November 22, 2009

The Fort Valley Museum

Fort Valley has its own little museum, a former church on Rte 678 (Fort Valley Road). It's open on weekends during the warmer months.

When I visited it, I learned that "the Fort" (a local name for Fort Valley) was once home to a manganese mine. When you see the valley today, there is little to indicate that the area suffered environmental insults in the past, both from the manganese mine and from iron smelting operations. The latter required huge supplies of charcoal for fuel, and so miles of woodland were cut down.

Today Fort Valley is a charming place, sheltered from the outside world by the Massanutten Mountains. It is best known for Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area in the national forest but it also has lovely farmland that's a joy to drive through.

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