As the 100th Anniversary of the First World War is commemorated, it neatly ties in with the history of a famous Shenandoah Valley native who was the 28th President of the United States: Thomas Woodrow Wilson. Wilson was born in the city of Staunton in 1856, and today his birthplace is home to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum.
The museum opened an exhibit this past June entitled, “I Believe In Democracy.” It contrasts the presidential election that is going now with the one that occurred exactly 100 years ago, marked by Wilson's successful bid for a second term.
The exhibit shows how much U.S. presidential elections have changed since then. …Or have they, really?
In 1916, Wilson was running as an incumbent Democrat. He was running against a divided Republican Party. The GOP had been trying to heal the wounds from the previous election, when Teddy Roosevelt challenged the sitting Republican president, William Howard Taft. The split allowed Wilson, then a relatively fresh face in national politics, to squeak by with enough electoral votes to win in 1912.
By 1916, Republicans had regrouped. They rallied to oust Wilson, but by this time he had picked up a number of the Republican voters who had gone for Roosevelt in the previous election. Wilson narrowly defeated Republican Charles E. Hughes, of New York.
So the political landscape then was certainly different than it is now in 2016. Like today, however, the election did not involve just two main political parties. Teddy Roosevelt's new “Bull Moose” Progressive Party was on the ballot as it had been four years before, as were the Prohibition Party and the Socialists.
So much of America’s past can be discovered here. We’re no stranger to the Civil War, and our scenic battlefields are still here. It’s a place of annual living history reenactments and so many fascinating indoor and outdoor historical programs. The days are getting cooler. Time to transport yourself back into a bit of genuine Shenandoah Valley history.
412 W. King St. Rabbit Saves the Day, Based on the story Sody Sallyratus. Runs Sept. 10 through Oct 30, every Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Doors open 12:40 p.m. Pre-show activities. Admission: $6 for ages two years and older, under age two admitted free. For more information, call 304-258-4074 or visit www.wondermentpuppets.com
11012 Edmonds Ln. Civil War Encampment. Sept. 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Living history with the 21st Georgia Infantry. ecruitment and enlistment ceremonies, unit drills, weapons demonstrations and camp cooking. For more information, call 540-592-3556 or visit www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/sky-meadows
128 East Martin St. Rock Of Ages. Community Theatre productions. Shows on Sept. 23, 24, 25, 30, and Oct. 1 and 2. For more information, call 304-263-6766.
35 Hillview Ln. Uncorked and Unplugged. Music by various local artists. Bring lawn chairs. Lunch available for purchase or bring your own picnic. Family-friendly. For more information, call 540-377-6204 or visit www.rockbridgevineyard.com
Recital Hall, Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. JMU faculty violinist Wanchi Piitz. Lori Piitz accompanies on piano. For more information, visit www.jmuforbescenter.com
3322 Lockes Mill Rd. 13th Annual Watermelon Park Fest. Family-friendly Americana music festival.Sept. 22-25, Shenandoah River just outside of Berryville, Va. Live concerts, dances, workshops, band and pickin contests, activities, open jams, food and craft vendors, and more. For more information, call 540-955-1621 or visit watermelonparkfest.com
901 Amherst St. Stomp Out Epilepsy Walk. This 5K Family Fun walk raises funds for seizure response dogs and movement monitors. Entertainment, refreshments and festivities afterwards. Hosted by Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. For more information, visit www.chelseasstomp.org
10 S. Market St. Arms and the Man. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. Opening performance. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com.
Armstrong Concert Hall, 702 University Dr. Faculty violinist Akemi Takayama joins the Shenandoah Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, works by Piazzolla and Ginastera. Admission: $12. For more information, call 1-800-432-2266 or visit www.su.edu/performs
1330 Job Corps Rd. One of the oldest arts and craft festivals in the Shenandoah Valley area. Sept. 23, 24, 25. Fine arts, crafts, live bluegrass music, wine, and food available. 200 vetted artisans and craftspersons. Hosted by Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. Admission: Weekend Pass: $13 for ages 18 and older. Single day passes: $5 for adults 18 and older, $2 for ages 6-17. Prices at gate: $7 and $4 per day. For more information, visit www.mhacfestival.org
901 Amherst St. African American Story Quilts. Tour the exhibition, And Still We Rise: African American Story Quilts during interactive talk. Museum members admitted free. Pre-register by Sept. 23. Walk-in admission subject to availability. All others: $10, includes museum admission. For more information, call 540-662-1473, extension 240 or visit www.theMSV.org.
336 Belle Grove Road. Special events scheduled throughout 2016. Belle Grove Behind-the-Scenes. Family friendly, afternoon event. Access Belle Grove locations not regularly seen by the public. For more information, call 540-869-2028 or visit www.bellegrove.org
2016 Alpine Loop Gran Fond. Sept. 24, 1-6 p.m., registration. Race begins on Sept. 25 at 7:40 a.m. at Turner Pavilion. Post-race activities include live entertainment, food available, beer tastings. For more information, visit alpineloopgranfondo.com
ShenandoahValley.com is owned and operated by Shenandoah Valley Productions, a little “mom-and-pop” business, but one that’s located right here in the region. Our mission has long been to showcase the area’s visual beauty, unique “Valley” people and culture and, of course, some really, really rich history.
We first fell in love with Virginia in 1970, courtesy of the U.S. Navy, stationed in Norfolk. That was the year Virginia officially declared itself “for lovers.” But for us, the real love affair started in 1977, when we first visited the Shenandoah Valley on our wedding night. We moved here a year later, and well ...we are still here!
So it’s kind of a long story how we got from 1978 to this website, but here it is.
Website background photos are provided by a select group of photographers from across the region who share their own love of the Valley through the lenses of their cameras. Words alone may not really describe the place.
Our regional events listings are always up to date, and we’re not really selling anything on here. In fact, we get no outside funding, but are wholly independent. Like many of our friends and neighbors who also feel blessed to live here, free and independent, surrounded by peace and beauty.
Each month we head out to some part of this diverse region and do a feature story and travel video about it -- some cool event, piece of history or special place that makes the name "Shenandoah" so uniquely known worldwide.
So, come and set a spell, and please also consider making a donation. Either way, we’re glad you stopped by. Come on back to see us again!
Oh, and please visit our Facebook page, too.
Hugh Morrison Jr. photographed the people and places of Shenandoah County, Virginia, during the first half of the 1900s, until 1950. He compiled an immense body of work, now archived by the Shenandoah County Historical Society. The collection includes more than 25,000 digital images.