What follows is a collection of scans from old newspaper articles, postcards, and sales brochures from the early days of Malvern of Madison.
Today's Madison County was created by the Virginia legislature in 1792 and (officially) became Madison County in May of 1793.
There had been a Madison County in the Commonwealth, however, it traveled west to become a part of the newly formed commonwealth of Kentucky in 1792 and that so-named county remains in Kentucky today.
The Virginia legislature felt it would be remiss to not recognize the monumental accomplishments of native son James Madison and so it appropriated a portion of Culpeper County to form today's Madison County.
Repton Mill, a massive 40' x 40' square building of five floors was built on Beautiful Run in 1805. It is the only mill still standing on its original site (it is on private property). The mill continued to function into the 1940s. A man who, as a boy, was sent to the mill with bags of grain laying across the neck of the horse he rode, remembered that he taught himself to swim in the millrace. The miller told him to stay out of the way while he ground the corn and wheat. This activity, which he never discussed with his parents, was his way of keeping himself scarce. (Can you imagine the hue and cry if a youngster was left to himself that way in today's world!)
According to a Virginia Survey in 1937, over the years, there were 21 mills in Madison County. These mills played a critical role in the daily life of the people. Grains were converted into flour, tree trunks were transformed into board lumber, and raw wool was processed into yarn and fabric.
Woodberry Forest School began as a school in September 1889. First it was "at home" schooling for the six sons of Bob Walker and his wife, Anne. Other families asked to include their children and, soon school enrollment increased to 53 students by 1896. Tuition in 1900 was $524/year and included board, fuel, laundry, lights and mending.
A home on the property known as "The Residence," was home to William Madison, James' older brother, and his family. Today, this handsome home is occupied by the Headmaster of Woodberry Forest School.
Soon after he was sworn into office in November 1928, our new president, Herbert Hoover, began to search for a "get away" that would be no more than 100 miles from the White House. He knew his days in the White House would be filled with pressure and his greatest joy was standing on the shore of a flowing stream with his fishing rod.
There was strong competition among local sites in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland to be the one chosen for this "Summer White House." While the behind-the-scenes work was underway, everyone was aware that the final decision would be made by the President. It was in early April, 1929, that a motorcade of government-issued vehicles was seen on the road to Criglersville. Eventually the vehicles pulled over to the side and the President, Mrs. Hoover, and the rest of the party, emerged to transfer into Model A Fords to continue along a more primitive roadway. Along the way the party once again left the cars to mount horses to climb up Chapman Mountain and arrive at the Rapidan River.
The next few minutes were filled with suspense as the group tried to read the President's reaction to the location. Finally, Mr. Hoover pointed to a mostly level area between the Miller and Laurel prongs where they join, forming the Rapidan and said, "That's where I want my camp." The next issue of The Eagle carried a headline that announced "Hoover Visits and Accepts."
Material for this report was taken from "Herbert Hoover's Hideaway" by Darwin Lambert, Shenandoah's Natural History Association, Inc. 1971.
On August 17, 1929, the people of Madison County gave a hearty welcome to President Herbert Hoover at an event that included arrival of Governor Harry Byrd in an Army blimp. An estimated 10,000 persons (more than the County population) enjoyed a meal of Madison County chicken, ham, pie, and squirrel stew.
Rapidan Camp, President Hoover's fishing camp, was situated on 167 acres of land purchased by the President. He also provided $20,000 toward building supplies -- the construction work was performed by Marines assigned to the camp as part of their training experience.
Mrs. Hoover issued directions that, wherever possible, "flora and fauna" were to be left in place. At no time did she allow disturbance of the natural setting nor the importation of any plant material not natural to the landscape. (Today, at the restored camp site, you can walk on a porch that includes a massive tree growing up through the flooring -- included in the building construction).
The Hoovers were good neighbors in their years of coming to Madison County. However, they were modest to the extreme and their good works were often not made public. An example is that they paid $75,000 for construction of a school when they realized the children of the mountain families needed a place to learn. Another example is that they paid for a lovely stained glass window at Piedmont Episcopal Church and Mrs. Hoover sent a $500 check to the Clore family after a devastating fire in the early 1930s. As soon as the Clore family had rebuilt the business and had income, they mailed a repayment to Mrs. Hoover. She returned it saying it was not meant to be a loan, but was an outright gift.
After Mr. Hoover left the White House, he offered the camp to succeeding presidents, but it was not ever used as regularly as during his time in office. Eventually, Mr. Hoover donated Rapidan Camp to the National Park Service. (Some material was found in "Herbert Hoover's Hideaway" by Darwin Lambert, 1971).