Stop # 10
South Holliday Street did not extend beyond the top of the hill until the river bridge was constructed in 1970. The North Fork of the Shenandoah River has always been a vital part of Strasburg. Today it is the town's main water supply. Early trappers and farmers carried their products downriver on flat bottom boats to markets along the Potomac. The Shenandoah River is one of the few rivers in the world that flow north. So, when traveling south toward Harrisonburg you are actually going "up" the valley.
In 1835, Stasburg consisted of 78 dwellings and a population of 470 people. The earliest shops and businesses were on Queen Street and Holliday Street was known as Market Street. For many years it was the parade route for Memorial Day celebrations on May 30th. Young girls in white dresses carried baskets of flowers on to the cemeteries to be strewn over veteran's graves.
Hotel Strasbug was originally built as a private hospital in 1902. It was operated by Dr. Mackall Bruin, who also made house calls on horseback. The nurses' home was next door and a three story carriage house was at the rear. Years later it became a place of lodging and dining. Many may remember the delicious meals prepared by Mrs. Murphy for the hotel patrons. In 1987 the owners restored it in the Victorian Age elegance you see today.
During the1920's, Chautauqua came to town, pitching tents diagonally across from the Hotel. For a full week there were lectures and music, even a program coaching children to perform their own play as the week's finale. Occasionally, Orlando Keister brought his rosewood melodeon, or keyboard, to the site to accompany a program.
One block away, on the southwest corner of Holliday and King Streets stood the Zea residence. The large home, stable and outbuildings were razed in 1952 to build the brick bank building and parking lot you see today. In 1856, Edward Zea and John Pinkney began their mercantile business in a log building facing King Street. The intersection of King and Holliday Streets was "Town Square". Landowners at each corner obtained a small amount of land when officials did away with the Square. It required an Act from the General Assembly of Virginia to sell the public property, but in 1885, the portion with the town well and pump became the Zea's front yard.
Mrs. Mary Goodshell lived on the corner of Hilliday and Queen in the early 1900's. Her flock of geese often gathered on the sidewalk. Pedestrians had to cross the street for fear of being goosed!