Broadway, Virginia lies in Shenandoah Valley near the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains, and has been booming since the 1850s, though it wasn’t formally incorporated until 1880. It was originally known as ‘Custer’s Mill’ and was successful as the railway ran through it and it was very fertile, being known as the ‘breadbasket’ of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. This being said, much of Broadway was destroyed in the war by a campaign by Union General Philip Sheridan called ‘The Burning’. Among buildings destroyed was the eponymous Custer’s Mill, and because of it’s destruction, the town was renamed Broadway. Broadway gained most of its population during the 1940s from the poultry industry and after World War II. Despite the many abandoned buildings around town, Broadway is actually growing greatly, and today has a population of about 3,800 residents.
The land that Parkbeg is on had an extensive history long before the little town was founded. Many indigenous peoples, including the Plains people, Assiniboine people, Plains Cree people, and Blackfoot people, lived on the land once, and later lived around it until they were forced on to reservation. But they left traces around the land, and artifacts and tipi rings can still be found in and near Parkbeg today. Though Parkbeg got a post office in the early 1910s, it didn’t officially become a town until 1920. Its main industry was grain and it still has one grain elevator (first photo) which is owned by Paterson Grain. It also had strong ties with the Canadian Pacific Railway. By the late 1950s, it was too small to be considered a village anymore.
Kayville was named after Billie McKay and was founded in 1905 by Romanian immigrants who built Kayville around the mainstreet with homesteads in the outskirts. The St Peter and Paul Church (pictured above) was built by the Romanian townspeople and is an Orthodox church that is over 100 years old today. Its layout is shaped like a boat to represent Noah’s ark. Mainstreet was very busy and had over 30 businesses, all of which had been abandoned by 2009, though recently a few have reopened. The population of Kayville today is 9 people.