The second-oldest town in Shenandoah County (Woodstock was the first), Strasburg was established in March 1761 by act of the Virginia House of Burgesses. Its streets are lined with several early log and stone houses as well as many late-nineteenth-century frame and brick buildings. Anthony Spengler built the mill (c. 1800; later additions; 497 Stover Avenue), now a restaurant, that was important in the economic development of Strasburg. The stone and frame building retains its overshot metal wheel. In the nineteenth century, the town was familiarly known as “Pot Town” for the six potteries that made and sold their wares here, but they had closed by 1908. The Manassas Gap Railroad, which arrived in 1854, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which arrived in 1870, made Strasburg a commercial center for northern Shenandoah County. From the early twentieth century, U.S. 11 brought tourists to Strasburg seeking attractions such as nearby Crystal Caverns. In the late twentieth century, the completion of nearby I–66 and I–81 further encouraged tourism. The four-story Hotel Strasburg (c. 1902; 213 S. Holiday Street) has served the tourist trade since it was converted into a hotel from a hospital in 1915.
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