest and most improved method of travel in the State. In 1932, the General Assembly passed the Byrd Road Act, establishing the State secondary road system and allowing the counties to transfer responsibility for secondary roads to the Virginia Department of Highways (which became the largest State agency in personnel and expenditures by 1938). Virginia, like the rest of the country, embraced the automobile and the ease of travel it provided. Furthermore, the development of the automobile and modern roadways greatly facilitated the growth of tourism in Virginia, which has become a major factor in the State's economy over the last century.
The significant collection of 19th century commercial, residential, and public buildings in the downtown Abingdon Historic District illustrate the rich history of the community. Abingdon has been the commercial, transportation, and political center of Washington County since 1778 and was the location of the first courthouse and post office in southwestern Virginia. The community was also a transportation hub because of its location on the Great Valley Road and later the Virginia-Tennessee Railroad. Abingdon was a long-time trading and production center for the tobacco industry as well as the hometown of three Virginia governors and other state and national political figures, lawyers, and judges.
Much of Abingdon’s historic district is located on Main and Valley Streets. Throughout Abingdon’s history, Main Street has contained a variety of both commercial and residential buildings, some dating from the antebellum period. Main Street is also the location of two of Abingdon’s greatest assets, the Barter Theatre (127 West Main Street) and the Martha Washington Hotel and Spa (150 West Main Street). The Barter Theatre is in a building constructed in 1831 as the new location for the Sinking Springs Presbyterian Church. Theatrical performances began in 1876, but the theatre gained popularity during the Great Depression when guests could barter vegetables in exchange for a ticket to a show. Visitors travel great distances today to see a show at the theatre.Constructed in 1832, the middle section of the Martha Washington Hotel and Spa was first the private residence for General Francis Preston and his family. The property later became the Martha Washington College, an upscale institute for young women. The property became an inn in 1935. The Tavern, a restaurant located at 222 East Main Street, was built in 1779. It has always been used as a tavern, and was originally an overnight inn for stagecoach travelers as well. The Abingdon Bank, located at 225 East Main Street, was built in the mid-1840s by Robert Preston, and is an excellent example of 19th century urban architecture. The building includes both Neo-Classical and Victorian details. Main Street is lined with many historic residences, such as the Greek Revival Doctor H. Pitts House at 247 East Main Street that dates from 1854 and James Fields’ home, another Greek Revival, on the corner of Cummings Street. The Cave House, a Victorian mansion at 279 East Main Street, is now home to the Holston Mountain Arts and Crafts Cooperative.
Valley Street represents Abingdon’s residential history. The earliest surviving building on Valley Street is the Alexander Findlay House on the corner of North Church Street. Other 19th century properties on Valley Street include the restored Gabriel Stickley House at 239, and the Daniel Trigg House at 210. Queen Anne style homes from the late 19th and early 20th century can be seen at 132 and 337. The western extent of Valley Street is the site of a number of Bungalow style homes, including the homes at 126, 132, 133, 136, 250, 277, and 289. A fine example of a Colonial Revival style home can be found at 125 Valley Street NW.
Abingdon’s oldest burial ground, Sinking Spring Cemetery, is also on Valley Street at the junction of Russell Road. In use since the early 1770s, the cemetery contains the graves of some of Abingdon’s most prominent residents, including two Virginia governors, legislators, judges, ministers, merchants, early pioneers, and veterans from the Revolutionary to the Korean wars. A small section of the cemetery is dedicated to black citizens, and another area enclosed by a small brick wall was dedicated in 1865 to unknown Confederate dead.
The community of Abingdon began as a land grant to Dr. Thomas Walker in 1752. The Great Valley Road, which led from the Shenandoah Valley to Cumberland Gap, passed through the area encouraging settlement as early as the 1760s. Families settling in the Abingdon area established a log Presbyterian church and the Sinking Spring Cemetery and built a small fort for protection against the Indians in the early 1770s. In 1778, Dr. Walker, Joseph Black, and Samuel Briggs donated 120 acres of land to the county to establish a county seat known as Abingdon, and the town’s two principal streets, Main and Water, were surveyed and laid out in that year.
Abingdon is well-known for its rich political history. Shortly after it was built, Black’s Fort was chosen for the first meeting of the newly established Washington County court. The current Washington County Courthouse dates from1869. Abingdon’s status as the county seat of Washington County attracted many lawyers and judges as residents. Many of these residents would become prominent political figures, including several congressmen and U.S. senators. Three Abingdon residents became governors of Virginia; John B. Floyd (1830-34), Wyndham Robertson (1836), and David Campbell (1837-40).
The community's location on the Great Valley Road and the construction of the Abingdon-Saltville Turnpike in 1803 spurred Abindon's development. Being along these prominent roads established the town’s status as a haven for travelers and a regional trade center. Abingdon merchants controlled much of the trade in southwestern Virginia, and the Abingdon Post Office, the first in the region, distributed all of the mail. The establishment in 1827 of Abingdon’s first newspaper, The Holston Intelligencer and Abingdon Advertizer, and the incorporation of the Abingdon Male Academy, which is now the William King Museum, also furthered Abingdon’s successful development.
The Abingdon Historic District spans Main St. from East to West, includes parts of Valley St. and extends as far south as South Church, East Park, and South Pecan sts. The district extends into the neighborhoods on either side of Main St. Advance Abingdon Main Street Organization is located in the Abingdon CVB Building, Historic Hassinger House, at 335 Cummings St. For more information call 276-698-5667. The Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau is located at 133 W. Main St. in Town Hall. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown Abingdon, call the Town of Abingdon, VA at 276-628-3167.
Drive-ins are becoming increasingly rare and have been generally overlooked as places of historic significance, having once occupied an important place in American popular culture. The Moonlite Theatre possesses outstanding historic integrity and is one of the earliest surviving drive-in theatres. Because of its continued use and careful maintenance, the theatre looks and operates today much the same as it did when it opened. Constructed in the spring of 1949 and opened early that summer, the theatre has been in operation continuously since then. The Moonlite is famous among drive-ins, and has at least two country-western songs written about it. It is located just west of Abingdon in Washington County, Virginia.
The chief focal point of the Moonlite Theatre is the back (south) side of the screen tower facing the highway. It doubles as a highway billboard that features large neon letters spelling out Moonlite Theatre in red and blue with illuminated white stars and a yellow moon. The sign is easily seen from Highway 11 and Interstate 81. The 80 foot wide movie screen is on the north side of the screen tower. An inconspicuous one-story, six-room wing of offices on the base of the screen tower’s rear elevation was converted to an apartment in the 1970s. Another important feature of the Moonlite is the two-sided attraction board at the front entrance that serves as the theatre’s marquee. This board remains in good working order and in original condition. The ticket booth is a tiny, one-room frame building. Another building houses the concession stand, projection booth, and bathrooms. The 454 parking/viewing spaces were designed as reverse-incline ramps, so that the car windshields are aimed slightly upward for easier viewing of the tall movie screen. The pole speakers still survive, but the system is in poor repair. For the time being, the audio portion of feature movies is broadcast over FM radio.
The Moonlite Theatre is located southwest of Abingdon, VA on U.S. Highway 11 (17555 Lee Highway) in Washington County. It remains closed for the season from October 27 to March 1. For more information about showtimes, admission prices and directions call the Moonlite Theatre at (276) 628-7881 or visit the Virginia State Tourism webpage with details about the theatre.
Avoca is one of Virginia’s finest Queen Anne-style country homes. It sits on land granted by King George II to the father of distinguished Revolutionary War patriot, Colonel Charles Lynch. Architect John Minor Botts Lewis designed the house for Thomas and Mary Fauntleroy in 1901.
Culpepper-native Lewis graduated from the engineering school at the University of Virginia in 1891. Before designing Avoca, Lewis designed the Lynchburg Cotton Mill and the Woodberry Forest School in Madison County and built wooden and iron bridges in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In 1902, Lewis became a partner of William R. Burnham in the firm of Lewis Burnham, and then practiced alone from 1912 until 1918, when he left the field of architecture for the presidency of a local manufacturing company.
The Queen Anne style became popular in England after 1868, the year English architect Richard Norman Shaw designed Leyswood, a Sussex residence, in the Queen Anne style. The British government constructed two Queen Anne buildings at the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876, sparking interest in the style in America, where it came to be quite popular.
Avoca is an asymmetrical 2 ½-story wood-frame house with a veranda and a hipped roof with towers, dormers, and other projections. Paired fluted columns surround the porch. The home exemplifies the Queen Anne style through its irregular massing and the towers and other projections that break the center regular core. Avoca is situated in a large yard, looking towards the rolling countryside.
Colonel Lynch lived on the property from 1755 until his death in 1796. His son Anselm developed it into a successful plantation that remained in the Lynch family for several generations. Colonel Lynch’s great granddaughter Mary D. Fauntleroy and her husband built the Queen Anne house that stands on the property today. The Lynch family cemetery is to the rear of the house.
Avoca is located at 1514 Main St. in Altavista and is open to the public as a museum. The museum is open on Thursday and Friday from 11:00am to 3:00pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. More information can be found by calling (434) 369-1076, or visiting the Avoca Museum website. While you're in Altavista be sure to also visit the Main Street commercial area, where there are a number of shops and restaurants.
Since the mid-18th century, a settlement has existed on the site of this picturesque town that is surrounded by the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The settlement was originally named Liberty when it became the county seat of Bedford County in 1782. The community would carry that name for more than 100 years, until in 1890 it was officially changed to Bedford City, and soon after shortened to just Bedford.
The driving economic force in Bedford during the 19th and early 20th centuries was tobacco production. The antebellum years of 1830 to 1860 saw the real beginning of the local tobacco industry. No industrial or commercial buildings survive from the antebellum era, but a number of churches and houses are extant, including Avenel, the 1836 home of Virginia politician William M. Burwell. In June of 1864, Liberty was the scene of combat between Union General David Hunter and Confederate General Jubal Early, with fighting taking place in Centertown. The Union Army was pushed out of town, and Early followed Hunter west toward Hanging Rock (Salem).
In the 1870s and 1880s, the local tobacco industry grew dramatically. By 1881, Bedford was the fifth largest manufacturing center in Virginia with 11 tobacco manufacturers. But during these prosperous years, a devastating fire spread through the commercial area of the city on October 12, 1884, destroying almost every building in its path and causing close to $1 million worth of damage. Learning from this experience, Bedford created a municipal water supply system and reconstructed its commercial area. As a measure of fire prevention, the new commercial buildings were all constructed of brick, and some with cast iron fronts such as the building at 110 North Bridge Street. Other impressive buildings dating from this period are the Romanesque Masonic Hall erected in 1895, which now serves as the Bedford City/County Museum, and the commercial complex at 112-114-116 North Bridge Street.
During World War II, Bedford provided a company of soldiers (Company A) to the 29th Infantry Division when the National Guard's 116th Infantry Regiment was activated. On D-Day--June 6, 1944--Company A assaulted Omaha Beach as part of the First Division's Task Force O. By day's end, 19 of the company's Bedford soldiers were dead. Two more Bedford soldiers died later in the Normandy campaign, as did yet another two assigned to other 116th Infantry companies. Bedford's population in 19 44 was about 3,200. Proportionally this community suffered the Nation's severest D-Day losses. Recognizing Bedford as symbolic of all communities, large and small, whose citizen-soldiers served on D-Day, Congress warranted the establishment of the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford.
In 1984, the Bedford Historic District was listed in the National Register, and the following year Bedford became a designated Virginia Main Street community. The community's Centerfest, held annually in September, farmers market, renovation incentives and other Main Street activities led by Bedford Main Street, Inc. have been widely emulated in other communities for almost two decades. Since 1985, hundreds of buildings have been rehabilitated with millions of dollars of private and public funds invested in downtown.
The Bedford Historic District is located at the intersections of U.S. Rte. 460 Business, VA Rte. 43 and VA Rte. 122, and is roughly bounded by Longwood, Bedford and Mountain aves., and Peaks, Oak, Grove and Washington sts. Bedford Main Street, Inc. is located at 108 ½ Main St. and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown Bedford call Bedford Main Street at 540-586-2148.
Located in the northern Shenandoah Valley, Berryville emerged as a modest colonial crossroads community in the late 18th century. Originally called Battletown, the community became Berryville when Benjamin Berry and his wife, Sarah Stribling Berry, applied for the establishment of a town at this location, which was granted by the Virginia General Assembly in 1798.
Berryville is situated at the crossroads of two colonial routes--Main Street and Buckmarsh Street--that linked the community's economy to commercial trade between Winchester and Alexandria, Virginia. Berryville became the county seat of the newly-formed Clarke County in 1836, which furthered the economic and political importance of the town. The Clarke County Courthouse, constructed in 1838 and individually listed in the National Register, is an excellent example of Roman Revival architecture.
Berryville experienced action during the Civil War. Most notably, John Singleton Mosby, "the Gray Ghost" of the Confederacy, raided Union General Philip Sheridan's seven-mile-long supply train in Berryville. General Robert E. Lee also camped in Berryville en route to Gettysburg. The arrival of the Shenandoah Valley Railroad in 1879 secured Berryville's regional economic future as a processing and shipping center for the farmers of the northern Shenandoah Valley east of Winchester. The railroad brought new prosperity to the community, which experienced a building boom in the 1880s that did not end until the 1930s.
Beautiful Berryville is on the doorstep of the suburbs reaching out from Washington, DC. It has, however, been able to keep its historic character and rural charm. Concerned citizens formed Downtown Berryville, Inc. in 1988, and the following year, the Berryville Historic District was listed in the National Register. The town became a designated Virginia Main Street community in 1992. Since then, close to 200 buildings have been rehabilitated in this small town of 3,000 people and $6.7 million in private funding and $340,000 in public funding invested in the downtown. A current project for Downtown Berryville is the rehabilitation of several historic barns, the Barns of Rose Hill, that will serve as a community arts center.
The Berryville Historic District is roughly bounded by U.S. Rte. 7, U.S. Rte. 340, Main, Church, and Buckmarsh sts. Downtown Berryville, Inc. is located at 5 South Church St. and is open 10:00am to 3:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown Berryville, call Downtown Berryville, Inc. at 540-955-4001.
