In the early days of the settlement of Augusta County a small community formed in the area that is now Fishersville. Many were of Scotch-Irish descent and brought with them their Presbyterian religion. In 1740 they established the Tinkling Springs Presbyterian Church. In 1850 the church built its third building in the original location, a Greek Revival structure that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The congregation has survived the centuries and continues to worship at their original location.
The village, which grew along what is now U.S. Route 250 between Staunton and Waynesboro, got its name from the Fisher family, who moved to land beside Christians Creek in the late 18th century and whose descendants still live in the area. Agriculture, mining and the kilning of lime were the early industries in the area. The Chesapeake & Ohio railroad arrived in the decade before the Civil War opening many markets for local products.
During the Second World War Fishersville became home to the Woodrow Wilson Army Hospital. The facility included over 100 buildings and had over 1,500 beds for soldiers wounded in the fighting in Europe.
Following the war the hospital was closed and sold to the state. In 1947 the facility became the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center, a facility for medical and vocational rehabilitation. Today the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center is one of the top employers in Augusta County.
The original hospital grounds were used for other purposes as well. Today the grounds are home to the Wilson Elementary and Middle School, Wilson Memorial High School, the Valley Career and Technical Center and the Central Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School. Augusta County Public Schools has their main office there and still utilizes some of the original brick hospital buildings.
In the late 1980s the Fishersville area became home to another regional medical facility. Facing a changing and competitive market Staunton’s Kings Daughters Hospital and the Waynesboro Community Hospital merged to form Augusta Health. The hospital purchased 127 acres in Fishersville and moved their facilities there.
Today Augusta Health is one of the largest employers in the region. What was originally a 400,000 square foot facility has doubled in size and grown to include a fitness center, hospice facility and advanced surgery, cardiology and cancer treatment services. Named one of the Top 100 hospitals in the country, Augusta Health services a population of over 200,000 from Augusta and six surrounding counties.
Agriculture still plays a large part in the local economy. In addition to many local farmers Fishersville is home to the Barren Ridge Vineyard, an award winning winery. Also located nearby is the Augusta Expo, which hosts the county fair, in addition to weekly events in its indoor and outdoor venues, including a nearly 60,000 square foot exhibition hall. The Expo has hosted everyone from presidential candidates to national music acts.
Fishersville is home to the main branch of the Augusta County Library, which also houses the Augusta County Historical Society and genealogical records. Located between the incorporated cities of Waynesboro and Staunton on U.S. Route 250 Fishersville is between two interstate systems and close to the all the arts, education and entertainment that Augusta County has to offer. For those looking for outdoor recreation to the east lies the Shenandoah National Park, Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Fishersville is a growing area. Its population doubled between the 2000 and the 2010 Census to nearly 8,000 people in the 13 square mile area designated by the U.S. Census. In addition to being a home and place to work for many, Fishersville continues to be a place of education and well-being.
- Date established: around 1738
- Current population: 7,500
- Physical size: 13 square miles
- Police force: Augusta County Sheriff’s Office – 72 sworn officers
- Largest local employer: Augusta Health
- Claim to fame: Home to the Woodrow Wilson Army Hospital, now the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center