Traveling rural roads with no particular destination in mind, we ventured to the small town of Elkton, Virginia.
Having grown up in a similar small town, we felt immediately at home.
We stopped in the Visitor Center where a kind woman by the name of Margaretta filled us in on the town history. As she told us of the town’s great pride having once been home to the famous Patsy Cline, I studied the rows of photographs neatly lining the paneled walls. Margaretta pointed out her favorites, when Patsy Cline returned to town as the Grand Marshal for the Elkton Field Day Parade and when years later Patsy’s daughter did the same.
Like many Southern towns, Elkton’s history includes the imprint of the Civil War. An important building in the town’s history is the Jennings House which was transformed into a hospital during the Civil War. Located on Rockingham Street, the Miller-Kite House was the headquarters of General Stonewall Jackson at the start of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign during the Civil War. Now the house is a town landmark and museum, housing many items from the war and some of Jackson's personal belongings.
We walked in the few open shops, stopping to talk to local folks along the way. Even though the people were friendly, there was no mistaking the sadness of loss. With its empty storefronts, nearly deserted streets, and quiet air of desperation, Elkton joins the tide of small towns that still value the things they’ve lost most. Their memories grow rosier and brighter, day by day, even as they live with the reality of things that will never be again.