The Ninth Annual Meeting and Appreciation Program of the Friends of the Fort Valley Museum was held on May 2 at the Fort Valley Fire Hall. The hard work and dedication of the Fort Valley Museum Board of Directors, along with a growing number of museum docents, community contributors and volunteers and others, were recognized.
Joan Sharpe, National President of the CCC Legacy Foundation and long-time resident of Edinburg, Va., told about the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) with a particular focus on Fort Valley's signifcance as the home of the nation’s first CCC camp.
A number of Fort Valley residents are direct descendants of the “CCC boys,” the legions of young Depression-era men who had signed on to join the program and worked hard in military-style camp environments on a large array of of public works projects during the dark years of the 1930s. Today, Americans can still enjoy the benefits that resulted from the accomplishments of the CCC.
Following the social hour, dinner and program, the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Fort Valley Museum held their official Annual Meeting.
• As part of National Tourism Week, all County Museums including our own will be open May 10 & 11, 11am-5pm. We’ll be part of Local History Weekend which includes a County-wide Scavenger Hunt and other activities. More information about the inaugural, county-wide Local History Weekend is available HERE.
• 154th Reenactment of the Battle of New Market, May 18-19, 10am-5pm. One of the oldest reenactments in the nation.Shenandoah County Historical Society Annual Banquet Tues., May 21, VFW in Edinburg, 6:00 p.m.
• Fort Valley Museum Season Opens Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-26
• 75th Anniversary of D-Day June 8-9, 9:30am-5pm, American Heritage Museum, 811 Fairfax Way, Stephens City, VA.
• 16th Annual Ice Cream Social Sun., July 28, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
• “Christmas in October” Sat. & Sun., October 26th & 27th
Our new display at the back of the Old Brick Church will depict life at Camp Roosevelt between its opening on April 17th, 1933, and its closure on May 25th, 1942, with emphasis on the effect the Camp’s presence had on local life here in the Fort. If you have any Camp Roosevelt-related items that you would be willing to loan us, we would very much appreciate it! Please contact me (Dorothy Corder, 540-933-6332, email@example.com) to make arrangements.
Added to our collections for the coming season will be lots of new acquisitions from the Ritenour, Munch, and Funk Estates. Exhibits in the Fort Valley Museum continually change, and we’re always looking for better ways to honor and illustrate Fort Valley’s past. Please don’t hesitate to come forward with your ideas about possible new exhibits or ways to showcase what we have.
The Joseph Franklin Plauger pie safe, built by Elder William Peters when his sister, Catharine, married Joseph in 1866.
We have over 40 letters written during WWII to Carson Dinges. They are in the “War Letters” notebook on display in the Old Brick Church.
...and a collection of old Fort Valley Stores memorabilia. Visit the Fort Valley Museum to see these latest additions and more!
Our big display at the back of the Old Brick Church continues to cover Fort Valley involvement in both World Wars I and II, and we are expanding the collection of memorabilia from World War II. If you have any World War II related items that you would be willing to loan us, we would very much appreciate it! Please contact Dorothy Corder at 540-933-6332 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Trinity Church is open to the public on the first weekends of each month. Exhibits include the Gallery Room, the Spinning display, and a new collection illustrating how Fort folks listened to music and news, 1880-1920. Researchers may visit the archive and library room.
Exhibits in the Fort Valley Museum do change, and we’re always looking for better ways to honor and illustrate Fort Valley’s past. Please don’t hesitate to come forward with your ideas about new exhibits or better ways to showcase what we have.
In 1830, Fort Valley farmer Daniel Munch donated a two acre piece of land, which he specified be used for a church and school. He also asked that the church be known as a Free Church, one that was open to all Protestant denominations. It was here that The Old Brick Church, at Dry Run, was built. The one-room church was made of locally fired red bricks and featured an upstairs gallery built for slaves who might attend church with their masters. Over the next century, the church was home to at least five different denominations, and was in constant use. After the final congregation worshiping there built its own church in 1949, the Old Brick Church became a community meeting place.
By the 1970s, the building was becoming run-down. In 1972, the Old Brick Church trustees decided that the space should be used for a museum. The building was then re-deeded to the trustees of an entirely new community organization, the Fort Valley Museum, Inc. On the weekend of July 4, 1974 the Fort Valley Museum opened its doors to the public for the very first time. Since that time it has served the Fort Valley community by gathering, preserving, and showcasing items from its past. In 2004, under new leadership, the Museum was painted and spruced up. Its expanded activities included an Oral History program and the first Ice Cream Social. In December of 2008, the trustees of the Trinity Brethren Church generously deeded their church building and its surrounding property to the Museum. The Trinity Church space now houses displays on the history of Fort Valley Churches and organizations, an office, and the nucleus of an archive. Plans are under way for a “Hands-on Children’s Room” and a Genealogy Room.
The Fort Valley Museum is a bright and welcoming community museum that depicts Fort Valley’s past history. Exhibits include: The Church; The One-room School, The Fort’s 19th century Cold-blast Iron Furnaces (along with the history of cast iron stove plates found locally), The Seven Fountains Resort (1850-1888), The Home, The Farm, The Country Store, Music in the Fort, and a recently donated collection of local Shenandoah Valley Pottery.
In addition to the original Museum building, the Old Brick Church (circa 1830), the Trinity Brethren Church (1904) on Dry Run Road became a part of the Museum in 2008. This lovely old church is open to the public on special occasions and by request. It currently houses a religious and organizational history of the Fort, and a newly created spinning exhibit. In progress are a portrait room and an archive and genealogical resource room.
The Fort Valley Museum is open each Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day Weekend through October.
Hours: 1:00-4:00 p.m. on Saturdays and 2:00-5:00 p.m. on Sundays.
8631 Fort Valley Road; the intersection of the main Fort Valley Road with Dry Run Road.
From Front Royal or Strasburg, take Rte. 55 to Rte 678, Fort Valley Road. Turn south on 678, travel about 10 miles. The museum is on the right at Dry Run Road. From Edinburg (U.S. 11 north), turn right (east) on Rte 675 to T-intersection at King’s Crossing. Turn left (north) on Rte. 678, go about 8 miles. The museum is on the left at Dry Run Road.
John Gaunt - President
Dorothy Corder - Vice President
Debbi Dellinger - Treasurer
Dianne Maggard and Meg Trott - Corresponding Secretaries
Eileen Drinkwater - Recording Secretary
Dorothy Corder - Curator
Meg Trott - Archivist
Philip Crisman, Jr.
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Website development and maintaince contributed by Hank Zimmerman