DescriptionOne of the oldest cities west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Staunton (STAN-tun) was settled by John Lewis in 1732. It was named for Lady Rebecca Staunton, the wife of Gov. William Gooch. The town was laid out in 1747, and by 1800 its population had reached 1,000. Staunton's growth was aided by the opening of rail service in 1854 and its proximity to extensive mining operations.
Because it remained largely unscathed during the Civil War, Staunton has one of Virginia's finest collections of 19th-century architecture. Trinity Episcopal Church on Beverley Street was built in 1855 on the site of the building in which the Virginia Assembly took refuge in 1781, after escaping the British. Visitors can view 12 Tiffany stained glass windows in the church; phone (540) 886-9132.
Staunton also is noted as the early home of Woodrow Wilson, the most recent of the eight Virginia-born presidents. Departing from the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum are free 2-hour guided walking tours of the city. Offered by the Historic Staunton Foundation, the tours are given Saturday at 10, May through October; phone (540) 885-7676.
Visitor InfoStaunton Visitor Center 35 S. New St. STAUNTON, VA 24401. Phone:(540)332-3971
Self-guiding toursThe visitor center has maps detailing a walking tour of Staunton, which features six National Historic Districts: Beverley, Gospel Hill, Newtown, Stuart Addition, The Villages and The Wharf.
Things to SeeAmerican Shakespeare Center—Blackfriars Playhouse