Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail

Moccasin Gap

Route 58 between Weber City and Gate City, Virginia

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Before Europeans improved it as the road to Kentucky, the main trail connecting the Cherokee Indians in the Great Smoky Mountains with the Shawnee in Ohio ran through Moccasin Gap on its way to Cumberland Gap. Settlers started coming through Moccasin Gap toward Kentucky in spite of the 1770 Treaty of Lochaber, causing the Shawnee to start Lord Dunmore’s War in 1774. During the Cherokee Wars from 1777 to 1794, settlers were often ambushed at Moccasin Gap.

Natural Tunnel State Park/Wilderness Road Blockhouse

1420 Natural Tunnel Parkway, Duffield, Virginia

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Natural Tunnel State Park is named after the one-million-year-old cave which runs under Purchase Ridge, allowing Stock Creek to go in one side and out the other. A railroad has taken advantage of this natural passage to follow the path of the creek, and daily coal trains can be seen roaring through the tunnel. The Wilderness Road Blockhouse erected at Natural Tunnel State Park in 2003 is typical of the blockhouses that were manned by the Holston Militia during the frontier conflict between the Indians and settlers.

Kane Gap (Daniel Boone Birding and Wildlife Trail)

Fraley Avenue, Duffield, Virginia

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This natural notch was a welcome sight to travelers on the Wilderness Trail. It was through this gap that countless thousands trudged as they made their way westward. The notch can be seen from the Powell Mountain Overlook west of Duffield on Rte 58, or visitors can climb to the gap along the Daniel Boone Trail, a section of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail. The trail also gives access to Ruffed Grouse breeding grounds, sightings of wintering shorebirds and views of the yearly hawk migrations.

Lee County Historical Society (Old Friendship Baptist Church)

554 Old Friendship Road, Jonesville, Virginia

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The Town of Glade Spring was laid out in 1794. The Lee County Historical Society promotes the study and preservation of the history of Lee County. Located in the Old Friendship Baptist Church Building approximately 4 miles west of the county seat at Jonesville, the society’s records can be used by appointment. The nearby Jonesville Methodist Campground was established in 1810 for outdoor revival meetings. Campgrounds were founded across the region as part of a widespread growth in religious fervor. The well-preserved auditorium was opened in 1828.

Wilderness Road State Park/Martin’s Station Living History Park

8051 Wilderness Road, Ewing, Virginia

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A tract in the Powell Valley was originally settled by Joseph Martin, who arrived in March of 1769 after a difficult journey to claim 21,000 acres as the first settler on land granted to the Loyal Land Company. Boone found Martin already in place at his station when he made the trip into Kentucky in the spring of 1775. Wilderness Road State Park features a reconstruction of Martin’s Station and a visitor center located in the 1877 Ely House.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park/Daniel Boone Visitor Center/White Rocks Overlook

91 Bartlett Park Road, Middlesboro, Kentucky

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Cumberland Gap was the only easily accessible pass through the Alleghany Mountains. Prior to 1750, it was used by Indians moving from area to area in trading, hunting, or war parties. Daniel Boone was commissioned to open a trail through the gap, known as “Boone’ s Trace.” During the 1790s a mass of immigrants passed through Cumberland Gap at the rate of nearly 100 per day, looking for available land in the west. The Daniel Boone Visitor Center houses a museum, interpretive films, and handmade crafts from the region.

Carolina Road

Maggoty Gap

Cahas Mountain Rural Historic District, Rt. 613, Boone’s Mill, Virginia

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The Cahas Mountain Rural Historic District comprises the bottomland along Maggodee Creek, the south side of Maggodee Gap, and the slopes of Cahas Mountain. The district includes the well-preserved trace of the Carolina Road where it crosses the Blue Ridge at Maggodee Gap. The volume of travel along the road spurred the construction of the district’s two impressive 1820s brick residences, the John and Susan Boon House and the Taylor-Price House, the former and probably also the latter provided accommodations to travelers on a commercial basis. The road trace passes in front of the Washington and Rinda Boon House.

