Coming in Spring

Casino Night in March

Next March, plan to attend the Shawsvegas Casino Night, our over-the-top evening of blackjack, poker, roulette, craps and horse racing.

Spring Fashion Show

Enjoy luncheon and a look at Spring and Summer clothing lines, shoes and accessories.

Donate to MVCF

Help the Mountain Valley Charitable Foundation with its mission to improve the quality of life in eastern Montgomery County. Show your support today.

Volunteer of the Year: Lauren Tate

Lauren Tate earned the 2014 Karen Cronin Volunteer of the Year award for her countless hours of work during 2013-2014. She has volunteered and participated in numerous Mountain Valley fundraising activities and she currently serves as the Foundation’s Treasurer. The Board and staff of the Foundation have come to rely on her sound judgment, kind personality and talent for organization. Thank you, Lauren!

Tour Six Historic Homes, Decorated for the Holidays

Saturday, December 10

EastMont Holiday Home TourIn an effort to raise money for the community and to celebrate its rich history, the Mountain Valley Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce the 1st Annual EastMont Holiday Home Tour. The tour will be held on Saturday, December 10th from 1:00 - 6:00 pm.

Each of the homes will be beautifully decorated for the holidays and open to ticketholders. These homes have a rich history in our community. Alleghany Springs, the Wickham House; in Elliston the Barnett House (former home of Joe Stewart) and in Shawsville, The Inn at Fort Vause (Pappas House), the Ryan Home Place (Childress House), and the John Farm House, and the Edge Hill Farms (Sandy House). The oldest house was built in 1754 and the other homes were built in the 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Mark your calendar! Tickets go on sale November 1st.

Advance tickets are $30 and will be available at the Waldron Wellness Center and online at Eventbrite. Tickets will be available the day of the tour for $40 at the homes.

Proceeds from the tour benefit the Mountain Valley Charitable Foundation which focuses its efforts and resources on projects and activities that sustain and enhance the quality of life in eastern Montgomery County. Examples of the Foundation’s work include: the renovation of abandoned buildings for community use, awarding scholarships to local students and providing grants to nonprofit organizations and schools. In all of its activities, the foundation is dedicated to fostering a sense of community and special identity. Every Holiday Home Tour ticket holder will play a part in this vital community strengthening.

For more information or to donate, contact Charlotte Hawes:

The Barnett House c. 1805 (Big Spring Farm)

8919 Roanoke Road, Elliston, VALocated on the western edge of the village of Elliston, the Barnett House, also known as Big Spring Farm, occupies land originally part of a 1746 land grant to Captain “Long John” Robinson from King George II.  Robinson, his brothers and their families were among the very earliest settlers to come to the area. Captain Robinson was among those killed during the attacks on Fort Vause during the French and Indian War. The land eventually passed to the Barnett family, and David Barnett is credited with the construction of the house that sits above Big Spring. It is listed on the national registry of historic houses.

The oldest sections, (the center hallway, and the six original rooms) were built in the early 1800’s.   Changes in the types of brick and the way they are joined make it possible to see the many stages in which the house was enlarged over time.  The original walls are more than 18” deep with wide doorways, paneled doors, carved chair rails, and mantels.  After its initial construction, the property went through a series of owners.

In its life, the house has gone through many changes and renovations.  It was the Moomaw family that originally “modernized” the house with a furnace, plumbing, and new flooring. They removed the old Federal style porch and replaced it with the “L” shaped Greek columned front porch you see today.  They also added a kitchen and bathroom to the rear of the house. They replaced the wooden steps leading to the Big Spring below the hill with 63 cement steps with three landings. In 1964, Mr. Moomaw’s heirs sold the farm, house, and furnishings at public auction. Later that summer, Joe and Ruby Stewart became the owners of Big Spring and made it a lovely home for their family. The home is currently own by the Stewarts daughter, Julia Stewart Milton, who resides there with her family.  Come and see how the halls have been decorated for a “Colonial Christmas.”

The Childress House c. 1895 (Ryan Homeplace)

3643 Old Town Road, Shawsville, VASituated on Old Roanoke Road on the western edge of Shawsville, also known locally as the Ryan home place, is the white two-story Childress House. The Ryan family’s original home place was located across the railroad tracks on the road now known as Ryan Road where they raised their family.  One Sunday while the family was at church the home burned to the ground. 

One of the sons, Norvel Ryan built a new home on the main road and moved there with his mother and two unmarried sisters. When he later married, he had a home built across the street for his mother and sisters.  He and his wife Nellie Kern Oakey of Salem raised their three children there. Their son Norvel “White” Ryan married Lorraine Robinson of Christiansburg and raised their five children in the house. The youngest daughter, Sue Ryan Childress now resides in the home.

