The Wilderness Road Regional Museum is located in Newbern, Virginia, within a mile of Interstate 81. The Museum building was originally two homes, one built in 1816 by the town’s founder, Adam Hance, the other an 1810 weatherboarded log structure that served as a dwelling, tavern, store, and post office.
Newbern itself was established in 1810 as Hance’s planned town strategically located along the primary migration route west. An entrepreneur of his time, Hance recognized the economic benefits of developing a town along the road midway between the Virginia towns of Christiansburg and Evansham (now Wytheville).Laid out as 28 lots fronting on this wagon road, the town prospered, serving settlers moving into Kentucky, Ohio, and beyond. Because of its early significance, Newbern was placed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1979 as a unique remnant of our 19th century villages.
Home to the Hance-Alexander family from 1810-1976, the Museum, which today is owned and operated by the New River Historical Society, exhibits artifacts and documents highlighting 19th-century life along the Wilderness Road.
Photographs courtesy of Joyce Taylor.