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July 17, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

CCC Shelter at Willis Mountain

Courtesy University of Virginia and Daily Progress.

During the 1930s, members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) worked hard in Buckingham County, Virginia, improving roads and building bridges, as well as erecting a mountain shelter at the top of Willis Mountain. For many years, visitors from far and wide drove up the mountain to enjoy the view and benefit from the shelter.

In 1960, Mrs. R. J. Wojnicki, acting as a correspondent from Buckingham for Charlottesville’s Daily Progress, wrote about the shelter’s move from the top of Willis Mountain to Pleasant Valley:

DILLWYN—Many persons in Buckingham County and no doubt countless others as well will remember the rock shelter on top of Willis Mountain when the shelter was a haven for courting couples who enjoyed its romantic atmosphere some 30 years ago.

The shelter now has been relocated at “Pleasant Valley,” just off U.S. 15 seven miles south of here. The owners of Willis Mountain, Guy and Gene Dixon, transported the shelter and reconstructed it so that the county residents might share its usefulness for picnics or for recalling fond memories.

Due to the Dixons’ Kyanite mining operations, the road to the top of the mountain had been closed and the shelter, thankfully, was saved. According to Mrs. Wojnicki, the name “Peaceful Valley” was “imprinted” on the shelter’s floor. She continued, describing the shelter’s construction:

The shelter is made of six-inch blocks of slate set in cement. Carved in a slab of slate at the right side of the fireplace is a legend saying the shelter was erected by the CCC Camp P-56. H. P. Baker of Cumberland County, who died about eight years ago, was camp superintendent at the time.

The shelter was 16 x 16 feet, and open on three sides. The stone fireplace was  6 feet wide and 4 feet high. Unsurprisingly for structures built in Buckingham County, the roof was made of slate.


According to Barbara White, Francel J. Wojnicki and her husband, Rudy, purchased a home just outside of Dillwyn in 1949.  During the 1930’s, Rudy Wojnicki had been a supervisor at Buckingham County’s CCC Camp and the couple retired in the county.

To read much more about the CCC activities in Buckingham County, consult: “Spirit and Industry: Buckingham County and the Civilian Conservation Corps,” in “At a Place Called Buckingham,” Volume Two.

Special thanks to Phil James for sharing this article, and to Margaret Thomas and Barbara White for the biographical information about Mrs. Wojnicki.


Leave a Comment
  1. Alice Palmore / Jul 19 2017 8:14 am

    Never knew this thanks for sharing an I look forward to more articles on Buckingham

    • Joanne Yeck / Jul 19 2017 8:22 am

      Thank you, Alice. More coming on Mondays and Thursdays. Joanne

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