Schuyler Virginia and The Walton Museum
Schuyler Virginia is a small community of 400 residents nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains about 70 miles west of Richmond Virginia. It is the boyhood hometown of the author Earl Hamner who is written several autobiographical stories about his life experiences growing up during the Great Depression. His most famous book was called "The Homecoming" which was the basis for the CBS television series The Waltons, which aired from 1972 through 1981 was very popular. In the television series the fictional town was called Waltons Mountain not Schuyler.
The characters in "The Waltons" included the parents John and Olivia and eight children, John-boy being the most famous, Maryellen, Jim Bob and their grandparents.
Schuyler is not a booming town but small with clusters of houses along the numerous winding and empty country roads that meanders through the Blue Ridge foothills. One would think there would be lots of Walton signs but there are only a few monuments created recently that indicate this is the town of the famous television series. For example the old S and H grocery store was the inspiration for Ike Godsey's store. It no longer exists. The Waltons Museum is now open and a tribute to the TV series. During the depression when Earl Hamner was growing up his community high school was the building that after falling on hard times, was converted to a community center. It now hosts the Walton's Mountain Museum. The Museum provides support to the city's food bank, literacy program, fire and rescue squads, children and senior citizen programs, the health clinic and the local library. Obviously the museum is a great support for the community.
After paying the five dollar admission fee one will see a short video regarding "the making of the Waltons" narrated by Earl Hamner about 20 minutes long, then one can spend an hour in the museum admiring all the memorabilia that a true fan would appreciate. Earl Hamner and his father both worked in the soapstone factories of Schuyler Virginia. Soapstone is a rock that is soft enough to be carved into durable furniture, flooring tile or countertops to find the actual home where Earl Hamner lived was down the road and at one time James Hamner, Jim Bob in the series still lived there. Earl senior was never able to see Earl Junior's work on the critically acclaimed TV series. But his mother Doris was able to reap the rewards of her sons work. His brother James had passed away but the family home was purchased and preserved by a Walton fan.
Life in Schuyler Virginia was an authentic representation of what it would be like during the depression and this town has a charm special enough to create the famous miniseries "The Waltons".