Waynesboro, Virginia, is well known as the crossroads of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. An ideal launching point to enjoy the trails of the Shenandoah Valley, the city itself also holds much to explore. A look into the street signs crisscrossing the city reveals a deep and lasting appreciation for the rich history, art, industry, and musical culture that deeply infuses Waynesboro.
Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley and at the heart of Waynesboro, Virginia, stands a vibrant testament to the values of integrity and citizenship. For over 135 years, historic Fishburne Military School has prepared young men for college and a life of leadership. The oldest and smallest of all military schools in Virginia, Fishburne Military School enrolls 200 student cadets each year into its distinguished academic curriculum built on the structure of an Army JROTC program.
Founded in 1879, by Professor James Abbott Fishburne, the history and heritage of Fishburne Military School is steeped in rich traditions that honor the past, engage the present, and prepare for the future. The school’s focus on honor and service shines brightly in Waynesboro as the Fishburne Military School Corps of Cadets actively participates in service projects, review and demonstrations, parades, and poignant ceremonies throughout the community and region.
Bordered by the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains, the Shenandoah Valley acted as a north-south passage for travelers during its settlement and growth, and at no other time was its location so critical than during the Civil War. Union and Confederate troops clashed along its length as the two armies sought to gain ground while driving the enemy backwards. Today, Civil War buffs can experience those costly battles through a variety of museums, films, tours, battlefields, and re-enactments. Since any point in the Shenandoah Valley is easily reached within an hour or two of Waynesboro, the region is ripe for day trips and driving tours.
This article by Monique Calello is reprinted with permission from The News Leader.
THE WAYNESBORO STORY BEHIND THE FILM “ROSENWALD”
Five people gather at a former school in Waynesboro and sit down at a table in a room that more than six decades ago was a home economics classroom. A married couple who own businesses in Staunton and Waynesboro, a history professor from Mary Baldwin University, a building supervisor for Waynesboro Parks and Recreation and a retired business owner who now serves on the board of a historical society for the Port Republic community. From this building they have come and made their mark in the world.
In Waynesboro, Virginia, the city’s deep and vibrant history is a valued resource. From industry to entertainment, Waynesboro’s heritage continues to impact its community, culture, and growth. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience these wonderful living traditions during your next visit!
Waynesboro: The “Iron Cross”
In 1856, just a few years before the Civil War began, engineer Claudius Crozet completed the construction of a nearly mile-long railroad tunnel through the Rockfish Gap of Afton Mountain. The tunnel allowed steam engine trains to cross the Blue Ridge Mountains, opening up an East-West route to transport both freight and passengers. This route later became part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. With the opening of a North-South connection in 1881 by the Shenandoah Valley Railroad (later Norfolk and Western Railway), Waynesboro became the junction of two railroad lines, giving the town the nickname of the “Iron Cross.”
Ninety years ago, the historic Wayne Theatre opened its doors to the first surge of eager patrons waving tickets. This fall, history repeats itself, but now the theatre is sporting a new facelift and a new outlook.
The facelift has been taking place for years—ever since the late 1990s—when the theatre was a vacant twin cinema with pink-tiled bathrooms. Wayne Theatre Executive Director Tracy Straight at that time served as an elementary school music teacher and musical theatre director. She recalls brainstorming with Lillian Morse of the Waynesboro Players about forming a group of arts-minded citizens intent on saving the theatre. This fledgling group grew into the Wayne Theatre Alliance (WTA). Using a variety of tax credits and other capital, the alliance began overhauling the theatre in 2007. Even then, financial challenges forced construction to stop three times before the work was finally completed in 2016. The process was an arduous one for Straight and the WTA, but she asserts, “I am as engaged as ever!” Continue reading “Open Doors: The New Wayne Theatre Invites a Fresh Take”
Waynesboro, Virginia has a rich architectural and cultural history reaching back to its founding in the late eighteenth century. Many significant landmarks have been meticulously maintained and restored, and they paint a vivid picture of the city’s history, industry, and heritage.
Start your tour with these historic properties and districts, all listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
What’s a rail trail and how can the lore of a railroad-rich destination contribute to a cool walk/cycle/learn/relax getaway? Rail trails are conversions of disused railways to multi-use paths for walking, cycling and sometimes horseback riding. Rail trails are growing in popularity around the country, not only because of unique features, but because they can be enjoyed by families and people of all fitness levels. There are several in the Shenandoah Valley worth investigating, and combining the stories of a region’s railroad history with treks along the mostly flat, often shaded, scenic railways can be a fun way to explore. There are plenty of ways to do just that from a base camp in Waynesboro, Virginia. Continue reading “Walk/Cycle/Learn/Relax on a #WaynesboroVA Rails-to-Trails Adventure”