Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

092-0013 Big Crab Orchard Site

Big Crab Orchard Site
Photo credit: Nyttend/Wikipedia, 2017

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 02/21/1978

NRHP Listing Date 08/11/1980

NRHP Reference Number 80004230

Patented in 1750, the Big Crab Orchard Site was one of the first European settlements in Southwest Virginia. Parts of the tract were later owned by Morriss Griffith and William Ingles and then acquired by Thomas Witten, Sr., who settled here ca. 1760. In 1774 Witten’s log house was reinforced and became known as Witten’s Crab Orchard Fort, serving as a defense against Indians. In 1793 the first Pisgah Methodist Episcopal Church, a log building, was erected nearby. The archaeological sites of both structures remain. The Big Crab Orchard Historic and Archaeological Complex also preserves various Late Woodland Period Indian sites (A.D. 800-1600), including the sites of a palisaded village, burial cave, campsite, and rock shelter. Part of the Big Crab Orchard Site is now owned by the Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park Inc., and includes a museum, a 1926 replication of Witten’s Fort, and a reconstructed pioneer settlement.

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

Updated: July 19, 2022