Booker T. Washington National Monument

12130 Booker T Washington Highway, Hardy, Virginia

Booker T. Washington National Monument
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Booker T. Washington National Monument commemorates the birthplace of America’s most prominent African American educator and orator of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The property evokes an 1850s middle class tobacco farm, representative of Booker T. Washington’s childhood at the farm owned by the prosperous Burroughs family. He was born in 1856 to their enslaved cook, Jane, and lived on the farm throughout the Civil War. After the Civil War, Washington became the first principal of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School. As an adviser, author and orator, he became the most influential African-American of his era.

Franklin County Historical Society Museum

508 Franklin Street, Rocky Mount, Virginia

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Rocky Mount was designated as the seat of Franklin County, Virginia, when the county was formed in 1786. The first court sessions were held in the home of James Callaway, the proprietor of the 1770 Washington Iron Furnace. A log courthouse was built at the intersection of Court and Main streets in the same year. The Franklin County Historical Society operates a history museum and research library for family history research. Franklin County court, probate, and land records, also available at the nearby Franklin County Courthouse, are an important source for family historians.

Carolina Road Trace/Waid Park

700 Waid Park Road, Rocky Mount, Virginia

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A one-quarter mile section of the roadbed of the Carolina Road can be walked in Franklin County’s Waid Recreation Park. Thousands of settlers passed this spot from the 1740s through the 1760s. The park serves recreational purposes, including hiking, bird-watching, floating and fishing in the Pigg River. It also includes a new sports complex with five soccer fields.

Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center

1 East Main Street, Martinsville, Virginia

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Martinsville was laid out in 1791 on the land of tobacco planter George Hairston as the seat of Henry County. It was named in honor of Joseph Martin, a legendary frontiersman, Indian trader and hero of the American Revolution. The original log courthouse was replaced by a brick structure in 1824. This was remodeled in 1929 and, since 2011, houses the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center & Museum. The museum contains exhibits detailing the history of the town and county. The courthouse is the first stop on a walking tour of Martinsville.

Fincastle Turnpike

Botetourt County Historical Society and Museum

Courthouse Square, 1 Main Street, Building 3, Fincastle, Virginia

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Fincastle was one of the first communities in the original area of Botetourt County, founded in 1772. The town is an outdoor museum of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century American architecture. The Cumberland Gap Road (Fincastle Turnpike) was authorized to run between Fincastle and the Kentucky line in 1831. The museum building, located in Court House Square, was erected circa 1800. It serves as a repository for hundreds of artifacts that interpret the history of the county.

New Castle Historic District

New Castle, VA 24127

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New Castle, Virginia · An outpost called “Craig’s Camp” was established here and visited by Col. George Washington in 1756 as he toured the frontier. This settlement, first called “Newfincastle,” became the county seat when Craig County was formed in 1851 from parts of six neighboring counties. The New Castle Historic District includes the Jeffersonian-style courthouse and the nearby Old Brick Hotel Museum.

Clover Hollow Covered Bridge

348 Clover Hollow Road, Newport, Virginia

Clover Hollow Covered Bridge
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This small Burr-type covered bridge, built in 1916, is one of three surviving in the immediate vicinity of the village of Newport. Like the others, it is sided with horizontal weatherboards and supported by stone abutments. The town of Newport began in the early nineteenth century as an industrial center exploiting the abundant water resources available on the Greenbrier Branch in eastern Giles County.

Andrew Johnston House and Giles County Historical Society Museum

208 N Main Street, Pearisburg, Virginia

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The town of Giles Court House, later Pearisburg, was established when Capt. George Pearis donated 53 acres in 1806. The brick Giles County Courthouse, built in 1836, dominates the town. The Giles County Historical Society’s Museum includes the 1829 Andrew Johnston House, a historic house museum which not only features numerous pieces of original furniture but contains rare examples of decorative wall painting.

Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum

6394 North Scenic Highway, Bastian, Virginia

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Between 1490 and 1530 AD, a small group of Native Americans settled along Wolf Creek in present-day Bland County. They built a circular palisaded village to house as many as 100 people. Excavation of the site in 1970 revealed 14 structures and a wealth of artifacts. The Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum opened in 1998 to interpret the story of the region’s prehistoric peoples, including a full recreation of the village.

Tazewell County Visitor Center

200 Sanders Lane, Bluefield, Virginia

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Completed in 1896, the restored Sanders House is now home to the Tazewell County Visitors Center. The large Victorian house features oak woodwork, an original mural, and original Sanders family collections. The property also contains a granary, smokehouse and cottage outbuildings, as well as the relocated historic Bailey House, a pre-Civil War log structure that was home to one of Bluefield’s earliest families.

Old Russell County Courthouse

North side of Alt. Rt. 58, .8 miles west of Rt. 665, Dickensonville, Virginia

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This remarkable stone courthouse was built in 1799 by Henry Dickenson. It replaced a log courthouse that was burned during the Revolutionary War. A brick wing was added to the stone structure by the Robert Dickenson family between 1830 and 1850.

Breaks Interstate Park

627 Commission Circle, Breaks, Virginia

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180 million years ago, the Russell Fork River began cutting a deep gorge through Pine Mountain between Virginia and Kentucky. Daniel Boone, his brother Squire, and Daniel Hill traveled through the Sandy Basin searching for a route to Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley in 1767. They found the gorge and named it “the Breaks”—the only passage through a 125-mile long stretch of impassable mountains. The gorge is home to rare plants such as fractal ferns, galax, colts foot, tea berries, and a profusion of fungi and moss species. The park, which caters to bikers, rafters, and horseback riders, spans the boundaries of Virginia and Kentucky.

Wise County Historical Society Room

250 of the Wise County Courthouse, Wise, Virginia

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The Wise County Historical Society maintains an office and bookstore open daily to assist family history researchers. They have an extensive collection of research materials.

Old Fincastle Turnpike

Dungannon and Duffield, Virginia

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The Cumberland Gap Road (known as the Fincastle Turnpike), authorized in 1831, was designed to give local farmers access to distant markets. Fincastle Church on Longhollow Road was originally constructed in Dungannon near the turnpike in 1876 by Samuel and Martha Blackwell. Rye Cove Brick Church was built in 1858 near Duffield. The rock retaining walls along the road in Rye Cove are said to have been built by enslaved African-American workers as part of the Fincastle Turnpike.Old Fincastle Turnpike Dungannon and Duffield, Virginia
The Cumberland Gap Road (known as the Fincastle Turnpike), authorized in 1831, was designed to give local farmers access to distant markets. Fincastle Church on Longhollow Road was originally constructed in Dungannon near the turnpike in 1876 by Samuel and Martha Blackwell. Rye Cove Brick Church was built in 1858 near Duffield. The rock retaining walls along the road in Rye Cove are said to have been built by enslaved African-American workers as part of the Fincastle Turnpike.

Frontier Trail

Montgomery Museum/Lewis Miller Regional Art Center

300 South Pepper Street, Christiansburg, Virginia

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The town of Christiansburg was laid out around a central public square as the Montgomery County seat in 1790. Christiansburg’s Montgomery Museum houses a wealth of artifacts related to regional history and local artists, as well as family history research opportunities. The museum building was built around 1852 to serve as the Manse or minister’s residence for the Christiansburg Presbyterian Church. Ever-changing exhibits, presenting local artists, are displayed in the second-floor gallery. The museum shop features local history books, reproductions, and gifts.

St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall and Visitor Center

203 Gilbert Street, Blacksburg, Virginia

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Slavery was on a smaller scale in western Virginia, and Montgomery County citizens were not overwhelmingly in favor of its continuation. Thousands of African-Americans, often shackled and chained together, traversed the Great Road through the vicinity in slave “coffles”on their way from auctions in the upper South, where tobacco culture was on the decline, to the Deep South. After the end of the Civil War, freed black communities and organizations were formed across the state. The Order of Odd Fellows and the Order of St. Luke joined forces in 1907 to build a community social center. It has been restored by the town of Blacksburg as a museum of African American culture and visitor center.

