DHR News Clips, Aug. 2-21

August 19, 2010

News from DHR:


Last week the Virginia Department of Historic Resources conducted a survey of an undocumented shipwreck in the York River, situated near previously documented Revolutionary War shipwrecks that are now listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

The survey, funded through DHR’s “Threatened Sites Program,” set out to map and confirm if the ship, discovered in 2008 through sonar, was associated with Lord Cornwallis’s fleet from the Battle of Yorktown.

The preliminary conclusion of the archaeologists from DHR and Tidewater Atlantic Research involved in the project, which wrapped up Thursday, is that the ship is almost certainly part of Cornwallis’s fleet.  A report is expected later this year.

Meanwhile, if you missed it, here are a few of the stories the survey generated and that carried the news around the world:

Yorktown Survey Articles:

Pre-survey story:  Two years ago a sonar company in Gloucester was testing equipment in the York River when the  crew hit the jackpot: an uncharted shipwreck on the river bottom.  “That was quite a surprise,” said David Hazzard, an archaeologist with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.  Virginia Gazette

During survey: Two of the nation’s foremost underwater archaeologists began work in the river off Yorktown Beach Wednesday morning, surveying the previously undetected wreck of a ship that may have been scuttled by the British during the Revolution.  Brought in by the Department of Historic Resources’ Threatened Sites Program, the team includes John D. Broadwater and Gordon Watts.  Daily Press

During survey: Archaeologists dived to a shipwreck Wednesday that they suspect dates to the Siege of Yorktown.  Working in 16-20 feet of olive-green water, four divers found a nearly fully buried 40-foot section of hull on the bottom of the York River, said Dave Hazzard, one of the divers and an archaeologist with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.  Free Lance-Star / AP

Post survey:  A veteran team of underwater archaeologists working off Yorktown Beach concluded a survey of a recently discovered shipwreck late Thursday.  But despite delays caused by lightning, they came away with evidence linking the half-buried vessel to the fleet of some 60 ships scuttled along the shore by Gen. Charles Lord Cornwallis’ embattled British forces during the October 1781 Siege of Yorktown.  Daily Press

Post Survey: Diver Dave Hazzard said metal probes were used Thursday to plot out the new, 27-foot section of the hull. He said that section and a 40-foot portion of the hull found Wednesday would be consistent with the size of other wrecks found off of Yorktown.  Associated Press

Post Survey:  The ship is about 67 feet long and 22 feet wide; its dimensions suggest the vessel was about 160 tons, according to David Hazzard, an archaeologist with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in the Tidewater region.  Williamsburg-Yorktown Daily

Annual Virginia Preservation Conference:

Please mark your calendars and join DHR and Preservation Virginia at the 25th Annual Virginia Preservation Conference, September 20-21 in Hampton. This year’s conference, titled “Playing for Keeps: Challenges and Benefits of Heritage Stewardship,” will focus, in part, on Fort Monroe.  For more information and to see an agenda or to register, visit Preservation Virginia.

Cemetery Preservation Workshop:

DHR staff will be conducting a two-day cemetery preservation workshop on September 10-11 at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville.  For more information, visit this link or contact Dee.Deroche@dhr.virginia.gov.

New National Register Listings

The National Park Service has listed the following sites on the National Register of Historic Places:  Floris Historic District, Fairfax Co.; Calverton Historic District, Fauquier Co.; and Portsmouth Community Library, Portsmouth.

Rosenwald Schools in Virginia

We have posted a new slide show, “Rosenwalds in Virginia,” to the DHR website for our “Historic Virginia / Site of the Month” feature, found on the DHR homepage.  Consisting of 17 slides, the show features three Rosenwalds listed on the state and national registers: Dry Bridge School, in Martinsville; Scrabble School, in Rappahannock Co., and Shady Grove School, Louisa Co, and also includes some wonderful historic and contemporary images.  See the slide show.

* * * * *

Now here are some of the news items gleaned from around the state (and beyond) since the beginning of August. I’ve arranged them thematically, in hopes you can home in on areas of most interest.

Civil War Related

Wilderness Walmart, Orange Co.Trial date set:  A judge set a January trial date for a lawsuit challenging Orange County’s approval of a Walmart Supercenter in the Wilderness battlefield area.  Circuit Judge Daniel R. Bouton scheduled the trial to run Jan. 25 through Feb. 3.   Free Lance-Star

Staunton: Columnist: Ex-Confederate made city business history: “Had the Yankees been a little nicer to Stephen D. Timberlake, generations of Stauntonians might never have benefited from his prodigious business acumen.”   News Leader

Stafford Co.: Civil War park underway:  Vulcan Materials Co. will donate 5,000 tons of gravel to the park effort.  Backers of the park want it to commemorate Stafford’s important but often overlooked role in the Civil War.  No battles occurred in the county, but some 130,000 Union troops spent the winter of 1862-63 camped in Stafford, regrouping between the key battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Free Lance-Star

Kelly’s Ford, Culpeper & Fauquier Cos.:  Civil War site is being trashed:  Recreational overuse and abuse of Kelly’s Ford has prompted local officials and volunteers to take action.  The Brandy Station Foundation owns the Culpeper bank of Kelly’s Ford.  Foundation president Bud Hall says his group and other preservation foundations are working to stop the abuses.  Star-Exponent More here: Free Lance-Star

Staunton River Battlefield, Halifax & Charlotte Cos.Historic Staunton River Foundation receives Civil War document:  HSRF has accepted donation of the 1864 “minutes” of the Employees of the Danville Arsenal. These rare “minutes” from Captain W. H. Otey’s Company include particulars of the defense of the Staunton River Bridge.  Virginian Gazette

Prince William Co.: Prepares for Civil War Sesquicentennial:   Over the past decade, the county has invested more than $16 million to preserve historic sites, including “The Prince William Civil War Heritage Trail’ which includes 25 key sites and Civil War Trails markers. Inside NOVA

Fredericksburg: Legal battle over the location of a memorial to Confederate dead to go to trial:  The City Council wants the SCV’s Matthew Fontaine Maury Camp No. 1722 to remove a granite-and-bronze memorial it erected in early 2009 to honor 51 Confederate soldiers who were buried nearby. The small monument sits on one corner of the much-larger Fredericksburg Area War Memorial. A court must decide some of the facts disputed by both sides.  Free Lance-Star

Rocky Mount, Franklin Co.Replacement Confederate memorial dedicated:  During an hour-long ceremony attended by Confederate re-enactors, dignitaries and more than 100 bystanders, the county’s history was applauded, and a new statue was unveiled.  Roanoke Times More here:  Franklin Co. Post


Virginia Historical Society: Opens new exhibit on rockabilly: The exhibit, “Virginia  Rocks! The History of Rockabilly in the Commonwealth,” runs from Aug. 28 through Dec. 12.  The traveling exhibit was organized by the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College.  It looks at more than 60 artists and bands from all over the state who made rockabilly records in small recording studios and radio stations in the 1950s and early 1960s.  It also features well-known musicians like Elvis Presley and Patsy Cline, and Virginia artists Janis Martin, Phil Gray, the Rock-A-Teens and the Dazzlers. VHS

Lancaster and Northumberland Cos: New exhibits focus on watermen’s history:  Great steamboats and menhaden rigs are featured in new or updated exhibits at two Northern Neck museums that do an inspired job of interpreting the commerce and history of the Chesapeake Bay region. While the exhibits at the Irvington Steamboat Era Museum and Reedville Fishermen’s Museum tell very different stories, there’s actually some crossover in the designers and model builders who helped create them.  Free Lance-Star

