The Town of Timberville boasts a rich and extensive history, one of the reasons many residents display great pride in their Town. Before there was any resemblance of a town, there were two forts. The first was located just west of the current town, on Fort Run near Simmers’ Garage and was in existence in 1744. The second fort was located near the Bank of the Shenandoah River, near what is commonly known as the Otto Zigler house, but was torn down in 1880. In 1750, a log house was constructed on the same property; this building still stands today.
A view of Main Street as it once looked. The building in the center was the drugstore at the corner of Main Street and Church Street, which still stands today. The building to the right housed the D.S. Wampler Store, and the building to the left of the drugstore was Adam Lichliter’s house.
Like many other establishments, the river was important in the development of the Town, as it was a good means to transport materials and marketable goods. The first store was opened by Abraham Williamson in 1814 and the settlement became known as Williamsport. In 1872, William G. Thompson became proprietor of the store and the settlement’s name changed to Thompson’s Store. Around 1850, the name changed again, this time to Riddle’s Tavern. Timberville witnessed growth with the addition of businesses such as a tannery in 1814, a pottery in 1830, and a hemp mill, all started by John Zigler. At around the same time, a saddle and harness shop was opened by Adam Lichliter, and his brother Samuel opened the first shoemakers shop. In 1831, Tobias Schull started a blacksmith shop at the south end of the bridge. Later, B.F. Crist would also operate a blacksmith shop at the same location. Nathaniel Bare opened a store in 1844, which was later operated by W. A. Pence as a general merchandise store.
A view looking north towards the covered bridge. To the right of the bridge is B.F. Crist’s blacksmith shop.
The mail was brought to Harrisonburg, in 1827, by coach, and then distributed to the surrounding towns. The first post office was established that same year, and Adam Lichliter became the first postmaster. In 1902, three rural mail routes were started which serviced 334 homes. The first drugstore in Timberville was established by S. F. Dingledine and D. H. Bowman in 1883.
The North Fork of the Shenandoah River bisects the Town of Timberville by flowing from west to east. The structure built to avoid the river and the one that is probably most associated with Timberville is the covered bridge. A sketch of the covered bridge is included as part of the letterhead used today on Town stationery. Over the years five bridges have been built spanning the river. The dates of the first and second bridges are not known. The third bridge was built in 1840, but washed away in 1843. For the next 41 years the only way to get from one side of Town to the other was by fording the river. In 1884, the covered bridge was constructed and stood until 1938, when the present bridge was erected.
Information for this page was obtained from the Town of Timberville Comprehensive Plan and Timberville: The Early Years.
TIMBERVILLE HISTORIC DISTRICT
For information regarding the Timberville Historic District's status click on the following link.
For a list of individuals and businesses who contributed to establishing the Timberville Historic District click on the link below.
For more information on the history of Timberville and the Plains region of the Shenandoah Valley visit the Plains District Memorial Museum.