New Exhibit: “Until the Cows Come Home”

“The Lost Town of Basic City and the Struggle that Built a Consolidated Waynesboro”

Opening October 14, 2023, in conjunction with a renovated temporary exhibit space, is a brand new exhibit at the Waynesboro Heritage Museum that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the merger of Waynesboro and Basic City.

On August 7, 1923, the townspeople from Waynesboro and Basic City — two separate incorporated towns — went to the polls and voted on a consolidation that had been bandied about for several decades. Despite some indecision and confusion, the two towns merged to form one new city, as long as Basic City’s cows could still roam free. However, a disagreement about the name between two disparate factions within the city came to a head in the wake of the vote. This argument, largely captured on the pages of local newspapers, devolved into a battle of words and name-calling, feelings of betrayal, and even calls for a “divorce.” Dramatically, the issue was ultimately decided on the floor of the Virginia State Legislature.

Now a century on from the vote, the Waynesboro Heritage Museum has opened a new discussion on the consolidation. Using records, articles, and accounts from those critical events 100 years ago, the new exhibit is a product of a reinvestigation of rumors that have been passed down for decades — some of which turned out to be more rumor than truth.

The exhibit is open during regular museum hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10am – 5pm, and will be up until July, 2024. Admission is free.


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