Landmarks/Districts in the News:

Mount VernonFamily traces history back to Washington’s slaves: For the Quanders, their connection to Washington is at the heart of familial lore.  It’s a history they celebrate and lament but continue to pass on.  Quanders from all over the East Coast toured the estate, gathering around a memorial to the hundreds of slaves who lived and died here in the 1700s. Somewhere nearby, the Quander matriarch and field laborer Suckey Bay is buried in an unmarked grave.  Washington Post

Clifton, Fairfax Co.Group seeks to register historic school:  Parents of current and future Clifton students, with the help of the local nonprofit group Friends of Community Schools, have formally nominated the elementary school’s circa-1953 building for inclusion in the Town of Clifton Historic District. Washington Examiner

Fairlington, Arlington Co.:  An appreciation of the close-knit neighborhood:  Built in the early 1940s at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to house defense workers, the 322-acre, 3,400-unit complex was the largest publicly financed housing development at that time. Despite wartime supply shortages, the buildings — a mix of townhouses and apartments — were made with sturdy materials: solid brick exteriors, oak floors and slate roofs.  Washington Post

Shenandoah Co., CourthouseTask force still looking at plans for 1795 building’s futureNVDaily

Charlottesville: Jefferson School plans raise controversy:  “The story of the sale of the Jefferson School to a group that wants to preserve it as the center of African-American history in the city sounds almost too good to be true, particularly given Charlottesville’s history of taxpayer-funded giveaways.  So when the city sells a property valued at $10 million to a private company for the nominal sum of $100,000 (a price actually coming out of nearly $6 million handed to the project from city coffers), how can this be a good deal for the community? The Hook finds out.”  The Hook

Charlottesville1939 Coca-Cola building soon to be vacant: The Mid-Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Co. announced last month that it would be closing its Charlottesville sales and distribution center. “There’s a whole string of historic buildings along Preston Avenue,” said Mary Joy Scala, the city’s preservation and design planner.  “I think it’s important that this building is saved, but also it’s a great location because it’s so close to downtown.”  Daily Progress

Ingles Ferry, RadfordHistoric gem: Visitors and volunteers at Radford’s Ingles Ferry take part in the site’s history for different reasons but agree that it’s a gem for the area. The 18th-century living history farm is best known as the site of the cabin of Mary Draper Ingles, whose story of escaping Indian captivity and returning home after an arduous trek has been re-told in books, films and re-enactments.  The Roanoke Times

Accomack Co.Central High School listed on state register:  Built in two phases in 1932 and 1935, the school is “an excellent example of a pre-World War II Art Deco high school and a rare example of Art Deco architecture on the Eastern Shore, especially on a monumental scale,” according to the nomination form.  Eastern Shore News

St. John’s Church, HamptonEnglish America’s oldest continuous parish and its 1728 landmark church: “Not many churches have this kind of story — and certainly not over such a period of time,” says James Tormey, author of “How Firm a Foundation: The 400-Year History of Hampton, Virginia’s St. John’s Episcopal Church.”  Daily Press

Landmark Lost:

Blackstone, Nottoway Co.Fire destroys landmark Ambuster house:   For many in the tiny town of Blackstone, the Armbruster estate is an icon.  A symbol of their community.  Now it’s gone and neighbors are stunned.  The home, once used as a restaurant and a hotel, according to townspeople, burned to the ground around last week.    WTVR


Newport News: Warwick Town artifacts exhibited:  Artifacts showcasing the history of Warwick Town — which for many years were nearly inaccessible to the public — are now on display at the Main Street Library.  Warwick Town was founded in 1680 at the confluence of the James and Warwick rivers, and dissolved in 1813. Today, the Newport News City Farm is located where the thriving river town once existed. The town included a courthouse, tavern, tobacco inspection warehouse and homes.  Daily Press

Hampton Colonial era site emerging:  When archaeologists began exploring the site of the future Old Point Bank headquarters weeks ago, they feared that any clues to this historic town’s lost colonial landscape might have been destroyed by later construction.  Instead, more than 800 features have been unearthed since the downtown dig began in June, including an early 18th-century structure, a recently discovered cellar and three wells that date to the period when Hampton ranked among Colonial America’s busiest port towns.  Daily Press

Other News:

Richmond: Columnist:  Developer French’s problems don’t negate tax credits’ value:  “The face of Richmond would be unrecognizable without state historic tax credits to renovate old buildings . . . . ‘It’s the best economic-development tool that Virginia has. And without it, these projects won’t happen,’[developer Robin] Miller said.”  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Route 5 Corridor, Henrico Co.: Public forum focuses on road’s future:  Planners envision the corridor becoming a friendly stretch for walkers, joggers and cyclists, among others.  “We’re starting with a blank slate,” RRPDC Principal Planner Lee Yolton told those in attendance.  “We’re looking for your vision.  There is going to be a lot of future development. We want to try to get ahead of the curve.”  Henrico Citizen

Virginia Indians: Baptist execs urge federal recognition:  The top executives of two Virginia Baptist groups have joined other religious leaders in calling for federal recognition of six Native American tribes in the state.  Federal recognition acknowledges a tribe’s sovereignty in dealing with the U.S. government and qualifies tribal members for federal education and health-care programs.   Associated Baptist Press

Spotsylvania Co.Couple’s plans for inn move ahead:  Dan and Debbie Spear are gaining notoriety for reusing old, rustic structures and turning them into quarters for guests at their inn.  The county has approved a tax incentive plan for the  Spears, who will get business tax incentives for building a 10,000-square-foot event center that will host weddings and other special occasions.   One of the chief attractions of the property are Civil War trenches Union troops dug in May 1864.  Free Lance-Star

Orange Co.: Woman helps build new chapter of DAR:  Debbie DeHart organized the Mine Run chapter in 2006.  It was chartered a year later, and currently has an astounding 78 members, including 74 who didn’t belong to DAR before DeHart corralled them.  Here’s her lure:  She offers to do the legwork to see if she can connect modern residents to the 1770s.  Free Lance-Star

Richmond Co.: Writer’s appreciation for preservationist Francene Barber:  “I’m saddened to say that this woman who always knew how to make history come alive, who gave freely of her time to so many Northern Neck attractions and efforts, won’t be doing that any longer.  She died Sunday [Aug. 2] at Westminster Canterbury in Irvington at the age of 80.  Free Lance-Star

University of Virginia: Receives grant to bolster history education: In partnership with the Southwest Virginia Public Education Consortium and the Wythe County school system, the UVa. project aims to address the lack of resources with a three-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s “Teaching American History Program.”  Through the grant, a group of Virginia history teachers will participate in “My History Partner,” a new support program its creators hope will ultimately increase students’ knowledge and performance. UVa Today

Culpeper Co.Baseball Hall of Fame will correct record for Negro League player Pete Hill: Thanks to the genealogical sleuthing of a Virginia historian/journalist, the Hall of Fame announced in late July that it will commission a new, correct plaque and unveil it on Oct. 12 — more than a century after John Preston Hill was born in Culpeper County. A star on some of the greatest early black teams — the Cuban X-Giants, Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants and Chicago American Giants — he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006 with 16 other African-Americans.  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Culpeper Historical SocietyGone:  After a 40-year run, the CHS officially became part of history in June.  Local attorney Butch Davies, who was president of the society in 1975 and remained a life member until the end, said it became clear that the CHS was no longer serving its intended purpose. CHS’s accumulated $65,000, and will split the money between the Culpeper Library Foundation and the Museum of Culpeper History.  Star-Exponent

Forthcoming Events

International Preservation Trades WorkshopsFrankfurt Kentucky October 21-23:  IPTW workshops provide an opportunity to interact with tradespeople from across the globe and to ask lots of questions regarding technical preservation trades matters.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to ask questions and get them answered.  For more information, visit IPTW.