Blackstone’s rich history dates back to the late 18th century. Some of the community’s earliest buildings, such as the Schwartz Tavern, are still intact. The district also includes many commercial buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and historic residential neighborhoods. The community of Blackstone began as a simple crossroads settlement in 1788. Its growth as a town would not begin until John Schwartz purchased the building that would later become the Schwartz Tavern. In 1798, as other businesses came to town, Schwartz obtained a license to operate an ordinary, or tavern, and opened the Schwartz Tavern, a focal point in the Blackstone Historic District. Located across the street from the Schwartz Tavern was a tavern owned by Francis White. Due to the prominence of these businesses in the developing area, locals coined the town “Black’s and White’s.”
As its population continued to expand, Black’s and White’s began to appear regularly on State maps by the 1850s. The community’s status also grew as a result of the placement of a Southside Railroad line stop in Black’s and White’s and also the opening of Citizens Bank and Trust Company, the first bank in Nottoway County, represented today in the district by a 1920s Beaux Arts building at 126 South Main Street. Black’s and White’s had a local governing system beginning in the early 1880s, and the town was officially incorporated in 1888. Residents of Black’s and White’s began to consider new names for the town in the early 1880s. Dr. Jethro M. Hurt suggested the name “Blackstone,” which both honored the 18th-century English jurist, Sir William Blackstone, and bore similarity to the community’s original name. Residents agreed and adopted the name “Blackstone.”
From the 1880s to the 1960s, Blackstone was a prominent community in the tobacco market because of its location in the midst of the dark tobacco farming region. Farmers transported tobacco to the marketplace in Blackstone via rail and trucking services, where buyers purchased tobacco to transport to the factories. The booming tobacco market helped establish Blackstone’s status as an important commercial center by the close of the 19th century.
Blackstone’s original grid plan dates from 1874. The grid extends from the major intersection of Main and Broad Streets and is still largely intact today. Many commercial buildings were erected in this area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This area has undergone a recent revitalization with the restoration of its historic commercial buildings, the reproduction of the town’s early electric street lamps, and the planting of ornamental pear trees along the sidewalks. The town’s Federal Revival post office and a rehabilitated Colonial Revival dwelling that now houses the library can also be found in this area. On the south side of the library, stretching from Main Street to Oak Street, is Seay Park, the former site of local businessman Haney H. Seay’s residence. The park is now used for concerts, lectures, and community events throughout the year.
The Blackstone Historic District also contains four handsome, architecturally significant churches. Built in 1907, the Blackstone Baptist Church at 403 South Main Street is a fine example of Roman Revival architecture. Crenshaw United Methodist Church at 200 Church Street dates from 1903 and is in the Romanesque Revival style. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 420 S. Main Street from 1898 has a well-preserved Carpenter Gothic design interior. The Blackstone Presbyterian Church was constructed in 1901 at 301 Church Street in a more formal version of the Gothic Revival style.
Residential areas surround the commercial part of Blackstone’s historic district. Located east of Main Street is Blackstone’s earliest residential neighborhood. The neighborhood contains a variety of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival homes built by 19th century merchants and businessmen who worked in Blackstone. Historic homes in this area include those built by the Dillard brothers at 211 and 305 South High Street, both examples of the Queen Anne style of architecture. Another residential area is on South Main Street between Church and Sixth Streets. This neighborhood contains Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Bungalow, vernacular Victorian, and Gothic Revival homes and remains largely unchanged. A majority of Blackstone’s historic residential area is within the 16 blocks bordered by South Main Street, Church Street, College Avenue, and Sixth Street. Mostly constructed between 1900 and 1940, these homes are in the Queen Anne, Bungalow, and Colonial Revival architectural styles. Most of Blackstone’s recent construction has occurred outside of the historic district, preserving and protecting the community’s earliest buildings and neighborhoods.
The residential neighborhoods of Blackstone were largely segregated until the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s. The areas north of the commercial district and west of upper Church Street were traditionally black neighborhoods. Less segregation occurred within the commercial district, however. One of Blackstone’s most successful businessmen was Henry L. Jackson, an African American man who owned the brick building at 120 West Broad Street and was granted a liquor license in 1899. He built an elaborate pressed-tin facade on the building and added his name and the date 1901 to cap the building. The black Shiloh congregation constructed its church building in 1908 within one block of three of the community’s white churches.
The Blackstone Historic District consists of a 16 block area bordered by South Main St., Church St., College Ave., and Sixth St.; and continues on Brunswick Ave. to Ninth St. The Downtown Blackstone, Inc. Main Street Organization is located at 115 South Main St. For more information call 434-292-3041. Tourism information can be found at the Blackstone Chamber of Commerce website, or by calling 434-292-1677. The Town of Blackstone website also contains relevant and helpful information.
Butterwood United Methodist Church of Blackstone sits in a rural setting surrounded by woods and farmland. The building is a handsome and well preserved example of the simple, Carpenter Gothic style dating from ca. 1866-67. The church and its cemetery also have important associations with the creation of Camp Pickett Military Reservation at the beginning of World War II and its impact on the community.
The congregation of the church descends from the Bristol Parish of the Church of England that was established around 1729, part of which became Bath Parish in Dinwiddie County in 1742. Devereux Jarratt became rector of Bath Parish in 1763. He was a famous preacher, part of the Great Awakening in Virginia. He was tolerant toward dissidents unhappy with the Church of England who formed Methodist societies. The Butterwood congregation is descended from one of these Methodist societies. Initially there was no thought that the Methodists would separate from the Church of England, but at the time, religious revival was sweeping the country. The official organization of both the Protestant Episcopal Church of America and the Methodist Episcopal Church took place in 1784.
The history of the present church building begins with Henry Dickerson of Mecklenburg County. While traveling through Dinwiddie County, he found property in the community that he liked and bought a farm near Butterwood Church. His family became instrumental in revitalizing Butterwood Church, which they thought needed to be replaced with a better house of worship. Dickerson selected his neighbor William Randolph Atkinson to design and build the present church sanctuary that was completed in 1867 and enlarged in the mid-20th century.
As tensions grew with talk of American’s entrance into World War II, the Federal Government condemned 48,000 acres in Dinwiddie, Nottoway, and Brunswick counties in 1941 to establish Camp Pickett Military Reservation for a temporary military training ground. Camp Pickett Military Reservation became Fort Pickett. The government moved graves from two churches and many farms in the condemned area. Eight and a half acres surrounding Butterwood Church became the white cemetery and additional acres off Route 613 were selected for the African American cemetery.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reinterred the moved bodies. Re-interred graves from the Whites Chapel Methodist Church are located primarily in the west cemetery at Butterwood. Many of the graves are marked as unknown. Throughout the years the west cemetery has been well maintained, but the east side was somewhat neglected. In recent years, the entire cemetery has been well cared for, and new graves have been added. The Butterwood Methodist Church Trustees now manage the whole property. Today, the original one-acre church cemetery is on three sides of the church; surrounding it are approximately nine acres.
Inside the building, the original handmade benches, doors, and pulpit are still in use. The plastered walls and ceiling are said to provide excellent acoustics for singing. A large arched opening is located behind the pulpit. The details of the arch and its supporting posts are typical of many of the churches in Dinwiddie. The original Sunday school room has been set aside and is now dedicated as a history room.
Butterwood United Methodist Church is located off Rte. 40, opposite intersections Rtes . 643 and 40 outside of Blackstone near Darvills, VA in Dinwiddie County. The remains from the cemetery of Poplar Lawn Baptist Church and home cemeteries of African American families can be found just off Route 613 about two miles south of Rte. 40. Tourism information can be found at the Blackstone Chamber of Commerce website, or by calling 434-292-1677. The Town of Blackstone website also contains relevant and helpful information.
Schwartz Tavern is Blackstone’s oldest building and has important associations with the town’s early history. John Schwartz was an early settler in Nottoway County. In 1790, he purchased the property near the intersections of Cooke’s, Hungarytowne, and Old Church Roads—the stage route from Petersburg to North Carolina. In May 1798, Schwartz was issued a license to operate a tavern at this site. It was about a block east of another tavern owned by Francis White. Schwartz is the German word for black, therefore the crossroads became known as Black’s and White’s Taverns. By 1800, the community also included a doctor's office, blacksmith's shop, and icehouse. After the Civil War the town was named Blackstone. While many believe that this name was an allusion to Black's or Schwartz, it actually honors an English jurist.
After John Schwartz’s death, the tavern continued to be operated by the Schwartz family. By the 1830s, the tavern complex included the tavern house, dwelling house, kitchen, quarters, stable, carriage house, blacksmith shop, wheelwright's shop, ice house, doctor's office, and more than 130 acres. In later years, the tavern became a private residence and was the home of Gilliam Anderson until his death in 1948. During the 1960s, the tavern was unoccupied, but in 1974 the heirs of the Anderson family gave the tavern to the Town of Blackstone to ensure its preservation. Plans for future restorations include reproduction of the kitchen and servant quarters.
Schwartz Tavern is located at 100 Tavern St. in Blackstone. It is open from 9:30am to 5:30pm daily for informal tours. Groups may schedule guided tours with local historians. Tourism information can be found at the Blackstone Chamber of Commerce website, or by calling 434-292-1677. The Town of Blackstone website also contains relevant and helpful information, or call the Town Manager's office at (434) 292-7251.
The county seat town of Culpeper is significant for its architectural cohesiveness and associations with commercial, military, political and transportation history. Originally known as Fairfax, Culpeper was founded in 1759. Most of the commercial buildings are constructed of brick in vernacular, Italianate and Neoclassical styles. The quiet, tree-shaded residential streets hold a rich variety of domestic architecture.
The district's focal point is the Culpeper County Courthouse, completed in 1874 by Samuel Proctor, who crowned it with a fanciful cupola. Commercial history is linked with its early roads, stagecoach routes and the railroad. Long a railroad hub, Culpeper grew rapidly in the mid-1900s at the crossroads of U.S. highways 15, 29 and 522, and State routes 3 and 229. The historic depot still operates as a passenger depot, greeting Amtrak trains twice a week, and also serves as the town's Visitors Center. Military history is represented by the homes of Revolutionary War general Edward Stevens and Confederate Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill. The A.P. Hill home has been renovated recently and is being used as commercial space. The town served as a staging area and hospital center for armies of both sides in the Civil War.
The Culpeper Historic District was listed in the National Register in 1987 and the following year, Culpeper became a designated Virginia Main Street community. Working with public and private stakeholders, the downtown organization, Culpeper Renaissance, Inc., has worked on revitalization efforts for 15 years. A downtown economy that was once based on the five-and-dime store and agricultural services has transitioned to a vibrant mix of locally owned shops and restaurants that keep the activity humming day and evening. Hundreds of buildings have been rehabilitated with millions of dollars of private and public funds invested in downtown.
The Culpeper Historic District is bounded by Edmonson, Stevens and West sts. and the tracks of the Southern Railroad. Culpeper Renaissance, Inc. is located at 233 E. Davis St. and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown Culpeper, call Culpeper Renaissance, Inc. at 540-825-4416.
The Burgandine House has long been considered to be Culpeper's oldest dwelling. Architectural evidence suggests that as originally built, it was a story-and-half structure constructed in the late 18th century or the first part of the 19th century, and was probably a laborer's residence. The building's original core employs plank log construction, a construction method not unusual for area vernacular houses. It later received a porch and was covered with weatherboards. A wing (since removed) was added in the mid-19th century. At one time, the Burgandine House was used as a tavern.
Despite other modifications, the original simple lines of the house betray
its early origins. The house was donated to the town of Culpeper in 1966
and has since served as the headquarters of the Culpeper Historical Society.
This small, historic dwelling was restored in 1997.
The Burgandine House is located at 107 South Main St., in Culpeper. Call 540-829-6434 for seasonal visiting hours and days as well as additional information.
Danville is located in the southern Piedmont area on the banks of the Dan River. As in other sections of the Virginia Piedmont, tobacco developed as the principal cash crop of the Dan River Valley. From the late 18th century through the late 19th century, the regional expansion of tobacco production and innovations in its cultivation and manufacture stimulated the development of Danville.
In 1856, a rail connection from Danville to Richmond was completed. With this connection to outside markets and the rise of tobacco prices during the 1840s and 1850s, Danville emerged as an important tobacco manufacturing center. During this period, Danville's commercial district continued to develop along the town's principal thoroughfare, Main Street. During the Civil War, Danville acted for a brief time as the capital of the Confederacy after the Confederate government evacuated Richmond. Despite Danville's role during the Confederacy's troubled last days, the Civil War left the city virtually unscathed. In the 1870s and 1880s, Danville emerged as the dominant tobacco market in the bright leaf tobacco belt of Virginia and North Carolina.
The city's tobacconists began to channel some of their profits into textile manufacturing and erected large brick factories along the river. Danville's commercial district mirrored the city's economic good fortunes. Commercial buildings sprang up along the cross streets that connected Main Street to the tobacco warehouse and factory districts. The present Masonic Building, Danville's first skyscraper, was constructed from 1921 to 1922 to alleviate a shortage of office space in the downtown. Banks, theaters, government buildings and fraternal organization buildings dot the downtown landscape as well, and add to the rich architectural character of Danville.
With the decline of the textile and tobacco industries and suburban growth at the outskirts of the city, Danville's downtown commercial activity began to decelerate. Initiated by the city government, the Downtown Danville Historic District was listed in the National Register in 1993. In 2000, Danville became a designated Virginia Main Street community. The Downtown Danville Association has spearheaded revitalization efforts. A number of historic builldings have been rehabilitated.
The Downtown Danville Historic District is roughly bounded by Memorial Dr. and High, Patton and Ridge sts. The Downtown Danville Association is located at 635 Main St. and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown Danville, call the Downtown Danville Association at 434-791-4470.
