Massanutten School/Slave Block/Howitzer, Train Station

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No ticket or pamphlet


October 22nd, 2008

Massanutten School, Slave Block, Howitzer and Train Station  Luray, VA


      We decided it was time to travel to Shenandoah for a mid-week vacation.  We figured fall in mid-week was the best way to see the fall colors as well as beat the crowds. So our trip was Tuesday through Thursday.

      We had done everything we wanted to almost on our first day except the mountain hike. So after that trip (no go to the waterfalls but a nice drive in the mountains) we got bored.  We detoured to New Market and to the battlefields (see Civil War area) and then got back about 4 pm. We were bored.  What to do for the rest of the night?  We lurked about in the hotel for about half an hour and then decided to drive around town.  We discovered a couple things I made some pages about.  One was the Herbert Barbee Confederate Soldier Statue (see Civil War area).  Another was an obscure place in the middle of town on a side street that on first glance you might pass without giving it notice.  It is a little schoolhouse, one room.  It holds 16 desks which is more than the one schoolhouse I saw before a little smaller (also one room, in Michigan).  Anyway, it was open with NOBODY in it.  It supposed to be "by appointment only" I am told but we walked right in and looked around.  Nothing is secured... so I can't believe everything in there could be stolen if someone wanted to! I don't know why the school was open like that... but we went in, completely alone and it was adorable.  Very closed quarters.  Kind of reminded me like Little House on the Prairie, only not a white washed building. Outside of the school I didn't know it at the time though, was a flag pole used during the Civil War. I just discovered that on the internet. This school was in use from 1875-1937. The one-room school was moved from its original site in 1972, and was restored and furnished.  Inside the schoolhouse are sixteen original double desks, a cast iron stove dating back at least one hundred years, a handmade teacher's desk and chair,  an 1880 school house bell and numerous photos and mementoes. I didn't pay anything to get in, but there was a donation box inside (which amazed me that this was out in the open).  I'd suggest just a dollar or two.  It doesn't need THAT much upkeep.  It only takes a couple minutes to see.  30 seconds if you're my husband, but 4-5 minutes for someone who likes to look around.

     Outside the school, unrelated to the school but just placed there for no apparent reason other than this small town doesn't have much so they threw everything together, was a stone block that they claim was used in Slave auctions (slaves were shackled to it I guess).  The sign reads:

Legend and narrative testimonies describe this stone as
A Slave Auction Block
From the Page News & Courier
August 31, 1961

"This native sandstone block...which stood at the corner of Main and Court Streets at the Chamber of Commerce building...was used as a perch for slaves about to be sold at auction...The stone is said to be one of the few now in existence."

It is similar to many which existed in the South prior to the Civil War.

As a part of everyday life, black men, women and children would be displayed and examined on slave blocks and sold for the highest bid. Family groups were frequently sold apart; husbands from wives, mothers from children, etc.

This block is an historic symbol of a dark past of man's inhumanity towards his fellow man. It is also a symbol of how far we have come in learning to respect its victims and in resolving to go forward into the future with mutual respect and understanding.

Erected November 2005

The stone looks authentic and though it's not certain that is what it is, it serves as a great reminder of how inhumane our past once was.

    Next to the Salve Auction Block , is what appears to be a howitzer (machine type gun used during WWI II think and appears maybe to be German, but I can't be sure.  If any weapon experts out there are reading this, please email me at thanks!). I also didn't bother to take any photos, but you can see part of the train depot in the background...


1) The Massanutten One Room Schoolhouse 2) Inside the schoolhouse and me behind teachers desk 3) What appears to be a WWII Howitzer (German probably) 4) Inside the Schoolhouse again and 5) A Slave Auction Block.


 Informative or interesting links:

The Great Slave Auction Block Debate Article

Luray Zoo

Garden Maze

Luray Caverns (the Car and Carraige Museum is on the Caverns Site)

Mimslyn Inn

Shenandoah National Park


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