James R. Wilkins, Sr.
A Vision for the Future
— Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum —
Born in Virgilina, Virginia, in 1910, James R. Wilkins, Sr. rose from humble beginnings, moving from job to job as a construction worker to become a community leader in the Shenandoah Valley.
While working for the forest service in 1933, Mr. Wilkins was named superintendent of the first Civilian Conservation Corps Camp (CCC), Camp Roosevelt in Edinburg, Virginia. The CCC played a key role in the building of trails, fire roads, towers, log comfort stations, and construction projects during the early development of Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive.
During World War II, Mr. Wilkins was a major in the Air Force. At age 37, home from the war and looking for opportunity, he settled in the Shenandoah Valley. After opening Wilkins Shoe Center in 1947, it eventually became Virginia’s largest independent family shoe store. He raised his family here, and his children and grandchildren attended Handley High School.
Mr. Wilkins became deeply involved in the Winchester community as a business leader, a philanthropist, a builder, an entrepreneur, and the author of two books, The Impossible Task: A History of Shenandoah University
Active in civic affairs until his death in 1996, Mr. Wilkins’ entire estate was donated to the James R. Wilkins Charitable Trust. His legacy continues to better the Winchester community, including the present Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum.
Erected by Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Education • Industry & Commerce • Parks & Recreational Areas.
Location. 39° 10.926′ N, 78° 10.038′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia. Marker can be reached from West Cork Street (U.S. 50) 0.1 miles east of South Braddock Street, on the right when traveling east. The marker is located on the top floor (roof) of the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 19 W Cork St, Winchester VA 22601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Peggy Wolfe McKee, Mary Bruce Glaize, Martha Wolfe (a few steps from this marker); George Washington (within shouting distance of this marker); Cannon Used by George Washington
Also see . . . Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum. (Submitted on May 5, 2021.)
Credits. This page was last revised on May 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 5, 2021, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 42 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 5, 2021, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.