The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains tower above roadways and have been in many a country song. Hidden in the hills of these mountains is the community of Shannondale. This hilltop oasis of flora and fauna resides between the Shenandoah River and the West Virginia and Virginia border. It is a census-designated area. This type of area is similar to an incorporated town or city, but it has no separate municipal government. It has been noted that in the 2023 census the area was comprised of 3,441 residents. Properties in Shannondale are listed with an address of Harpers Ferry. Now let’s get into the history of Shannondale!
The first mention of Shannondale in public records was in the conveyance of a 29,000-plus parcel from Lord Thomas Fairfax to his nephew William Fairfax. At this point, the land was conceived as a resort and spa in the early 1800s. It was called Shannondale Springs for the purpose of providing rich city folk from Washington D.C. and Baltimore relief from the sweltering summer heat.
Eventually, the modernized version of the history of Shannondale was born in the mid-1950s. Developer Charles M. Johnson built an Adirondack-style clubhouse with an Olympic-sized swimming pool and bathhouse on the land. Eventually, he built vacation homes as well. The homes were purchased by city residents in order to escape the city and take advantage of the recreational and camping opportunities in the area.
Later, in 1961, the Army Corps of Engineers was enlisted to construct an earthen dam. The dam created a 55-acre lake next to the clubhouse and pool. The lake became the largest privately owned lake in West Virginia. Membership and access to the lake came through the purchase of property in the Shannondale community. The lake and lodge were eventually purchased by a consortium of members in 1978. Currently, it’s operated as the Mountain Lake Club. In 2003 the main lodge was destroyed in a fire and was never rebuilt. Finally, the boat house was converted to a clubhouse with restaurant and banquet facilities where it still stands today.
The Community Today
At this time, the area has nearly 2,000 homes. Many back up to the Shannondale Springs Wildlife Management Area. The homes can be occupied year round. The close proximity to Frederick, Maryland, the Northern Virginia, and Maryland tech corridors also makes Shannondale an attractive place to live full time. Single family homes range from rustic log cabins to new construction builds. The pricing can range anywhere from two hundred thousand all the way up to one million dollars.
Lastly, the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers make a great place for water sports while the Appalachian Trail is a great hike! Other attractive outdoor options are the National Parks such as Harpers Ferry, the C & O Canal, and the Antietam National Battlefield. As a matter of fact, these features make the homes an ideal place to live! If the history of Shannondale isn’t enough to draw you in then the many opportunities to go kayaking, fishing, camping, hiking, and biking will!
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