Forestville Historic District,
Located in southern Shenandoah County along Route 42, the 190-acre Forestville
Historic District encompasses a crossroads mill village settled initially by German
The village arose around a gristmill (center photo) that
Andrew Zirkle constructed about 1760, one of seven mills built
in the area in response to the growing importance of commercial
wheat production. Although a handful of Forestville's buildings
were erected in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, village
lots were not explicitly subdivided until 1838. By 1869, Forestville had a population of 200,
two stores, and a number of artisan shops.
Forestville remains one of the most
well-developed and preserved examples of a mill village within the northern Shenandoah Valley.
In addition to Zirkle Mill—notable in that it was not burned during the Civil War—today’s
district features many 18th-, 19th-, and early 20th-century buildings and structures that embody
both the vernacular building trends of the early German settlers and
the evolving character of Shenandoah Valley architecture. These include a 1918
schoolhouse and an 1873 Italianate-style church (top photos).