Smithfield Plantation Historic House Museum

1000 Smithfield Plantation Road Blacksburg, Virginia

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Built about 1775 as the home of political and military leader William Preston, Smithfield is one of the oldest houses in Southwest Virginia. As surveyor of Montgomery County, Preston was in charge of the division of new lands to the west, including Kentucky. The house is furnished to represent the occupancy of the Preston family. The basement museum contains displays of historic objects and Native American artifacts from Montgomery County’s Shannon site, the most famous Woodland Period site in the Blacksburg area. A gift shop makes available reproduction artifacts, books, and colonial-era toys.

Glencoe Museum

600 Unruh Drive, Radford, Virginia

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Glencoe, built in 1875, is the historic dwelling of Civil War General Gabriel Wharton and home of the Glencoe Museum and Gallery. The museum interprets the history of Southwest Virginia, highlighting the contributions of the Native Americans, early settlers, industries, educational institutions, businesses, local artisans and handicrafts, as well as topics of local interest. One of the most important collections on display is a group of Native American artifacts uncovered at Radford’s important prehistoric village, known as the Trigg site.

Wilderness Road Regional Museum

5240 Wilderness Road, Newbern, Virginia

Wilderness Road Regional Museum
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Newbern, established in 1810, contains a fine collection of frame and log buildings. Landowner Adam Hance recognized the economic benefits of developing a town along the Great Road, midway between Christiansburg and Evansham (now Wytheville). The building housing the museum is made up of two structures, an 1810 tavern and store and the 1816 Hance family home. The museum, owned and operated by the New River Historical Society, exhibits artifacts and documents highlighting life along the Wilderness Road.

Fort Chiswell House and McGavock Cemetery

325 Factory Outlet Dr., Max Meadows, Virginia

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One of the most recognizable landmarks in Southwest Virginia, the house popularly known as Fort Chiswell Mansion was finished in 1840 for two brothers—Stephen McGavock (1807–1880) and Joseph Cloyd McGavock (1813–1886). The house has a fine Flemish bond facade, a two-story portico, unusual stepped gable parapets, and a fine staircase on the interior. Today, the Mansion at Fort Chiswell shares its rich history, promoting local and regional tourism, supporting educational programs, and contributing to the growth and success of local and regional artists. The walled McGavock Cemetery contains a rich collection of Germanic carved stones.

Shot Tower State Historical Park

283 Pauley Flatwoods Road, Austinsville, VA 24312

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An important lead mine was developed near here as early as 1757 and served as a principal source of lead during the American Revolution. Stephen F. Austin, who moved west and became known as “the Father of Texas,” was born at the mines in 1793. The tall limestone Shot Tower, dating from before 1800, was built into the bluff along the New River above a seventy-five-foot deep shaft. Lead was hoisted to the top of the tower, melted, and then poured through a sieve. The lead droplets hardened into round shot during the 150-foot descent into a kettle of water near the river’s edge.

Haller-Gibboney Rock House and Thomas J. Boyd Museum

205 and 295 E. Tazewell Street, Wytheville, Virginia

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The town of Evansham, later named Wytheville, was established in 1790 as the seat of Wythe County, located on the Great Road. The Haller-Gibboney Rock House has played a significant role in Wytheville’s history since its construction in 1823. Original owner Dr. John Haller served his community as a country doctor, county coroner, and delegate to the Virginia Legislature. The house, together with the nearby Thomas J. Boyd Museum, exhibits original artifacts and period furnishings to interpret the settlement and development of the historic town. The exhibit includes objects uncovered in excavations at the nearby site of Fort Chiswell.

E. Lee Trinkle Visitor Center

975 Tazewell Street, Wytheville, Virginia

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The E. Lee Trinkle Visitor Center is a great place to obtain information about cultural and recreational opportunities in the area. The Willowbrook Jackson/Umberger Homestead Museum next door helps visitors understand rural life in the region. A historic gas station, built by Herbert R. Umberger in 1926, embodies a later period of cross-country migration. Originally called the “Lakes to Florida Service Station,” the building contains a small museum that interprets early twentieth-century transportation along Rt. 23, then known as the Great Lakes to Florida Highway.