The Danville Historic District contains perhaps the finest and most concentrated collection of Victorian and Edwardian residential architecture in Virginia. Lining Main Street and adjacent side streets is a splendid assemblage of the full range of architectural styles from the Antebellum era to World War I, including Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Romanesque, American Queen Anne and the Beaux Arts classicism of the early 20th century. The existence of these impressive dwellings--many constructed after the Civil War--is because of Danville's prosperity from the tobacco trade and other industries at a time when much of Virginia was suffering the effects brought on by the devastating Civil War and Reconstruction period. The leaders of the tobacco industry were among the first to erect handsome mansions along Main Street. The Penn-Wyatt House, constructed in 1876 by James Gabriel Penn at 862 Main Street, stands as visual evidence of the wealth and architectural taste afforded by the tobacco industry. The houses of the tobacco industrialists soon began to vie in splendor with those of the leaders of Danville's growing textile industry. In 1882, the three Schoolfield brothers along with Thomas Fitzgerald founded the textile mills that became known as Dan River, Inc., makers of world famous Dan River fabrics. The Schoolfields constructed several fine houses in the district, and 844 Main Street (the Schoolfield-Compson House) ranks among the finest High Victorian dwellings in the State.
Most of this post-Civil War residential growth took place on the hill to the south of the commercial district, in farm land that once was dominated by the Italian villa-style house of Major William T. Sutherlin. Long used as the public library and later as the Danville Chapter of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Sutherlin Mansion received fame in 1865 when it served as the last official residence of Confederate President Jefferson Davis after the fall of Richmond to the Union armies. Based on available historical research, two early 19th-century houses, located within the district at 770 Main Streets and 225 Jefferson Avenue, stand as the oldest houses in Danville.
The Danville Historic District is roughly bounded by Main, Green and Paxton sts., and Memorial Hospital. The houses within the district are private, and not open to the public. Brochures providing further information about Danville's historic districts are available at the Danville Welcome Center, located at 645 Riverpark Dr., or by calling the center at 434-793-4636.
Occupying some 40 blocks of the heart of the city, this historic district formed the economic wellspring of 19th-century Danville. The various warehouses, factories, shops and dwellings display the city's mill-town personality and the rise of its working class. Industrial activity in Danville grew in conjunction with the development of its transportation systems and with the cultivation of bright-leaf tobacco, which shaped Danville into one of the South's primary tobacco markets. The tobacco industry achieved its greatest growth in the 1870s and 1880s with the emergence of plug and twist tobacco manufacture. Today the district is composed of approximately 585 buildings related to the development of Danville's tobacco enterprise. Some 37 of the buildings are factories, auction warehouses or storage facilities, all constructed between 1870 and 1910. The residential area contains approximately 450 workers' dwellings erected between 1880 and the 1930s.
The Danville Tobacco Warehouse and Residential Historic District is roughly bounded by the south bank of the Dan River, the track of the Southern Railroad, and Jefferson St., Wilson St., Monument Crt. and Patton St. Brochures providing further information about Danville's historic districts are available at the Danville Welcome Center, located at 645 Riverpark Dr., or by calling the center at 434-793-4636. Danville's Tobacco District has also been documented by the Historic American Engineering Record.
The Danville Public Library was originally the Sutherlin House, which was built for Major William T. Sutherlin in 1857-58 on a four-acre plot on Danville's Main Street. Major Sutherlin was a member of the historic Virginia Convention of 1861, and at the outbreak of the Civil War he became Chief Quartermaster for Danville with the rank of major. On April 2, 1865, when it became obvious that the Confederate forces could no longer defend Richmond, the Confederate government decided to leave the city for the temporary capital at Danville. President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet arrived in Danville on April 3, 1865, and it was decided that the Confederate president would be the guest of Major Sutherlin. While at this house, on April 4, 1865, President Davis signed his last official proclamation as President of the Confederate States of America. It is believed that President Davis received the news of General Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House while having dinner at the Sutherlin House on April 10, 1865. That evening he and his fugitive government left Danville for Greensboro, North Carolina, on their "flight into oblivion." The exhausted Confederacy surrendered, piece by piece, soon after. The Danville Public Library, a two-story stuccoed house, is an outstanding example of the Italian villa style. Today the Danville Public Library is the Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History.
The Danville Public Library, now the Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History, is located at 975 Main St. It is open Tuesday-Friday 10:00am to 5:00pm, and Saturday-Sunday 2:00pm to 5:00pm. There is no admission fee, but contributions are welcome to support the cultural and educational mission of the museum. Please call 434-793-5644 for additional information or visit the museum's website.
Franklin is located on the Blackwater River in the lower Tidewater area of Virginia. Nine miles from the North Carolina border and 40 miles west of Norfolk, Franklin began its history as a transportation center. In 1835, the Blackwater Depot, soon after named the Franklin Depot, opened. It is not known how the Depot received the name "Franklin." Passengers from Norfolk could travel to the Depot and depart by stagecoach for points further north or west, or they could board one of several steamships docked at the nearby wharf to continue their journey to North Carolina.
Throughout the 1850s, commerce on the railroad and Blackwater River flourished. New steamboat companies sent their steamers into the Franklin Depot to pick up bales of cotton, livestock, slaughtered beef and pork and other products. In 1856, a saw mill was constructed opposite Franklin on the Blackwater River. This mill, operated by R.J. and William Neely, processed huge amounts of wood products that were sent by rail to the Norfolk market and elsewhere. Today, International Paper operates a paper processing plant in Franklin and is the largest individual employer in the area.
Although Franklin did not see direct action during the Civil War, the community suffered from the disruption of rail and river commerce. After the Civil War, Franklin Depot was active again and became a major exporting point for the "ground pea," better known as the peanut, which became a popular food product in the late 19th century. Southampton County, in which Franklin is located, leads the State in peanut production today. In 1881, a fire destroyed all of the commercial buildings in the community. An ordinance was adopted that only allowed for brick or stone buildings. Today the downtown consists almost entirely of rows of brick buildings that post-date the 1881 fire.
The Franklin Historic District was listed in the National Register in 1985, and that same year the community became a designated Virginia Main Street community. The Downtown Franklin Association has led revitalization efforts for some 20 years. Many buildings have been rehabilitated. There has been a mix of private and public investment in downtown.
The Franklin Historic District is located at U.S. 58 and U.S. 258. The Downtown Franklin Association is located at 111 N. Main St. and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown Franklin, call the Downtown Franklin Association at 757-562-6900.
Built by Paul D. Camp, a founder of the Camp Manufacturing Company, today's Union Camp Corporation, the Elms stands as a tangible symbol of the success of a large industrial enterprise. The lumber industry that Camp and his brothers developed in Southampton County after the Civil War revived the economy of southeastern Tidewater Virginia and also enabled the Camp family to create new cultural resources for the Franklin area in the form of schools and libraries. The spacious late Victorian house, built in 1897, exemplifies the residences built by well-to-do small-town businessmen and community leaders in the late 19th century. Typical of such houses, it has numerous gables, a corner tower, long front porch and decorative interior woodwork. Now owned by the Camp family foundations, the Elms is used for the management of philanthropic activities and for special functions.
The Elms is located at the intersection of Clay and Gay sts. in Franklin. It is not open to the public.
Harrisonburg was established as the county seat of Rockingham County in 1779 and developed into an agricultural powerhouse in the 19th and 20th centuries. The City’s downtown historic district is centered around Court Square, which is dominated by the impressive courthouse. Harrisonburg has what cultural geographer Edward T. Price defines as the “Harrisonburg Plan,” with streets that intersect or are tangential to the sides of the courthouse square. In his seminal article on America’s courthouse squares, Price cited Harrisonburg as the earliest known occurrence of this plan, which later appeared in Georgia and Ohio. From early stone, brick and log houses to more commanding commercial buildings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Harrisonburg’s downtown presents a wide range of buildings that reflect the town’s history.
As the county seat, Harrisonburg naturally developed as the commercial hub of Rockingham County, which by the antebellum period had grown into an agricultural powerhouse. In 1850, Rockingham County was the largest producer of wheat and hay in the state. A handful of buildings remain from the antebellum period, including the Hardesty-Higgins House at 212 S. Main, which now are the offices of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, and the Warren-Sipe House at 301 S. Main, which currently houses the Virginia Quilt Museum.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad reached Harrisonburg in 1868, which contributed to the community’s growth. Stylish homes were constructed along Main Street, such as the grand Queen Anne Joshua Wilton House, constructed in 1890, and now a bed and breakfast. A watershed event in Harrisonburg’s architectural and civic development was the construction of the present courthouse in 1896-1897. The imposing Romanesque/Renaissance Revival style building was the work of prolific Staunton architectural firm T.J. Collins & Son and Washington, D.C. builder W.E. Speirs, and it introduced a new level of sophistication to the downtown.
Harrisonburg during the early 20th century continued to benefit from the agricultural bounty of the surrounding countryside. Poultry production became increasingly profitable as the century progressed, and Rockingham County became a national leader in the poultry trade. Out of this success in the poultry industry came a range of specialized building types constructed in the 1910s through the 1950s, including hotels, warehouses, factories and service stations. The Chesapeake Western Railways station, built in 1913 at 141 West Bruce Street, fostered the growth of an industrial and warehouse district along what became known as Chesapeake Avenue.
In the 1960s, Harrisonburg followed a national trend of demolishing vacant or older structures to make way for new buildings. Over the last 30 years, several revitalization initiatives were undertaken by citizens’ groups or the city. Each effort was met with some success, however the work was not sustained due to the all-volunteer effort and lack of sufficient funding. With the organization of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance in 2003, there is new optimism that downtown revitalization will continue to be a public and private priority. Rehabilitation projects are now underway, including the conversion of the prominent Wetsel Seed Company Building into apartments and offices, as well as a major streetscaping project for the downtown. Harrisonburg became a designated Virginia Main Street community in 2004.
The Harrisonburg Downtown Historic District is located primarily along Main St. between Kratzer Ave. and Grace St. Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance is located at 212 S. Main St. and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events call Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance at 540-432-8922.
Lexington is located in the central Shenandoah Valley and is the county seat for Rockbridge County. The city was incorporated in 1841 and, almost from the beginning, its main industry was education. Both Washington & Lee University and Virginia Military Institute are located within the historic district.
Liberty Hall Academy was established in 1790 just to the west of the town. When George Washington made a sizable gift to the college's endowment, the institution's name was changed to Washington College in honor of the Nation's first president. At the end of the Civil War, the presidency of the college was offered to General Robert E. Lee, who presided over it for the five years preceding his death. Shortly thereafter the trustees renamed the school Washington & Lee University.
In 1816, the General Assembly of Virginia established an arsenal in Lexington. By the mid-1830s, a prominent local attorney and graduate of Washington College, John T.L. Preston, advocated the establishment of a State military school at the arsenal. The Virginia Military Institute enrolled its first cadets in November of 1839 and prospered in the years prior to the Civil War. Among its faculty was Major Thomas J. Jackson, later to acquire fame in the Civil War as "Stonewall" Jackson.
Lexington began to grow with the arrival of the railroad between 1860 and 1880. The speculative real estate boom of the 1890s, which saw the Lexington Land Company acquire 1,275 acres to the west of the town and along the railroad and river fronts, also helped bolster the local economy. The commercial area of Lexington is grounded along Main Street with historic development also along Randolph, Jefferson, Washington and Henry streets. Primarily constructed of brick, the historic commercial buildings date from the early 19th to early 20th centuries. Several churches remain on Main Street, including the Greek Revival Presbyterian Church constructed in 1843.
The Lexington Historic District was listed in the National Register in 1972. It was not a high vacancy rate that motivated the Main Street effort in Lexington, but the precarious nature of the downtown economy that had to be dealt with proactively. The town, merchants and citizens realized it was not enough to have beautiful, historic buildings--they had to look at the downtown comprehensively. Lexington was designated a Virginia Main Street community in 1988 and the Lexington Downtown Development Association has led revitalization efforts that have generated much investment and rehabilitation downtown.
The Lexington Historic District is roughly bounded by Chesapeake and Ohio RR, Graham and Jackson aves., and Estill and Jordan sts. The Lexington Downtown Development Association is located at 101 S. Main St. and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown Lexington, call the Lexington Downtown Development Association at 540-463-7191.
Organized in 1839, Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is the Nation's earliest State-supported military school and has supplied the country with many outstanding military leaders, most prominently General of the Army George C. Marshall. The campus consists of some 25 major buildings united by a castellated Gothic Revival style. The focal point, The Barracks, is a much-evolved complex originally designed by Alexander Jackson Davis. Davis also designed Gothic Revival faculty houses lining the Parade Ground, of which the Gilham house (1852) and the Superintendent's Quarters (1860) survive. In the 1910s, architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue was commissioned for Jackson Memorial Hall and additional faculty houses. The original Gothic character established by Davis has been carefully maintained in these and later works. Lending variety is a scattering of 19th-century and later dwellings including the Gothic Revival Pendleton-Coles cottage where General. Marshall was married.
During the Civil War, 21 VMI alumni and faculty served as generals in the Confederate army, including such noted battlefield leaders as Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, Robert E. Rhodes and William Mahone. One of the most famous events that involved cadets from the Virginia Military Institute occurred during the Civil War in 1864. Union General Franz Sigel and 10,000 troops marched up the Shenandoah Valley from Winchester in May of that year with the objective of Staunton, where he could cut the Virginia Central Railroad (now the C&O RR), and thus deprive General Lee's army and Richmond of one of their chief sources of supply. Confederate General John C. Breckinridge, former Vice President of the U. S., took command of the Confederate forces in the Valley, and called on VMI to supply him with much needed man power. The VMI Corps of Cadets fought as a unit at the Battle of New Market, Virginia, on May 15, 1864. Two hundred fifty seven cadets were on the field, organized into a battalion of four companies of Infantry and one section of Artillery. Ten cadets were killed in battle or died later from the effects of their wounds; 45 were wounded. The youngest participating cadet was 15; the oldest 25. The Confederates won the battle, with the VMI Corps of Cadets performing well.
VMI was shelled and burned on June 12, 1864, by Union General David Hunter. Due to the tireless efforts of Superintendent Francis H. Smith and the faculty, VMI reopened its doors to classes on October 17, 1865, and the school continues to educate citizen-soldiers to serve their State and country.
