Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center
First settled in 1732, the city of Staunton is named for Lady Rebecca Staunton, wife of Colonial Governor William Gooch. Staunton is in the heart of Virginia’s historic Shenandoah Valley and at one time was the geographical center of the state, which stretched westward to the Mississippi River and encompassed parts of what is now West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania. Given its central location and fertile setting, it quickly developed into an early center for trade and commerce. Its importance was cemented in 1854 with the arrival of the Virginia Central Railroad. Two years later, future President Woodrow Wilson was born to a local minister and his wife. The city was largely spared from destruction during the Civil War, a significant factor in the remarkable number of historic structures that have been preserved in the downtown area. In 1924, the elegant Stonewall Jackson Hotel opened on the corner of South Market Street. The Georgian-style, red brick structure was designed by renowned architect H.L. Stevens, cost $440,000 to build and boasted every major technical innovation of the day. The hotel quickly became the social gathering center for the surrounding area and its large rooftop sign was a downtown landmark. Economic downturns and declining revenues forced the hotel to cease operation, although the building continued to serve the community as a center for the mentally challenged, the elderly and the homeless. A two-year, private/public partnership has brought the hotel back to life with the use of historic tax credits. Once again the bright neon sign proudly states that the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center is open for business and proudly welcomes guests to the Shenandoah Valley.