Nestled along with one of America’s historic westward expansion routes, Harrisonburg, VA marries history, the great outdoors, and modern vibrancy. An independent city in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley region, Harrisonburg is home to approximately 53,000 residents who come from a wide array of backgrounds and cultures.
A brief history
Harrisonburg was founded in 1779 when Thomas Harrison, one of the earliest settlers in the area, deeded two and a half acres of his property to the public, following the establishment of Rockingham County by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Surrounded by natural springs and lying along Virginia’s Heritage Migration Route, the area hosted travelers that included Native Americans, European settlers, and those of the Brethren and Mennonite faiths.
In 1780, the town of Harrisonburg was officially created. Annexations in the 1800s and 1900s led to the town’s rapid growth, and the establishment of colleges and universities, including the present-day James Madison University, led to greater expansion.
Harrisonburg officially incorporated as an independent city in 1916.
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Awards for Harrisonburg, VA
Harrisonburg, known by its nicknames, “Rocktown” and “The Friendly City”, is considered one of the most desirable communities in the scenic Shenandoah Valley region. Proof of this is the numerous awards and recognitions it has received, including:
- Top 10 Best Places for Millennials to Move in 2019 by Reviews.org
- Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation
- 20 Small Towns Perfect for a Winter Getaway by Housemethod.com
- Top City to Start a Business in the US 2018 by Pennygeeks.com
- Ranked second Best Place to Retire in Virginia by Forbes.com
Harrisonburg, VA real estate and houses for sale in Harrisonburg, VA
The housing inventory in Harrisonburg, VA is a charming mix of older homes in established neighborhoods, and new developments comprising single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses for sale. Most homes are between 1,500 and 3,500 square feet, but you’ll also find larger properties with over 4,000 square feet of living space.
Many of the older neighborhoods are found within city limits, close to the downtown area, the city’s historic district, and James Madison University. Some of the most affordable properties in Harrisonburg are found near the university, many serving as housing for JMU population.
Homes in the city are built in various traditional styles, with classic red brick exterior walls as a popular feature. With spacious yards and gardens, they’re found along tranquil, tree-lined streets that create a welcoming, family-friendly vibe.
Living in Harrisonburg, VA
- History and cultureHarrisonburg has a wealth of historic and cultural destinations, some going back to its earliest days in the 1700s. These include the Rockingham County Courthouse & Springhouse on Court Square, the Hardesty-Higgins House, the Breneman-Turner Mill, and the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center. The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center gives visitors a unique glimpse at the city’s past through its traditional buildings and the members’ way of life.
- The outdoorsSurrounded by majestic mountains and rolling farmlands, Harrisonburg has much to offer those who love the outdoors. Wineries, as well as dairy and fruit farms, serve up Harrisonburg’s rustic side. Fishing and hunting are two of the most popular pastimes in the area.
- EducationUniversities and colleges like James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University give Harrisonburg a dynamic college town vibe. Younger students attend Harrison City Public Schools, and consistently get above average scores in standard tests.
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