Virginia Indian Festival: To be held at Riverbend Park in Great Falls, 10 am- 4 pm, Saturday, Sept. 11. This celebration of the American Indian returns after a two-year hiatus. Members of eight tribes of Virginia Indians will be featured, including the Upper Mattaponi, to share their culture, dance, storytelling and history at this family-friendly celebration.  Events will feature canoe and arrowhead building, archery and spear throwing, animal hide tanning and a chance to see totem poles, Indian costumes and tools.  Admission: $5, under three free.  See more information.  

Colonial Williamsburg Annual brick kiln burn scheduled: Fans of CW’s annual brick kiln burn can double the experience this year. This year the Historic Trades brickmakers will ignite two kilns several months apart.  The first burn begins Sept. 8 as brickmakers stoke the kiln fires for five days to push the kiln’s internal temperatures to nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The second kiln burn is scheduled to begin Dec. 8. Reconstruction of the James Anderson Blacksmith and Public Armoury, perhaps wartime Williamsburg’s most important industrial site, will require more than 25,000 bricks in three different sizes.  Virginia Gazette

Beyond Virginia

Georgia: Camp Lawton located: A succession of scholars and officials, including a U.S. congressman, spoke during a ceremony to announce the discovery of the exact location of Camp Lawton, a Civil War stockade that housed some 10,000 Union prisoners. Camp Lawton, constructed in late 1864 to help relieve overcrowding at the prison at Andersonville, held Northern soldiers and housed hundreds of Confederates who guarded them.  Savannah Morning News Also related story here CNN

National Park Service: Partnership with Temple University recruits students to guard NPS sites: The National Park Service, facing a shortage of rangers, sought out Temple students to stand guard over the sites where U.S. history was made,The four-year, paid internship program is called ProRanger Philadelphia. Temple students are also law enforcment rangers at the early English settlements in Virginia, the place where the Declaration of Independence was written in Philadelphia and at major battlefields of the Civil War, among other spots.Temple was chosen for its nationally ranked criminal justice program and for its diversity Associated Press

Blair Mountain, West Va.: The battle to preserve it and the man who is leading the charge:  It was on Blair Mountain in 1921 that an army of coal miners clashed with an armed force representing the authorities in league with coal companies — the largest battle on American soil since the Civil War and a watershed in labor’s struggle for recognition.  L.A. Times

Green Buildings: Op-Ed: Why they “won’t save the planet”:  “‘Green’ buildings alone are not enough to divert our perilous course. A broader vision of sustainability is imperative to meet America’s challenge. We must decide if we are willing to change our behavior: to migrate toward more populated, more diverse, more sustainable cities. Only by changing behavior — particularly suburban sprawl and its accompanying carbon intensive lifestyle — can the United States reach ecological balance. Strategies for maximizing the potential of our urban cores’ existing vitality and infrastructure must be the basis for any definition of sustainability.”  CNN

DHR News Clips, July 20 — Aug. 6, 2010

August 7, 2010


I was away on vacation at the end of July.  Here are some of the interesting news items from around Virginia during the past three weeks.

Randy Jones, Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources


Battlefield Preservation: Man’s legacy will help preserve four Civil War battlefields in Virginia:  Karl M. Lehr entrusted his estate to the Civil War Round Table of Eastern Pennsylvania. The group now is donating Lehr’s bequest–with interest–to three separate efforts to save four Virginia battlefields. The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, based in Fredericksburg, will receive $53,000 to help preserve 93 acres of the Wilderness battlefield in Spotsylvania.  Another $53,000 will go to the Richmond Battlefields Association toward purchase of 13 acres at Fussell’s Mill and 4 acres at the Malvern Hill battlefield. The Civil War Preservation Trust, based in Washington, will get $22,000 for 10 acres at Manassas.  Free Lance-Star

Farmland in VirginiaLoss of acreage slows:  The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced earlier this month that loss of farmland to development appears to be slowing in the Commonwealth. Virginia lost 81,500 acres of agricultural land directly to developed uses between 1997 and 2002 but lost 25 percent less–60,800 acres–between 2002 and 2007.   Brookneal Union Star

Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech: Interview with Sec. Domenech: “[He] calls himself a ‘granola Republican’ who loves the outdoors. But he also is a self-professed climate change skeptic and is not reluctant to decry what he calls ‘shocking’ behavior by his regulatory counterparts at the federal level. Domenech had a wide-ranging conversation recently about jobs, energy and the environment.”  Blue Ridge Business Journal: Pt 1 Pt. II

Virginia Indians: One writer reflects about her “lost” family history and Virginia’s “lost” history: “The only surviving photo I have of my great-great-grandmother, on my mother’s side, hangs in my parents’ house. She was a Native American. . . . Very little has been passed down through the oral history of our family about this woman. . . .” Richmond Times-Dispatch

Capital & Central Region

Hatton Ferry, Albemarle Co.Profile of a singular place:  “Once upon a time in America, this was the way we crossed rivers.  We boarded flat-bottomed ferries, tethered to land by rope, and glided slowly but surely from shore to shore, propelled by nothing more than the flow of the river and the strength of the ferryman poling the craft through the water.”  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Hatton Ferry #2: Voice-over slideshowThe Hatton Ferry

Hatton Ferry #3: Success raises parking problems:  When the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society took over the ferry in order to keep this link with the past alive, too many visitors for available parking was not then a concern.  The Daily Progress

William Faulkner: UVa launches audio archive:  During spring semesters in 1957 and 1958, at 36 different public events, Faulkner gave two addresses, read a dozen times from eight of his works and answered more than 1,400 questions.  Fortunately, two English department faculty members had the presence of mind to preserve those conversations, which have now been compiled into “Faulkner at Virginia: An Audio Archive.”  Besides recordings and transcripts, the site contains a trove of photos, documents and scholarly articles.   News Leader Website: Faulkner at Virginia: An Audio Archive

Buckingham Co.Historic company continues to mine prized slate:  The slate that lies in the county’s hills has attracted entrepreneurs for centuries now.  Since Colonial times, the durable material has been quarried and shipped to builders who prized it as a roofing material, or to stonemasons to make historical markers and tombstones.  “It’s recognized as the best in the world,” said Mark Claud, president of Buckingham Slate Co., a 143-year-old company based in Arvonia that quarries and sells the famous stone.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Appomattox Co.Gains first VDOF conservation easement:  The Virginia Department of Forestry has secured its first conservation easement in the county– a 275-acre working forest easement owned by Joan Rockwell and Hugh Radcliffe.  The property, known as Rockcliffe Farm, borders the James River near the Beckham community.  DOF Press Release More here: The News & Advance

