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Monacan Ancestral Museum
As Europeans moved into Virginia, most Monacan people, like other Native Americans, were pushed out or killed. Only a few managed to survive in isolated and mountainous regions, as here at Bear Mountain. A log cabin (c. 1870) was built for use as a meeting place and church. Formal education became a major problem for the Monacan. Not accepted at white schools and not wanting to attend black ones, the log cabin also was used as a school and was the only one available until the integration of Amherst's educational system in the 1960s. The V-notched log building, originally one room, received a c. 1930 frame addition and porch.
Services for the Monacan were led by Methodist and Baptist circuit riders until 1908 when St. Paul's Episcopal Church (BD39) in Lynchburg established a mission here and built a church. After that building burned in 1930, it was replaced in 1938 with the current chapel that is similar to the original in its size, style, and orientation. A simple but handsome gable-end frame building, the church has pointed-arched windows, a hood entrance, and a circular window in the front gable. The school and chapel are now part of a small complex of tribal buildings in a beautiful rural setting beside a stream that cascades over huge rocks.
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