Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War

Strasburg - Hupp's Hill Civil War Walking Tour

Hupp's "Little Gem"

The marker for Hupp's "Little Gem" is one of several along the walking trail at the Hupp's Hill Civil War Park north of Strasburg, Virginia.


Location and Directions

Hupp's Hill Civil War Park is just north of Strasburg, Virginia on the west side of the Valley Pike (U.S. 11) approimately 0.9 mile north of Strasburg and 1 miles south of Interstate 81. (39.0005° N, 78.3494° W see map)


Text from the marker


How Strata Shaped Strategy:


The Hupp's Hill Civil War/Karst
Interpretive Walking Trail


CWK-13 Hupp's "Little Gem"


Mirroring the story of many Valley settlers, during the mid-1600s a German family surnamed Hupp disembarked in Philadelphia, settling first in Pennsylvania's York and Lancaster Counties before migrating south along the Great Wagon Road into the Great Valley of Virginia in 1732, In 1755 the Hupps built a fortified home at the bottom of their Hill, thus helping to plug a gap in George Washington's chain of military forts along Virginia's frontier. To ensure survival during possible enemy siege, the civilian fort was built over a constant source of fresh water which originates in the Hill's strata and seeps out of the karsite spring behind the fort.


Shawnee Indians reputedly showed the Hupps the entrance to Crystal Caverns. Archaic Culture (c. 8,000 - 3,000 BP) artifacts reveal that the cave had been used as a temporary shelter, a mine for raw materials, and possibly a ceremonial center for thousands of years. The Hupps found the caves's constant 55-degree temperature and beautiful passages well-suited for food storage and for the candlelit parties they termed illuminations. Generations of children "played hooky" from school and their chores by hiding in the cave's depths, sometimes complaining about the cave's "toe-thumpers," the protruding rocks in the phreatic zone on which they stubbed their bare toes.

Historical marker for the Action of Rutherford's Farm northeast of Winchester, Virginia.
(above) Historical marker for Hupp's "Little Gem"


As the family prospered from large land grants, George W. Hupp built an imposing home across the Pike from the Frontier Fort. The Hupp Museum provided a comfortable headquarters for Generals Nathaniel P. Banks and Philip Sheridan in 1864, while their troops camped on the heights above.


During the early 1920s, Bruce Hupp opened an amusement park at the top of the Hill offering tours of Crystal Caverns, two observation towers for viewing the relic Civil War trenches, a museum (later converted to a skating rink), two livery stables, miniature golf course, overnight accomodations, and open-air concerts presented by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Cowboy Copas, Patsy Cline, and others, using a sinkhole as a natural amphitheater.


Hupp's Hill Battlefield Park opened in 1991 and the museum was recast as Stonewall Jackson Museum at Hupp's Hill Historic Park in 1997. Crystal Caverns at Hupp's Hill, "A little Gem in the Shenandoah Valley." opened in 1998 as the only Virginia cave operated as a museum. The Hupp's Hill Civil War/Karst Interpretive Walking Trail opened in 2010.


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