The Virginia Military Institute, a National Historic Landmark, is located in Lexington. The main entrance is located off Letcher Ave., near the intersection of Jefferson St. Tours of the campus are available. The VMI Museum is currently closed for expansion, but the George Marshall Museum, located on the Virginia Military Institute Parade, is open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, except major holidays. There is a fee for admission. For further information, visit the school's website. VMI has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey
The historic heart of Washington and Lee University is an architecturally harmonious complex of buildings forming one of the Nation's most dignified and beautiful campuses. The central element, the Colonnade, gives the impression of a single design concept. It is, in reality, the product of a building program extending over 150 years. The first buildings of the program, erected in 1803 for what was then Washington College, have disappeared. The classical theme of the complex was established with the oldest existing building, the temple-form Washington Hall of 1824. Its builder-architects, John Jordan and Samuel Darst, here transformed the prevailing Roman Revival style into a sturdy regional idiom. Washington Hall was flanked by Payne Hall in 1831 and by Robinson Hall in 1843. Two pairs of porticoed faculty residences were also added to the complex. Stylistically contrasting elements are the distinctive President's House of 1868 and the neo-Norman style Lee Chapel, constructed in 1867, and now a National Historic Landmark. Robert E. Lee, the president of the college at the time, was instrumental in having the chapel constructed. The body of the former Confederate commander lay in State in the chapel in 1870 and was later interred in a family crypt established here. Lee's office in the chapel has been carefully preserved as he left it.
The Washington and Lee University Historic District, a National Historic Landmark, is located in Lexington. The main entrance to the campus is located off Rte. 11 Business, past the Virginia Military Institute. Parking is available in the Lee Chapel lot on Jefferson St. For more information, visit the university's website. Lee Chapel is open April-October, Monday-Saturday, 9:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday 1:00pm to 5:00pm; from November-March, the chapel closes at 4:00pm. Visit the chapel's website for further information. Washington and Lee University has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey
From 1859 to 1861, this early 19th-century dwelling near the county courthouse was home to Confederate Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and his wife Mary Anna. It was built for Cornelius Dorman in 1801 as a typical Valley I-house. The facade was altered and a stone addition was erected before Jackson bought it. In 1906, the house was sold to the United Daughters of the Confederacy and incorporated into the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital, with the front being completely altered in a Classical Revival style. In the 1970s, the Historic Lexington Foundation, with architect Milton L. Grigg, undertook the restoration of the house to its appearance during Jackson's tenure, even reproducing the mid-19th-century facade with its shifted openings. The house is now a museum honoring the life of one the most brilliant military tacticians in history. Jackson is buried beneath his statue in Stonewall Jackson Cemetery in downtown Lexington.
The Stonewall Jackson House is located at 8 East Washington St., one block west of Lexington's Visitor Center. Public parking is available at the Visitor Center. The Stonewall Jackson House is currently closed for renovations during which time the Museum Shop and a free exhibit space will be open next door at 10 East Washington St. When the house reopens in mid-May 2004, it will be open 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Saturday, and 1:00pm to 5:00pm Sunday, tours begin every half hour. There is a fee for admission. For more information call 540-463-2552 or visit the museum's website.
Luray, located in Page County, developed as a county commercial center soon after the town’s establishment in 1812. In 1831, Luray became the county seat and later experienced considerable prosperity following the construction of the Shenandoah Valley Railroad through the town in 1881. With the discovery and opening of nearby natural attraction Luray Caverns in the 1880s and the development of the Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive in the 1920s and 1930s, the town grew well into the 20th century.
Luray was platted around 1812 as a double file of 18 lots extending along Main Street (then known as Peter Street) from Hawksbill Creek to the present Court Street. Main Street was a section of the road that passed through the Blue Ridge and Massanutten Mountain to connect the Page Valley to the Piedmont and the Shenandoah Valley proper. Documented and surviving early buildings indicate that the town’s initial building stock was primarily of log construction. The oldest extant dwelling is the log house of William R. Almond, which survives incorporated into the Almond-Amiss Building at 101 W. Main Street.
With the completion of the Page County Courthouse in 1833, commercial activity was stimulated with the development of hotels and law offices, as well as small-scale industrial development such as blacksmithing and tanning. Three residential-commercial buildings survive from this era: the 1835 Yager Building at 230-232 W. Main; the 1830s Jordon-McKim House at 221 W. Main; and the circa 1850 Hotel Laurence at 301 W. Main. The commercial function of Luray’s antebellum commercial-residential buildings took the form of general merchandising to supply townspeople and area farmers with staple and luxury goods.
The 1880s were an important period in the development of Luray. In 1881, the Shenandoah Railroad built its line through town, setting off a wave of industrial and residential construction. According to the Federal census, the town’s population more than doubled between 1880 and 1890, from 630 to 1,386. Luray’s hotels were sustained by the popularity of nearby Luray Caverns—according to period reports, 15,000 tourists visited the cave annually in the early 1880s. The development of the Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive in the 1920s and 1930s attracted the motoring public to the area and provided clientele for Luray’s grandest hotel, the Mimslyn Inn, which was constructed in 1930-31.
With the construction of the Route 211 by-pass in the 1970s, diverting travelers around the town, and the arrival of large national retailers to the west of town, downtown Luray started to languish as a retail center. However, efforts are underway to change this situation. Several buildings have been rehabilitated, including the train station, the former Cave’s Hardware Store and the former Graves Motor Company, into new retail spaces. The Luray-Hawksbill Greenway provides a fitness and walking trail for visitors and residents. The historic Mimslyn Inn at 401 West Main Street has been graciously rehabilitated. In 2004, the Luray Downtown Initiative, Inc. was formed to lead the downtown revitalization efforts, and that same year, Luray was designated a Virginia Main Street community.
The Luray Downtown Historic District is located along Main, Court and Broad sts. The Luray Downtown Initiative is located at 127 E. Main St. and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining, and events in downtown Luray, call the Luray Downtown Initiative at 540-743-7700.
Lynchburg, located on the James River in the southern Piedmont area, was first settled by Quakers from Pennsylvania and the Tidewater area of Virginia in the 1750s. John Lynch, the merchant for whom the city is named, helped to establish the settlement along the James River with the construction of Lynch's Ferry in 1757. By the 1780s, bateaux were transporting tobacco down the James River to Richmond, and Lynch's Ferry had expanded to include a tobacco warehouse, a tavern and a mill. In 1786, the town of Lynchburg was established, and in 1813, the first Lynchburg Courthouse was constructed on Court House Hill. That building was torn down and another courthouse constructed in 1851, which remains standing today.
Tobacco continued to be Lynchburg's primary industry during the first half of the 19th century. During the 1840s and 1850s, several railroad lines were constructed through Lynchburg. In 1859, a Richmond newspaper reported that Lynchburg was "the hub of the Virginia system of railroads." Lynchburg experienced fighting during the Civil War. On June 18, 1864, General Jubal Early and local troops successfully defended the city against Union General David Hunter in the Battle of Lynchburg. In 1865, however, Lynchburg surrendered to Union forces and remained under military rule until 1870. During the 1880s, the city shifted away from the tobacco industry and took advantage of its location midway between the manufacturers of the Northern and Southern markets to become a major wholesale distribution and jobbing center for the South. A number of warehouses and jobbing houses, as well as mills and foundries, were constructed along the railroad and the James River during this period.
The commercial area along Commerce and Main streets prospered with the development of the new industries. Not only did a number of stores line these streets to sell manufactured goods, but large financial institutions were established as well, to handle the banking needs generated by such prosperity. During the 1920s, Lynchburg's economy continued to prosper and the city's first true skyscraper, the Allied Arts Building, was constructed in 1929. Located at 725 Church Street, the building was designed by Lynchburg architectss Stanhope Johnson and Ray Brannan. It stands at 17 stories and was the first Art Deco style building constructed in Lynchburg.
Although Lynchburg remains a major city in this region, by the mid-20th century, many of the factors that established it as a transportation, shipping and manufacturing center declined. As residents moved out to the suburbs, many of the retail stores along Main Street moved to the suburban shopping centers as well. Lynchburg became a designated Virginia Main Street community in 2000, and a year later, the Court House Hill/Downtown District was listed in the National Register. Lynch's Landing has led the city's downtown revitalization efforts. Many historic buildings have been rehabilitated. Significant amounts of private and public funding have been invested in downtown.
The Court House Hill/Downtown Historic District is roughly bounded by 5th, Harrison, 7th, Court, 12th and Main sts. in Lynchburg. Lynch's Landing is located at 210 8th St. and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown Lynchburg, call Lynch's Landing at 434-528-3950
Four residential historic districts encompassing nearly 500 significant buildings are found throughout Lynchburg's downtown. Located on a ridge above the James River, Daniel's Hill Historic District is a residential neighborhood that displays a variety of 19th-century architectural styles. Concentrated building activity began in the 1840s after the subdivision of the Cabell-Daniel family plantation whose mansion, Point of Honor, forms the neighborhood's focal point. Cabell Street, the district's main street, is lined with a progression of mid- and late 19th-century mansions, all solid examples of their respective styles. Particularly interesting is the Y-shaped dwelling at Cabell and B streets, built in 1875 by architect Robert C. Burkholder as his residence. More typical is the 1853 to 1854 Greek Revival Dabney-Scott-Adams House at 405 Cabell Street. Another Greek Revival landmark is Rivermont, a frame mansion. Contrasting with these high style dwellings are the vernacular workers' houses scattered along the back streets. Protected by historic zoning, the district is undergoing slow rehabilitation.
Immediately south of downtown Lynchburg, the Diamond Hill Historic District was once one of the city's most prestigious residential neighborhoods. Its development began in the 1820s, and it enjoyed its greatest popularity at the turn of the century, which was marked by the construction of numerous large residences, ranging from speculative rental units to stately architect designed houses usually in the Queen Anne or Georgian Revival styles. The family homes of businessmen and civic and political leaders were clustered along Washington, Clay, Pearl and Madison streets, with Washington Street the most prestigious address. Especially interesting is the Queen Anne style residence at 1314 Clay Street designed by architect J. M. B. Lewis as his residence. After a significant decline, Diamond Hill in recent years has experienced considerable preservation activity.
Building in Lynchburg occurred on its several hills--one of the earliest and most distinctive historic districts lies on Federal Hill. The Federal Hill Historic District served primarily as a residential area favored by merchants and civic leaders. Spread through the district's dozen blocks is an assemblage of freestanding dwellings in architectural styles popular from the early 1880s through the early 1900s. Most significant are the neighborhood's early Federal houses, which include some of the oldest and finest dwellings in the city, among them the Roane-Rodes House on Harrison Street (built around 1816) and the 1817 Norvell-Otey House built on Federal Street for banker William Norvell. Several other early Federal houses, including the Micajah Davis and Gordon houses, built before 1819, are scattered along Jackson Street. This area was incorporated into Lynchburg through annexations in 1814 and 1819.
Another historic district that sprang up on Lynchburg's hills is the Garland Hill Historic District. Named for Samuel Garland, Sr., a local lawyer who was among the area's first residents, Garland Hill remains perhaps the best preserved of the prosperous neighborhoods that sprang up in Lynchburg during the 19th century. The hill, subdivided into approximately 10 blocks in 1845, built up slowly, so that it now has a rich mixture of freestanding houses representing styles in vogue from the 1840s to World War I. The grandest dwellings line Madison Street. At its eastern end are two large Queen Anne residences: the 1897 Frank P. Christian House and the 1898 George P. Watkins House, both designed by Edward G. Frye. The most impressive building is the huge Ambrose H. Burroughs House of 1900, a castle-like dwelling designed by J. M. B. Lewis. Because there are no through streets, an air of quiet dignity still pervades the district.
Daniel's Hill Historic District is roughly bounded by Cabell, Norwood, Hancock and Stonewall sts. from 6th St. to H St. Diamond Hill Historic District is roughly bounded by Dunbar Dr., Main, Jackson and Arch sts. Federal Hill Historic District is roughly bounded by 8th, 12th, Harrison and Polk sts. Garland Hill Historic District is roughly bounded by 5th St., Federal Ave. and the Norfolk Western RR tracks. Walking/driving tour brochures for Lynchburg's Residential Downtown Historic Districts can be obtained from the Lynchburg Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, at 12th and Church sts., open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Please call 434-847-1811 for further information. Lynchburg Historic Tours also offered guided tours of the districts, for a fee; call 434-846-1868 or visit the website (at www.lynchburgtours.com) for further information on these tours.
Lynchburg's Academy of Music was built as a vaudeville theater and opera house, one of the few surviving in Virginia. Completed in 1905, it was designed by the local architectural firm of Frye and Chesterman, which embellished Lynchburg with many of its best buildings. The theater burned in 1911, but was rebuilt within its walls under the direction of architect C. K. Howell, with Lynchburg's J. M. B. Lewis as associate. The present facade is a sophisticated essay in the Neoclassical style recalling 18th-century English Palladianism. The elegant interior is enriched with plasterwork decorations and a colorful painted ceiling of clouds, muses and cherubs. In its heyday, the Academy boasted Sarah Bernhardt, Pavlova and Paderewski among its performers. Vacant for some 40 years, the theater has now been restored and returned to its place in the rich cultural life of the city.
The Academy of Music is located at 600 Main St. in Lynchburg. The Academy was preserved by several groups of Trustees, including the current group, The Academy of Music Theatre, Inc., which is committed to reviving performances, holding classes and placing the Academy back in the forefront of contemporary culture. For information about performances, visit the Academy's website or call 434-528-3256. The Academy of Music has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey
On the prow of Daniel's Hill overlooking the downtown, Point of Honor ranks with the Commonwealth's most articulate works of Federal architecture. Originally serving a 900-acre plantation, the house was built c. 1815 for Dr. George Cabell. Distinguished by its polygonal projections and beautifully executed interior woodwork, the house is one of several fine Piedmont houses erected for the Cabell family. Its designer is not known, but many of its details are adapted from illustrations in Owen Biddle's The Young Carpenter's Assistant, as well as design books by William Pain. Point of Honor was remodeled in the Italianate style in the mid-19th century but most of its original embellishments, save for the front porch, survived. It was acquired by the city in 1928 and received hard use as a neighborhood center until 1968 when the Historic Lynchburg Foundation undertook its restoration for a museum.
