The Fort Valley Museum’s annual Ice Cream Social once again attracted a friendly gathering of folks who really seemed to be enjoying themselves as they stopped by to visit. The sunny, midsummer Sunday afternoon turned out to be a perfect day for getting out to view community and historic exhibits, shop for a variety of unique items on sale, grab a bite to eat and, of course, go for more than a few scoops of nice, cold ice cream.
“We had the best weather in recent memory,” said FVM board president, John Gaunt. “And it certainly had to contribute to the larger than usual attendance, around 300 visitors.”
He added, “Add the ice cream, the Ruritan burgers and hotdogs, the largest participation of crafters, and our Fire Department’s exhibit with two emergency units ...all the ingredients for a great afternoon in beautiful Fort Valley.”
Jim Wilkins, Jr., son of the first superintendent of the Camp Roosevelt CCC Camp that had been located here in Fort Valley, talked about his father’s role in heading the first CCC Camp in the nation.
“The lively music by Bill Vaughan, and the excellent talk by Jim Wilkins Jr. on his father’s position as the Superintendent of Maintenance at Camp Roosevelt kept the pavilion full all afternoon.”
Along with the Fire Department’s exhibit and other outdoor displays, visitors browsed in and out of the Trinity Church and Museum buildings, enjoying the fellowship and very likely learning about yet another bit of Fort Valley history.
• 16th Annual Ice Cream Social – Sun., July 28, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
• “Christmas in October” – Sat. & Sun., October 26th & 27th - marks the close of the 2019 Museum season
• “Annual Appreciation Dinner – April 29, 2020
• “2020 Museum Season Begins – May 30, 2020
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, firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
...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 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 maintenance contributed by Hank Zimmerman