Powhatan Co.: Proposed State Police shooting range continues to draw fire: Gov. Bob McDonnell has directed his secretary of public safety and the superintendent of state police to look at all options regarding a controversial state police shooting range and training facility proposed for the county.  The planned range has drawn intense opposition from residents and county leaders, and the FBI has confirmed that it is pulling out of the project. It was supposed to contribute the bulk of the funding.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond: Developer Justin French: Agents raided the Shockoe Slip offices of embattled developer French. The FBI would not say what they were investigating but said the search warrant was sealed. However, two sources close to the investigation said French might have violated the rules that allow developers to obtain historic tax credits from the state and federal governments  RichmondBizSense.com Also here: Richmond Times-Dispatch Previous story (Aug. 1)Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond #2:  History and bar tour: “Whether you’re a dedicated drinker looking to expand your horizons or a history buff trying to let loose, select from these pairings of iconic Richmond historical sites and drinking establishments.” Richmond.com

Virginia Capitol: Green project launched:  Gov. Bob McDonnell broke ground last week on a set of construction projects that will “green” Virginia’s Capitol grounds and surrounding Richmond streets.  These projects that will retrofit the Capitol and make it one of the greenest in the nation. Several low impact development techniques will let storm water slowly infiltrate rather than flow over the ground and into the James River.  WHSV

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

WilliamsburgSite of first school in U.S. for African Americans?: Terry Meyers, an English professor with a penchant for local history, suggests that the College of William and Mary was instrumental in opening a school in 1760 — at the urging of Benjamin Franklin, no less — and so became the first college in America involved in the education of black students.  Washington Post

Williamsburg#2: Architectural historian Calder Loth on “The Block Modillion”:  “The block modillion is a little used classical detail but one meriting greater attention.  Hardly any architectural treatises or glossaries make note of it. . . .  One of America’s earliest uses of the block modillion is the exterior cornice of the 1748 Public Records office in Williamsburg, Virginia. . . .” Read his well-illustrated blog here:   Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America

James River Institute: Profile of the archaeology firm:  Long before Nick Luccketti and other archaeologists arrived at the corner of East Queens Way and Wine Street in Hampton last month, they knew that 18th-century dwellings once occupied part of the half-acre site.  Since the 1960s, state and federal efforts to protect culturally significant properties from development spurred demand for professional archaeologists like those at James River Institute.  Virginian-Pilot

Hampton Roads: 10 obscure, weird or plain interesting places:  Click a number on the map to begin reading the story behind the location.  Virginian-Pilot

Tidewater Oyster IndustrySuffers from BP spill:  While most attention from the oil spill centers on the gulf, there are businesses throughout the country that are feeling the weight of the spill. Virginia’s oyster industry has lost $11.6 million since April, according to a report from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.   Daily Press More here: Richmond Times-Dispatch

NorfolkEntrepreneurs offering historic tours:  Several local businesses have opened in recent years to capitalize on Norfolk’s rich 400-year history by adding some creativity to their guided tours, hoping it will allow tourists to discover the city in new ways.  Virginian Pilot

Southampton Co.Grant to develop Nat Turner tour:  A $420,000 federal grant, with a matching $105,000 from the Southampton County Historical Society, will be used to create a driving tour through the county, marking Turner’s path. There are plans for an “electronic map” at the Rebecca Vaughan House in Courtland. Vaughan’s house was the last place people were killed in 1831, and it will serve as the visitor s center for the tour.  Virginian-Pilot

Tiffany Lamps / Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk: Exhibit reveals work of Clara Driscoll, not Tiffany:  Driscoll was mentioned in 1894 as the head of the women’s glass-cutting department in the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Now experts label her the designer of treasured lamps on display in an internationally touring show of Tiffany glass at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, which has a world-renowned Tiffany collection.  The egotistical artist-designer Tiffany might be mortified that the world has learned that most of his signature lamps–much-copied icons of American decorative arts–were actually designed by Driscoll and her “Tiffany girls.”  Virginian-Pilot

Sebrell, Southampton Co.: Public meeting scheduled for proposed historic district: A proposal to designate the Sebrell area as a historic district is moving forward with a public hearing to discuss the issue.  DHR will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11, in the board room of the county’s administration building at 26022 Administration Center Drive in Courtland.  Tidewater News

Suffolk, Nansemond Indian Tribe: Council ends talks to transfer land to tribe: The dream of having part of its ancestral land back is apparently dead for the Nansemond Indian Tribe.  City officials and an attorney for the tribe have confirmed a letter had been sent to the tribe that essentially ends talks on a transfer of land at Lone Star Lakes to the tribal association.  Suffolk News-Herald

Preservation Planning for Campuses, Complexes, and Installations, Hampton: September 28-29:  The workshop is being hosted in cooperation with Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority, DHR, and the U.S. Army, Fort Monroe. The advance registration rate is available through August 17.  The workshop will focus on understanding how buildings and landscapes contribute to the institutional identity of campuses, complexes, and installations.  More info an agenda here:  www.npi.org.

Roanoke & Southwest

Smyth Co., African American HistoryImportant document preserved:  The Library of Virginia has conserved a document found in the Smyth County courthouse that could prove invaluable to students of local African-American genealogies and other historians. Titled “The Register of Colored Persons of Smyth County, Virginia, cohabitating together as Husband and Wife on 27th February 1866,” and hand-penned in ink long-since oxidized but still legible, the document “is the first legal recognition of slaves’ marriages and the first legal recognition of their lives,” said Circuit Court Clerk John Graham.  SWVA.com

Poplar Forest, Bedford Co.:  Archaeology focuses on Jefferson’s historic landscape design:  This summer, activity and focus at the site has shifted to an exterior project led by Jack Gary, director of archaeology and landscapes at the third president’s Forest plantation.  The goal is to locate and eventually re-establish Jefferson’s landscaping and other outdoor features that have disappeared during the past 200 years.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginia’s Coal Heritage Trail: Supporters push for a national byway designation: The Coal Heritage Trail is already designated as a state scenic highway in Virginia. It winds more than 325 miles through the beautiful mountains of Southwest Virginia, including seven counties and one city. Beyond providing a welcomed tourism boost to the coalfield counties of Southwest Virginia, a national byway designation would also help promote additional economic development and historical preservation in the region. Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Virginia Tech: Landmark tree downed:  The sycamore on the hill was cut down piece by piece. Some say the tree was on the Henderson Lawn when VT was founded in 1872.  WSLS10.com

Explore Park, Roanoke & Bedford CountiesNew plans proposed:  After a Florida developer’s $200 million vision for a resort at Virginia’s Explore Park faded away this year due to lack of finances, a “Plan B” to bring new life to the site is taking shape.  The Virginia Recreational Facilities Authority, the board that governs the 1,100-acre park, was presented a preliminary plan from a consortium of stakeholders last month.  News Advance

Abingdon, Washington Co.: Sec. Domenech visits town:  Strolling the Barter Green and touring the Muster Ground recently, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech said Abingdon sets an example on preserving history.  “The folks at DHR [Department of Historic Resources in Richmond] have just talked about the amount of tax incentives here and how wisely the town has been able to seek out and use state support and federal support and private foundation support,” Domenech said. “It’s a great model for the rest of the state.”  Bristol Herald News

Abingdon, Washington Co.Recently-arrived resident leads local history tours: Carl Mallory has been researching Abingdon’s history for the past four years, ever since he bought a home on Main Street.  Now Mallory, a self-proclaimed history buff, conducts historical walking-tours of downtown Abingdon for the Virginia Highlands Festival.  One Sunday, while many people were buying new crafts and other goods along Remsburg Drive, Mallory explained the rich history of the 270-year-old town.  Bristol Herald

