Luray History

Old Massanutten One Room School House
Old Massanutten One Room School House

Luray is the county seat and the county’s largest town. It’s also nationally known as the home of Luray Caverns, a breathtaking underground cavern now on the National Register of Historic Places. Luray is also known as the gateway to Shenandoah National Park and home to the park’s management offices. Stanley and Shenandoah are the other two incorporated towns within Page County, Virginia. Both have authentic small-town charm and quaint downtown districts with shops and restaurants.

Page County was formed from parts of Shenandoah and Rockingham counties by an act of the Virginia General Assembly in 1831. Luray, the county seat, was founded in 1812. Shenandoah, the southernmost town, was established in 1884 and Stanley, near the center of the county, was established in 1900. Page County, Virginia, located in the Shenandoah Valley, was formed in 1831 and named for Governor John Page.

The beauty and serenity of Page County that residents and visitors cherish will endure forever. The county’s western edge is protected by the George Washington National Forest. To its east is Shenandoah National Park, Virginia’s only National Park. There are no interstate highways anywhere within the county’s borders. Page County’s rivers, farmlands and mountain views are as unspoiled now as they were when the county was founded in 1831.

  • Luray Caverns is located in the western part of Luray.
  • Luray is the nearest town to the Thornton Gap entrance to Skyline Drive (to the east), as well as serving as the headquarters for Shenandoah National Park.
  • Murder Mountain, located off Old Wagon Road in Luray, has become a destination for ghost hunters.
  • The Luray Downtown Historic District is a Virginia Main Street Community and a registered National Historic District.
  • One of the dominant hills in the Town of Luray is the location of the Grand Old Mimslyn Inn, a 1931 classic Southern mansion style hotel. The hotel is a popular site for wedding receptions. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited the Mimslyn during a short visit in the late 1930s and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner visited in January 2008. The site of the Mimslyn is on the former location of “Aventine Hall,” the home of Peter Bouck Borst, a mid-19th century lawyer. Aventine was carefully removed to make way for the construction of the Mimslyn in the 1930s. “Aventine Hall” is now located on South Court Street (this is a private residence) in the Town of Luray, Virginia.
  • The only high school in Luray is Luray High School, home of the Bulldogs.
  • The town is also home to The Page News and Courier, the major newspaper for the county.
  • In 1893 was founded the Blue Ridge Bank, one of the oldest still functioning banks in Virginia.
  • The community’s proximity to the South Fork of the Shenandoah River provides recreational opportunities connected with boating, white water rafting, and fishing as well as hunting in the fall.
Mauck Meeting House
Mauck Meeting House

Learn more about Page County Civil War history and markers here.