Point of Honor is located at 112 Cabell St. in Lynchburg. The house is open daily, 10:00am to 4:00pm. Please call 434-847-1459 or visit the house's website for further information. Point of Honor has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey
The Miller-Claytor House, erected in 1791 for tavern keeper John Miller, is Lynchburg's only remaining 18th-century town house. It originally stood at Eighth and Church streets downtown, but was moved by the Lynchburg Historical Society to its present location at the entrance to Riverside Park in 1936, during Lynchburg's sesquicentennial. Serving as a historic exhibit, the two-story frame building is an intriguing example of urban vernacular architecture. The several exterior doors of its two-room plan suggest that part of the house may have been intended for commercial use. Rebuilt under the direction of Lynchburg architect Stanhope Johnson, the dwelling's orientation and garden size at the new location were carefully selected to approximate its original setting. The garden was designed by Charles F. Gillette. The property is now owned by the Lynchburg Historical Foundation.
The Miller-Claytor House is located in the Riverside Park on Miller-Claytor Ln. in Lynchburg. The home is open to the public by appointment; current plans call for it to be open once a week and two weekends a month starting in May 2004. Please contact the Lynchburg Historical Foundation at 434-528-5353 for further information. The Miller-Claytor House has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey
Manassas is located approximately 15 miles southwest of Washington, DC and during its history has been an important crossroads where the North and South meet. In the 18th century and first half of the 19th century, this area was exclusively agricultural and part of several large family estates. In the 1850s, Manassas became a key switching point for two railroad lines--the Orange & Alexandria and the Manassas Gap Railroads. During this time, the community was known as Manassas Junction.In the spring of 1861, Confederate forces seized and fortified the area around the junction. Camp Pickens was established on what is today the entire Manassas Historic District. Tents, sheds and earthen forts were constructed and thousands of soldiers came to Manassas Junction. The First Battle of Manassas, fought July 21, 1861, was a Confederate victory and launched the career of Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. In March, 1862, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston evacuated Manassas Junction and destroyed all buildings and supplies before the Union troops entered. Union and Confederate armies again clashed at Manassas from August 28 to 30, 1862. The Second Battle of Manassas, also a Confederate victory, opened the way for. General Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North.
With little left of Manassas Junction after the Civil War, William S. Fewell established a town at the junction, and divided some of his land into lots. During the 1870s and 1880s, a business and residential district started to evolve with commercial buildings, houses and churches, including the Manassas Presbyterian Church at 9329 Main Street that includes a Tiffany stained glass window. In 1892, Manassas became the county seat of Prince William County, boosting the city's economy. An impressive Romanesque Revival Courthouse was constructed in 1894 and remains standing today. In 1905, a devastating fire destroyed much of the town's commercial area. Local government passed an ordinance that only allowed for new buildings to be of stone or brick construction. During the 1920s and 1930s, a commuter population started to emerge in Manassas with locals taking a one-hour train trip into Washington, DC in the mornings and back again at night.
As the 20th century progressed, Manassas held steadfast to its historic character in the midst of suburban growth. In 1988, the Manassas Historic District was listed in the National Register, and that same year the city became a designated Virginia Main Street community. Historic Manassas, Inc., the organization that leads the local Main Street program, has worked to renovate: the 1914 train depot into a State visitor center and its headquarters; the county courthouse into the Clerk of the Court offices; the Hopkins Candy Factory, which had been boarded up for 25 years, into an arts center; and the opera house into a gourmet food store. In 2003, Manassas was one of five communities across the country to win a Great American Main Street Award presented by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award honors exceptional accomplishments in revitalizing America's historic and traditional downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.
The Manassas Historic District is bounded by Quarry Rd., Prescott and Fairview aves., the Southern RR and Grant Ave. Historic Manassas, Inc. is located in the train depot at 9431 West St. It is open 9:00am to 5:00pm, daily. For more information about shopping, dining and events in Manassas call 703-361-6599.
The 300-acre tract bordered by Bull Run was the scene of two Confederate victories. The First Battle of Manassas, fought July 21, 1861, was the opening engagement of the Civil War and pitted Union Brigadier General Irvin McDowell's unseasoned troops against ill-trained but spirited Confederates under Brigadier General P. G. T. Beauregard. The naive, unprepared troops would soon have their hopes of a short war dashed as they came face to face with the horrors and carnage of war. The Union attack was repulsed by Confederates inspired by General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and his Virginians, who stood against the enemy like a "stone wall," earning Jackson his famous epithet. By the day's end, nearly 900 men lay dead and dying on what the day before had been the peaceful farms of Northern Virginia.
Thirteen months later the same armies, now much larger and battle hardened, would again clash over the same ground. The Second Battle of Manassas, fought from August 28 to 30, 1862, cleared the way for Genearl Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North. This time, the destruction would be far greater, more than 23,000 killed, missing or wounded. The outcome of the second battle would lead to the Southern army's first full-scale invasion across the Potomac River into Maryland. Surviving landmarks include the Dogan House, a Union snipers' nest in 1862; the Stone House, a Union field hospital during both battles; and the stone bridge, blown up in 1861 but reconstructed in the 1880s.
The Manassas National Battlefield Park, administered by the National Park Service, is located along U.S. Rte. 29 in Manassas, the entrance to the visitors center is just south of Rte. 29 on State Rte. 234. It is open daily from 8:30am to 5:00pm, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Call 703-361-1339 for further information or visit the park's website.
The Manassas National Battlefield Park is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.
Marion is located in southwest Virginia along the New River and is the county seat for Smyth County. Settlers came to southwest Virginia in larger numbers in the late 18th century when the Virginia General Assembly ordered the opening of a new road, known as the Wilderness Road, over the Cumberland Mountains to Kentucky. In 1832, Smyth County was formed and an area selected for its county seat. The seat was named Marion in honor of General Francis Marion of Revolutionary War fame. When the construction of the courthouse was completed in 1834, the town quickly began to grow to serve the needs of people coming for the court days.
Commerce and industry expanded at an accelerated pace after the opening of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad in 1849. Salt works, gristmills and iron works were the primary local industry. During the Civil War, the rail system that provided transportation for the products of local industry was destroyed. The railway system was rebuilt and local industry recovered from the setbacks of the Civil War, reaching its height of development during the late 19th century. In 1881, the railroad, then owned by Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio railroad, was sold to Norfolk & Western, which replaced the tracks with new steel rails. The new railroad introduced an era of coal and freight transportation, accelerated industrialization, and population growth. Nearby Radford also experienced similar growth because of the new railroad.
From the turn of the 20th century through World War II, Marion grew rapidly and the majority of commercial and institutional buildings were built. In 1905, the present Beaux Arts style courthouse was constructed. In 1927, renowned author Sherwood Anderson purchased the Marion Publishing Company. The building that housed the company is located at 111 North Jones Street near the courthouse. Anderson edited two newspapers in Marion for several years. The Lincoln Theater at 117 East Main Street opened as a movie palace in 1929. The unusual Mayan Revival style Lincoln Theater is currently being restored and will be used as a regional arts center.
With the construction of I-81 in the 1960s, Marion's downtown started to decline. The Marion Historic District was listed in the National Register in 1992, and the following year the Marion Downtown Revitalization Association was created. This organization leads revitalization efforts in Marion, which became a designated Virginia Main Street community in 1995. Since 1995, 115 buildings have been rehabilitated with $6.8 million in private funding and $7.5 million in public funding invested in downtown. Projects on the horizon in downtown include the renovation of the Lincoln Theater and the creation of a Mountain Dew Museum (Marion is the home of the popular soft drink).
The Marion Historic District is bounded by Main, Cherry, Strother, Lee, North College and College sts. The Marion Downtown Revitalization Association is located at 138 W. Main St., Suite 101. It is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in Marion call 540-783-4190.
The Lincoln Theatre, located on Main Street in the heart of downtown Marion, is a rare surviving example of an ornate moving picture palace that first opened to the public in 1929 and closed in 1977. The three-story brick cinema still retains its original integrity, with most of its decorative features intact. The theater building has no façade and is not visible from Main Street because it is located behind the Royal Oak Apartment House. These adjacent buildings are separate and distinct structures that share an interior wall and main entrance. An unusual cooperative arrangement, made when the buildings were conceived, allows access to the theater via a broad arcade on the ground floor of the apartment house.
The theater, except for eight attached garages, occupies all of the one-fifth-acre lot on which it was built. There is nothing of architectural interest in the exterior brick walls, but the interior of the theater, designed to suggest a Mayan temple, is most remarkable and unique in this section of Virginia. Three-dimensional appliqués and stenciled Mayan designs and glyphs cover the walls, the proscenium arch, the columns and the ceilings of the theater. Even more outstanding are six large paintings, depicting scenes from American and local history, which are located on each side of the auditorium and framed in a unique manner. Conceived and designed as an elaborate theater set by the Novelty Scenic Studios of New York City, the interior walls and decorations are constructed of composite fiberboard, which was painted and textured to resemble plaster and stone blocks.
The Lincoln Theatre is located at 117 E. Main St. in Marion. The Lincoln Theatre, Inc. is a nonprofit organization devoted to supporting cultural arts in Southwest Virginia, and to renovating a historically significant space to house arts performances, education and exhibits. The theater is scheduled to open in the spring of 2004 for performances. For more information, please call 276-783-6092 or visit the theater's website.
Martinsville, located in the southern Virginia Piedmont, was established in 1791 as the county seat of Henry County. The economy of the late 18th and early 19th century was based almost exclusively on tobacco as the main cash crop. With the arrival of the Danville and New River Railroad (later the Danville & Western) to Martinsville in 1883 and the Roanoke and Southern Railway (later the Norfolk & Western) in 1892, many of the tobacco factories that had operated throughout Henry County moved to Martinsville. Tobacco farmers no longer had to travel to markets in Danville and Lynchburg as tobacco could be sold, manufactured and shipped directly from Martinsville. The boom of the tobacco industry in Martinsville ended around 1905 when the "Tobacco Trust" of larger companies such as R.J. Reynolds began buying and consolidating the smaller, independent factories. Although tobacco continued to be the primary crop of Henry County, it was no longer processed in the county by the early 20th century.
Tobacco was replaced at the turn of the 20th century by the furniture industry. J.D. Bassett, Sr. established the Bassett Furniture Company in nearby Bassett. Ancil D. Witten, formerly of the Rucker-Witten Tobacco Company, and Charles B. Keesee, established the American Furniture Company in Martinsville in 1906. Other factories soon followed such as the Virginia Mirror Company. With the birth of the furniture industry in Martinsville, came a building campaign in downtown. A new post office was constructed in 1904, and by 1906, the town owned and operated its own water and electrical systems. The Sullivan Block along Franklin Street, which included Globman's Department Store, and the first block of East Main Street were constructed in the 1910s.
Following World War I, the textile industry began to expand in Martinsville. The Pannill Knitting Company was founded in 1925 with local capital and expanded to include the Sale Knitting Plant (9 Moss Street) in 1937 to manufacture shirts. The Jobbers Pants Company was founded in 1933 and occupied previous tobacco factory buildings on Fayette and Adele streets. In 1941, a Dupont nylon plant was established just outside of the city.
During the 1970s and 1980s, many of the local industries began to be taken over by outside interests. The influential and close-knit local power base that had fostered the commercial development and protected the economic viability of Martinsville through most of the 20th century shifted. Martinsville had successfully repositioned its economy at the beginning of the 20th century and is repositioning it again in the 21st century. In 1995, Martinsville became a designated Virginia Main Street community. The Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association spearheads revitalization efforts in the community. A number of buildings have been rehabilitated.
Martinsville Historic District is bounded by VA 457, Danville RR tracks, Clay and Market sts. The Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association (MURA) is located at 58 W. Church St. For more information about shopping, dining and events in Martinsville call MURA at 276-632-5688.
Downtown Orange showcases a diverse collection of historic commercial buildings in a number of architectural styles that were popular in the United States from the 1830s through the 1940s. These buildings reflect the development of Orange from its earliest days as a courthouse town and railroad stop, to its era of rebuilding after the devastating fire of 1908, to the transformation of the town during the modern era of the automobile.
In August 1734, Orange County was created and named for the new son-in-law of King George II of England, Prince William of Orange. Shortly after that time, in 1749, the unincorporated town of Orange Court House began serving as the county seat. In the early 19th century, Orange Court House experienced diversification of its agricultural base, with wheat and tobacco as the keystones, and improved its transportation routes to eastern markets, particularly with railroads and turnpikes. Added to the governmental activities of the courthouse and post office, commercial activity brought prosperity to the town and spurred the establishment of social organizations. Many religious institutions that had been organized earlier now began building permanent houses of worship in town. The fourth courthouse built to serve the county was constructed in 1859 and remains at the same location.
During the Civil War, several of the buildings in Orange Court House, particularly St. Thomas' Episcopal Church, were utilized by Confederate troops. In 1862, as Federal troops drew near to the courthouse town, the Orange clerk of the court was given permission to remove all the court's records to a place of safety. Orange County still retains all of its records back to its founding in 1734. After the war, Orange residents returned to their homes and resumed their agrarian way of life, with adjustments in farming techniques and crops to account for the 6,000 men and women who no longer worked as slaves, but as free people. Many of these residents chose to live in Orange Court House and its neighboring town, Gordonsville.
In 1872, Orange Court House finally achieved town status. In 1890, the official name of the town was shortened to Orange. Orange, located in a transportation hub, experienced commercial growth throughout the remainder of the 19th and into the 20th century with the establishment of banks, wholesale stores, merchant mills, an ice factory and such improvements as paved streets, electric lights and a library. Yet, during the first few decades of the 20th century, Orange's population and its dominance as a railroad center began to decline. One of the most defining moments in the history of the modern-day town of Orange occurred on November 8, 1908, when a fire swept through the eastern half of the town, destroying all buildings in the area.
The advent of the automobile brought new opportunities to Orange entrepreneurs. By 1930, the town's accessible location and its core of early automobile owners, the Orange Automobile Club, made Orange a regional center for automobile sales and services. Practically any make of automobile could be purchased in Orange from the 32 automotive businesses centered in the town, including three dealerships along what was once Orange's Wall Street. Orange's manufacturing base also grew and diversified, fed by the highways, to include: food processing, silk processing, metal fabrication, printing and building contractors.
