History of the Museum

From the Beginning

J. H. Upson, a native of Wellville, Virginia, had resigned his Lynchburg bookkeeping job in 1889 to move to Vinton. Bringing with him his new wife, Amelia Callis Upson, he opened a general store on the corner of Maple and Lee avenues. Several years later, the Upson shingle hung over the doors of a grocery store and finally over the hardware store that he operated until his death in 1939.

In 1899, Upson purchased two lots near his store where he built the 10-room house that is located at 210 East Jackson Avenue. Mrs. Mary Upson Williams, daughter of J. H. and Amelia Upson, said "we had some mighty good times in the house. Vinton was, and still is, a very friendly place to live."

Donation of a Home

It was at the request of Mrs. Williams that her family home be donated to the Town of Vinton to be used for public or municipal purposes. She said "I have lived here the bulk of my life. I want to give something back to the community, which has given to me." Mrs. Williams died in 1993, and she did give back to her community, a priceless treasure, which is the Vinton History Museum.