A Guide to the


Historic Properties Collection, 1989-2006

Collection SC 5016

Compiled by: Margaux Zanelli, May 2007
Edited, July 2008

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historic Properties Collection, 1989-2006

Collection No.: SC 5016

Creator: Students in Mr. Darryl Nash’s Historic Preservation class, James Madison University

Extent:  2.8 linear feet; three Hollinger boxes and one oversized box 18”x23”x3”


The collection contains National Register of Historic Places nomination forms and supporting documents, maps, floor plans and images for properties in the vicinity of Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg generated by students in James Madison University’s Historic Preservation class, 1989-2006.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions:

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions:

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk. (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation: 

Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historic Properties Collection, 1989-2006, SC 5016, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Acquisition Information:

Received from Mr. Darryl Nash in June 2006.


The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historic Properties Collection came into existence in 1989 when HIST 493/693 was first offered at James Madison University. Taught by Mr. Darryl Nash since its inception, the purpose of the course was to teach students historic preservation techniques, while providing a hands on project solidifying those objectives taught in class.  At the end of term, students were expected to complete a Nomination form ready for submittal to the Department of Historic Places.  Mr. Nash had retained a sizable collection of student projects, and donated them to Special Collections in the Fall of 2006.

Processing Notes


May receive regular additions of material.

Separated Material:

Photocopied and/or duplicated material was separated from the collection.  Original wallpaper samples from the Kiser-Roller House (1993) and the Liskey House (1995) were scanned and discarded. Two irregularly sized floor plans for the Lincoln-Pennybacker House (1989) had been pieced with tape, and thus were scanned and discarded. Images for the O.C. Sterling House (1989) had been pasted on mat board, which were scanned.

Related Material:

See also Margaret Grattan Weaver collection SC# 2030.

Historical Note

Properties represented in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historic Properties Collection provide lasting documentation of significant properties in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County area. The unique architecture and historical significance of these properties provided the foundation for consideration for nomination for the National Register of Historic Places.

Architectural styles in Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg differ from eastern Virginia largely due to early settlement patterns. Rockingham County was formally established in 1777 from Augusta and Orange counties. The physical geography of Rockingham County, located west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, deterred most settlers on the eastern coast from crossing the mountains to explore western Virginia. The immigrants of Rockingham County thus hailed from northern states, such as Pennsylvania and Maryland, bringing with them architectural styles from their Germanic, Swiss, and Scots-Irish heritage.

There were two distinct periods of development in America, both of which influenced architectural choices in Rockingham County and Harrisonburg; the Antebellum period from 1830-1860 and the Reconstruction and Growth period from 1865 to 1917. The dominating styles in Rockingham County ranged from 19th century Colonial (as seen in the Mannheim House,) 19th century Georgian (as seen in the Emanuel Roller House and the Contentment House,) 19th century Federal (as seen in the Jacob Yount House,) to 20th century Modern.  Transitional styles include the Queen Anne style, Gothic and Greek Revival, Italianate, and Colonial Revival. All of these distinct styles were modified to reflect local traditions and customs. This change of style, due to local materials, craftsmen, and traditions, is known as “vernacular style.” All of the houses in this collection represent some form of vernacular style, while reflecting the national architectural style as well.

Some of the more notable properties in the collection include:


The Thomas Harrison House: The historical context of the Thomas Harrison House is vital to the Harrisonburg community as it was the home of its founder, Thomas Harrison. The house represents the first permanent structure of the area, as well as one of the only surviving vernacular stone structures. This circa 1750 house reflects the 18th century vernacular style to its fullest extent. The house, built of limestone rubble, is a one and half story single pile structure over a raised basement with an attic. The basement was built over a spring, which is characteristic of many early Rockingham County houses.

Mannheim:  This property serves as an example of 18th century farm life and the institution of slavery, which was not as widespread in Rockingham County as in central and eastern Virginia.  Architecturally, the Mannheim house represents the Germanic influence. Built in 1750 with a massive central chimney, this two story house displays fine Germanic craftsmanship. The property also includes several examples of outbuildings, including a springhouse, icehouse, and slave quarters.

Contentment:  The historical context of Contentment has both political and social elements. Members of the Grattan family, the original builders of the house, served in the Virginia House of Delegates. In 1864, the land surrounding Contentment was used during the Civil War as Confederate troops organized there prior to the Battle of the Piedmont. Socially, the Grattan family represents one of the most prominent Scots-Irish families in Rockingham County, as the family had resided in Contentment since 1761 and helped support Revolutionary War efforts. The Contentment House is a large, two-story Georgian style farmhouse built in 1823. With the traditional pattern of two windows aside a central door, a second story aligned with the same layout, and fireplaces on the gable end, the house remains relatively unchanged.

John Paul House: This property, as its name suggests, is significant largely due to the significance of its inhabitants.  The Paul family boasts two federal judges and one state judge. Most prominent was Peter Paul, Jr. who was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1855. The John Paul House, also known as the Ottobine Farm, is representative in the nineteenth century changing architectural styles as it reflects both Late Victorian Gothic style and Greek Revival. The original 1890 Gothic-style carved porch was replaced in 1939 with a two-story Greek Revival portico to match the family’s growing prosperity in Harrisonburg.


