Book on history of Route 11 features work of BC prof

A new book that explores the history of U.S. 11 between the Potomac River at Williamsport, Md., and the James River at Buchanon, Va., has been published by the University of Virginia Press, and features the photography of Bridgewater College associate professor of art Scott Jost.

The Great Valley Road of Virginia: Shenandoah Landscapes from Prehistory to the Present, examines the road that has served as a thoroughfare for warring Indians, an avenue of conquest for Southern and Northern armies during the Civil War and – for many years – the only paved artery of note that could get you from place to place in a relatively short span of time.

“Photographing for this book is one of the most satisfying projects I’ve worked on,” said Jost. “When I would show up along Route 11 with my camera and tripod, people would come up to find out what I was doing. When I told them about the project, they started telling me their stories about the road and its history, all with plenty of suggestions for things to photograph.”

The 320-page book features 53 photographs of vernacular architecture and physical geography by Jost, as well as original text from six contributing writers. The book, which also includes engravings, line drawings and maps, focuses on four significant periods of the road’s development – from prehistory to the Colonial period, from the American Revolution to the early national period, from the development of the turnpike through the early 20th century and from the turnpike era to the automobile age and the prominence of U.S. 11 before and after the opening of I-81.

The Great Valley Road of Virginia: Shenandoah Landscapes from Prehistory to the Present was edited by Warren Hofstra and Karl Raitz.

Jost and Hofstra will participate in a reception and book signing on Friday, Oct. 1 from 5-7 p.m. at The Gaines Group, 107 S. Main St., Harrisonburg. Jost noted that the book signing will also feature an exhibit of photographs, some of which were not included in the book.

The event coincides with the October First Fridays Downtown gallery walk in Harrisonburg and is located at South Main and Water streets just above the Oasis Gallery. The entrance is on South Main between Oasis Gallery and Dance & Company.

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

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