July 17, 2018

Bird Haven Factory Restored!

I saw a notice online that Bird Haven was having an open house at the old toy factory on Sunday. I was curious about how it looks now because we saw it eight years ago when it looked sadly dilapidated. It has an interesting history though, and was mentioned in a 1939 WPA guide as a place where "local craftsmen fashion furniture, toys, fireplace equipment, hooked rugs, and quilts, from patterns evolved by their ancestors."

The Carrs, who now own the property, have done an incredible job of bringing these buildings back to life. Exhibits tell the story of the factory, which provided much needed income to people in the Basye area during the Great Depression.

It happens that my most popular blog post ever is "Timberville, Bird Haven, and the WPA" written in 2008.  Blogger recorded over 14 thousand hits for that page, basically from people who searched for "Bird Haven" and "Shenandoah Community Workers" and found very little else about the place. Once in a while I hear from someone who owns an item made by Shenandoah Community Workers or someone who remembers their parent working there.

When I arrived there on Sunday, I was surprised that when I told our hosts that I had written about Bird Haven on my blog, they exclaimed, "You're the Squirrel Ridge blogger!" It's not often that my reputation precedes me.

We enjoyed seeing the restored buildings and a video of people reminiscing about the factory.  It was small but well-equipped and enjoyed by the workers, who took pride in the polished wooden products they crafted.

The factory is not open on a regular basis but if you are interested, follow "Bird Haven Farm" on Facebook.

The entrance on Alum Springs Road leads to the farm but also a small community of homes.

See all my posts about Shenandoah Community Workers (and notice the comments).

Some of the links I mentioned on my blog in past years are now broken, but the construction company that rehabbed the factory has an interesting page about it.  An excellent article by Carole Alexander is linked on her site but it's the entire March 2015 issue of Shenandoah Living so it may take a while to view.

I have seen displays of items made by Shenandoah Community Workers at the Plains District Museum in Timberville and in the Mount Jackson Museum.


  1. ...the WPA was an important part of our history. So unlike the the mess with find ourselves in today! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Interesting. Enjouy your day. Diane

  3. Great to see a restored site that commemorates craftsmanship of the mountain people.

  4. That piece of equipment certainly catches my eye.

  5. You're famous!! How cool is that! :) Sounds like an interesting place.


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