HERITAGE| The Town of Shenandoah



Town History


The town was founded in 1837 by two brothers, Daniel and Henry Forrer.

The Forrer brothers settled in the area to take advantage of the natural resources found in and around Shenandoah. The natural resources included extensive iron ore deposits, hardwood, high-grade limestone, and waterpower. The proximity to the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, was also a great benefit and was later used by the Forrer’s to transport iron ore and other commodities produced by the Shenandoah Iron Works to broader markets down stream.

On February 20, 1838, the Forrers established the first post office in Shenandoah under the name Shenandoah Iron Works with Henry Forrer being the postmaster. Development of the town ensued thereafter with houses, businesses, and industries developed astride of the Shenandoah River. The Shenandoah Iron Works, which was owned and operated by Daniel and Henry Forrer, was also located along the river banks. Ten houses were built facing the river in the Furnace Hollow section of town by a man named Mr. Pee Dee, hence, the name of this section of town today. Other historical structures were also built including Stephens Cottage, the South Fork House, Mt. Lebanon United Church at Comertown, and the Old Verbena Mill in Verbena, just south of town off Route 340.

The Town of Shenandoah played an instrumental role in the Civil War. Three iron ore furnaces around Shenandoah smelted raw iron into pig iron. Unlike during the pre-war years when pig iron was shipped on flat boats on the Shenandoah River to Harpers Ferry, during the war, the pig iron was shipped by wagon to Gordonsville, and subsequently by rail to Richmond for use at the Tredegar Iron Works. In addition to the pig iron, cannonballs were manufactured at some of the local furnaces and shipped out, along with gunpowder from a local gunpowder plant, for use by the Confederacy…





Town Hall Exhibits for USS SHENANDOAH (AD 44)