At the start of the 21st century, the town of Orange is healthy and vital, exemplifying the charm and advantages of Virginia's small towns. In 1992, Orange became a designated Virginia Main Street community and later, in 1999, the Orange Commercial Historic District was listed in the National Register. The downtown's small business recruitment techniques, community events and other Main Street activities are models for other towns and small cities in Virginia. The Orange Downtown Alliance, Inc. has spearheaded revitalization efforts. Many jobs have been created downtown, and many downtown buildings have been rehabilitated
Orange Commercial Historic District is located at the intersection of U.S. Rte. 15 and State Rte. 20. runnly roughly along Madison and Main sts. The Orange Downtown Alliance, Inc. is located at 130 West Main St., Suite 201, and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown Orange call the Orange Downtown Alliance at 540-672-2540.
The Orange County Courthouse marks a radical departure from the traditional classical-style Virginia courthouse, illustrating public acceptance of exotic taste in late antebellum times. Designed by Charles Haskins of the Washington firm of Haskins and Alexander and erected in 1858-59, the building has all of the major characteristics of the Italian Villa style: deep bracketed cornices, shallow-hipped roofs and square tower. The work is Orange County's fourth court building constructed specifically as such in the town of Orange. It replaced an existing courthouse that was taken down as the result of railroad construction. The arcaded openings on the first floor were filled in c. 1948, but were opened in 2003 during a restoration. The courthouse is complemented by its clerk's office, jail and Confederate monument.
The Orange County Courthouse is located at the junction of North Main St. and Madison Rd., in Orange. The courthouse is currently closed until construction of the addition is completed in the fall of 2004. Call 540-672-3313 for further information.
Montpelier, the lifelong home of James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution" and fourth president of the United States, was also home to three generations of the Madison family from 1723 to 1844. The mansion core was built by Madison's father c. 1760. James Madison, born in 1751, married Dolley Payne Todd in 1794. James Madison was active in Virginia and national politics, helping to frame the Bill of Rights and becoming President Jefferson's Secretary of State in 1801. Elected president of the United States in 1808, Madison's second term in office saw the United States go to war with Great Britain. After a second presidential term, the Madisons returned to Montpelier in 1817, where their legendary hospitality kept them in touch with world affairs.
Following Madison's death, the contents of the house were auctioned off and Montpelier changed hands six times until it was purchased in 1900 by William and Annie Rogers duPont. Mr. duPont enlarged the house dramatically and added barns, greenhouses, staff houses and even a train station. Mrs. duPont created a two-and-a-half-acre formal garden which has been restored by the Garden Club of Virginia. The duPont's daughter, Marion, took over the 2,700-acre property in 1928. In 1984 the duPont family bequeathed the estate to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which now maintains it as a historic house museum. The National Trust established an independent, nonprofit foundation, The Montpelier Foundation, which assumed the management of Montpelier in 2000. In 2003, the foundation launched a painstaking five-year restoration to return the house to the way it looked when James and Dolley Madison lived there in the 1820s.
Montpelier, located four miles west of Orange on State Rte. 20 in VA, at 11407 Constitution Hwy. Montpelier Station, VA. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark. It is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is open to the public November–March from 9:30am to 4:30pm and April-October from 9:30am to 5:30pm every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. In addition to guided tours of the house and self-guided audio tours of the grounds, quarterly and weekend themed tours are offered for no additional fee. Visit the Montpelier website or call 540-672-2728 ext. 140 for more information. Montpelier has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Montpelier is the subject of an online-lesson plan, Memories of Montpelier: Home of James and Dolley Madison. The lesson plan has been produced by the National Park Service's Teaching with Historic Places program, which offers a series of online classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page. Montpelier is also featured in the National Park Service Journey Through Hallowed Ground: Route 15 through Virginia's Piedmont Travel Itinerary.
Radford is located in southwestern Virginia on the banks of the New River. The area that would become modern-day Radford was settled by Colonel Edward Hammet and Dr. John Blair Radford in the 1830s. Development of a village at the site was spurred by the arrival of the region's first railroad in June of 1854. A depot was built and the new village was named "Central Depot" because of its location midway between Lynchburg and Bristol, Tennessee. Over the next 25 years, Central Depot grew slowly and the railroad was the largest employer. In 1881, the railroad, then owned by Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio railroad, was sold to Norfolk & Western, which replaced the tracks with new steel rails.
The new railroad introduced an era of coal and freight transportation, accelerated industrialization and population growth. Similar growth was also seen in nearby Marion because of the new rail system. In 1885, the village became an incorporated town and its name changed to Central City. The boundaries of the newly incorporated Central City correspond to those of the East Radford Historic District. In the 1890s, the community changed names yet again from Central City to East Radford. West Radford, adjacent to East Radford, grew as a separate community. Commercial areas in East and West Radford were focused on the railroad, but the East became the chief commercial center and the West became the sector for heavy industry, including iron, steel and chemical production. Today, the two areas are both incorporated as part of Radford.
In 1910, the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Radford was established, and contributed to the growth of the community in the 20th century. In 1944, the university was consolidated with the Virginia Polytechnic Institute as its Women's Division and renamed Radford College. In 1979, the school received university status and today enrolls more than 9,000 students. After becoming an independent university in 1964, Radford continued to extend the community's commercial and intellectual life, and the population pressures for housing near the school affected the development of the district, encouraging the construction of stores, houses and apartment buildings.
With the opening of I-81 in the 1970s, the waning influence of the railroad and the downsizing of older industrial operations in town, Radford began seeing a decline in its historic commercial area. In 1989, Radford became a designated Virginia Main Street community and in 2000 the East Radford Historic District was listed in the National Register. Main Street Radford spearheads revitalization efforts in the community.
The East Radford Historic District is bounded by Norwood, Stockton and Downey sts., and Grove Ave. Main Street Radford is located at 27 West Main St. and is open 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown Radford, call Main Street Radford at 540-577-5587.
Glencoe, a large, brick, two-story dwelling, is located on a tract of land overlooking the New River in the West Radford section of the city of Radford, Virginia. The elaborately detailed building incorporates features of the second Empire and Italianate styles with a variation of the regionally widespread double-pile, central-passage plan. The hip-roofed house stands on a high English basement, its stark rectangularity relieved by one-story, projecting bays, side and front central gables and a wide, one-story, front porch. The four main rooms on each of the floors, including the basement, are served by wide passages containing a generous stairway. The first floor incorporates elaborate painted finishes known as graining and molded plaster ceilings. The basement contains an interesting division into family and servant domains.
The Glencoe Museum, located at 600 Unruh Dr., is open Thursday-Saturday from 11:00am to 4:00pm, Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm, and Monday-Wednesday by appointment only. Call 540-731-5031 or visit the museum's website for further information.
First settled in the mid-1700s, Rocky Mount had an iron works in full operation by the 1770s. Iron production remained an important enterprise in the region through the mid-19th century and attracted suppliers of supporting goods and services to the area. In 1802, Franklin County built its courthouse in a neighboring village called Mount Pleasant, which later became part of Rocky Mount. The two rival villages retained separate identities until the incorporation of the town of Rocky Mount in the 1870s. Rocky Mount's population was depleted as many people and resources were drawn off to support conflict during the Civil War. The close of the war brought freedom for one-third of Rocky Mount's residents who sought employment and new opportunities for advancement locally. The 1870 census shows black residents in and around Rocky Mount primarily as farm laborers with a few domestic servants, a blacksmith and a farmer who owned his land and equipment.
The development of two railroad lines into Rocky Mount between 1880 and 1895 brought access to Lynchburg and Danville markets, as well as Norfolk and points west. Industry and commerce then expanded, as did the population and social institutions. All told, by 1898 Rocky Mount had a population of about 600 inhabitants, 100 lots with buildings, two hotels, two factories, a machine shop and 14 stores. Around 1900, Nathaniel P. Angle emerged as the industrialist and merchant who would dominate Rocky Mount's manufacturing and commercial economy until his death in the 1930s. Developing a variety of businesses, N. P. Angle controlled most of Rocky Mount's industrial production and mercantile commerce by World War I. As a civic leader, Angle lead the way as the town council instituted Progressive Era policies and programs to serve and regulate the growing populace, new factories and growing businesses between 1900 and World War I.
While several of Angle's ventures were able to keep people employed during the Great Depression, Rocky Mount received benefits from several New Deal programs including: the Federal Emergency Administration for improvements to the town's water and sewer system; the Works Progress Administration for the construction of the Rocky Mount Post Office and the preparation of a research article under the Federal Writer's Project. N. P. Angle's era in Rocky Mount ended with his death in 1936, though his businesses, like other industrial manufacturers in Rocky Mount, continued to grow and be profitable after World War II.
Partly in response to the expanded industrial activity on its outskirts, the town of Rocky Mount received a new charter in 1962. With subsequent charter amendments through the 1970s, the town of Rocky Mount expanded its corporate boundaries. The Franklin County Bicentennial Commission in the 1980s rekindled civic pride and interest in community history. Rocky Mount became a Virginia Main Street community in 1995. Two years later, the Town Council unanimously supported historic district designation for the commercial core. The Community Partnership for the Revitalization of Rocky Mount has been leading revitalization efforts that have resulted in many rehabilitation projects and public improvements to Rocky Mount's commercial core.
The Rocky Mount Historic District is located at the intersections of U.S. Rte. 220 and VA Rte. 40, roughly bounded by Franklin, Maynor and E. Court sts., and Floyd and Maple aves. The Community Partnership for the Revitalization of Rocky Mount is located at the old train station downtown and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in Rocky Mount call The Partnership at 540-489-3825.
From its modest beginnings as a depot on the Richmond and Danville Railroad in 1854, South Boston, located on the Dan River, became the second largest bright leaf tobacco market in the United States by the beginning of the 20th century. Preserved in the historic district is a wealth of tobacco warehouses, factories and prizeries, as well as related commercial and residential buildings associated with South Boston’s golden age of tobacco trading.
Prior to the completion of the railroad in 1854, the area contained only a few scattered residences. However, during the Revolutionary War the area experienced action as General Nathaniel Greene retreated from General Cornwallis at a ferry site, close to present day downtown South Boston. The 1781 “Retreat of the Dan” is regarded as a turning point in the war and a prelude to the battle fought at Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina.
The arrival of the railroad in Halifax County opened the county’s rich agricultural lands to the promise of eastern markets. In 1855, Capt. E.B. Jeffress, along with builder Josiah Dabs, constructed a brick storehouse and began a general merchandise business at “South Boston Depot” as the town became known. The following year, Capt. Jeffress erected a hotel. In 1870, W.B. Ellison built the town’s first tobacco auction warehouse, and the following year a second warehouse was constructed by W.L. Wade. Shortly thereafter, the construction of a number of other tobacco warehouses established the town as a tobacco trading center. In 1884, the town’s population had grown to 187, warranting its incorporation by the General Assembly.
The prominence of the tobacco industry in South Boston stemmed from a number of factors. Halifax County, prior to the Civil, was a top tobacco growing county, and was also home to the Slate Seed Company, which for many years was the largest producer of tobacco seed in the world. With the growth of the Danville tobacco market after the Civil War, South Boston’s position on the Richmond and Danville Railroad linked the town with Virginia’s busiest market. This dominance in the tobacco industry would see a decline starting with the Great Depression.
A number of tobacco-related buildings survive from South Boston’s boom period, including the former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Prizery that is being converted to a state-of-the-art theater, museum and meeting facility, using historic rehabilitation tax credits. Next door to the Prizery in the former Export Leaf Tobacco Building is the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, a distance learning hub for eight different colleges and universities in Virginia. High-style commercial buildings also survive from the tobacco boom era. Main Street includes excellent examples of late 19th- and early 20th-century commercial buildings, including the E.L. Evans Building, which now includes upscale upper story housing, and the former Planters and Merchants Bank.
Destination Downtown South Boston is spear-heading revitalization efforts in South Boston, which became a designated Main Street community in 2004. It is a shining example of how a small community is restructuring its downtown economy for the 21st century through such innovative projects as the Prizery and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.
The South Boston Historic District is located along Railroad Ave., Main, Ferry and Factory sts. Destination Downtown South Boston is located at 455 Ferry St. and is open 9:00am to 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events call Destination Downtown South Boston at 434-575-6246. The Halifax County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee also developed a virtual walking tour of downtown at: www.oldhalifax.com/county/SBWalkingTour.htm
During the 1830s, the town of Staunton was hardly more than a village with a population of about 2,000. In the early development of the area, all attention was focused towards the railroad, as it increasingly became the force behind the entire city's progress. The establishment of Virginia Central Railroad service to Staunton in 1852 changed the economic structure of the city allowing merchants to cut the cost of goods previously brought in by pack trains. The new lines also opened up the Tidewater market to area farmers.
Staunton's Beverley Historic District, begun as part of a mid-18th-century settlement founded on the land of William Beverley, includes approximately 150 buildings in some 11 blocks of downtown Staunton. Its principal business artery, Beverley Street, is a classic Victorian main street. This and the district's secondary streets have few detracting modern intrusions. The dome of the Augusta County Courthouse, the old YMCA clock tower, the observation tower of the Masonic building and several church spires enliven its skyline. Nearly every phase of the region's 19th- and early 20th-century architectural development is to be found on the narrow streets, from Federal-period shops to a Beaux Arts bank. The buildings reflect Staunton's growth from an early mill settlement to one of the Shenandoah Valley's most prosperous communities.
Although there had been a long tradition of historic preservation in Staunton, success with individual projects had not led to downtown revitalization. By the early 1990s, downtown was plagued with vacant building and declining retail sales. The Staunton Downtown Development Association was formed to focus on downtown and comprehensive improvement with the private and public sectors working together. The downtown community showed its support by committing to a special taxing district, and in 1995, Staunton became a designated Virginia Main Street community. Many historic buildings are now rehabilitated. The community has seen an influx of private funds invested in downtown Staunton. In 2002, Staunton became Virginia's first Main Street community to win a Great American Main Street Award presented by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award honors exceptional accomplishments in revitalizing America's historic and traditional downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.The Beverley Historic District in Staunton is roughly bounded by Lewis, Frederick and Market sts. and the Wharf Area Historic District to the South. The Staunton Downtown Development Association is located in City Hall at 116 W. Beverly St. and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown Staunton, call Staunton Downtown Development Association at 540-332-3867. A Self-Guided Tour of Staunton's Historic Districts, a brochure produced by the Historic Staunton Foundation, is available from many downtown merchants, and the Staunton Visitor Center on New St., open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily.
