The Valley's turnpike towns offer a treasure trove of regional architecture, and the community of Dayton is no exception. Established as a town in 1833 following the charter of the Harrisonburg-Warm Springs Turnpike (now VA 42), Dayton prospered as a commercial center for the Mennonite community in the fertile farmlands along Cooks Creek. The establishment of two musical enterprises in Dayton—the Shenandoah Seminary (RH33) in 1875 and the Ruebush-Kieffer Printing Company (RH32) in 1878—made the town a regional cultural center. After Ruebush-Kieffer closed in 1931 and the college moved to Winchester in 1960, the town lost some of its vitality though it remains a commercial center for the surrounding farmland.
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