The White House Farm is very significant to Page County history. It is located within the original 5,000 acre land grant which became the first European settlement in the Shenandoah Valley.
This settlement was known as ‘Massanutten’ and a stone marker on Highway 211 west has been constructed in honor of the brave pioneers. However, the Valley had long been visited by Native Americans who hunted the abundant game and camped along the banks of the Shenandoah. The earliest European settlers to the Shenandoah Valley were from Germany and Switzerland including Martin Kauffman who first settled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania before coming to the Page Valley in 1732. His son, Martin Kauffman II built the White House in 1760 as a residence and Mennonite meeting house. The structure is listed on the Virginia Department of Historic Places and we are seeking nomination to the National Register. Our plan is to restore the White House and use it to tell the story of early European settlement in the Valley. This past June, Dr. Carol Nash and the Massanutten Chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia conducted a dig around the White House. Click here for info.
The brick farmhouse was built in 1890 and has now been restored to that era, complete with faux painting of exotic hardwoods on cupboards, steps and baseboards. This popular practice in the Victorian era lent an air of sophistication to homes of the time.
The current bridge is the fifth across the Shenandoah River. In 1862, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson ordered the second bridge to be burnt in order to foil Union forces. The third bridge was destroyed in the mighty flood of 1870 when the Shenandoah rose 30 feet out of its banks. This flood is written about in numerous historical publications as several county residents perished including a whole family whose house got washed away near Alma.
In 1886, the Board of Supervisors voted against spending the funds needed to rebuild the bridge and the white house ferry was the only way across the River for the next 40 years, when in 1910, the fourth bridge was built.
We are currently researching the full history of the property and welcome any information which citizens may have.
Header Photo Credit: Chris Anderson. The historic White House with Massanutten Mountain in the background. All rights reserved.