Skyline Drive Records

Our inaugural collection consists of 6,207 legal documents surrounding the State of Virginia's effort at condemning private land within Rockingham County for the creation of the Shenandoah National Park. Feel free to browse the collection by clicking above, using the word tree, or searching specific key words in the search box above.

Skyline Drive Miscellaneous Documents, 1925-1935

https://omeka.lib.jmu.edu/erp/plugins/Dropbox/files/affidavits-1.pdf

A collection of correspondences, newspaper clippings, and legal documents that do not necessarily belong to any individual condemnation case, but…

View the items in Skyline Drive Miscellaneous Documents, 1925-1935

Skyline Drive Deed Books, 1934

deed-book-2.pdf

The two deed books within this collection almost entirely refer to land located within Rockingham County, but other counties within the park’s scope…

View the items in Skyline Drive Deed Books, 1934

Skyline Drive Condemnation Cases, 1925-1935

edwards-j-r.pdf

This collection consists of 6,207 legal documents that belongs toThe State Commission on Conservation and Development of the State of Virginia v.…

View the items in Skyline Drive Condemnation Cases, 1925-1935

An Important Note on the History of the Skyline Drive Collection

Before exploring the Skyline Drive Collection, it is important to understand the history of these documents: where they originated from, why they have been organized in this manner, and how they ended up digitized. It is unclear if the documents found within the miscellaneous and condemnation collections were ever removed from the courthouse after the legal case, The State Commission on Conservation and Development of the State of Virginia v. Cassandra Lawson Atkins and others, concluded and the Shenandoah National Park opened. The Skyline Drive Deed Books were presumably removed from the courthouse when the Security Microfilm Service, based in Danville, Virginia, first microfilmed them in 1966. The Library of Virginia later microfilmed them in 1983. The Deed Books were organized and bound by the court, following their creation, and placed with the other Rockingham County Deed Books.

The Skyline Drive Condemnation Cases and Miscellaneous Documents collections have a more complicated past. They were taken soon after their creation to the other counties – Albermarle, Greene, Page, Augusta, Madison, Rappahannock, and Warren – who were also condemning land for the creation of the Shenandoah National Park, to serve as both precedent and an example for the court on the legal processes to follow. After returning from their multi-county tour at some point in the 1930s, the documents likely remained at the Rockingham County Circuit Courthouse for the next seventy-five years. At some point they were all rolled up in several scrolls and bound with a cloth string. In 2013 Chaz Haywood, Rockingham County Circuit Court Clerk, found the scrolls in boxes during his eight-year campaign to organize and clean up the courthouse archive. The documents found within the scrolls were quite disorganized. Chaz then sent these scrolls in 2013 to KOFILE Preservation, a records preservation company, and they recommended several procedures including deacidfication, mending and reinforcement of paper as necessary, resewing, and archival grade polyester encapsulation. The documents were eventually returned to the courthouse archive from KOFILE Preservation with each document page placed into envelopes of 2 mil archival grade polyester with infrared welded seams.

All the documents returning to the courthouse still had no particular organization and were not arranged in any discernible order. Cindy Cline, a Deputy Clerk of Rockingham County, and Mary Garrett, a local genealogist, went through all the returning documents, naming and reorganizing them into two categories – Skyline Drive Condemnation Cases and Skyline Drive Miscellaneous Documents. Any document that they believed did not directly relate or belong to an individual condemnation case went into the miscellaneous category.

When these documents were digitized and placed on the Exploring Rockingham’s Past site, the organization and file naming structure was maintained to match Cline and Garrett’s imposed arrangement. It is possible for many of the items within the collections to be either incomplete or incorrectly grouped together, the result of their uncertain past or human error respectively, and it is imperative for each visitor to acknowledge this when viewing them. Consider the documents an excellent resource for research, but they should never be relied on to explain the whole story.