Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center
“Where History and Hospitality Meet”
212 S. Main St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Visitor Services open Mon-Sun 9am-5pm 540-432-8935
Rocktown Gift Shoppe open Mon-Sun 9:30am-4:30pm 540-432-8943
- The Valley Turnpike Museum open Mon-Sun 9am-5pm 540-432-8935
- The Civil War Orientation Center open Mon-Sun 9am-5pm 540-432-8935
- Heritage Bakery & Cafe open Mon-Sat 8:30am-5pm 540-564-1200
- The Center is a Virginia State Certified Regional Visitor Center
- Computer on site- Free online access for travel information
- Lodging & Dining Reservations
- Maps & Directions to Visitor Center
- Get electronic versions of our visitor guide, and check out our Virtual House Tour!
Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center is closed the following days:
• Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 23, 2017)
• Friday after Thanksgiving (Friday, November 24, 2017)
• Christmas Eve (Sunday, December 24, 2017)
• Christmas Day (Monday, December 25, 2017)
• Christmas Holiday (Tuesday, December 26, 2017)
• New Years Day (Monday, January 1, 2018)
Call for hours Memorial Day, Labor Day and Independence Day
Hardesty-Higgins House History:
Home to Harrisonburg’s first mayor Isaac Hardesty, the house bears his name and the name of the physician, Henry Higgins, who began construction in 1848. Isaac Hardesty was born in 1795 and became the city’s first Mayor by charter on March 16, 1849, incorporating the town of Harrisonburg. Hardesty completed construction of the home by 1853 and lived in the house with his wife, Ann, and two children. He was a successful business man, apothecary, and merchant, and he served on the Board of Directors of the Valley Turnpike Company.
Isaac Hardesty supported the Union and moved from Harrisonburg during the early part of the Civil War. The Strayer sisters occupied the house and, during their stay, the sisters hosted Union General Nathaniel Banks. The house served as an inn after the war and was home to the Virginia Craftsman, makers of handcrafted furniture, from the 1920s to the 1980s.
In May 2001, the City of Harrisonburg purchased the house, thanks in part to a federal Transportation Enhancement Act grant in the amount of $420,000. In May 2003, a second TEA-21 grant was received in the amount of $175,000 to assist with renovation costs. The intention was to create a multi-use facility to serve the community as a visitor center and museum that would restore the home’s significance to the City of Harrisonburg.
Today, the building is operated by Harrisonburg Tourism. Inside you will find Visitor Services, the Rocktown Gift Shoppe, The Valley Turnpike Museum, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Civil War Orientation Center and the executive offices for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and Harrisonburg Tourism. We opened in July of 2005 to serve the community and visitors to the region.