Rockfish Valley Natural History Center

The Natural History Center is open every Saturday & Sunday 10am-4pm.
April through December

Wintergreen Store by Pat SaundersThe Rockfish Valley Foundation’s Natural History Center, while always a place of community gathering, has had many diverse uses in it’s long history:

“The Wintergreen Country Store is located on the Rockfish Valley Highway on a quarter acre plot adjacent to the intersection with Route 627.  The building is one and two stories tall with a standing-seam metal shed roof.  The style is vernacular and was built with frame construction on a masonry and concrete foundation.  The building is clad in weatherboard siding.

The first of four phases of construction was the original one room general store, which was a three bay building with a porch, which Grover Harris built in 1908-1909.  The second phase, in the 1920s, included a one story addition on the north east portion, which provided living space for the owners.  The third phase was added later to include a two story addition on the south side as well as a two story porch on the west, with a one story porch along the east side.  Virginia Limited Partnership constructed the fourth phase in 1974-1975 as an office and welcome center for the Wintergreen resort.  This phase was built as the second floor of the original structure as well as an addition on the northeast corner.

In the 1940s, the post office moved from its location across the highway and was incorporated into the general store.  After the Wintergreen welcome center and office closed, the Episcopal Church used the building as a meeting place.  The Wintergreen Country Store later became an art gallery and now functions as the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center with attached apartments.

The original 1908 building was a one room wood structure with a one story porch on the west side.  There are wooden panels double doors at the front entrance and two-over-two double hung sash windows with plain exterior trim and decorative interior trim.  There is wide horizontal wooden paneling on the south and west walls of the original Wintergreen Country Store.  The 1920s addition is set at a northeast angle to the front façade.  This portion of the building has three bays on the façade with two double hung sash windows and a four panel wooden door.  In the interior of the 1920s addition there is a half-glass door, which leads to the porch constructed shortly after the addition.   This area of the building has a pressed-metal ceiling.  The flooring was replaced following Hurricane Camille in 1969.

In 1928, the third phase of the building was constructed, including a two story front porch and a one story side porch on the eastern side.  A door was added between the original building and the new addition.  The two rooms constructed in this addition were later combined.  The stairs in this space have turned wooden newels with square balusters.  On the first floor, the porch door is half-glass; the second floor porch door is a four panel wooden door.  The windows on the addition are four-over-four double hung sash.

In the fourth addition, part of the eastern porch was enclosed and a room was added above the porch.   There is a passageway along the south side of the addition that has two-over-two double hung sash windows and a five panel wooden door to the second story porch.  At the north end of the passage are two rooms with modest, molded baseboards.  The sleeping porch built by the Harris family on the west front was replaced with a flat roof.

In 1992, the current owner added a set of steps to the exterior of the east side of the building.  The interior shelves in the original building were added by the Virginia Limited Partnership, but follow the pattern of the original general store shelves.”

-National Registry of Historic Places

Natural History Center

After it was Wintergreen Country Store the building became Spruce Creek Gallery, an art gallery that showcased the works of local artists. The Rockfish Valley Foundation acquired it in May of 2011, when it now houses the our current exhibits from the Virginia Museum of Natural History and serves as a headquarters for the foundation. This historic place still serves the community with programs and events every year. Stop by on the weekend from April to December to learn more today!