Shenandoah, Virginia is located in southern Page County, between the Blue Ridge and Massanutten mountains, just a few miles from Shenandoah National Park.
The town was settled in 1837 by two brothers who had discovered that the area was very rich in natural resources, such as iron ore deposits, hardwood and limestone. The close proximity to the South Fork of the Shenandoah River was beneficial for the trasportation of goods.
Shenandoah played a strategic role during the Civil War. Several iron ore furnaces around Shenandoah were built to smelt raw iron into pig iron. The local Shenandoah Iron Works used the iron to manufacture supplies used in the war. Cannonballs were also manufactured at local furnaces and shipped to the Confederate Army, along with gunpowder from a local gunpowder plant.
In 2006 and 2007, large fires destroyed parts of downtown Shenandoah. Since then grants from the Commonwealth of Virginia have helped the town rebuild the downtown area.
In addition to it's close proximity to the Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive, Shenandoah is just a few miles northeast from Massanutten Resort in Rockingham County.
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Wades Mill, or Kennedy-Wade Mill, is situated in northwestern Rockbridge County and is still in operation as a water-powered grist mill. It was originally built in 1750 and includes a 21-foot overshot water wheel. Photo: Hank Zimmerman