Christopher B. Martin Oral History Collection, c.1980s SdArch 31

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Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Christopher B. Martin Oral History Collection, c.1980s

Collection No.: SdArch 31

Creator: Christopher B. Martin

Extent: Two folders.


Transcripts of oral history interviews with Eugene Souder, pastor (SdArch 31-1) and F. Everette Smith, president of the local Farm Bureau Assn. (SdArch 31-2), concerning the coming of the Coors Beer Company to the county.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions:

None; Legal releases were obtained from the interviewees in December 1988 and January 1989.

Use Restrictions:


Preferred Citation: 

[Identification of interview, SdArch 31-__], The Christopher B. Martin Oral History Collection, c.1980s, SdArch 31, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Acquisition Information:

Donated by Christopher B. Martin in July, 1988.

Processing Note:

Collection was originally known as SC# 1763.

Historical Note

Christopher B. Martin, journalist, has had a career as a reporter-photographer for a number of regional newspapers and for WJMA Radio News, Orange, Va.

In January 1979, the Adolph Coors Brewing Company announced it was considering acquiring an area of land in Rockingham County for its new Eastern brewery. It was not until later that year that Coors decided to construct the brewery in Rockingham County, Virginia, rather than North Carolina. Local citizens had mixed feelings about this. Many people felt that the brewery and the coming of industry to the area would significantly help the economy. For example, Coors projected the creation of 1,200 jobs. Others from the local community believed that creating 1,200 jobs would create a greater need for homes, schools, and other public services thereby increasing local taxes. Still others believed that brewing beer in the Shenandoah Valley would increase alcoholism, and corrupt the morals of Rockingham County citizens. In a letter to the editor of the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record, a concerned citizen wrote, "Alcohol makes alcoholics, and beer is alcohol. Let them go away. Let our good land, our good grain, and our good resources be used for something better." (DNR, January 29, 1979, p.6)

Scope and Content:

The Christopher B. Martin Oral History Collection, c.1980s, consists of two undated typed transcripts of interviews performed by Christopher B. Martin concerning the Coors controversy which began in 1979. Interviewees are F. Everette Smith, president of the Local Farm Bureau Association and poultry farmer, and Eugene K. Souder, co-chairman of the Rockingham County Concerned Citizens and pastor of a church in Grottoes. Both interviews represent positions against the Coors Company. Smith discussed zoning issues, and what he felt was a waste of good agricultural land. Souder discussed the moral and social implications of a large scale local brewery in Rockingham County.


Eugene Souder, SdArch 31-1, F. Everette Smith, SdArch 31-2


Harrisonburg Daily-News Record: "Coors Says Considering Valley," January 13, 1979; "Board Friendly But Cautious," January 13, 1979; "Brewery Controversy Goes On," January 29, 1979.


Compiled by: Christina Bolgiano, February 1989
Updated: November, 2008