In the central Shenandoah Valley, the Melrose Caverns and Harrison Farmstead is a 142-acre property in Rockingham County along U.S. Route 11. Visited by both Union and Confederate soldiers – some of whom left their names on its walls – during military campaigns through the area during the Civil War, Melrose Caverns was opened in 1929 as a roadside tourist attraction for travelers along the Valley Pike, which had recently been improved for auto travel as U.S. Route 11. Originally named the Blue Grottoes of Virginia and Civil War Museum, Melrose Caverns closed in 1967 after business declined in large part due to the opening of Interstate 81, which diverted tourists and travelers away from U.S. 11. Today’s property also retains a 1929 filling station constructed of limestone (“bluestone”) and a rustic bluestone lodge that was part of the caverns business complex. The property also features a vernacular circa-1859 Greek Revival-style farmhouse and agricultural buildings associated with the Harrison Farmstead, including a log summer kitchen which dates to around 1820.
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark