Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

206-0002 Dayton Historic District

Dayton Historic District
Photo credit: David Edwards/DHR, 2021

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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 06/19/1984

NRHP Listing Date 08/16/1984

NRHP Reference Number 84003590

Established in 1833, the Rockingham County town of Dayton is among the most distinctive of several small towns lining the Shenandoah Valley’s former Harrisonburg-Warm Springs Turnpike. The turnpike, and later the railroad, serviced local enterprises. The establishment of Shenandoah Seminary (later renamed Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music) in 1875, followed by the formation of the Ruebush-Kieffer Co. in 1878, brought Dayton special renown. One of the South’s largest musical printing houses, the Ruebush-Kieffer Co. popularized the singing school and shaped-note traditions of county resident Joseph Funk. With over fifty songbooks, the Ruebush-Kieffer Co. reached a national audience. Since the company’s dissolution in 1931 and the removal of the conservatory to Winchester in 1960, Dayton lost much of its bustle. It remains, however, the commercial center for a large community of Old-Order Mennonites. Its streets, lined with rows of structures in local vernacular styles, recall Dayton’s heyday.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: April 16, 2021