Staunton's Wharf Area survives as an unusually picturesque and excellently preserved example of a turn-of-the-century warehouse and commercial district. The area most likely gained its name from its use primarily as a warehousing and trade district. Replacing less substantial wooden stores, which were destroyed by fires and increased prosperity, the current buildings of the Wharf are a visual manifestation of the remarkable growth of Staunton in the second half of the 19th century, as a result of the growth and success brought by the railroad. This new wave of prosperity helped to initiate the building of the American Hotel in the heart of A.H.H. Stuart's "Meadow," which became the Wharf Area.
During the Civil War, the Wharf Area came to play an essential part in the operation of Staunton as a military post, supply depot, training and hospital center. Along South Augusta Street, arsenals were established and quartermaster and commissary warehouses were set up in close proximity to the railroad. The economic and commercial growth of Staunton continued despite the war, and the population actually increased. Although the Panic of 1873 was a blow to the business community of the Wharf Area, there was enough capital to erect the elaborate masonry Burns Building in 1874 on the site of three earlier wooden buildings.
In the last quarter of the 19th century, the Wharf developed a colorful character built around the commercial ventures of commission merchants, wholesale grocers, saloons, distilleries and liveries. During the 1880s, Augusta County had a renowned wild game supply and the Wharf, with its wealth of commission merchants, was undoubtedly the point from which game was shipped to the hotels of Washington and Baltimore. Staunton also by this time had become a major railway break between Washington and Cincinnati, putting the American Hotel in a convenient location for passengers seeking food and rest on this long trip. In 1890 it is said that more passengers embarked and disembarked at Staunton's Chesapeake & Ohio station than at any other point on the line except Richmond.
In 1890, streetcars drawn by mustang mules supplied an added method of transportation, running from the railway station up Augusta Street. The Staunton Development Company was established with the intent of linking the coal and iron of the areas to the west of Staunton with the local limestone. Their company office was located in the western side of the old American Hotel with the remainder of the building being transformed into a shoe factory. That same year, the Staunton Vindicator reported the destruction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway station by on oncoming train.
The Wharf Area Historic District is located at the intersections of U.S. Rte., 460, VA Rte. 43 and VA Rte. 122, including Middlebrook Ave. between S. Lewis St. and Lewis Creek, and S. Augusta St. to Johnson St., in Staunton. The Staunton Downtown Development Association is located in City Hall at 116 W. Beverly St. and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown Staunton, call Staunton Downtown Development Association at 540-332-3867. A Self-Guided Tour of Staunton's Historic Districts, a brochure produced by the Historic Staunton Foundation, is available from many downtown merchants, and the Staunton Visitor Center on New St., open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily.
The city of Staunton was laid out in 1748 and established as a town in 1761. Begun in 1781 as a 25-acre annexation to Staunton known as the Newtown Addition and since expanded, the Newtown Historic District is a large and varied neighborhood whose development spans over a century and a half. On the east, where Newtown joins Staunton's two commercial historic districts, warehouses coexist with richly detailed brick houses. The neighborhood's steep hills are a mix of 19th-century and early 20th-century houses with individual examples of late 18th-century architecture such as the Stuart house of 1791. Three girls' schools were located in the district, of which Stuart Hall School remains. The religious buildings include Trinity Church (1855); the chapel of the city's first black church, organized in 1865; and several late 19th-century churches. An important but contrasting component of the district is the romantically landscaped Thornrose Cemetery, filled with Victorian funerary monuments.
The Stuart Addition Historic District generally conforms to a tract deeded to the city in 1803 by Judge Archibald Stuart. The neighborhood developed gradually but steadily and was well established by the Civil War. As with all of Staunton's older areas, it experienced its greatest growth from the 1870s to World War I. The district thus has great diversity of both architectural styles and forms. Intermingled with some of Staunton's oldest residences, some dating before 1825, are characteristic examples of later styles such as Italianate, Queen Anne and Georgian Revival. Only a fraction of its 105 buildings are modern intrusions. Traditionally a racially mixed neighborhood, the district contains three historic black churches and a 1915 black elementary school. A principle architectural landmark is the Victorian Gothic-style St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church designed by Staunton architect T. J. Collins.
The Newtown Historic District is roughly bounded by Lewis and S. Jefferson sts., C&O RR and Allegheny and Churchville aves., including Thornrose Cemetery. The Stuart Addition Historic District is roughly bounded by Augusta, Sunnyside, Market and New sts. A Self-Guided Tour of Staunton's Historic Districts, a brochure produced by the Historic Staunton Foundation, is available from many downtown merchants, and the Staunton Visitor Center on New St., open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily. Call 800-332-5219 for details.
With its stark medievalism, Staunton's Trinity Church well demonstrates the more serious side of mid-19th-century America's Gothic Revival. Built in 1855 as the third church of Augusta Parish, founded in 1746, the dark red brick building with its angle-buttressed tower stands in a tree-shaded colonial burying ground. Its original architect is believed to have been J. W. Johns, who designed buildings for the Virginia Theological Seminary. The church was enlarged in 1870 under architect William A. Pratt, who also drew the plans for the 1872 rectory. Charles E. Cassell of Baltimore was engaged to make further alterations in the 1880s. The interior contains a noteworthy collection of stained-glass windows including works by the Tiffany Studio. The parish's first church, formerly on this same parcel, temporarily housed the Virginia General Assembly after it fled Richmond during the Revolution.
Trinity Episcopal Church is located at 214 West Beverley St. in Staunton. The church is open to the public, Monday-Friday, 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Please visit the church's website for further information.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States, was born in this Greek Revival manse in 1856. Built in 1846 to house the pastors of Staunton's First Presbyterian Church, the manse's second occupants were Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Ruggles Wilson, Wilson's parents, who moved here in 1855. Although his family left Staunton while he was still a baby, it was in this forthright dwelling that the seeds of Wilson's firm moral and intellectual training were planted. He carried these precepts into his adult life as a professor, president of Princeton University, governor of New Jersey and finally president of the United States. Wilson conceived the League of Nations, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919. The manse was acquired by the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation in 1938 and was dedicated as a museum by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941.
The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 24 North Coalter St. in Staunton. It is open March-October from 10:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Saturday, and Sundays 12:00pm to 5:00pm; from November-February the museum closes at 4:00pm, Monday-Saturday. It is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. There is a fee. Please call 540-885-0897 or visit the website for further information.
The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 24 North Coalter St. in Staunton, VA. Click here for the National Historic Landmark registration file: text and photos. It is open March-October, Monday-Saturday from 9:00am to 5:00pm, and Sundays 12:00pm to 5:00pm; from November-February Monday-Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm, and Sundays 12:00pm to 4:00pm. It is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. There is a fee. Please call the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum 540-885-0897, or toll free 1-888-496-6376, or visit the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum website for further information.
Established in 1842 by the Rev. Rufus W. Bailey as the Augusta Female Seminary, Mary Baldwin College is the Nation's oldest women's college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. Construction of its first building, now the Administration Building, was completed in 1844, and wings were added in 1857. With its Doric portico and cream-painted brick walls, the Greek Revival edifice established an architectural image that the school has maintained for more than 150 years. Mary Julia Baldwin was principal in the difficult years following the Civil War. She introduced a university-level curriculum, and was called "the best businessman in Staunton." The school prospered under her direction and was renamed in her honor in 1895. The building, now housing the office of the president and other administrative offices, underwent restoration from 1997 to 1998.
Mary Baldwin College, Main Building is located at Frederick and N. New sts. in Staunton. Visitor parking is available off N. New St. at the top of the hill. Please call 1-800-468-2262 or visit the college's website for further information. Campus tours are available September-May, Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 3:00pm, and Saturdays 9:00am to 10:00am.
From its beginnings as a colonial village, this prosperous community has been home to lawyers and politicians such as Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, who practiced here; William Smith, governor of Virginia from 1846 to1849 and 1864 to 1865; and Eppa Hunton, Confederate general and U.S. Congressman. Known as Fauquier Court House until its incorporation in 1810, Warrenton takes its present name from Warren Academy. The community has long been noted for its beautiful setting, healthful climate and cultivated society. As a result, it includes an exceptional collection of houses, churches and commercial buildings in a wide range of architectural styles. The district also preserves a number of buildings associated with the Civil War, when Warrenton was variously occupied by both sides. The architectural focal point is the county courthouse, a Classical Revival building erected in 1890 on the site of an earlier courthouse. The most prestigious residences line Culpeper and Falmouth streets.
In the 1980s, Warrenton's downtown was threatened by the competition of nearby strip shopping centers. In 1983, the Warrenton Historic District was listed in the National Register and six years later Warrenton became a designated Main Street community. The Partnership for Warrenton leads revitalization efforts in downtown. The organization has directed the community's attention to projects that improve the physical appearance of the commercial district, while retaining and recruiting an appropriate mix of businesses in Warrenton's charming and vibrant downtown historic district.
The Warrenton Historic District is roughly bounded by Main, Waterloo, Alexandria, Winchester, Culpeper, High, Falmouth, Lee and Horner sts. The Partnership for Warrenton is located at 32 Ashby St. For more information about shopping, dining and events in Warrenton, call the Partnership at 540-349-8606.
A classic Italian Villa-style dwelling, Brentmoor was built in 1859-61 for Judge Edward M. Spilman. In his book The Architecture of Country Houses (1850), Andrew Jackson Downing illustrated a design resembling Brentmoor described as "a simple, rational, convenient, and economic dwelling for the southern part of the Union." The Spilman family sold the property in the 1870s to James Keith, president of the Virginia Court of Appeals. In 1875, John Singleton Mosby, the Confederate ranger, purchased the house. Mosby, with his Partisans, outwitted the Union army during the Civil War to the extent that much of northern Virginia was known as "Mosby's Confederacy." Mosby sold the house in 1877 to former Confederate General Eppa Hunton, who was then serving in Congress. Brentmoor was the childhood home of Eppa Hunton III, a founder of the prominent Richmond law firm Hunton and Williams.
Brentmoor is located at 173 Main St., in Warrenton. It is currently being restored, with the intention of opening the house to the public in 2005 as the John Singleton Mosby Museum. For further information, visit the museum's website or call 540-351-1600.
Warrenton's former jail is a remarkable example of the State's early county penal architecture. The complex includes the 1808 brick jail, converted to the jailer's residence and completed in 1823, and the parallel 1823 stone jail with its high-walled jail-yard. Located next to the courthouse, the jail provides a telling picture of conditions endured by inmates of such county facilities. A jail was built for the county in 1779, but it proved to be inadequate within a number of years. The more substantial brick building was finished in 1808, and on October 24, the keys to the new jail were turned over to the sheriff. With the completion of the stone jail and its plank-lined cells, the resulting two-part building served the county until 1966. The complex is now maintained by the Fauquier County Historical Society as a county history museum.
The Old Fauquier County Jail is located at the Fauquier County Courthouse Square in Warrenton. It is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00am to 4:00pm year round except for major holidays. Call 540-347-5525 for further information.
Waynesboro's downtown owes its physical existence to a subdivision of the lands of Samuel Estill and James Flack, completed in 1798. According to historian George R. Hawke, the nucleus of a community already existed in the vicinity of the downtown, consisting of a mill, an inn, one or two churches and presumably several dwellings. In 1800, the General Assembly officially recognized the town of Flack. From its inauspicious beginning, Waynesboro's commercial district began to take shape in the early 19th century. Waynesboro's economic life was bolstered by the town's location on an important regional route linking Piedmont Virginia with the Shenandoah Valley through Rockfish Gap. Nevertheless, population growth was slow during the antebellum period, the number of inhabitants increasing from 250 in 1810 to only 457 by 1860.
In 1854, passenger rail service on the Virginia Central Railroad commenced between Richmond and Staunton via Waynesboro, and in 1858, with the completion of the Crozet Tunnel, freight traffic was accommodated. A depot was erected just north of the district on First Street. During the Civil War, the iron truss bridge that carried the Virginia Central over the South River at Waynesboro was the target of a Federal raid in September 1864, and the community was directly affected by the fighting again during the Battle of Waynesboro on March 2, 1865, the last battle to be fought in the Shenandoah Valley. Prosperity returned after the war, but Waynesboro grew slowly.
In 1881, the Shenandoah Valley Railroad completed its line to Waynesboro and linked the town to the vast markets of the Northeast and to Roanoke and the coalfields of Southwest Virginia. The Shenandoah Valley line--soon to be absorbed into the Norfolk & Western system--actually passed east of town on the other side of the South River; nevertheless its importance and its proximity stimulated the local economy and set the stage for Waynesboro's real estate boom of the c. 1890 period.
Waynesboro participated in the nationwide building boom of the 1920s and construction remained strong through 1929. The importance of banking during the period found expression in sumptuously appointed bank buildings. Modest taverns of the antebellum period were soon joined by larger hotels, while movie theaters made their debut downtown as well. On January 2, 1930, a News-Virginian headline proclaimed of Waynesboro "City Enjoys Greatest Building Year" with over $600,000 spent on construction, $176,000 of it for commercial work. The flagship project of the year was the Lambert, Barger & Branaman (LB&B) Building on the southwest corner of Main and Wayne.
By the early 1970s, improvements to storefronts typically involved solid walls with domestically scaled door and window treatments. Some buildings received coverings, fortunately often reversible, of metal or plywood paneling. The downtown also endured a rash of demolitions during the late 1970s and early 1980s. By 1986, new efforts to enhance the downtown's character, using community-posed suggestions, were being implemented, including the burial of overhead power lines on Main Street. In mid-2000, Waynesboro was named a designated community in the Virginia Main Street Program, with the Waynesboro Downtown Development, Inc. leading revitalization efforts. In 2001, the Downtown Waynesboro Historic District was listed in the National Register.
The Waynesboro Downtown Historic District is bounded by Federal and Main sts., and Wayne Ave. Waynesboro Downtown Development, Inc. is located at 301 West Main St. and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown, contact Waynesboro Downtown Development, Inc. at 540-942-6705.
Fishburne Military School was founded in 1879 by James A. Fishburne,
a student and protege of
Fishburne Military School overlooks the city of Waynesboro. The main entrance to the school is via Church St., near the intersection of Main St. Visitor parking is provided in front of the Administration Building. For further information, visit the school's website or call 540-946-7706.