The house still contains much of its original furniture. Several renovations and updates have included a modern kitchen and additional living spaces. Continuing a family tradition, the Ryan descendents gather each year to celebrate during the holidays. “A Classic Christmas” is the theme for this house. Come to see and hear about the Ryan Home Place.

The John Farm House c. 1900

4052 John Farm Road, Shawsville, VANestled on the “higher ground” above Shawsville’s railroad tracks, is the area now referred to as “New Town,” which was originally a large farm. Located at the end of John Farm Road, is the white frame John Farm House, which housed the farm’s manager. From the initial farm, various portions were carved off and sold over the years, including a parcel which was sold to Jacob Albert, who farmed the land for several years. Jacob then sold his land, consisting of 248 acres, in 1910 to Mason Jones, a speculator who subdivided the outer edges of the farm into building lots. The lots were purchased for homes and this is how the current residential section of New Town was developed.

In 1914 Mr. Jones sold the remaining land and house to Mr. & Mrs. M. M. John who lived there and farmed the land during their lifetime. After the death of the elder Johns, their son Griff with his wife Cleo (Doosing) raised their family at the farm. After Griff John and his wife retired and moved to Christiansburg and their children moved away, the farm was bought by a local company, Sisson & Ryan, in the 1950’s and continues today as a working farm. The house is still called the John Farm house and was the residence for the farm managers and quarry workers for many decades.

After a beautiful remodeling, the spacious structure is now used for special events and to house occasional guests of Sisson & Ryan. Visit the John Farm House and experience an “Old Fashioned Christmas” and step back in time.

The Pappas House c. 1754 (Inn at Fort Vause)

4074 Old Town Road, Shawsville, VALocated near the current White Memorial Methodist Church and built in 1754 as an Inn and Tavern, this structure is both the oldest and the first business in Shawsville, and was a major stopover on the Great Wilderness Road, housing weary travelers. 

According to letters and local legend, a young George Washington, Andrew Lewis, William Clark, Meriwether Lewis and Daniel Boone have each visited. In later years the structure was also known as a stagecoach inn, providing food and lodging to those traveling by stagecoach. 

At the turn of the 19th century, the library of the Inn served as “The Green Tea Room.” The building has served as a home to many residents through the years. Prior to the current ownership the house went through several alterations. However, the structure retains the original fireplaces and floors, and stands on the original building site. The house is decorated for the holidays with a “Christmas at the Tavern” theme. Docents will be available to share more details and history about the Inn at Fort Vause.

The Sandy House c. 1939 (Edge Hill Farm)

6247 Roanoke Road, Shawsville, VALocated on Route 460 southwest of Shawsville, the historic property dates back to a 1760 land sale by Ephraim Vause of 1260 acres to Jacob Kent, which occurred shortly after the first Fort Vause attack and massacre. The parcel included the area now known as Edge Hill Farm. By the period preceding the Civil War, the site was known as “The George Anderson Place.” One of the last Anderson’s to live on the property was Mrs. Nannie Kent Anderson Marye, grandmother of former Senator Madison Marye of Shawsville. 

The property was later purchased by John Vaughn of Roanoke in 1899, a railroad contractor who also raced horses at the Camp Vaughn fairgrounds in Radford. He built a three-story, 36 room house with a fireplace in each room. On his farm he also built the red barn that remains standing today.  The rock retaining wall near the barn which can be viewed today dates back to the Vaughns’ occupancy of the home. The home burned in 1930, just prior to being sold to the Weeks family in 1933, leaving only the columns and the foundation. The Weeks family lived in the guest house during the summers until the main house was rebuilt.

In 1939, the family moved into the reconstructed home, which had been rebuilt on a smaller scale, with two stories instead of three and with a shortening of the columns by five feet. However, the beautiful steps evidenced today are the original entrance steps. The home is now owned by the Week’s daughter Charlotte Sandy. She has beautifully restored the house, barn and outbuildings. The house is decorated for the holidays with a “Home for the Holidays” theme.  Visit Edge Hill to learn more of the history of this house.

The Wickham House c. 1900

2438 Fisher's View Road, Alleghany SpringsLocated in Alleghany Springs in a small area that was once referred to as “Texas Hollow” and is now referred to as “Fisher’s View,” this beautiful white farm style home was built in the early 1900’s and originally owned by Marshall and Jewell Sisson. The Sisson’s raised six children in the home. The house is situated in a large beautiful field, bordered by the scenic Roanoke River.