Washington Co.: BOS creates conservation program: The Washington County Board of Supervisors decided this past week to create a Purchase of Development Rights program for the county, which would allow landowners to sell the right to develop their property, keeping it rural in perpetuity.  Bristol Herald

Chatham, Pittsylvania Co.: VT group offers plan for visual enhancements: The Community Design Assistance Center, an outreach of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, has completed a report that recommends visual improvements to the town’s entrances, medians, and downtown area, along with recommendations on a trail, model ordinances and grants.  Star-Tribune

Pittsylvania Co.NRC names uranium study committee: The National Research Council has named a 13-member provisional committee for a scientific study of uranium mining in Virginia. Virginia Uranium announced plans three years ago to explore mining uranium at Coles Hill, about six miles northeast of Chatham.  Discovered in the early 1980s, the uranium deposit is one of the largest in the U.S. and is worth an estimated $7 billion.  Star-Tribune

Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville: Technology costs may increase nearly 66 % this fiscal year: Joe Keiper, executive director at VMNH, said he recently received a memo that the museum will have to pay the entire cost of services it gets from the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. Martinsville Bulletin

NOVA & Shenandoah Valley

City of Fairfax: Historic photographs of Fairfax county available online:  A new partnership between the Virginia Room at the City of Fairfax Regional Library and the Library of Virginia has resulted in a total of 574 historic photos recently added to the Library of Virginia’s online photo database. This allows people to pore over photos showing the county’s agrarian past, the important role it played during the Civil War and the rapid changes over the past few decades.  Connection Newspapers

Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park: USA Travel Guide highlights park: The W&OD RPR exists to preserve the path originally cut for the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, which served the short line from Alexandria to Bluemont as late as 1968. While almost all remnants of the actual rail lines are gone today, the rail bed has been repaved in asphalt and has blossomed into a truly remarkable historic recreation trail. Today you can follow all 44.8 miles from just outside Alexandria to the town of Purcellville.  USA Travel Guide

Mount VernonOne family’s reunion: One of the oldest and largest black families in America, the Quanders celebrated a part of their 85th reunion this year at Mount Vernon, the Virginia home of George Washington, where some of the family’s ancestors were once held as slaves.  NPR

Loudoun Co., Mountain Gap FarmPlaced under conservation easement: Sandy Lerner, owner of Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, has placed the 350-acre Mountain Gap Farm south of Leesburg near Oatlands Plantation under protective conservation easement with the county. The farm dates back to 1741.  The property contains a 19th century archaeological site, house and six ancillary structures.  Leesburg Today

Montpelier, Orange Co.Archaeology focuses on African American history:  Archaeologists are unearthing the undisturbed remains of slave dwellings.  The actual dwellings of house, stable, garden and field slaves were abandoned abruptly in about 1840. But the sites on which they had stood were never dug up again, leaving a trove for researchers.  “We’ve just got an incredible playground for aarchaeologists to work in,” said Matthew Reeves, director of archaeology at Montpelier.  The Daily Progress

Montpelier #2: Students participate in archaeology field school:  James Madison University students were among college students from all over the country who, in separate month-long sessions, got to live at the historic home of the nation’s fourth president. Their charge: spending long days doing excavations to find and understand the layout of the lost Madison Stable Quarter, made up of the stables, a blacksmith’s shop and slave quarters.  The student work fits in with a three-year effort to investigate the life and quarters of slaves who toiled at Montpelier during Madison’s time.  Free Lance-Star

Brandy Station Battlefield, Culpeper Co.: Two new easements preserve additional land:  The two conservation easements on the sprawling battleground–site of the world’s largest cavalry engagement–add 782 acres to the 1,000 acres preserved there since 1987.  The 349-acre northern tract, which includes nearly a mile of Hazel River frontage, is where Union Brig. Gen. John Buford’s cavalry fought Confederate troopers led by W.H.F. “Rooney” Lee, Robert E. Lee’s middle son.  Its easement was donated by Beauregard Farms LP.  The southern tract, comprising 433 acres southwest of Culpeper Regional Airport, includes land where Union Col. Thomas Devin’s Federal cavalry repeatedly clashed with Confederates led by Gen. Wade Hampton. Free Lance-Star

Brandy Station #2: Editorial praises easements: “IMAGINE: It could have been a 3.4-million-square-foot development of condominiums, a multiplex theater, a water park, an equestrian center, a hotel and asphalt, lots of asphalt. Instead, thanks to some generous landowners, 443 acres in Culpeper County, part of the Brandy Station battlefield, has been preserved.”  Free Lance-Star

Wilderness Battlefield, Orange Co.:  Group to protect more land: The Central Virginia Battlefield Trust will purchase a tract of land adjacent to the Wilderness Battlefield near Rts. 3 and 20. The group moved on the land purchase when the Wilderness Walmart dispute heated up.  “It’s an extremely important piece of property, especially because of it’s close proximity to the new Walmart,”  said a CVBT representative. Orange Co. Review

Staunton: Facebook page features history:  The “I Grew Up in Staunton, Virginia” page is a unique fusion of technology and history that provides a forum for memories, photos, reminiscences and links to articles about Staunton.  The page has posts about everything from businesses that no longer exist, teachers who made a difference, schoolhouse behavior that netted detention hall, news—even descriptions of “characters” who used to populate downtown.   News Leader

Staunton #2Historic pedestrian bridge to be preserved:  A last-minute deal has saved a century-old Staunton bridge from demolition. The city’s Historic Preservation Commission has approved a plan to temporarily take down the Sears Hill pedestrian bridge and let restoration begin.  NBC29.com

Waynesboro, Augusta Co.: New state historical marker dedicated:  About 60 people gathered for the unveiling, including city officials, longtime residents of ‘The Hill’ and many who graduated from the community’s historic all-black Rosenwald School.  The sign honors the the Port Republic Road Historic District, which is one of the city’s oldest intact neighborhoods, said Calder Loth, an architectural historian with DHR.  The neighborhood’s oldest home dates to 1818. By 1867, there were 23 black families in the area.  The News Virginian Also covered here: News Leader

Waynesboro #2 Officials promote Main Street grant program: Downtown merchants last year maxed out a Waynesboro fund that offsets building renovation costs, but money is left untapped some years, so officials are ramping up promotion of the program. The grant program matches business owner investments of up to $5,000 for simple facade improvements such as new signage, awnings and paint, and more extensive reconstruction efforts such as swapping out bricks or restoring historic stonework.  News Virginian

Chapman/Beverley Mill, Prince William Co.:  Dedication event scheduled: The Turn The Mill Around Campaign proudly invites the public to attend the dedication for Chapman/Beverley Mill’s Prince William County Civil War Trails sign on Sunday, August 15, at 11 a.m. at Chapman/Beverley Mill in Thoroughfare Gap in Broad Run. After wards, guests may attend the “John Chapman’s Civil War Nightmare” and partake of refreshments. More info here: www.chapmansmill.org.