Carroll County Historical Society and Museum

515 North Main Street, Hillsville, Virginia

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Hillsville was laid out in 1842 to serve as the seat of newly-founded Carroll County. The historic Carroll County Courthouse, home of the Carroll County Historical Society and Museum, presents the rich history of the county and its communities. Early Native American artifacts recovered from a nearby archaeological site are on display. The historic courthouse was the site of a famous courtroom shooting in March 1912.

Matthews Living History Farm Museum

496 White Pine Road, Galax, Virginia

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Grayson County was settled in the mid-eighteenth century. The upper portions of the New River Valley were not easy to reach due to the difficult geography. The Grayson-Raleigh Turnpike, constructed in the 1850s, connected Grayson County with more distant markets. The Matthews Living History Museum was founded to preserve the cultural heritage of upper New River Valley farm life by presenting its artifacts, tools, equipment, methods and skills.

1908 Grayson County Courthouse Museum

107 E. Main Street, Independence, Virginia

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The new town of Independence replaced the Grayson County seat at Greenville in 1850. Independence was laid out at the intersection of the main roads crossing the county from the north and east. The courthouse was built on a public square at one corner of the crossroads, across from a hotel and a store. The courthouse of 1908 has been restored and contains a museum of regional life and customs, a gift shop with regional crafts, and an auditorium used for concerts and plays.

Historical Society of Washington County

306 Depot Street, Abingdon, Virginia

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Washington County was formed in 1776. The town of Abingdon has served as Washington County’s transportation, commercial, and political hub since it was laid out in 1778. Its location on the Great Road and later the Southwestern Turnpike brought prosperity. The Historical Society of Washington County is housed in the restored Abingdon Train Depot. The Society is available for genealogical and historical research, including local and regional history, published genealogies, and family histories.

Martha Washington Inn

150 West Main Street, Abingdon, Virginia

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The Martha Washington Inn is a historic hotel located in Abingdon, Virginia. The unusually elegant and substantial house was built in 1832 by General Francis Preston, hero of the War of 1812, for his family of nine children. The building has served since then as a women’s college, a Civil War hospital and barracks, and as a residence for visiting actors of the Barter Theatre. The hotel has been restored in recent years and, with the nearby Barter Theater, forms the centerpiece of downtown Abingdon.

The Tavern

222 East Main Street, Abingdon, Virginia

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The Tavern, the oldest of Abingdon’s historic buildings and thought to be one of the oldest structures in Washington County, was built in 1779. Originally known as Yancy’s Tavern, it has had such guests as Henry Clay; Louis Philippe, King of France; President Andrew Jackson; and Pierre Charles L’Enfant, designer of Washington D.C. Today it is a fine restaurant.

Abingdon Muster Ground Interpretive Center

1780 Muster Place, Abingdon, Virginia

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The northern trailhead for the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, the Abingdon Muster Ground is the regional center for American revolutionary period history. This is the place where local soldiers gathered to march to battle. Exhibits help visitors discover what life was like for the Overmountain men, backcountry women, African-Americans and Native Americans, as well as British Loyalists. The gift shop provides gifts, books, and historical reproductions.

The Great Road

George Washington’s Office Museum

Winchester Historic District, 32 West Cork Street, Winchester, Virginia

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The unusual log and stone building known as Washington’s Office, one of Winchester’s oldest buildings, serves as a powerful symbol of Winchester’s connections with the French and Indian War. Strong local traditions affirm that the earliest section of the house was used as a survey office by George Washington between 1749 and 1752, and that he returned to use it as a headquarters during the building of nearby Fort Loudoun in 1756–7. The museum interprets the ten years that Washington spent in Winchester.