Peale House:  Jonathan Peale, the owner, was a wealthy farmer and prominent citizen in early Harrisonburg history.  However, its historical significance stems from its association with General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who was said to have set up base at the Peale House prior to the Battle of Cross Keys and Port Republic. The Peale House is a unique example of Gothic Revival architectural style incorporated with vernacular style built in the 1840s. Constructed of brick, the house boasts Doric columns supporting a two story portico on the front and two story columns supporting the back porches; these features are reminiscent of ancient Greek temples hence the style name.

Scope and Content:

The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historic Properties Collection consists of 2.8 linear feet of material, c. 1989 to 2006. The collection was generated by students in Mr. Darryl Nash’s Historic Preservation Class (HIST 493/693, ARTH 493) at James Madison University. The only exception to this is the Graves Chapel Property which was completed by Mr. Nash himself. The collection primarily contains National Register Nomination Forms and supporting material for potential property candidates for the National Register of Historic places in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, supported by a wide array of documents and images relating to each property. It is arranged chronologically by date generated, then alphabetically by property with the following sub series: Forms, Supporting Documents, Images, and Oversized. For more a more detailed list for each property please see itemized contents list.


The collection is arranged chronologically by the date the project was completed, then alphabetically.  Within project folders, documents are arranged according to the following sub series: Forms, Supporting Documents and Images. For more a more detailed list for each property please see itemized contents list.  Asterisks before a project title in the finding aid indicate that there are materials in the oversized series relating to that project.


Massey, James C, Shirley Maxwell, J. Daniel Mezzzoni, and Judy Reynolds. Shenandoah County

         Historic resources survey: survey report. Richmond, Virginia: The Virginia Department of Historic

         Resources, 1995.

National Register of Historic Places. SED/JJ. 2 February 2007. National Park Service.


Suter, Scott Hamilton and Cheryl Lyon. Harrisonburg. Chicago, Illinois: Arcadia, 2003.

Suter, Scott Hamilton and Cheryl Lyon. Places, Faces, & Traces: Historical Photographs of

         Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Dayton, Virginia: Silver Lake Mill, 2005.

Terrell, Isaac Long. Old Houses in Rockingham County, 1750-1850. Verona, Virginia: McClure Printing

          Company, 1970.

Contents: view itemized list


Lethe Property





Lincoln-Pennybacker House,

       Hand drafted floor plans,

         [4pp, 2 scanned: Image 1 (1.54mb)  Image 2 (1.5mb)]


Maplewood: John Hopkins House


O.C. Sterling House

       [Link to images 1-3 (940kb), Link to images 4-7 (.98mb)]


Thomas Harrison House


*Rockingham Motor Company


*Twin Maples 


John Roller, Sr. 


Kiser-Roller House,

      Scans of plaster and wallpaper samples from parlor room:         1 (1.38mb) 2 (1.42mb) 3 (1.29mb) 4 (1.42mb) 5 (2.07mb) 6 (962kb) 7 (625kb)


Seller’s House


*Jacob Yount House


*Idlewood Farm


Long’s Chapel (Zenda)



*Barrybuck House


Liskey Buildings (See also Liskey Farm, 2005),

      Link to Wallpaper sample (2mb) 


Isaac Hardesty House


Peale House







First National Bank 


Graves Chapel 


Greenland Home


Shoe Factory

2: 7-8

Tide Spring


Breneman’s Mill  (see also 2003)  


Paul House 

2: 11-12

Saufley-Frysinger House


Train Depot & Gas Stations 


Hardesty-Higgins House Committee 


Pence Farm/Spring  


Whitmore House  


Greenmount Farm   

3: 1-2


Breneman’s Mill  (see also 2000)   


*Burkeholder-Myers House  


*Fawley Homeplace  


*Blosser House   

3: 6&7

*Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church “Dayton Chapel”   




*Liskey Farm (see also Liskey Buildings, 1995)    


*Craney Island    


Winston-Liskey House Project 

Box 4: Oversized 

Blosser House, 2004, hand drafted floor plans [18”x24”, 3pp]

Burkeholder-Myers House, 2003, hand drafted floor plans [18”x24”]

Contentment, 1997, hand drafted floor plans [17”x22”, 3pp]

Craney Island, 2006, hand drafted floor plans [18”x24”, 4pp]

Fawley Homeplace, 2003, hand drafted floor plans [18”x24”]

Herringford, 1989, hand drafted floor plans [16”x19”, 3pp]

Idlewood Farm, 1994:

Hand drafted floor plans [18”x24”, 5pp]

Land Survey circa 1989 [11”x17”]

Liskey Buildings, 1995, hand drafted floor plans [18”x24”, 9pp]

Liskey Farm, 2005, hand drafted floor plans [18”x24”, 4pp]

Rockingham Motor Company, 1991, blueprints [24”x36”, 3pp]

Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church “Dayton Chapel" 2004, blueprints [26½”x31½”]     

map drawer

Showalter, 2004, hand drafted floor plans [24”x36”]

map drawer