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Board Of Directors


Lorraine White


Carolyn Pohowsky

vice president

James Blagg


Terry Allamong

Elizabeth Emerson

Dail Fields

Chip Hill

Marc Jaccard

Chris Scott

Scott Wells

Mike Wolfe

Lori Botkin

executive director

Marilyn Blagg

assistant director Jones/McCoy house

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Highland Historical Society

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   Rain Date  May 31 & June 1    

The Mansion House

Built in 1851 by George Washington Hull, it is believed to have been the first large brick home in McDowell, and was soon known as The Mansion House.

It served as a hospital during the Battle of McDowell in May 1862 and now houses the McDowell Battlefield Orientation Center.

For many years around the turn of the century, the Bradshaw family operated the Mansion House Hotel to meet the needs of travelers on the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike.

As time passed, improvements in transportation lessened the need for a hotel stop at McDowell. So in 1930 the Mansion House was sold to Frank and Caroline Ralston.  The house remained in the Ralston family until it was sold to the Historical Society in 2001.

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Home of the Highland Historical Society

and the

Highland County Museum




2nd Weekend In March with Maple Festival


October 31

Thursday, Friday & Saturday

11:00 - 4:00

or by appointment

About Us

The Highland Historical Society was originally formed in the 1980s for the purpose of creating and publishing a revised history of the county, The New History of Highland County.


Today the Highland Historical Society is involved in an extensive array of projects dedicated to the preservation of Highland’s precious past. In May of 2005, the Society completed a partial restoration and renovation of the Mansion House and hosted the Grand Opening of the Highland Museum and Heritage Center in McDowell, Virginia.


The Highland Historical Society is also involved in the following projects:

  • surveying and cataloguing all of Highland County’s historic sites and structures

  • microfilming all of Highland County’s newspapers dating back to the 1800's

  • collecting Highland genealogical records and local histories

  • erecting signs to identify the smaller towns in Highland County

  • supporting and working with other organizations to provide trails, markers, and parking at the site of the McDowell Battlefield

  • working to save and preserve the McDowell Battlefield in cooperation with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation

  • financing the restoration of old and rare Highland County documents.


The Highland County Museum at the Mansion House is owned and operated by the Highland Historical Society, a 501c3 corporation.

All donations given to the Highland Historical Society are tax-deductible. The offices of the Society are located at the museum.


Anyone who is interested in preserving the history and heritage of Highland County, Virginia, and of the Virginia Highlands is invited to join The Highland Historical Society by contacting the society by any of the means listed at the bottom of the page.  The membership page is under construction.




161 Mansion House Rd

P O Box 63

McDowell, VA 24458

(540) 396-4478

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