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

901 Amherst Street, Winchester, Virginia

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The story of this regional history museum complex begins with surveyor James Wood’s claiming of the site in 1735 and his founding of Winchester in 1744. Anchored by the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley which tells the story of art, history, and culture of the great Valley for which it is named, the site also features the Glen Burnie House, dating to 1794, and six acres of gardens established in the last half of the twentieth century by Wood descendant and Museum benefactor Julian Wood Glass Jr.

Abram’s Delight Winchester-Frederick County Visitor Center

1340 South Pleasant Valley Road, Winchester, Virginia

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The Visitor Center for the Winchester-Frederick County area is located adjacent to historic Abram’s Delight, Winchester’s most important site documenting the early period of migration and settlement. Abraham Hollingsworth (1685–1748), a prominent Quaker, was likely in the area by 1729. The large and elegantly appointed house was completed in 1754 for his son, Isaac, as is documented by a date stone in the gable.

Newtown History Center

Stephens city historic district, 5408 Main Street, Stephens City, Virginia

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Stephens City, laid out in 1758, is the second oldest town in the Shenandoah Valley (after Winchester) and one of the best preserved of the “Valley Pike towns.” The Newtown wagon, manufactured at Stephens City, became legendary for its sturdiness among both Virginia farmers and settlers migrating to the far West, including the Gold Rush of 1849. The Newtown History Center, housed in the town’s earliest brick structure, interprets the history of the Great Road/Valley Pike and local manufacturing.

Belle Grove Plantation

336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, Virginia

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Belle Grove is the Lower Valley’s most architecturally distinguished building. The house was built in 1797 by a descendant of the area’s most prominent family of German origin. Builder Isaac Hite, Jr. (1758–1836) was a veteran of the American Revolution and the grandson of immigrant Jost Hite, partner in distribution of a vast land grant in the northern section of the Valley. The large, one-story limestone house is fronted by a temple-form porch supported by slender columns. The interior incorporates very fine Federal-style woodwork. The house museum includes an interpretive program and a gift shop.

Wayside Inn

7783 Main Street, Middletown, Virginia

The Wayside Inn
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Historic Middletown is located near the southern boundary of Frederick County along the Great Road/Valley Pike. The sixty-nine-acre town was established as Middletown in 1794. The Wayside Inn, also known as Larrick’s Hotel and Wilkinson’s Tavern, has operated there since it opened as a stagecoach stop in 1797. It continues to provide great food and lodging to travelers along the Great Road.

Museum at the Edinburg Mill Edinburg visitor center

214 S. Main Street, Edinburg, Virginia

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The Edinburg Mill, a three-story frame grist mill, stands on the banks of Stony Creek in the well-preserved turnpike town of Edinburg. Built about 1850, Edinburg is one of the best-preserved antebellum towns in the Shenandoah Valley. The mill is one of a series of grain, wool carding, and saw mills that were built after 1813 by Philip Grandstaff and his son George. Today it serves as a museum of the history of Edinburg, the Valley Pike, and the milling industry. It houses a visitor center and gift shop.

Woodstock Museum of Shenandoah County

104 S. Muhlenberg Street, Woodstock, Virginia

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Shenandoah County was settled predominately by families of German stock. Woodstock was established in 1761 and was locally known as Muellerstadt. The Woodstock Museum is housed in the two-story, stone Marshall House, which served as the home of President James Madison’s father Thomas from 1772–1781. It contains a fine collection of local and regional artifacts, including tall case clocks by local craftsmen Jacob Fry and Caleb Davis. The nearby restored Courthouse Square is home to the 1775 stone Shenandoah County Courthouse, with its German Baroque-style cupola.

Strasburg Museum

440 E. King Street, Strasburg, Virginia

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Strasburg, originally called Staufferstadt, was settled in the 1730s by mostly German-speaking families. It was the home for 150 years of a thriving pottery industry and was often referred to as Pot Town. Housed in a two-story brick factory built for a local pottery manufacturer in the late nineteenth century, the Strasburg Museum exhibits historical tools, furniture, Native American artifacts, and local pottery.