Beyond Virginia

New York CityNY Times webpage highlights recent archaeology:  Since the late 1970s, hundreds of archaeological digs around the city have uncovered thousands of artifacts and structures — each of which have helped to shape our understanding of New York’s history. The NY Times editors asked 12 local archaeologists to share their most memorable discoveries.  NY Times

Train Depots: Preservationists on track to save depots: Preservationists weave a bit of time travel and local pride to restore old train stations across the USA. Many are being saved from demolition and finding new uses as museums and businesses. The depots also are reclaiming their roles as community gathering places, says Jerry Hardwich, a spokesman for the National Railway Historical Society.  USA Today

Maryland: Shipwreck could be associated with War of 1812: The sailing ship could be the USS Scorpion, part of a fleet known as the Chesapeake Flotilla that was designed to navigate the shallow waters of the Patuxent River and harass the British, whose Royal Navy at the time was terrorizing towns from Havre de Grace to Norfolk. Researchers hope to find more definitive proof when they map the ship’s dimension  Washington Post

New York City: World Trade Tower-site ship: The ship, discovered in New York on July 12 when its ribs were spotted poking out of the muck as workers were excavating the World Trade Center site, has been shipped to Maryland’s state archaeological conservation laboratory, which specializes in such work.  Washington Post

Timbuctoo, New JerseyArchaeologists’ research of lost African American community part of larger trend: Tmibuctoo was founded by freed blacks and escaped slaves in the 1820s. Archaeological excavation of African American communities such as Timbuctoo is booming across the country, spurred by an increasing number of prominent black academics and politicians and a proliferation of museums dedicated to African American history, whose curators are eager to display the artifacts. Washington Post

DHR News Clips, Week of July 16, 2010

July 18, 2010

News from DHR:

National Register of Historic Places: New listings in Virginia:  Hockley, Gloucester Co.;  “The Work of Marshall Swain Wells, Architect” (Multiple Property Document), Albemarle and other counties;  St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Norfolk.

Statewide Virginia:

Minds Wide Open: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts: Virginia’s First Ladies to honored with portraits: First lady Maureen McDonnell has announced her plan to commission portraits of every living first lady for the mansion’s 200th anniversary in 2013.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Historic Virginia: Buildings and Architecture:  Flickr group has wonderful selection of photographs, ever growing.  Flickr

NoVa & Shenandoah Valley:

Culpeper Co., John Preston “Pete” HillNegro League Hall of Famer:  John Preston “Pete” Hill, born Oct. 12, 1882, was an outfielder and manager in baseball’s Negro Leagues from 1899 to 1925. Hill played for the Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants, Chicago American Giants, Detroit Stars, Milwaukee Bears, and Baltimore Black Sox. He died in Buffalo on Dec. 19, 1951.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.   But his plaque lists his name as “Joseph” and his birthplace is recorded as Pittsburgh, Pa.  Research shows Hill was actually born in Culpeper County, and his family is determined to get that hall of fame entry corrected.   Star-Exponent More here: Star-Exponent

Salubria, Culpeper Co.:  Germanna Foundation researchers pry loose secrets:  Salubria is the 18th-century Georgian-style house built by the widow of colonies founder Alexander Spotswood and her second husband. The popular wisdom had been that Montpelier–the home James Madison built in 1764–influenced the design of Salubria. But the scientific dating process for Salubria’s lumber “places it before wood used in Montpelier.”  Free Lance-Star Also here: Star-Exponent

Battlefield Grants: NPS awards 3 to Virginia:  The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation won $61,500 to “create a new battlefield preservation and planning website … in preparation for the Civil War Sesquicentennial.”  Shenandoah Valley Network was given $21,500 to “secure improved local zoning and planning in two Shenandoah Valley counties.”  Stafford County was selected to receive $77,700 to help recognize one of the first naval engagements of the Civil War, the Battle of Aquia Creek.  InsideNoVa.com

Strasburg, Shenandoah Co.: A block of historic town goes up for auction: The roadside attractions of Leo M. Bernstein, the late Washington financier with a fondness for the history and kitsch of the Shenandoah, go on the auction block July 22, two years after he died at age 93. It’s the rare auction that puts a key part of a town’s identity up for sale, but it’s equally rare that an entire side of a city block goes up for bid — almost all of it with no reserve minimum price. Washington Post

Orange Co., Leland-Madison Park: Columnist: Park’s significance: “It was during the later years of his stay in Virginia that Elder John Leland and James Madison met (near the location of the Leland-Madison Park). In 1788, with the final state endorsements of the Constitution being sought, Madison asked Leland to endorse the Constitution for Virginia. Leland promised his support with one condition: Madison must develop an amendment in the Constitution to assure religious liberty.”  Star-Exponent

“Wilderness” Walmart, Orange Co.: Next court date Aug. 13: Attorneys are due back in court next month in the battle over a Walmart Supercenter proposed near an endangered Civil War battlefield in northern Virginia. A trial date was expected to be scheduled at a hearing July 13 in Orange Circuit Court, but lingering issues delayed that decision until an Aug. 13 hearing.  Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

Rockingham Co.: Remembering War of 1812:  Members of the recently chartered Shenandoah Valley Chapter National Society of the United States Daughters of 1812 are seeking to make sure those who fought in that conflict, as well as others, are remembered.  As the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812 approaches, Shenandoah Chapter members plan to mark as many grave sites of veterans of that conflict as possible between Winchester and Roanoke. Washington Examiner

Mary Washington University, Fredericksburg: Master Plan announced: The proposed plan calls for Ball, Virginia and Willard halls, which are described as “jewels” of the campus, to be among the first eight residence halls to be renovated. Bushnell, Jefferson and Marshall halls, however, would be torn down and replaced.  Free Lance-Star

Woodford, Spotsylvania Co.: Historic Beazley’s Store auctioned:  The old general store at the corner of U.S. 1 and Arcadia Road sold for $122,000 at auction. The building has become a curiosity of a bygone era. The store closed in 2003 after its proprietor, Arthur Lee Beazley Jr. died at 62. The store had been in the Beazley family since 1929.  Free Lance-Star

Roslyn: Previously undocumented Charlie Chaplin film to be shown: The movie will be shown before an audience for the first time since its original release in 1914, at the Slapsticon Festival.  The film, “A Thief Catcher,” is a 10-minute comedy discovered last autumn.”I stopped, got up, rewound the projector, watched it again, watched it again, watched it again and it finally sank in that I had found a completely previously undocumented, unknown Charlie Chaplin film appearance,” said Paul Gierucki.  Chaplin makes a three-minute cameo as a policeman in the film. SkyNews HD

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

William & MaryWMCAR discovers two small, unmarked graves on campus:  Dating to sometime prior to the mid-19th century, the graves contain tiny bone fragments that have been incorporated into the soil matrix. They were discovered July 13 by the William & Mary Center for Archaeological Research (WMCAR).  W & M News

Virginia Beach: Will preserve Lynnhaven River open space: The city, in partnership with several conservation groups, plans to buy 122 acres of environmentally sensitive land off Shore Drive that had been marked for a housing development.  The purchase would guarantee that the last major tract of undeveloped land along the Lynnhaven River, which boasts oyster beds, wetlands and a maritime forest, is preserved.  Virginian-Pilot

Portsmouth: Historic church in disrepair and apparently abandoned: The 110-year-old church remains vacant and work has stopped. The church’s building permits expired months ago. Code violations have racked up. And construction crews and the former owner of the building have filed liens and lawsuits, claiming they haven’t been paid.  Virginian-Pilot

Assateague Lighthouse: Undergoing renovations:  After ownership of the 100-plus-years building passed from the U.S. Coast Guard to the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004, a $1.5 million, multi-phase restoration project began. The lower gallery deck has already been replaced, allowing visitors to walk on the deck — approximately 130 feet in the air — for the first time. Fund raising is underway for remaining phases of renovation.  DelmarvaNow