The Shawnee were the earliest known inhabitants in the Winchester area, having established a village at Shawnee Springs. Charles II of England granted the area to Lord Culpeper in 1664. By 1743, Frederick County's seat, known both as Opequon and as Frederick's Town, had been established as a courthouse town. When the town was officially established in February 1752, founder James Wood renamed it Winchester after his native city in England. Winchester's strategic location at the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley would make it a focal point for trade and also for the conflicts of the French and Indian, Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Winchester grew a bit more quickly than the average courthouse town in Virginia during the 19th century. New visitors and merchants regularly frequented Winchester during market days and fairs from the late 1700s and into the early 1800s. Using roads, both new and improved after the American Revolution, travelers from both the north and east passing through Winchester on westward routes contributed to the city's rise as a mercantile center. By 1810, Winchester was a flourishing town, compactly built and having a number of respectable buildings that included the courthouse, a jail and several churches.
Completion of the Winchester and Potomac Railroad in 1836 provided new commercial outlets for Winchester's wheat stores and its hide, fur, tobacco and hemp trades. Although not located on the main line of the Baltimore and Ohio, this secondary rail line linked Winchester and the lower Shenandoah Valley with markets accessible via the Potomac River.
Located at the junction of nine well-paved major roads and on a secondary rail line, Winchester became an important point of battle during the Civil War. In 1862, General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson established his headquarters in Winchester. Military action in and around Winchester remained intense until Federal forces secured the lower valley with a victory at the third Battle of Winchester.
Though the war severely curtailed economic activity, the town rebuilt itself afterward as a manufacturing and commercial center. To stimulate growth, the town granted new businesses municipal tax abatements. By 1886, Winchester's industries included four glove factories, three furniture factories, five tanneries, two foundries and several other specialized mills and factories. Until the 1920s, Winchester served as the commercial and industrial center of the Shenandoah Valley with glove manufacturing as the leading industry. The commercial apple industry traces its birth in Winchester to the planting of the area's first commercial orchard in 1871. By 1905, the area around Winchester processed over 100,000 trees producing seasonal shipments of close to one million bushels. In 1925, 355 commercial orchards supplanted manufacturing as the primary source of commercial activity in Winchester. Today, Frederick County remains one of Virginia's leading apple producers.
A movement to create a greater public awareness of the city's unique history and architecture began with the establishment of Preservation of Historic Winchester in 1964. The creation in 1976 of a local historic district preceded the listing of the Winchester Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. One of Virginia's founding Main Street communities, the Old Town Development Board has lead revitalization efforts. Winchester has attracted many millions of dollars in private investment for building rehabilitation and created a large number of jobs downtown.
The Winchester Historic District is located off of I-81 at the intersections of U.S. Rte. 17 and VA Rte. 7. The Old Town Development Board is located at 2 N. Cameron St., Suite 100 and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. For more information about shopping, dining and events in downtown Winchester call the Old Town Development Board at 540-722-7576.
The 1840 Frederick County Courthouse is one of a few Greek Revival style courthouses in Virginia. Prominently situated between the Winchester City Hall and the Loudon Street mall, it is the third courthouse at this location. The three Frederick County courthouses were constructed on land set aside for public use in 1744 by James Wood, Winchester's founder. The first courthouse was completed by Thomas, Lord Fairfax, in 1751; a second courthouse was built around 1785; and the third and final courthouse was completed in 1840, after much heated debate. The exterior of the two-story, rectangular, brick building with a pedimented Doric portico and a gabled roof remains much the same as described and sketched by James E. Taylor during the Civil War. Control of Winchester by the Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War reportedly changed sides 72 times, and both forces used the courthouse to bivouac troops, temporarily hold prisoners and hospitalize the wounded. Evidence of the soldiers' occupation of the building was recently revealed during renovation when names, military units and other graffiti were discovered on interior walls. The Frederick County Courthouse survived two bombardments of the city during the Civil War. It was used as a courthouse until 1984, and thereafter housed Frederick County government offices until 1997.
The Frederick County Courthouse is located at 20 North Loudoun St. in Winchester, within the Winchester Historic District. Now home to the Old Court House Civil War Museum, the museum is open Friday and Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm and on Sunday, 1:00pm to 5:00pm. There is a fee for admission; please call 540-542-1145 or visit the museum's website for further information.
Winchester's storybook Gothic Revival cottage served as the headquarters of General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson from November 1861 to March 1862. Jackson's firm stand during the battle of First Manassas earned him his nickname and the rank of major general with the task of defending the Shenandoah Valley. He established his headquarters in Winchester, and the following spring began a series of diversions to take pressure off Confederate forces in the east. His headquarters was built in 1854 for William McP. Fuller. With its diamond-pane windows and scrolled bargeboards, the house follows the Gothic Revival mode popularized by the writings of Andrew Jackson Downing. Mrs. Jackson, who resided here during the winter of 1861 to 1862, described the dwelling as being in the cottage style and papered with elegant gilt paper. It is owned by the city and operated as a museum by the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society.
Thomas J. Jackson Headquarters, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 415 North Braddock St. in Winchester. The museum is open April-October, Monday-Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm, and Sunday 12:00pm to 4:00pm. During the winter, the house is only open Friday-Sunday. There is a fee for admission; please call 540-667-3242 for further information.
Glen Burnie was part of a 1735 grant to James Wood, who founded Winchester in 1752 and platted its lots. Wood's log-and-stone house was replaced by the present brick dwelling, built c. 1794 by his son Robert. Glen Burnie remained the home of Wood's descendants through the seventh generation. Although now within Winchester's city limits, the estate preserves its rural character. Extensive gardens were laid out by Julian Wood Glass, Jr., the last of Wood's descendants to live here, after he inherited the property in 1952. Within the gardens is the Wood family cemetery. The first floor of the house's oldest section, containing the stair hall and dining room, features some of the area's most sophisticated Federal woodwork. The stair hall cornice is decorated with gougework and stars. The property is now a museum administered by the Glass-Glen Burnie Foundation.
Glen Burnie is located at 801 Amherst St. in Winchester, off the Rt. 37 exit from I-81, in Winchester. The museum is open April-October, Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm, and Sunday 12:00pm to 4:00pm. There is a fee for admission; please call 540-662-1473 or visit the museum's website for further information. Glen Burnie has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey
The region's easily worked blue-gray limestone made an ideal building material for some of the Shenandoah Valley's earliest houses. Among these solid buildings is the dwelling erected in 1754 for Isaac Hollingsworth on property settled in 1732 by his father, Abraham Hollingsworth, and named in his honor. The stonemason was Simon Taylor, who also is credited with Springdale, the 1753 home of John Hite, south of Winchester. Abram's Delight employs a two-over-two floor plan with center passage, a plan favored by the area's Scotch-Irish settlers. A two-story wing was added c. 1800, and the original woodwork was replaced with Greek Revival trim in the mid-19th century. Acquired by the city of Winchester in 1943, the house is exhibited as a museum of early life by the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society.
Abram's Delight is located at 1340 South Pleasant Valley Rd. in Winchester, accessed from exit 313 off I-81. The house is open April-October, Monday-Saturday, 10:00am to 4:00pm, and Sunday from 12:00pm to 4:00pm. Tours are available, please call 540-662-6519 for further information. Abram's Delight has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Judge John Handley of Scranton, Pennsylvania, who made a fortune in coal investments, late in life developed a warm affection for Winchester and its Scotch-Irish heritage. In 1895 he left funds for the construction of a library "for the free use of the people of the city of Winchester." The result of this munificence is perhaps Virginia's purest expression of the regal and florid Beaux Arts classicism. Its architects were J. Stewart Barney and Henry Otis Chapman of New York. Begun in 1908 and completed in 1913, the library was a model for its time. The dome, colonnades and esplanades encase the most modern facilities, including an auditorium, well-appointed reading rooms and five levels of glass-floored stacks, all in fireproof construction. Still an efficient facility, the Handley Library is an illustration of the long-lasting benefits of architectural quality.
The Handley Library is located at the corner of Braddock and Piccadilly Sts. in Winchester. The library opens at 10:00am Monday, through Saturday year round. For closing times and further information please call 540-662-9041 or visit the Library's website.
By clicking on one of these links, you can go directly to a particular section:
Links to Virginia Main Street History, Tourism and
Department of Housing and Community Development
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of Virginia Press
Preservation Tax Incentive Program
Virginia Historical Society
Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities Preservation Virginia The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) is the oldest statewide preservation organization in the United States.
Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itineraries Other travel itineraries in the National Park Service's ongoing series include many historic destinations that you can visit online or in person. Each itinerary spotlights a different geographic region, community, or theme. A number of itineraries feature registered historic places in Virginia. An example is the American Presidents Travel Itinerary. Another is the James River Plantations Travel Itinerary highlighting plantations that still exist along the James River and its tributaries. The Richmond, Virginia Travel Itinerary explores the State Capital of Virginia, one of the oldest and most historically and architecturally rich communities in the United States.
Heritage Documentation Programs in the American Memory: Built in America
Historic Hotels of America
National Historic Landmarks
National Park Service
National Park Service Office
National Register of Historic Places
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Teaching with Historic Places
National Scenic Byways Program
Ayers, Edward L. and John C. Willis, eds. The Edge of the South: Life
in Nineteenth-Century Virginia. Charlottesville: University Press
of Virginia, 1991.
Cartmell, Thomas K. Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and Their Descendants: A History of Frederick County, Virginia, From Its Formation in 1738 to 1908, facsimile reprint of 1909 edition. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc.,1989.
Chambers, S. Allen. Lynchburg: An Architectural History. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1981.
Ebert, Rebecca A. and Teresa Lazazzera. Frederick County, Virginia: From the Frontier to the Future. Virginia Beach, VA: Donning Company, 1988.
Fountain, Clara Garrett. Danville, Virginia (Postcards History Series). Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2000.
Hawke, George R. A History of Waynesboro, Virginia, to 1900. Waynesboro, VA: Waynesboro Historical Commission, 1997.
Hofstra, Warren R. A Seperate Place: The Formation of Clarke County, VA. White Post, VA, 1986; Madison, Wisconsin: Madison House, 1999.
Johnston, Wilbur S. Weaving a Common Thread: A History of the Woolen Industry in the Top of the Shenandoah Valley. Winchester, VA: Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, 1990.
Koons, Kenneth E., and Warren R. Hofstra. After the Backcountry: Rural
Life in the Great Valley of Virginia, 1800-1900. Knoxville: University
of Tennessee Press, 2000.
Miller, Ann L. Antebellum Orange: The Pre-Civil War Homes, Public Buildings, and Historic Sites of Orange County, Virginia. Orange, VA: Moss Publications, 1988.
Noyalas, Jonathan. Plagued By War: Winchester, Virginia During the
Civil War. Leesburg, VA, Gauley Mount Press, 2003.
Olson, Ted and William Lynwood Montell (preface). Blue Ridge Folklife (Folklife in the South Series). Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1998.
Peters, John O. and Margaret T. Virginia's Historic Courthouses.
Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995.
Robertson, James I. Civil War Sites in Virginia: A Tour Guide.
Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991.
Salmon, John S., compiler. A Guidebook to Virginia's Historical Markers (revised and expanded edition). Charlottesville: University Press
of Virginia, 1994.
Sayers, Elizabeth Lemon. Smyth County, Virginia: Volume One, Pathfinders and Patriots, Prehistory to 1832. Marion, VA: Smyth County Historical and Museum Society, 1983.
Simons, Catherine T. Manassas, Virginia 1873-1973. Manassas, VA; Manassas City Museum, 1986.
Scheel, Eugene M. Guide to Fauquier County: Survey of the Architecture and History of a Virginia County. Warrenton, VA: Warrenton Printing & Publishing, 1976.
Tyler, Lyon Gardiner, ed. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publications, 1998.
Warmuth, Donna Akers. Images of America: Abingdon Virginia. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2002.
Weaver, Richard. Around Lexington, Virginia. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 1999.
Wells, John E., and Robert E. Dalton. The Virginia Architects, 1835-1955: A Bibliographic Dictionary. Richmond, VA: New South Architectural Press, 1997.
West, Amanda B. Main Street Festivals: Traditional and Unique Events on America's Main Streets. New York: J. Wiley & Sons, 1998.
Wilson, Richard Guy, ed. Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont. New York: Oxford University Press. 2002
Worsham, Gibson. Montgomery County Historic Sites Survey. Montgomery County, VA: Gibson Worsham, Architect, 1986.
Zenzen, Joan M., and Edwin Bearss. Battling for Manassas: The Fifty-Year Preservation Struggle at Manassas National Battlefield Park. State College, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1988.
Bruun, Erik A., and Rick Peterson. State Shapes: Virginia. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Pub. 2000.
Cocke, William. A Historical Album of Virginia. Brookfield, CT:
Millbrook Press, 1995.
Virginia Main Street Communities was produced by the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development's Virginia Main Street Program, Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO). It was created under the direction of Carol D. Shull, Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, Patrick W. Andrus, Heritage Tourism Program Manager, and Beth L. Savage, Publications Managing Editor. Virginia Main Street Communities is based on information in the files of the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks collections. These materials are kept at 1201 Eye St., NW, Washington, D.C., and are open to the public from 9:00am to 12:00pm, Monday through Thursday.
Sarah Dillard Pope with the Virginia Main Street program conceptualized
the itinerary. Courtney Anderson and Amy Yarich, program manager, also
of Virginia Main Street, contributed written materials and editorial assistance.
With contributions from Bryan Green of the Virginia Department of Historic
Resources, these two State offices provided written and photographic materials
for the itinerary. Many site descriptions were excerpted from The Virginia
Landmarks Register (4th edition, 1999), published by the University
Press of Virginia, while most historic district descriptions were
written by Sarah Dillard Pope. National Register web production team members
included Jeff Joeckel, who designed the itinerary, Rustin Quaide and Shannon
Bell (all of NCSHPO). Additional property descriptions were written by
Rustin Quaide. Essays were written by Sarah Pope (Virginia Main Street);
Scott Smith, Executive Director of Bedford Main Street, Inc. (Commercial
Architecture in Virginia, Transportation and co-author of Agriculture
and Industry); and Jay Harrison, Executive Director of Orange Downtown
Alliance, Inc. (co-author of Agriculture and Industry).
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