From its very beginning, a southern Rockingham County, Va. town originally known as “Rifetown” may have had a slight identity issue, starting in 1828 with the name on a new post office sign reportedly identifying the town as “Rifeville.”
Then in 1832, the Virginia General Assembly renamed the town to Dayton.
Meanwhile, a Revolutionary War veteran who had ratified the New Jersey constitution in 1787, Johnathan Dayton, had a town named after him, but his town was the well-known Dayton, Ohio. With no discernible connection with Dayton, Virginia.
Whatever the name, one thing about the spot that had quickly attracted early settlers was the inviting confluence of spring-fed creeks and land just waiting to be farmed.
It also had captured the attention of Daniel Harrison, brother of nearby Harrisonburg, Va. founder Thomas Harrison. He too must have seen so much potential in the abundant springs and fertile land along a road that in the early 19th century would become the Harrisonburg-Warm Springs Turnpike — now US Rt. 42.
In 1749, Harrison built a sturdy, stone house at the north end of the new settlement. Fort Harrison, as it is called now, is one of the oldest houses in the Shenandoah Valley.
The house became a fort during the French and Indian War and it remained in the Harrison Family until 1821. Fully restored in 1978, it‘s now one of Dayton‘s main historic attractions.Read more...
The sun is out, the foliage is green. The Shenandoah Valley is alive with scenic beauty, outdoor fun and cultural festivities. It's the right time to spread out a blanket and listen to some down-home music or watch an outdoor movie. Head out on a walking tour. Living history festivals bring the rich heritage of the Shenandoah Valley to life. Kick back and chill, or gaze out at it all from up on high. June only comes once a year. Live it up!
Meredith Davis, District Epidemiologist, Virginia Department of Health, present Scratching Beneath the Surface: Mosquito-Borne Diseases. Strategies for prevention of mosquito-borne diseases. Admission: Foundation members $10, non-members $12. For more information, call 540-837-1758, extension 224 or visit www.blandy.virginia.edu
Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 West Main St. monthly history lecture sponsored by Katherine McNicholas. Mansions of the Blue Ridge: Swannanoa and Royal Orchard. Overview of architecture and architects at the turn of the 20 century Tickets: $20 and $25. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.WayneTheatre.org
Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 W. Main St. Monthly history lecture features K. Edward Lay, Mansions of the Blue Ridge: Swannanoa and Royal Orchard. No advance tickets required. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. Open to the public. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.waynetheatre.org
901 Amherst St. Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau. Runs through July 31. Exhibition Opening Reception on April 23 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Admission: Museum members admitted free. All others $20. Open to the public. For more information, call 540-662-1473 or visit www.themsv.org
Visiting this website, you've just landed in the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, USA. ShenandoahValley.com is owned and operated by a small, independent business located right here in the region. We know the place. Our mission is to showcase its visual beauty, but we've also got some things to share about the people who live here, the culture and, of course, some really rich history and heritage.
Visit this place and it can seem like you are coming home. Our 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.
While we provide a regional events listing that is always up to date, ShenandoahValley.com is not an encyclopedia about the Valley or a travel guide. In fact, we're not really selling anything on here. You can find location-specific tidbits about the Valley, particularly on our events page.
Each month we feature a Home page feature story and video that highlights something special about events, history and people.
Much of what is on here simply comes from our love for this world-reknown spot, the Daughter of the Stars, O Shenandoah, Shenandoah River... Shenandoah Valley.
If you like our website, consider making a donation ...we'd certainly tip a glass of Virginia-made beer or wine to your kindness! Either way, we're glad you stopped by. Come back to see us again!
Grand Caverns was discovered in 1804 and was used by both the Confederate and U.S. armies during the American Civil War. The caverns and a surrounding park are now owned and operated by the town of Grottoes, Virginia and are open to the public.