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...
June is our most favorite time of year. It's all about summer, yet often without a lot of really hot temps. The landscape is as green as ever, and the blue ridges and scenic vistas look their best on a clear June day. It’s simply one of the best times of year to experience the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley.
J. Frank Hillyard Middle School, 226 Hawks Hill Dr. Summer Theater Camp. June 19-July 7. Weekdays only: no camp July 3-4. Storytelling focus. Open to all rising 5 grade through rising 9 grade students. Hosted by The Schultz Theatre and School of Performing Arts. First come, first served. Limited availability. Reservations required. For more information, visit www.schultztheatre.com
Firehall Gallery, 108 N. George St. Two-person show. Runs through June 26. Free admission. For more information, visit washingtonstartists.org
41-F Court Square. Paris Can Wait. Drama. PG. Shows June 26-29 at 4:15 p.m. and 7 p.m. 10% discount, free popcorn for theater members. Tickets: Adults, $9.50. Students and Seniors, $8.50. Matinees before 5 p.m., $8. For more information, call 540-433-9189 or visit ValleyArts.org
106 Island Farm Lane. 2017 Wildlife Discovery Camps. Camp schedule continues June 26-30, July 10-14, and July 17-24, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For ages 7-10 and 11-14. Learn about Virginia`s native wildlife, habitats, ecosystems, animal tracks and signs, and more. Reservations required. Admission: $50 per day, $200 per week. For more information, call 540-837-9000 or visit www.blueridgewildlifectr.org
Blandy Summer Nature Camps. Life Down Under June 26-28, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for rising 2-4th graders, campers will explore life in the leaf litter, underwater, in burrows, even under the canopy. Reservations required. Admission: Cost varies, scholarships available. For more information, call 540-837-1758, extension 287 or visit www.blandy.virginia.edu
Bike Virginia Tour 2017, Buena Vista to Staunton. June 23-28. For more information, visit Bikevirginia.org
Handley Library, 100 W. Picadilly St. Book author birthday celebration. Cake, music, free books, and more. Co-sponsored by the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, Friends of Handley Regional Library, Top of Virginia Regional Chamber, and Robinson Trust Events. Hosted by Handley Regional Library and Shenandoah University. For more information, call 540-662-9041, extension 16 or visit handleyregional.org
Meet at the National Park Service Visitor Contact Station, 7712 Main St.Two-hour, guided car-caravan tour led by ranger vehicle: Chronological interpretation of the Battle of Cedar Creek. Stops at key landmarks. Presented by Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. June 26, 29 and 30 at 2 p.m. July 1, 3, 7, 8, 10, 14, 15, 17, 21, 22, 24, 21, 22, 24, 28, 29 and 31 at 2 p.m. For more information, call 540-869-3051 or visit nps.gov/cebe
Staunton Augusta Art Center classrooms in the RR Smith Center for History and Art, 20 S. New St. Summer Studio. Week-long art camps for ages 4-5, 6-8, 9-12. June 26 through 30, July 10 through 14, and July 17 through 21. Reservations required. Admission: $85 per week. $75 member rate. Scholarships available. For more information, call 540-885-2028
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.