Originally called Teesville after the Tees family, it is said that George Washington was a guest at Tees' Tavern while traveling across the Blue Ridge from Charlottesville to Staunton. In 1797 the town name was changed to Waynesborough after Revolutionary War General "Mad" Anthony Wayne. During the Civil War the Battle of Waynesboro was a defeat for the Confederates and General Jubal A. Early's last stand in the Valley.

By the late 19th century, Waynesboro found itself at the junction of the Norfolk and Western and Chesapeake and Ohio Railways and developed into a major manufacturing and transportation center. DuPont, General Electric, and Virginia Metalworks were among the companies that contributed to the growth and success of this picturesque town nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge.

By the 1980's efforts were made to improve downtown Waynesboro by applying facades to the historic buildings or by tearing them down altogether. Waynesboro joined the Main Street program in 2000 to halt the destruction of these landmark buildings and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. A program is underway to restore the facades of 25 downtown buildings including the Wayne Theater, a 1926 vaudeville and silent movie house. Vacant for the past 20 years, the 8-story Casco Cold Storage Plant, originally a storehouse for apples, is now finding new life as an apartment building with a rooftop club and sweeping views of the Blue Ridge.

Visiting Downtown Waynesboro

Your best bet to tour Historic Downtown Waynesboro at is to begin at the Waynesboro Heritage Museum. Located in the restored 1910 First National Bank Building, the Museum exhibits span nearly three centuries of Waynesboro history. While you're there pick up a copy of the Tree Streets Walking Tour brochure. Tree Streets is a well-preserved historic district that showcases over two centuries of residential architecture. You can walk or drive any or all of the four districts in the tour. Some of the not-to-be-missed properties are the 1909 Queen Anne style Mosby House, which now serves as Belle Hearth Bed and Breakfast and the 1913 Colonial Revival Plumb House, both on Wayne Avenue. Another impressive Colonial Revival, the 1914 Magic House on Walnut now serves as The Tree Streets Inn. One of my favorites is the ornate 1891 Queen Anne style Fry House on Maple that features a turret and intricately detailed trim. Built in the 1920s, the Storybook Homes on Cherry offer many fine examples of Tudor Revival and Arts and Crafts homes in cottage-like settings.

What to See and Do

... Shopping ... Waynesboro is home to the Annual Virginia Fly Fishing Festival, the largest event of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic, and the South River Fly Shop offers a large selection of fly fishing gear and fly tying supplies, as well as full-service guiding and instruction in fly tying and casting. These passionate fly fishers have everything a fly fisher and fly tier needs - boots and waders, vests and packs, fly lines, rods and reels, and fly tying tools and materials.

Located about 7 miles southwest of downtown Waynesboro, Stuarts Draft Antique Mall has everything - Primitives, Early American, Victorian, Art Deco, and Mid-Century home furnishings, clothing, and accessories as well as salvage items. The mall is clean, well-organized, and attractively presented. Family-owned and operated, these folks are very helpful when you're looking for just the right item - and their prices can't be beat.

... Dining ... Owned and operated by two Waynesboro natives and local artists, Stella Bella & Lucy's serves breakfast and lunch in a gallery of art, antiques and vintage treasures. They serve the best pie and coffee in town in a relaxed atmosphere that invites lingering, conversation and browsing.

Stone Soup Books is cozy bookshop set in an 1890's cottage that serves soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts made from fresh local ingredients in their cafe and garden patio. And it seems they have a Civil War history of their own - Confederate earthworks were dug in their backyard during Battle of Waynesboro.

The menu at The Heritage, a popular local hangout, can best be described as Bar Food Gone Wild - nachos, tachos, wings, skins, burgers, dogs, paninis, grilled sandwiches and 22 beers on tap. They do offer salads and a children's menu as well. The service is excellent, the atmosphere is friendly, and there is live entertainment with local bands on weekends.

... Battlefields ... Located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, Waynesboro is a great starting point for touring the scenic and historic battlefields of the Shenandoah Valley Campaigns of the Civil War. McDowell, Cross Keys, Port Republic, Opequon, Fishers Hill, and Cedar Creek are within short driving distances. The final battle of the Valley campaigns occured in Waynesboro itself.

... Tasting Rooms ... Nearby tasting rooms include Pollak Vineyards and Veritas Vineyard & Winery

... Area Attractions ... Waynesboro sits at the junction of two world famous drives - The Skyline Drive and The Blue Ridge Parkway - as well as Shenandoah National Park and the Appalachian Trail, but if you want to get off the beaten path, check out Sherando Lake Recreation Area located in the George Washington National Forest at the base of the Blue Ridge about 13 miles south of downtown Waynesboro. This relaxing, scenic area offers two lakes with a sandy beach, swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, picnicking, and camping.

Pictured at the top: Built in 1806, the Coiner-Quesenbery House is one of the oldest in Waynesboro. Located downtown, the building now serves as a private professional office building.

waynesboro rosenwald- chool

The Rosenwald School in Waynesboro was one of over 5,000 schools built by philanthropist Julius Rosenwald to educate African American students during the time of segregation. The school served the community from 1924 until desegregation in 1965. The original school was replaced by this more modern one in 1959 and currently serves as the Rosenwald Community Center.

waynesboro ridgeview park

The South River meanders through Ridgeview Park, near the scene of the Battle of Waynesboro.

waynesboro first presbyterian church

The Waynesboro First Presbyterian Church has served the community since 1846. The present sanctuary was built in 1911 in the historic Tree Streets district.