Bushong House/New Market Battlefield State Park

8895 George R Collins Parkway, New Market, Virginia

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New Market is a typical “turnpike town,” incorporated in 1796 at a major crossroad on the Great Road. Jacob and Sarah Bushong built the symmetrical frame house about 1825. In 1864, three generations of their family found shelter in the basement during the historic Battle of New Market as it was fought around the house. The New Market Battlefield State Park does an excellent job of presenting the lives and context of Valley residents, particularly those of Germanic descent, in addition to the site’s Civil War context.

Mauzy Stagecoach Inn/Shops at Mauzy

Intersection of Rt 11 & I81, north of Harrisonburg, Virginia

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This antebellum stagecoach inn was built to serve travelers on the Valley Pike, 10 miles north of Harrisonburg. The long frame building is fronted by a two-story porch and includes a number of original outbuildings. Today it is open to the public as a collection of shops, selling gifts, decorative items and antiques.

Hardesty-Higgins House/Valley Turnpike Museum

212 South Main Street, Harrisonburg, Virginia

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The land of Thomas and Sarah Harrison was selected in 1779 as the site for the seat of the new county of Rockingham. The town was provided with a central courthouse square, used as a model for towns across the nineteenth-century Midwest. The Hardesty-Higgins House, located directly on the route of the Great Wagon Road/Valley Turnpike, was begun by physician Henry Higgins in 1848. In addition to the Valley Turnpike Museum, which chronicles transportation through the Valley, it contains a visitor center, gift shop, and cafe.

Crossroads-Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center

1921 Heritage Center Way, Harrisonburg, Virginia

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Mennonites and Brethren have lived quietly in the Valley of Virginia for over two centuries. The Cross­­roads Heritage Center interprets their long history of faith, their unique farming traditions, their pacifism, and their legacy of crafts­manship to tourists and members of the Brethren and Mennonite communities. It incorporates an outdoor museum, including the relocated 1854 Burkholder-Myers House, home of an important Mennonite bishop, and the Whitmer School/Cove Mennonite Church, a one-room school house/meetinghouse.

Daniel Harrison House

335 Main Street, Dayton, Virginia

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Daniel Harrison (1701–1770) moved from Delaware to Rocking­ham County about 1738. Daniel Harrison is thought to have built the house in 1749 and operated a grist mill, distillery, and general store at the site. The house was expanded and the windows enlarged before the Civil War. The restored house is open to the public on weekends during the warm months.

Augusta Stone Church

28 Old Stone Church Lane, Fort Defiance, Virginia

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Augusta Stone Church is the oldest surviving church in the Valley of Virginia and the oldest Presbyterian church in Virginia. The original log building was built in 1740. It was replaced with the present stone structure in 1749 under the supervision of the Rev, John Craig, the founder of Presbyterianism in the Valley, and famous for his faith and perseverance. The plain rectangular church was built with a clipped gable roof.

R. R. Smith Center of History and Art

22 South New Street, Staunton, Virginia

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Many of the settlers to the Augusta County area were Scots-Irish. A small village grew up around the county’s first log courthouse, built in 1745. The newly named town of Staunton was laid out in thirteen half-acre lots in 1749. The R. R. Smith Center is housed in the former Eakleton Hotel of 1893. In addition to the offices of the Historic Staunton Foundation and the Staunton Augusta Art Center, it is the home of the Augusta County Historical Society history gallery and library, an excellent place to begin local family research.


Cyrus McCormick Farm and Workshop

128 McCormick’s Farm Circle, Raphine, Virginia

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The museum at the Cyrus McCormick Farm and Workshop provides an opportunity for visitors to understand how traditional farming around the world was revolutionized by the inventions of a Scots-Irish family of farmers and innovators. Walnut Grove, the McCormick family farm near Steele’s Tavern, is the birthplace of the mechanical reaper, the ancestor of the modern combine harvester.

Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church/Sam Houston Birthplace

73 Sam Houston Way, Lexington, Virginia

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This site is a key part of the story of the migration the Scots-Irish. Families like the Houstons of Church Hill began their American adventure in Pennsylvania and several generations later contributed to the growth and success of the American West. Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church was founded in 1746 by Scots-Irish settlers and the present stone building is thought to date from 1755–56. The area was the birthplace in 1793 of Sam Houston, one of the great figures in the settlement of the west and of relations between settlers and Indians.

