For a small town Weyers Cave has a lot. Though set in the middle of Shenandoah Valley farm fields it is the center of industry, a transportation hub and home to a college. But it wasn’t always that way. At one time the area that would become known as Weyers (pronounced “wierz”) Cave was just a stop on the way to somewhere else.
The attraction was down the road in what is now the town of Grottoes. It was America’s oldest show cave, opened to the public in 1806. Now known as “Grand Caverns” it was originally called “Weyer’s Cave” after its discoverer Bernard Weyer. When the railroad came to the Shenandoah Valley in the mid-19th century the closest train line to the cave ran north and south near the present day Interstate 81. When visitors came to visit the caverns by train they stopped at a small depot and took a carriage the rest of the way. A town began to grow up around the “Weyer’s Cave Stop” on the rail line. When the area grew big enough for its own post office the name Weyers Cave was adopted.
As the town grew so did its unique identity. Civic organizations, such as churches and the Ruritan and Lions Clubs flourished. In a show of community that exists to this day it was one of the first areas in Augusta County to form its own volunteer fire company. Started in 1924 and made up of volunteers from the local area it serves in both Augusta and neighboring Rockingham County. Each summer the community comes together in their annual lawn party which raises funds for the fire and rescue services. A community center provides space for meetings and recreation throughout the year.
The town’s claim to fame came in 1927 when the first chapter of the Future Farmers of Virginia was formed at Weyers Cave High School. In 1928 the parts of the organization grew into the National Future Farmers of America (FFA), an organization that is now in all 50 states and territories and includes nearly 8,000 chapters and over half-a-million members.
Though the brick school building, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, still stands it is no longer used for educational purposes. Public schools are close at hand, with a county elementary, middle and high school just five miles down the road in Fort Defiance.
Education continues to be a part of the Weyers Cave community. Located nearby is Blue Ridge Community College. Founded in 1967 the school offers associate degrees, along with technical and workforce training. The Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Training Academy is located beside the college and offers basic and advanced criminal justice training to law enforcement officers from around the state.
Located beside U.S. Route 11 and Interstate 81 the center of Weyers Cave is defined by a crossroads that link larger local towns. Weyers Cave is home to Houff Transfer, a regional transportation service formed in 1937 and is still family run. Other businesses in the community include Cerro Fabricated Metals, Select Aerospace Industries and Caraustar Industries.
Nearby Weyers Cave is the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, which offers daily flights to the Washington D.C. hub as well as an industrial park for aviation-related businesses. The airport is run by a commission whose members come from the surrounding counties and cities.
For those looking for outdoor recreation Weyers Cave is located in the middle of some of the best natural areas on the East Coast. To the east lies the Shenandoah National Park, Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway and to the west the George Washington National Forest, one of the largest areas of public land in the eastern United States.
About 2,500 people live in the seven square mile Census Designated Area around Weyers Cave. The town is situated about half way between the two incorporated cities of Staunton and Harrisonburg. Augusta County, which Weyers Cave calls home, contains two interstate systems and a major regional hospital. In the midst of all this is Weyers Cave, a small town where much is close at hand.
Weyers Cave, Virginia
- Date established: railroad station established in 1874
- Current population: 2,500
- Physical size: 7 square miles
- Police force: Augusta County Sheriff’s Office – 72 sworn officers
- Largest local employer: Cerro Fabricated Products
- Claim to fame: Birthplace of the Future Farmers of Virginia, later the National FFA