"Shenvalee Motel." New Market Photographs, 1904-1982. Herb Parker Shenandoah County History Collection. 

This photograph shows a flier from the 1920s advertising the Shenvalee Hotel in New Market Virginia.

The Shenvalee began in 1926 when Roland F. Hill came to New Market and purchased what was then called the “Dr. Strayer Farm.” Hill would use the land to create a resort hotel and golf course. Local newspaper publisher John G. Miller would eventually chose the name Shenvalee, a combination of the words Shenandoah, Virginia, and Lee for the site.

That era’s economic prosperity had allowed numerous tourist attractions to emerge in Shenandoah County. Shenandoah, Endless, and Luray Caverns, Civil War sites in Strasburg and New Market, and resorts at Orkney Springs, Bryce, and Shenandoah Alum Springs brought thousands of visitors to Shenandoah County each year. Many of these visitors were residents of Washungton DC and its suburbs who were looking to escape the city during the summer. Roland Hill’s attraction was designed to attract these individuals and to add to the county’s appeal.

Hill took the dwelling that stood on the property and enlarged it into a two-story hotel whose rooms surrounded a large ballroom. He also created a nine-hole golf course on the site. This was the first golf course opened in Shenandoah County. What is today known as the “Olde Course” was constructed by teams of men using picks, shovels, and wagons. Both the hotel and course opened on July 7, 1927. Bobby Jones, a popular amateur golfer and co-founder of the Masters Tournament, was the first to tee off.

Shenvalee developed the tagline “The Home of Hospilatity” to promote the site. It advertised its proximity to local attractions, natural beauty, quiet atmosphere, and golf facilities. Visitors, and numerous locals, also flocked to the resort for its well-known food and dining facilities.  

 

Since its opening, the hotel and course have expanded dramatically. A fire that heavily damaged the hotel in 1929 led to a complete renovation that added a third floor and eliminated the ballroom. A pool and accompanying Poolside Motel opened in 1960. Four years later an additional 9-hole course opened. In 1969 the Golf Course Motel was added and was expanded in 1973. A final 9-hole course was added in 1992, making Shenvalee a 27 PGA hole course. 

"Shenvalee Hotel." Herb Parker Postcard Collection, undated.