The Fort Valley Museum’s 15th Annual Ice Cream Social that was held on July 29 is now history. Many thanks to the participants and program presenters who helped make this year’s festvial a big success. Make plans to join us again next summer! 2018 festival photo courtesy of Anne Henriksen. Other photos of the Ice Cream Social can be found here.
The Library includes many Fort Valley family histories and books, and the gallery includes pictures of Fort Family ancestors. Also new are exhibits from all Fort organizations and churches. Other items there include historic spinning and furniture items and a new music exhibit.
Some of the old, historical Fort family names that have historical documention include Munch, McInturff, Ritenour, Dinges, Plauger, Clem, Veach and others. For example, the first Munch we know of was Philip Munch, who came to Fort Valley in 1779. The family histories are written by the descendants; some have been published.
The portrait gallery features portraits of many individuals from the Ritenour, Munch, Cullers and other local families. They date from the late 1800s to early 1900s.
A complete set of Tombstone Inscriptions, gathered and compiled by Jeanette Ritenour and Duane Borden, are also on display.
World War II history includes interviews with WWII vets David McClanahan and Claude Ritenour, who talk about their experiences during the war.
Exhibits from Fort Valley churches, the Fort Valley Fire Department, and the Fort Valley Ruritan Club are now on display at the Trinity Church Building, as well as a spinning exhibit and a collection of historic furniture.
Jim Trott’s collection of early Edison pieces, consisting of late 19th-early 20th century music producers, forms the new Music Exhibit. Jim had loved theses old machines and had picked them up at odd sales throughout the years. Included are a couple of Edison phonographs from 1903 and 1905, an early pre-RCA Victor Victrola with a horn, and a collection of wax cylinders and early shellac records, which were a precursor to more modern vinyl LPs. The collection also inlcude an Atwater Kent radio made during the 1920s.
Exhibits in the Museum’s Trinity Church Building are now open to the public. Docents are on hand at there during regular museum hours during the first weekends of September and October.
• Fort Valley Museum is Open on Weekends During Summer Months
• Christmas in October – Sat. & Sun., October 27th & 28th
We have just uncovered 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 (email@example.com)
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