Home to Harrisonburg’s first mayor Isaac Hardesty, the house bears his name and the name of the physician, Henry Higgins, who began construction in 1848. Isaac Hardesty was born in 1795 and became the city’s first Mayor by charter on March 16, 1849, incorporating the town of Harrisonburg. Hardesty completed construction of the home by 1853 and lived in the house with his wife, Ann, and two children. He was a successful business man, apothecary, and merchant, and he served on the Board of Directors of the Valley Turnpike Company.
Today, the building is operated by Harrisonburg Tourism. Inside you will find Visitor Services, The Rocktown Gift Shoppe, The Valley Turnpike Museum, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Civil War Orientation Center and the executive offices for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and Harrisonburg Tourism. We opened in July of 2005 to serve the community and visitors to the region.
The Rocktown Gift Shoppe, located inside the Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center, is your destination for local gifts and souveniers. The Rocktown Gift Shoppe offers locally made items such as 100% soy candes, cards, jewelry, hiking sticks, and soon…pottery! In the gift shop you will also find art painted by the Shenandoah Valley Watercolor Society, which is an active group of water media artists in the Shenandoah Valley. The shop also offers a diverse selection of Virginia’s Finest products including: jams, jellies, honey, syrup, peanuts and more. It’s here you will find a bounty of Virginia is For Lovers merchandise like adult and youth size T-Shirts, mugs, bags, and magnets to name a few. Visit Rocktown Gift Shoppe today and find everything you need for you and those LOVE!