county history

The modern history of Greene County, Virginia began in August, 1716, when Governor Spotswood and his "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe" traveled through Greene on their history making expedition to the summit of the Blue Ridge Mountains, reaching Swift Run Gap, a short distance from what is now Stanardsville. Tradition has it the former Governor bestowed golden horseshoes upon his followers at a point approximately three miles west of Stanardsville. Swift Run Gap was used by General Stonewall Jackson during the "War Between The States" to shift troops from the Shenandoah Valley to the Piedmont battle areas. Now U.S. Route 33 crosses the Blue Ridge through this gap.

Numerous land grants and birth rights were given to settlers in the 18th Century, the most famous one being made to William Monroe, a hard working farmer. Upon his death and the death of his wife, his estate was sold and the proceeds used to establish a trust fund, the interest from which was to be used for the education of poor children. Funds from this account were later used to pay the debt service on the existing William Monroe High School.

Greene County named for Nathanael Greene of Revolutionary War fame, was formed in 1838. Originally, Greene was part of Orange County, but was eventually partitioned from Orange County when settlers complained of the long distance between their farms and the Orange County Seat.

The present courthouse stands on the land donated by Robert Stanard in 1838, creating Stanardsville as the County Seat. The County office building, dedicated on the County's centennial birthday in 1938, was destroyed by fire on October 24, 1979. A new clerks' office was built on the original site and a new County Administration building was constructed on the corner of Main Street and Celt Road.

In 1935, 14,619 acres of the County land was acquired by the State and given to the Federal Government for the formation of Shenandoah National Park, which is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is estimated that a total of 285 County citizens were displaced by the dedication of the parkland.


Greene County Historical Society
38 Court Street
P.O. Box 185
Stanardsville, Virginia 22973