Roanoke & Southwest

Danville, Pittsylvania Co.: Proposal to balance historic preservation concerns at mega industrial park site:  About 70 dilapidated buildings, including old log barns, houses and outbuildings and at least one old slave cemetery can be found in the site Danville and Pittsylvania County officials hope to transform into a major industrial center.  Preservation Virginia and the Danville and Pittsylvania historical societies propose six items to include in the covenants for the park to protect the site’s natural beauty and historic resources.   GoDanRiver.com

Danville: One-time hospital in critical condition:  Built by the Ladies’ Benevolent Association in 1903, the 23,000-square-foot structure was a hospital for about 20 years, according to local historian Gary Grant. It served as an apartment building from the 1920s until a fire in 1996. This month, the city will tear down the now-dilapidated Georgian Revival building.  Preservation Magazine Online

Lexington, Rockbridge Co.: Fire destroys Southern Inn Restaurant: The Lexington landmark went up in flames around 1:30 a.m. Buildings next door were damaged by smoke and water.  The buildings go back to the 1820s.  WDBJ

Beyond Virginia:

World Trade Center Site, NYC: 18th-century ship uncovered:  A 30-foot length of a wood-hulled vessel has been discovered about 20 to 30 feet below street level. The area under excavation had not been dug out for the original trade center. The vessel, presumably dating from the mid- to late 1700s, was evidently undisturbed more than 200 years.  A 1797 map shows that the excavation site is close to where Lindsey’s Wharf and Lake’s Wharf once projected into the Hudson.  NY Times AP YouTube Video

Vernon Baker: Last living black veteran awarded Medal of Honor for valor in World War II:  Baker received his award 52 years after he wiped out four German machine-gun nests on a hilltop in northern Italy. He died at his home near St. Maries, Idaho. He was 90. On April 5, 1945, Lt. Baker was leading 25 black infantrymen through a maze of German bunkers and machine gun nests near Viareggio, Italy, a coastal town north of Pisa. About 5 a.m., they reached the south side of a ravine, 250 yards from Castle Aghinolfi, a German stronghold they hoped to capture. . .  NY Times

Leonardo da Vinci’s “Virgin of the Rocks”Restoration reveals new details: The 18-month conservation project involved removing much of some badly degraded varnish that was applied to the painting in the late 1940s, enabling experts to take a much closer look at the picture’s brush strokes and styles. The cleaning revealed the painting’s full tonal range, especially in the darker areas, and resulted in a clearer sense of how the artist intended for space to recede through the rocky landscape. It also affirmed that Leonardo likely painted the entire picture himself. Washington Post

DHR News Clips, Week of

July 11, 2010

Northern & Shenandoah Valley

Mount Vernon DistilleryAnother go round on G.W.’s whiskey making:  “We learned everything about making the whiskey from Washington’s papers,” said Dennis Pogue, vice-president of restoration at Mount Vernon.  After Washington built the distillery in 1797, it became one of the most successful of its day, topping out at a production of 11,000 gallons of spirits in 1799.  After Washington’s death, the distillery fell into disrepair and then burned in 1814.  Kansas City Star

Manassas National Battlefield Pipeline repairs could disturb 150th anniversary events: An energy firm is seeking to expand and replace a natural gas pipeline under the Northern Virginia Civil War battleground.  Civil War reenactors fear that construction will affect next year’s commemoration, which organizers have estimated could draw 150,000 people for a string of events July 21-24.  Washington Post

Clifton, Fairfax Co.:  Historic school to close:  The Fairfax School Board has voted to shut down Clifton Elementary School, following months of intense resistance from residents seeking to save the town’s only school.  Parents in the tiny picturesque town and its pastoral environs said the school is an integral part of their community and a crucial gathering place for families.  Clifton neighbors are seeking a historic designation for the 1950s-era building.  Washington Post

Spotsylvania Co. WW II-vet receives French government’s highest award:  It wasn’t the first time the French thanked Col. Jack Morris for his World War II service. Morris has been honored in four different decades by those he and other Allies helped liberate during the war.  The first reception came in August 1944, after Paris was freed from German forces. Morris was with the 749th Tank Battalion, the first American tank unit to cross the Seine River at the site of the first Allied bridgehead.  F’burg Free Lance-Star

Roanoke & Southwest

Rocky Mount, Franklin Co.: Ceremony to dedicate new Confederate monument: Author and distinguished Civil War historian Dr. James I. Robertson Jr. will deliver the keynote address Saturday, Aug. 7, at the 2 p.m. dedication of the new Confederate monument on the courthouse green. The monument replaces one originally erected in Dec. 1910, which a wayward pickup truck destroyed in 2007. Smith Mountain Eagle

Abingdon, Washington Co.Custom woodworker has hand for history:  Joe Cress creates custom-made furniture-– specializing in Civil War era reproductions.  Among the pieces in his repertoire are replicas of the field desks used by Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, the bed that Jackson died in, and J.E.B. Stuart’s field desk.  Cress has recreated pieces at the Virginia Military Institute, the Museum of the Confederacy, and in cooperation with the NPS.  Bristol Herald Courier

Gate City, Scott Co.City officials delighted to be on register:  Town officials are elated that DHR has recognized the town’s historic district for inclusion into the Virginia Landmarks Register. Gate City officials have been working for the past four years on obtaining the historic district designation for a five-block area of Gate City’s downtown area. Virginia Star

Capital & Central

University of VirginiaRestoring Jefferson’s flat-roof design:  Jefferson designed the roofs over the student rooms and colonnades that span the distance between the pavilions, which were both learning spaces and faculty housing.  Built beginning in 1817, the roofs were flat-topped over metal and wood channels to divert the water that flowed through gaps in the decking into gutters and cisterns. Professors could use the flat roofs as an elevated walkway to move from one pavilion to the other.  “Flat roofs were popular in France while Jefferson was living there,” said Joseph. D. Lahendro, historical architect.  News Leader

University of Virginia: Nears completion of first extension of the Lawn:  The project includes what the university is calling Vista Point, a large circular stone plaza surrounded by pergolas.  In the distance beyond the trees, one can see Carters Mountain and neighboring peaks. James A. Kelley Jr., U.Va.’s project manager for the South Lawn Project, said Vista Point is meant to bring back the view of the mountains that students in Jefferson’s era might have seen, before the construction of Old Cabell Hall in 1898. “This restores the original Jeffersonian concept of the vista at the end of the Lawn,” Kelley said.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Historic Albemarle Co. Jail: BOS deciding on study for its future:  The Board of Supervisors weighed Wednesday whether to retain a firm to study the historic Albemarle County Jail or to leave the task to the local historical society.  Built in 1876 on East High Street, the jail is listed on the National Register.  A steering committee involving members from the BOS, county staff and the historical society was established in 2008 to devise a strategy to reclaim the jail and preserve its architectural and social significance.  C’villeTomorrow Background story: Daily Press

MonticelloW&L archaeology advances research on Edmund Bacon, overseer:  According to Alison Bell, associate professor of anthropology and archaeology at W&L, who is leading the project, the artifacts they have uncovered provide important insights into Bacon’s life and, quite possibly, into the lives of the middle spectrum of the Virginia population in the 18th and 19th century.   Washington & Lee

