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Christopher B. Martin oral histories on the Coors Controversy

Identifier: SdArch 31
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

Christopher B. Martin Oral Histories, circa 1980s, consists of two undated typed transcripts of interviews conducted by Christopher B. Martin concerning the Coors controversy, which began in 1979. Interviewees are F. Everette Smith, president of the local Farm Bureau Association and poultry farmer; and Eugene K. Souder, co-chairman of the Rockingham County Concerned Citizens and pastor of a church in Grottoes. Both interviews represent positions against the Coors Company. Smith discussed zoning issues, and what he felt was the waste of good agricultural land. Souder discussed the moral and social implications of a large-scale local brewery in Rockingham County.


  • Creation: circa 1985

Access Restrictions

Access to oral histories is governed by agreements with the narrators. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions

Copyright interests have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Bio/Historical Note

Christopher B. Martin, journalist, has had a career as a reporter-photographer for a number of regional newspapers and for WJMA Radio News, Orange, Va. In January 1979, the Adolph Coors Brewing Company announced it was considering acquiring an area of land in Rockingham County for its new Eastern brewery. It was not until later that year that Coors decided to construct the brewery in Rockingham County, Virginia, rather than North Carolina. Local citizens had mixed feelings about this. Many people felt that the brewery and the coming of industry to the area would significantly help the economy. For example, Coors projected the creation of 1,200 jobs. Others from the local community believed that creating 1,200 jobs would create a greater need for homes, schools, and other public services thereby increasing local taxes. Still others believed that brewing beer in the Shenandoah Valley would increase alcoholism, and corrupt the morals of Rockingham County citizens. In a letter to the editor of the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record a concerned citizen wrote, “Alcohol makes alcoholics, and beer is alcohol. Let them go away. Let our good land, our good grain, and our good resources be used for something better.” (DNR, January 29, 1979, p.6)


0.12 cubic feet (2 folders)

Language of Materials



Christopher B. Martin Oral Histories, circa 1985, is comprised of transcripts of oral history interviews with F. Everette Smith, president of the local Farm Bureau Association, and Eugene Souder, pastor, concerning the coming of the Coors Beer Company to the county.


Interviews are not arranged in any particular order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Items were donated by Christopher B. Martin in July, 1988.


  • Harrisonburg Daily News Record: “Coors Says Considering Valley,” January 13, 1979; “Board Friendly But Cautious,” January 13, 1979; “Brewery Controversy Goes On,” January 29, 1979.

Processing Information

There are no audio recordings accompanying the transcripts. Collection was formerly assigned Collection Number SC #1763.

A Guide to the Christopher B. Martin Oral Histories, circa 1985
Christina Bolgiano
February 1989
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

820 Madison Drive
MSC 1706
Harrisonburg Virginia 22807
(540) 568-3612