The City of Harrisonburg has partnered with several local organizations to research and restore the historic Thomas Harrison House in downtown Harrisonburg.
Dr. Carole Nash, archeologist with James Madison University (JMU), and her students have started a survey of the cellar kitchen and exterior site to uncover artifacts and to collect additional information about the time this historic structure was built. Once they complete the archeological dig in the cellar kitchen, they will move to the parking lot surrounding the house.
Any artifacts discovered will be photographed and processed at a lab and eventually put on display. Later, Dr. Nash's team will also use ground penetrating radar to assist in looking under the many layers of gravel and pavement in the parking lot. This will help the archeological team better pinpoint the location to dig below the surface for pieces of Harrisonburg's History.
The restoration will be funded by the City and Margaret Grattan Weaver Foundation. Ultimately, it is envisioned that the Thomas Harrison House will be restored to a period reflective of Thomas Harrison's lifetime and be a showcase for history of the Harrison family, this community, and the region.
The Thomas Harrison House
The Thomas Harrison House dates back to the 1750's and is one of the few remaining homes in the state that was built and occupied by a town's founder. When Thomas Harrison deeded two and a half acres of his land to the public good in 1779, the city of Harrisonburg was born. The home is made from stone and located just west of the intersection of Main and Bruce streets.
The City purchased the Thomas Harrison House from Asbury United Methodist Church in 2014 with plans to restore a significant piece of Harrisonburg's history. The City has partnered with Asbury United Methodist Church, Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, Margaret Grattan Weaver Foundation, Frazier Associates, Architects, and Planners, and JMU to complete this study.
Public Day - June 3, 2017
On Saturday, June 3 from 10:00am until 2:00pm, the public is invited to see the cellar kitchen of the Thomas Harrison House in downtown Harrisonburg.
The artifacts and information Dr. Nash’s team have discovered will be on display during the public event on June 3. The community will have an opportunity to view the archaeological research dig inside of the home, as well as ask questions of the team.