Skip to main content

Shenandoah, Virginia: A Town Left Behind


Shenandoah, Virginia, was once a “boom town” in the late 1800’s due to the iron production industry, being a railroad hub for western Virginia and southern Pennsylvania cities to export their goods, and as a resort location along the south fork of the Shenandoah River.  The town lies in the Shenandoah Valley which is known for many cavern attractions due to the preponderance of honeycombed limestone. 





I decided to take an indirect path via Route 340 from Charlottesville, Virginia, to my destination of the Luray Caverns, and that led me through the town of Shenandoah.  The town is located between Elkton, Virginia, and Whitehouse Landing.  This is a story of a small town in ruin that fell from prosperity to deprivation.



Time for a sweet break! PortMoresby was able to solve our One-Clue mystery this week from the photo of Karen't above. Congratulations!



I remember the lyrics of John Denver’s song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” which bespoke of the Shenandoah River, though the song referred more of the section of the river that flowed through West Virginia.  The iron plants produced cannon balls and iron ore for the Confederacy during the Civil War, along with gunpowder.  Though the town was rebuilt a number of times, it continued to be decimated by many large fires and mighty floods. 





There is currently little to nothing left of the glory days of iron ore production and luxury resorts.  The population is just over 2,000 with a median family income of less than $40,000.  As I drove through the town I felt sad about the shuttered buildings and few businesses.  The bright spots appeared to be river recreation like rafting, appearance of many cargo trains that stopped or passed through, and the memorials to our active military and veterans.  Supposedly the town is the only location in the entire county that has broadband access.



Images (16)
  • 100_8306
  • 100_8311
  • 100_8312
  • 100_8314
  • 100_8315
  • 100_8319
  • 100_8321
  • 100_8322
  • 100_8324
  • 100_8328
  • 100_8329
  • 100_8330
  • 100_8333
  • 100_8334
  • 100_8335
  • 100_8336

George G

Add Comment

Comments (0)

Link copied to your clipboard.