Patrick County Wayside

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Patrick County Wayside

Venue Information



About the Wayside Exhibits

Nine families have enriched the traditional music of Patrick County for over 200 years. In ancestry they are German, English, Huguenot, Ulster Irish, and African-American. These musical families are named Spangler, Bowman, Shelor, Boyd, Foddrell, Vipperman, Pendleton, Gwynn (Guynn), and Cockram. Making your own music is a powerful tradition here, and though small in population, Patrick County has provided the nation with many notable musicians. The first string band from here to become famous was the one organized by fighting General J.E.B. Stuart, a Patrick County native, during the Civil War. It featured noted minstrel Sam Sweeney on banjo, and Stuart as singer. Patrick County musicians were among those who made traditional music mesh with the new technology of recordings and radio during the 1920s, with the Shelors and Spanglers making notable contributions. Patrick is still richly productive of fine musicians. Two of the nation’s most respected bluegrass bands tour nationally from here, and are headed by Sammy Shelor and Kenny and Amanda Smith. Richard Bowman is a respected old-time fiddler and bandleader beloved by dancers in many distant places.

There are scores of beautiful vistas here, including the two covered bridges over the Smith River near Woolwine, the breathtaking Lover’s Leap, and Pinnacles of Dan. A glimpse of the fascinating history of Patrick County can be found at Stuart’s home, the Reynolds Homestead, the Hollow History Center, and in the 1822 Patrick County Courthouse. People in Patrick County are accustomed to sharing music. Be sure to ask about local jam sessions, find one, and join in!

Other Nearby Wayside Exhibits

Meadows of Dan Wayside – Patrick County

10.21 miles

Town of Floyd Wayside

18.7 miles

Blue Ridge Institute & Museum Wayside – Franklin County

23.69 miles