Heritage Centers

By: Melissa Reynolds
By: Melissa Reynolds

There are heritage centers across the country and in Canada. But, these will be the first in the Valley. And organizers say they're long overdue.

"If you want to know where you're going you need to know where you've been," Doris Showalter says.

Showalter's hoping this house will help you find out.

"What is unique is it is the first Brethren Heritage Center and the First Combination Mennonite/Brethren and we have such a unique history that's intertwined here in the Valley," Showalter says.

"There's a great deal of physical evidence that really ought to be made available, talked about, the stories need to be repeated," Al Keim says.

Construction's underway, soon, this area will have seven more buildings, all that have historical significance in Rockingham County, you'll get to tour the house and see artifacts.

"Having not only our history revealed here, but also a demonstration of that history-why have people behaved as they have and how have they interpreted their faith traditions," Showalter says.

This 1804 mill was built by a Brethren and lived in by Mennonites.

"This particular mill will be very interesting because it will be an operating mill it's a water powered grist mill-it has three stones," Keim says.

And stories dating back to the Civil War, something Keim's hoping everyone will be interested in.

"I think the religious dimensions of Valley history are so powerful and so central to everything that happened here that no one could take offense that it's religious," Keim says.

Not to mention the tourist potential is endless.

There are even more heritage centers to look forward to. A couple more houses need to be preserved and a driving tour is in the works.

If you think you have artifacts, a house or money to contribute you can call 438-1275.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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