CrossRoads, the main campus of the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center, is situated on Garbers Church Road in Harrisonburg, with a hilltop site providing vistas overlooking Harrisonburg City and the Shenandoah Valley. The 24-acre campus has been designed as a farmstead with a working garden. The 1854 Burkholder-Myers house, and the Whitmer School and Cove Mennonite Church, a one-room school house and meetinghouse, have been moved to the site. The Weaver-Brunk Log House was dismantled and rebuilt there; the Heatwole Shoemaker and Cobbler Shop is currently under construction. The grounds are open for tours Wednesday through Saturday, from 10 AM to 5 PM. The facilities are also available for rental.
[The main campus is located at 1921 Garber's Church Rd., Harrisonburg, VA 22801. The entrance is located between the radio station and Harrisonburg High School, and it is also directly across the street from the construction site that will be a new Harrisonburg City Schools elementary school.]
When visiting the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center (VBMHC), make the Welcome Center your first stop. The building that houses the Welcome Center was purchased and remodeled in 2005 to serve as a gateway and orientation place for visitors to VBMHC. It includes a gift shop, display room, offices, meeting room, and base for our volunteer guides. The gift shop features Heritage Center literature, books, art, crafts, and special mementos.
In 1854 Mennonite Bishop Martin Burkholder built this house, the first building to open at the center. A Myers family, descended from early Brethren settlers, owned the house in recent years and donated it to CrossRoads. It was moved up the hill to the CrossRoads site in 2002 to make room for Harrisonburg High School’s relocation.
This 1854-era wash house is typical of the structures built near farm houses of the time. Women used the fireplace inside to heat water for washing clothes or making soap. During butchering days, the fireplace was used to boil fat for pressing into lard or cooking side meat to grind into a pudding that was stored in crocks and eaten with corn meal. This wash house was moved to the current CrossRoads site in 2003, along with the nearby Burkholder-Myers House, but was set on the current foundation in 2008 and finished in 2009.
Whitmer School House and Cove Mennonite Church
This one-room structure was built circa 1904 above Mathias, WV, by Mennonite and Brethren folks who had settled the area. When the school closed circa 1940, it continued to serve as a meetinghouse for Sunday school and church, known later as Cove Mennonite Church. After the church closed, the five children of the Jesse and Beulah (Whitmer) Halterman family donated the building to CrossRoads. It was sawn in thirds and reassembled at the CrossRoads site in late 2004 to illustrate early education and mission work in the mountains.
This 1900s era blacksmith shop was moved to the CrossRoads site in 2008 and is now fully equipped with blacksmithing tools and equipment, including a new forge. Blacksmiths work in the shop for special events group tours. Contact us today to find out about the next opportunity to see the smithery in action.
Weaver-Brunk Log House
Reconstruction of the 1829 Weaver-Brunk Log House is almost complete. Moved up over the hill from just off of Rawley Pike, this gorgeous building features a hanging wall which would have been moved and latched to the ceiling to accommodate larger gatherings and worship services. The log house originted during an era of Anabaptist church history in the Shenandoah Valley in which most church meetings took place inside homes, thus this distinctive design feature. In 2016, workers added front and back porches to the log house.
During July and August, visitors to the CrossRoads amphitheater experience the serenity of Sunday evenings in a peaceful woodland setting. The summer Vespers services begin at 7:00 PM and end at 8:00 PM, and they feature music and a brief meditation or message. Limited bench seating is available, but guests are advised to bring their own lawn chairs. Parking is available at the top of the hill.
The amphitheater also serves as one of the most enchanting venues for listening to live music outdoors at the annual Sing Me High Music Festival. Join us in 2017 for the music festival on Friday, August 25 and Saturday, August 26.
Brunk Revival Trailer
The exhibit housed in the original Brunk Revival traveling truck offers a glimpse into an era of 20th church history with long-reaching effects. Located on the hilltop of the CrossRoads campus, this trailer affords visitors an opportunity to peak into a past which some might remember well -- and others might not have known existed at all.