In 1991 Phil and Georgette Wickham made it their home after having it enlarged, bricked, and remodeled. However, they kept the integrity of the original home during the renovation. Several beautiful features are evident in both original and current photographs, evidence of the integrity of the original design that was maintained. The home has many ornate features, including beautiful Mexican tile, detailed cornices, and a lovely pergola. Mrs. Wickham is a locally recognized talent who has crafted nearly all of the Christmas decorations. Visit the Wickham home for a “Handmade, Homestyle Christmas.”

2015 Year End Letter

December 16, 2015

Dear Friend of the Mountain Valley Charitable Foundation:

On behalf of the Board of the Mountain Valley Charitable Foundation, I want to express appreciation for your continued support of our efforts. 2015 has been an eventful year for the Foundation and with your help much has been accomplished.

In January of 2013, the Foundation took over operation of the Waldron Wellness Center with the goal of providing the best possible experience for our members and staff. We’ve learned a lot over the past two years and the "W" is better for it. There are new varied classes as well as popular old ones. We have invested in current certifications for our group fitness instructors and three are now also certified personal trainers. New equipment has been purchased and installed including a "Jacob’s Ladder," a squat rack and weights. A new multi-purpose exercise space with a cushioned sports floor in the old recreation area allows us to hold two group classes simultaneously.

The Thrift Store located in the Old Elliston Fire House continues to do very well. It not only provides a site for those who wish to donate excess items but it serves the needs of those in our community who have trouble making ends meet. A new washer and dryer and water heater have been installed and a new entry awning at the entry welcomes customers.

The Meadowbrook Center is an older building and its maintenance needs are constant. The Foundations continues to make repairs and upgrade facilities. In the next few months some new floors, lighting and energy efficient windows will be installed. However, there are other needs the Foundation would like to meet in 2016. The Center’s interiors have not been painted since opening in 2007. The Community Center needs “sprucing up” and the cost of insurance and electricity for both Meadowbrook and the Fitness Center continue to rise.

2016 promises to be an exciting year with new challenges. The Foundation is negotiating with the County to lease the athletic fields at the Shawsville Middle School. This will allow us to use the venue for sports as well as community events and festivals. We are currently exploring our options and hope to have a solid plan in place soon.

As the year draws to a close, we believe that Mountain Valley Charitable Foundation has acted wisely and prudently in serving the needs of our unique community. We do this solely through private donations from your neighbors and friends and receive no direct government funds. We would ask you to consider making a tax deductible year-end gift to help us continue to serve Eastern Montgomery County. Again, thank you for your generosity and unflagging support. All good wishes to you and yours for a happy holiday.


Ellen Ryan

Mountain Valley Charitable Foundation is a nonprofit organization that meets the qualifications of IRS Code 501(c)(3). Contributions are deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Oldtown Fields

Oldtown FieldsIn 2014, MVCF learned that the Montgomery County Public School system was considering declaring the athletic complex at the Shawsville Middle School surplus property. The well-loved facility consists of a baseball field with dugouts, an athletic field in the interior of a track, lighting, bleachers, a ticket booth, tennis courts, a multipurpose field, a storage building and parking lots. 

  The Foundation was concerned that this irreplaceable community asset would be sold for development purposes. It began working with the Board of Supervisors and, especially local supervisor, Gary Creed, to come up with a plan that would allow the property to be maintained and retained by and for the residents of eastern Montgomery County.  In addition, if the complex were to be sold, there was concern that Shawsville Middle School would be the only one in the county without adjacent athletic facilities.

Eventually, the Complex was declared surplus property and its title was transferred to the County.  In July, the County entered into an agreement with the Foundation where it would lease the fields for a small sum in exchange for the Foundation agreeing to maintain and improve the complex and its facilities.  The Middle School will retain access to the fields during the normal school day and Montgomery County Parks and Recreation also can use them for their programs.  The Foundation will have the right to control third party use of the property for activities like festivals, shows and musical performances in order to raise sufficient funds to support and improve the complex.

Much remains to be considered and worked out but a Steering Committee is being formed to begin the process of providing leadership and oversight for what is now being called “Oldtown Fields.” As the Committee begins meeting, input from the community and other stakeholders will be very important in determining the successful future use of the complex.

mountain valley charitable foundation
Board of directors

Charlotte Hawes

Executive Director
(540) 384-2801

Ellen S. Ryan


James E. Pearman, Jr.

Vice President

George R. Smith, III


Lauren M. Tate


Marty Childress

Board Member

Casey Underwood

Board Member

Mary Ann Cole

Board Member

Spencer S. Winfrey, Jr.

Board Member

Zachariah C. Milton

Board Member

Thomas M. Dunkenberger, Sr.

Emeritus Member

Dale R. Mull

Emeritus Member

Dr. George Robert Smith, Sr.

Emeritus Member