The city of Harrisonburg, Virginia is home to James Madison University, a public college, and Eastern Mennonite University, a small, private liberal arts college. The city also is the county seat of Rockingham County.
Harrisonburg was named for Thomas Harrison, the son of English settlers who came to the area in 1737. In 1779, Harrison deeded 50 acres of his land to the area now known as "Historic Downtown Harrisonburg."
Harrisonburg's downtown area was recently named a Great American Main Street. Some of the features of the Harrisonburg city and downtown area that attract visitors include: cultural and sports events at the local universities; Larkin Arts, a community art center; the Super Great Film Festival, which shows nearly 50 locally-produced films annually; OASIS Fine Art and Craft, a collective gallery featuring the wares of many local artisans; and The Virginia Quilt Museum, where visitors can browse a collection of quilts, a Civil War Gallery, antique and toy sewing machines, and rotating exhibits from across the United States.
Harrisonburg also includes several buildings that listed in the National Register of Historic Places: The Thomas Harrison House, the Rockingham County Courthouse, Joshua Wilton House and the Lucy F. Simms School, now a community center.
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The old Courthouse is located in Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg. Photo: West Phillips