FORT ASHBY – As visitors kicked off Fort Ashby Days with the grand feature parade, Saturday also marked the opening of the Edgell and Irma Pyles Visitor Center at Ashby's Fort.

By Ronda Wertman
Tribune Correspondent
FORT ASHBY – As visitors kicked off Fort Ashby Days with the grand feature parade, Saturday also marked the opening of the Edgell and Irma Pyles Visitor Center at Ashby’s Fort.
Adjacent to Ashby’s Fort, the visitor’s center features an array of displays along with a video presentation.
Edgell Pyles Sr. was the last person born in the 1755 French and Indian War fort and he is remembered in the center along with information on the Daughters of the American Revolution, preservation of the area and the history of what is now Fort Ashby.
The display “A Town with Four Names” recalls how the present day community was first called Frankford, then Frankfort, followed by Alaska and later Fort Ashby.
An array of Ashby’s Fort collectibles are available for purchase, including glassware, t-shirts and wooden toys.
The area between the center and the fort was overflowing with information over the weekend as guests got a glimpse of what early traders or those serving as the quartermaster for the troops would have to offer. Artisans like Mike Getty and his homemade wooden lathe were also on hand to display the skills of the day.
Members of Ashby’s Rangers and the Virginia Regiment George Mercer Company out of Winchester were on hand along with William Hunt, who travelled from Charleston to portray a French Marine.
Friends of Ashby’s Fort were also in period attire as they met with visitors throughout the day, giving tours of the fort and explaining the 1755 fort footprint depicted by the wooden beams in the ground highlighting where the walls of the bastion would have been and the area leading down to the spring, which would have served the fort.
The addition of the property for the visitor’s center also contains the northeast bastion, which will be the subject of a new archaeological dig May 13 through June 21.
For those who missed Fort Ashby Days, it’s observed the first weekend in May each year. In the meantime, the fort is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Other appointments are available by calling 301-697-9292 or visiting www.fortashby.org or the Friends of Ashby’s Fort on Facebook for more information.