Rockbridge Historical Society/Campbell House

101 East Washington Street, Lexington, Virginia

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The Rockbridge Historical Society maintains three historic buildings in downtown Lexington. The most significant is the Campbell House, which houses the society’s collections. The museum is open for regular hours and admission is free. The Campbell House includes significant local furniture and artifacts of interest to family researchers.

Liberty Hall Academy Ruins

Liberty Hall Road, Lexington, Virginia

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These picturesque stone ruins are the remains of one the region’s first educational institutions, founded by Scots-Irish Presbyterians. Augusta Academy opened in 1773 and received its charter as a college in 1782. Frame buildings housing the academy were replaced in 1793 by a three-story stone building to house the school’s students as well as the library, classrooms, and scientific equipment. The newly named Washington Academy moved into Lexington in 1803 after the stone academy building burned. It eventually grew into Washington and Lee University.

Natural Bridge and Monacan Village

15 Appledore Lane, Natural Bridge, Virginia

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The dramatic 200-foot tall and 90-foot wide limestone arch over Cedar Creek was acquired by Thomas Jefferson in 1774 as a public trust to ensure protection and access. Together with Niagara Falls, Natural Bridge was ranked as the continent’s most impressive natural landmark in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Today the site is served by a complex of Colonial Revival buildings, including a large hotel. The Monacan Indian Nation of Virginia has joined with Natural Bridge to present a Native American Village complex at the site, staffed by living history guides in reproduction work shelters and houses.

James River & Kanawha Canal and Wilson Warehouse

421 Lowe Street, Buchanan, Virginia

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The picturesque town of Buchanan, founded in 1811, is located where the Great Road crossed the James River. The “Main Road to the Western Country” in Buchanan’s heyday coincided with the completion of the James River and Kanawha Canal into the Valley of Virginia in 1851, allowing produce from the valley direct access to eastern Virginia markets without an arduous trip by turnpike over the Blue Ridge. The Wilson Warehouse was built in 1839 as a combined store, warehouse, and residence. It was restored as the town’s “community house” in 1938.


57 South Center Drive, Daleville, Virginia

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Col. William Preston (1729–1783) played a crucial role in surveying and developing western lands. He exerted great influence in the colonial affairs of his time and ran a large plantation here. He served in the Virginia House of Burgesses and was a colonel in the militia during the American Revolutionary War. Preston settled his family at Greenfield in 1762, but moved his growing family farther west to a new plantation, called Smithfield, twelve years later. The surviving properties at Greenfield include rare examples of nineteenth-century domestic architecture associated with the Preston family and the era of slavery.

Andrew Lewis Statue

Salem Civic Center, Salem, Virginia

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Renowned frontier soldier and Revolutionary War hero General Andrew Lewis lived between the modern civic center and the Roanoke River at a farm called Richfield. A statue of Lewis at the Battle of Gwynn’s Island has been placed outside the Salem Civic Center, and a portrait can be found inside.

Salem Museum and Historical Society/Williams Building

801 East Main Street, Salem, Virginia

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William C. Williams, the builder of the first Roanoke County Courthouse, constructed this unusual brick home and store in Salem in 1845. The building was relocated and restored in 1992 to serve as a museum containing local Indian artifacts and mementos of daily life from across the span of Salem’s history. The Museum Shop features books, crafts, replicas, educational toys, and more.

Botetourt County Historical Society and Museum

Courthouse Square, 1 Main Street, Building 3, Fincastle, Virginia

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Fincastle was one of the first communities in the original area of Botetourt County, founded in 1772. The town is an outdoor museum of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century American architecture. The Cumberland Gap Road (Fincastle Turnpike) was authorized to run between Fincastle and the Kentucky line in 1831. The museum building, located in Court House Square, was erected circa 1800. It serves as a repository for hundreds of artifacts that interpret the history of the county.