New facility to guide Civil War visitors through Valley

From Stonewall Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign to Union Gen. Philip Sheridan’s final destruction of the Valley in 1864, the central Shenandoah Valley’s compelling Civil War history will be told in a new orientation center for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District.

On Friday representatives of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Harrisonburg Tourism and Visitor Services, and Civil War sites and organizations throughout the region gathered to cut the ribbon on the new facility. Hosted by Harrisonburg Tourism and Visitor Services, the new center will serve the central Valley, orienting visitors to the region’s remarkable Civil War story and encouraging them to explore the battlefields and other historic sites where that story can be experienced today.

“An important piece of the puzzle for the National Historic District is the development of orientation centers throughout the region,” said W. Denman Zirkle, executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, which manages the district.

“So this is a benchmark day for all of us—the Foundation and our partners. By making it easier for visitors to explore the Valley’s Civil War sites, they will better understand our shared history while also contributing fuel to the Valley’s economic engine. In addition, having residents and visitors becoming more engaged in the battlefields and other historic sites will lead to a stronger sense of stewardship of these nationally significant historic resources.”

“We are excited to offer visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in our Civil War heritage,” said Brenda Black, Harrisonburg Tourism operations manager.

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