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.
Cole Hall. Ted and Company uses humor and professional storytelling to talk about issues of faith and social justice, presenting The Big Story. Shows at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Free admission, open to the public. For more information, visit bridgewater.edu
Concert Hall, Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. Night Music, Masterworks by Bartok and Crumb. Performed by JMU School of Music faculty members. For more information, visit www.jmuforbescenter.com
41 Court Square. How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can`t Change. Documentary. Limited seating, first come, first served. Sponsored by The Sierra Club, JMU School of Media Arts and Design, JMU Communication and Advocacy MA Program, and the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley. For more information, call 540-478-3677 or visit www.howtoletgomovie.com
521 W. Main St. Historical interpreter, Dennis Bigelow: Founding Fathers Series: President Monroe. Part of Signature Speaker Series programs. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.waynetheatre.org
101 Maury River Drive. Sept. 26-Oct 2. For More Information, call 540-261-7321 or visit www.glenmaurypark.com
901 Amherst St. Meet at the garden entrance. Historical and Heirloom Plants. Learn about old-fashioned herbs and plants, including plants used traditionally for medicines, soaps, fabrics, and dyes. Weather permitting. For more information, call 540-662-1473, extension 240 or visit www.theMSV.org.
15 N Loudoun St. Gaudete Brass. For more information, call 540-665-2878 or visit www.brightboxwinchester.com
Institute for Visual Studies, Room 208, Roop Hall. Playing Pictures: Graphic Notation in the 20th Century. Sept. 13 through Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and by appointment. Free admission. For more information, call 540-568-5656 or visit www.jmu.edu
336 Belle Grove Rd. Belle Grove Plantation front yard. Belle Grove in a Box. 30 minute interactive orientation for all ages about the history and settlement of the Shenandoah Valley, the Battle of Cedar Creek and the impact of the Civil War on the Valley. Various props from a box to visually interpret surrounding landscape features. Sept. 19-24, and 26-30 at 11:30 a.m. Sept.25 at 2:30 p.m.
An Evening with John Bassett: Author and entrepreneur John D. Bassett III of Bassett Furniture will speak about his book, Factory Man. A documentary film will be shown. For more information, visit www.drafthouse.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.