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Dayton

Trip Planner USA  /  Virginia  /  Dayton
(4.6/5 based on 70+ reviews for 2 attractions)
Things to do: shopping, museums
Dayton is a town in Rockingham County, Virginia, United States. The population is 1,530 as of the 2010 census. It is included in the Harrisonburg, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area.GeographyDayton is located at . The town is approximately two miles southwest of Harrisonburg and two miles northeast of Bridgewater.According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.8 square miles, all of it land.HistoryThe town of Dayton is one of the oldest settled communities in Rockingham County, and is the county's second oldest incorporated town, after Bridgewater. The first settler in Dayton was Daniel Harrison (c. 1702-1770), whose family settled along Cooks Creek, north of downtown. Daniel was the eldest son of Isaiah Harrison and second wife Abigail and was born in Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY.. Daniel's brother Thomas Harrison founded Harrisonburg several miles to the northeast. They and their three brothers had migrated from New York to Delaware and then to Orange County Virginia before settling in the Shenandoah Valley.The family homestead, a two-story stone house, as been owned and maintained since 1977 by a private, non-profit organization, Fort Harrison, Inc. The town was known as Rifeville or Rifetown until 1833.Shenandoah University has its roots in Dayton, when it was known as the Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music. The college was organized in 1875 under the leadership of Rev. A.P. Funkhouser. This was a major institution in Dayton until 1960, when it moved to Winchester. College Street was named after the school and many of the street's buildings served as part of the campus.
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