The Point

The Point (HM1NWK)

Location: Port Republic, VA 24471 Rockingham County
Country: United States of America

N 38° 17.766', W 78° 48.581'

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"The Point" marks Shenandoah River's birth

Straight ahead is "The Point" where the North River (Ieft) and the South River (right) meet to form the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. Imagine a day in the early 1800s when the river depth was right for traffic. A flotilla of flat-bottomed boats, called gundalows, waited to set off down-river for Harpers Ferry. On the captain's signal, eight-foot-long tin horns signaled the departure. Usually, a boat was crewed by four pole-men and a man each to the front and rear rudders. At Harpers Ferry, boats were dismantled and the lumber used for buildings. The boatmen, paid as much as $18 for the two or three day trip down-river, returned home on foot.

Gundalow construction took place on both sides of the river here. A gundalow, typically 60 to feet long and 9½ feet wide, could be built for as little as $6 or as much as $600. A variety of goods, including wooden scantling, whiskey, tanned leather, grains, pig iron, copper, manganese, and even herds of turkeys, were hauled in by wagon and stockpiled on The Point awaiting transportation.

During the Civil War when bridges and roads were at times impassable, the river traffic continued to deliver sorely needed goods to Confederates downstream. In late spring, 1864, Union general David Hunter's forces destroyed most of Port Republic industry, an act which was a major factor in the decline of river traffic which had flourished for most of the century. The last gundalow departed in 1878.

From the street's dead-end at North River, evidence of former bridges and an old dam just upstream can be seen. At the dead-end at South River, the lower ford's site, the bed of one of the two millraces that paralleled South River is visible.

Hauling goods down Water Street.

Sign courtesy of the Society of Port Republic Preservationists, Inc. in cooperation with Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District Commission. Installation by Port Republic Ruritan Club.
Placed ByThe Society of Port Republic Preservationists, Inc
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 13th, 2015 at 9:03pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 691539 N 4240938
Decimal Degrees38.29610000, -78.80968333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 17.766', W 78° 48.581'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 17' 45.96" N, 78° 48' 34.86" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 8741-8749 State Rte 1602, Port Republic VA 24471, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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