Organizers of effort to memorialize the victim of a local lynching set their sights on Court Square

Charlotte Harris was in the custody of local law enforcement in Rockingham County on March 6, 1878, when a mob seized her and hung her from a tree – the only documented lynching of an African-American woman in Virginia’s history. The next month, a grand jury in Harrisonburg ended its investigation of the murder without returning any indictments. Judge Charles T. O’Ferrall, who oversaw that investigation, went on to become governor in the 1890s.

Townie Summer comes to this college town

At the entrance, a metal sign proclaims, “Townie Summer.” Once a simple bit of local vernacular, some downtown businesses have begun to embrace the phrase. Susan Keeler, creative director at Pale Fire, says it’s about Harrisonburg having “that sleepy, small-town feel again.”

“It’s quiet,” Keeler said. “I think that’s what really sums up Townie Summer: it’s this calm.”