A Brief History of The Museum!


The Strasburg Steam Pottery-c1890
Settlers have resided in the beautiful northern Shenandoah Valley since the 1700s and have left behind a rich heritage, intermingled with traces of ealier Native American cultures. Strasburg, Virginia (also known as Pot Town) became well known for its pottery manufacturing (hence the nick-name). The first local pottery dates from 1761. At least 17 skilled potters produced earthen and stoneware pottery commercially until just beyond the and of the 1800s. (Excerpt from "A Brief History of the Strasburg Museum" by Marie Spence).

The Museum building structure was built ca 1890 and began operation on 16 February 1891 as a steam pottery - The Strasburg Steam Pottery was also known as the Strasburg Stone and Earthenware Manufacturing Company.
Dr. Granville A. Brown, a Strasburg resident, was instrumental in the creation of this company.

The building is sixty by one hundred and ten and is of brick construction, two stories in height and had a slate roof (replaced in 2010). David Milton Crabill of Toms Brook Virginia was the contractor for the building project. Mr. Crabill also built the nearby "Horse Shoe Factory". The pottery building was constructed during the "boom" period which took place during the 1890s. The Steam Pottery was constructed at the end of that period for the demand of pottery wares. It operated as a steam pottery until ca 1909.

Many of the Strasburg area independent potters became employees of the company. Pottery for storing food was being replaced by the glass jar. Most independent Strasburg area potters marked their wares but none of the pottery manufactured in the steam pottery is known to have been marked. For more information about Strasburg Pottery, select the above menu option.

The Town was re-subdivided during that time by the Strasburg Land Improvement Company. The larger lots created by Peter Stover, the founder of Strasburg, and depicted in the plat of the town in the 1783 plat by Alexander Hite were divided into much small parcels. The five acre "commons" lots were divided into many lots 100 by 125 feet in size.


The Strasburg Depot-c1913
In 1913, The building became a railroad depot for the Southern Railway. It was used as a passenger and freight depot until the early 1960s, when it was converted and used as a museum, opening as such July 5, 1970. The property was first leased, but title was later acquired to the property. Here is a list of the railroad workers from Strasburg area who worked for the Manassas Gap, Southern and B&O 1854-1998

The Stark Car-Coupler Corporation also was located in Strasburg, Virginia in the early 1900s.


Picture of the old Winchester and Strasburg Railroad Depot
located on Capon Road Strasburg built ca. 1880.
 
Picture of the Museum's Wooden-Sided Railroad Caboose.