History and Heritage


Long's Chapel/Athens Church at Zenda
Future site of Long's Chapel Heritage Center. Restoration and preservation of this site began in 2005. Fridely's Gap Road. It was also known as Athens Church for the orginal name of the community of newly freed black slaves who settled here after the Civil War.
Conrad's Store
Built by George Conrad circa 1785 and used as a general store, "Conrad's Store" became the name by which the Elkton area was identified during the Civil War. From 1816 to 1866 the building housed the US Post Office.
Elkton Main Street Program
W. Spotswood Trail & Shenandoah Ave.
Elkton, VA 22827
The Daniel Harrison house was built in the 18th century by one of the early settlers in the Harrisonburg area. The house is located on Cook's Creek just north of Dayton. The house with generous donations of furniture and artifacts, some from the Harrison family, transform this house into a tangible reminder of the pioneer spirit and rich heritage of the Shendandoah Valley. Guided tours are availalbe. Open May - October.
355 North Main Street
Dayton, VA 22821
Phone: (540) 879-2280
The Society features an excellent museum exhibit of the history of the Rockingham/Harrisonburg area; an electronic lighted map of Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign; an extensive genealogy library with guides to assist your research; a large selection of history books for sale; and a gift shop with area pottery, folk items, collectibles, and cook books, etc. There is also a temporary exhibit featuring clothing of the past two centuries called "Through the Looking Glass."
Open Monday - Saturday.
382 High Street
Dayton, VA 22821
Phone: (540) 879-2616


The Hardesty-Higgins House (Now the visitor's center)
 As the second oldest house in downtown Harrisonburg, the Hardesty-Higgins House was home to our city's first mayor, Isaac Hardesty.  During the dawn of the Civil War, Hardesty played host to Union General Nathaniel Banks for three days in May 1862.  Hardesty was a Union sympathizer, and took in the General, feeding him and his staff and providing forage for their horses.


Soon after General Banks left, Hardesty himself moved north to Maryland and rented his house to the three Strayer sisters who were seeking refuge after the federal soldiers rummaged through "Bogota", their home near the Port Republic battlefield.


Two years later, the Union army again visited the Hardesty Higgins house when General Philip Sheridan came to town on September 20, 1864. The Strayer's house slave, Fanny, offered to cook for Sheridan's men but demanded some of the food in return as payment.

Jenning's House
Constructed in 1840 as the home of Dr. Samuel B. Jennings, the Jennings House was used as a hospital during the Civil War. The structure currently houses the offices of the local government.
176 W. Rockingham St.
Elkton, VA 22827
Phone: (540) 298-0597
Miller-Kite House Museum

The museum is located in a house that served as the headquarters of General Stonewall Jackson during the beginning of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign. The exhibit features many items from the Civil War era and some articles belonging to Jackson. Open from May 29 to Sept. 4. Sunday only. Other hours by appointment.
310 East Rockingham Street
Elkton, VA 22827

Phone: (540) 298-1717
Phone: (540) 298-5390
Plains District Memorial Museum

The Plains District Memorial Museum is full of the stories and artifacts of life in the Shenandoah Valley. The Plains District is comprised of small towns connected by the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, with stunning views of Massanutten Mountain to the east and Shenandoah Mountain to the west. The walls of the museum are full, the floor is full, even the ceiling is crowded with a lively collection that paints a portrait of early American homes, farms, and businesses. Whether you are in search of genealogical history or the joy of yesteryear, come and spend some time at the Plains District Memorial Museum. The museum is free and open Thursday through Sunday 1:00pm to 4:00pm.
107 McCauley Drive
Timberville, VA 22853
(540) 896-7900
Port Republic Museum

The Port Republic Museum is housed in a Federal style home, built in the 1830's for Benjamin Franklin Kemper. It is often referred to as the Turner Ashby House, for here the body of the Confederate general was prepared for burial. Included in the museum is the River Room which illustrates the history of Port Republic as a typical colonial river town from its settlement, mid-1700's and the growth of surrounding farms, to its heyday as a booming industrial town and major river port. The Turner Ashby Room describes Port Republic as the site of the last days of General Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign. Exhibits include the death of Ashby, Jackson's narrow escape during Federal invasion of the village and the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic. Open Sundays 1:30 - 4:00 April - October, closed November - March. Admission Fee: $1.00

Water Street
Port Republic, VA 24471
Phone: (540) 249-3156
The Valley Turnpike Museum
You traveled the road-- now learn it's story.

The Valley Turnpike Museum, celebrates the history and heritage of today's US Route 11, aka The Valley Turnpike. Once the main thoroughfare throughout the Shenandoah Valley, it aided migration from the north to the south, both in pioneer days and today.

The museums highlights the road's history from its beginnings as a buffalo path to the Civil War and Stonewall Jackson, to today's use of it as a more scenic way to experience the Valley.

Main office: (540) 432-8935
Fax: (540) 437-0631

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