Harrisonburg, Virginia, is a city rich in history and boasts several fascinating historic sites that attract visitors from near and far. Nestled in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley, Harrisonburg offers a glimpse into the region’s past through its well-preserved landmarks, museums, and architectural gems. Here are some notable historic sites in Harrisonburg that are worth exploring:
- Court Square
- Harrisonburg Farmers Market
- Valley Turnpike Museum
- Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society Heritage Museum
- Edith J. Carrier Arboretum
- The Hardesty-Higgins House
- Eastern Mennonite University
Located in the heart of downtown Harrisonburg, Court Square is a historic district with a vibrant atmosphere. This picturesque area is home to the Rockingham County Courthouse, a magnificent Greek Revival structure built in 1896. The courthouse is surrounded by charming brick buildings, including the old Rockingham County Jail, dating back to the early 19th century.
Established in 1753, the Harrisonburg Farmers Market is one of the oldest continually operating farmers’ markets in the United States. The market is held every Saturday morning and offers a wide array of locally grown produce, artisanal crafts, and delicious food. It’s a great place to soak in the local culture and experience the city’s agricultural heritage.
Valley Turnpike Museum
Housed in a historic tollhouse building along the Old Valley Pike (Route 11), the Valley Turnpike Museum provides a captivating journey into the history of transportation in the Shenandoah Valley. The museum showcases artifacts, exhibits, and photographs that chronicle the development of roads, turnpikes, and the impact of transportation on the region’s growth.
Located within the Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society Heritage Museum delves into the history and culture of the region. The museum showcases a diverse collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents that explore the area’s Native American heritage, Civil War history, and the development of industry and agriculture.
While not a traditional historic site, the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at James Madison University provides a serene and educational experience. The arboretum features beautifully landscaped gardens, walking trails, and over 200 tree and plant species. It serves as a living laboratory for research and education and is an ideal place to appreciate nature and learn about local flora.
The Hardesty-Higgins House
The Hardesty-Higgins House, built in the 1840s, is a notable historic home that now serves as the Harrisonburg Visitor Center. The house showcases Greek Revival architecture and offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s past through informative exhibits and guided tours. It’s an excellent starting point to learn about Harrisonburg’s history and plan your exploration of the area.
Founded in 1917, Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) has a rich history as an institution of higher education. The campus features several historic buildings, including the iconic Administration Building, which dates back to 1915. EMU offers guided tours that provide insight into the university’s heritage and its role in shaping the community.
These are just a few examples of the historic sites you can visit in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Whether you’re interested in architecture, local history, or natural beauty, the city offers a wide range of attractions that will delight history enthusiasts and visitors alike.