Amherst Co.: Historic resources survey completed:  Through matching funds from DHR,  Amherst County hired The Antiquaries to identify 275 “new” buildings and determine their historical significance.  “That sounds like a lot,” Scott Smith said, “but there’s more than 1,000 we could have done.”  News Advance

Richmond, Slave Museum: Editorial: City should be the location: “From the beginning, Richmond should have rated as the top choice for the museum.  Although slavery was not introduced in Richmond, the city played an important role in its history. Slaves were bought and sold here. The legislature that convened in Richmond passed the laws affecting not only slaves but emancipated African-Americans. The story told by a slave museum must not end with the Civil War but must include Jim Crow, Massive Resistance, and other social and political phenomena with roots in the peculiar institution.”  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond Area: Profile of Warren Davies, historic masonry restoration and repair:  Davies was 8 years old when he started helping his father, Glyn Davies, with masonry work. “He was Welsh, and he was an amazing brickmason. He was an artist,” Davies said. “He worked for members of the royal family in Wales.  He moved to London after completing his indentured apprenticeship and was recruited by a company in Missouri to work in the United States.”  Davies became interested in historic restorations after working on many homes in Richmond’s Fan District in the 1990s.  Richmond Times-Dispatch


Virginia Beach: Fate of 1793 farmhouse uncertain: Preservationists are hoping to save the Whitehurst/Buffington House, located across from the municipal center. The city is spending $2,500 on a second try to get the house listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register, a critical step because it would allow the city-owned house to qualify for historic restoration tax credits.  WHSV

Tidewater Archaeology: Why We Dig,” by Garrett R. Fesler, Matthew R. Laird and Nicholas M. Luccketti:  “Tidewater is arguably the richest archaeological region in the nation, with evidence of human occupation spanning more than 20,000 years. Hundreds of significant sites remain to be discovered. . . ”  Daily Press

Virginia’s Historic Triangle: Where African-American history had its beginnings: “Virginia is home to the longest continuous experience of African-American life and culture in the United States; so this would be a good place to start your exploration of African Diaspora Heritage Trails. Forty percent of blacks living in America today have roots in Virginia. Virginia has recognized the integral role that African slaves played in helping to build America into what it is today.” African Diaspora Tourism (Web site)


Virginia Main StreetSummer Toolkit: Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Downtown: July 22 and 23, Franklin, Franklin Co.: For more info contact:  kyle.meyer@dhcd.virginia.gov.

Robert E. Lee: Why didn’t Lee write his memoirs?: “After 1866, Lee put the military history project aside, having never progressed past a few pages of memoranda on several of his wartime campaigns. Yet it would be wrong to conclude that he had not thought or talked about what he would say. Based on notes of conversations with him, as well as public statements and his private correspondence, we can gain insight into what he would likely have written.”  HistoryNet.com

Chesapeake Bay Oysters: Hopeful signs of a comeback:  Oysters are slowly gaining strength against two diseases that have nearly wiped out the species in the Chesapeake Bay, according to a new report.  While MSX and Dermo continue to thrive in Bay waters, more and more native oysters are able to tolerate their bite.  And while kill rates once hovered around 90 percent, they now are softening, to 50 percent or 70 percent.  Virginian-Pilot Also, more here

Blue Ridge ParkwayCongressional resolution commemorating road:  Rep. Tom Perriello has introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives that “commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway and acknowledges the historic and enduring scenic, recreational, and economic value of this unique national treasure.”  WHSV

Virginia Forum, March 25-26, 2011: Call for papers:  VF welcomes proposals from scholars, teachers, and historical professionals in all fields.  The theme, “Different Virginias,” is comparative and invites scholars to submit papers about all aspects of Virginia life, history, and culture.  The VF also plans to offer sessions or workshops on teaching Virginia history, digital history, museums, and libraries.  Additional information is available online at Virginia Forum.

American ShadNot rebounding, cause of coastwide decline is not known:  “Because problems appear to be coastwide rather than focused on individual river spawning stocks, many believe shad are being impacted as they migrate along the coast, where stocks from many rivers are believed to merge.”  Chesapeake Bay Journal

Virginia Department of Conservation and RecreationVirginia Cultural Heritage Site Directory:  DCR seeks applications for sites for designation and inclusion in the Heritage Site Directory. The designation and directory were established to help promote sites across the state that are open to the public and provide insight into their historic or cultural significance. Sites such as museums and visitor centers that promote history or culture may also be included. Privately and publically owned sites are eligible, with the exception of properties owned or managed by the Commonwealth of Virginia.  DCR Cultural Heritage webpage

Beyond Virginia

Sen. Robert C . ByrdPacking office: substantial collection to archive:  The Dear Abby note is one of thousands of letters, photographs and other memorabilia that fill drawers and closets and filing cabinets in Byrd’s cluttered office in the Senate Office Building.  “It’s a pretty big process,” said Senate Archivist Karen D. Paul. “We’ve developed checklists to help manage aspects of this. It isn’t like 30 years ago when people could just put papers in a box and just ship it off.”  Washington Post

Valley Forge: Archaeologists believe they’ve found G W  log cabin site:  Martha Washington mentioned the cabin in a letter to a friend 232 years ago while she was visiting Valley Forge. During the Continental Army’s stay, Washington, his aides, servants and wife all lived and worked together in the small headquarters house. To ease the cramped conditions, the general had a cabin constructed; it served as both a dining hall and war room for Washington and his men.  Norristown Times Herald

Norfolk, England: Evidence indicates human occupation 800,000 years ago:  Researchers from the British Museum and other institutions announced that an eroding cliff in Norfolk, England, has yielded evidence of the earliest substantial record of the human presence in Northern Europe.  The discovery of 78 flint tools, more than 800,000 years old, shows that early humans, thought to survive only in warm, Mediterranean-style climates, could penetrate much colder regions and survive with a kit of crude tools.  NY Times

Evanston, Illinois: Film honors black Y.M.C.A.:  The Emerson Street Y.M.C.A., known around town as “the black Y,” served as the heart of the African-American community for more than 50 years after opening in 1914.  To honor the Emerson, the Y.M.C.A. here commissioned a filmmaker, Susan Hope Engel, to produce a documentary, “Unforgettable: Memories of the Emerson Street Branch Y.M.C.A.”  Copies of it are being passed around town to families, and schools are planning to use the documentary as part of the curriculum to teach about race relations.  NY Times, includes slide show

China: Retracing the incredible odyssey of China’s Imperial Art Treasures:  Scholars, from mainland China and Taiwan, took part in an extraordinary two-week research project, retracing the routes taken by the imperial treasures in the 1930s and 1940s, when they were being safeguarded from the ravages of civil war and Japanese aggression.  “We had a rough idea of how things happened, but we didn’t know the details,” said Li Wenru, deputy director at the Palace Museum in Beijing. “But we knew it was a miracle that in wartime over a million treasures were moved 10,000 kilometers, on roads, in water, by air, and nothing was lost.”  NY Times,  slide show here

Week of July 4, 2010

July 4, 2010

News from DHR:

New Listings Approved for National Register: Daughters of Zion Cemetery, Charlottesville; Presbyterian Orphans Home, Lynchburg;  Worsham High School,  Farmville, Prince Edward Co.;  Blackford Bridge, Russell Co.;  The George Washington Hotel, Winchester.

News from Around Virginia:

Roanoke & Southwest Region

D-Day Memorial, Bedford: Profile of  and interview with new foundation president:  The leaders of the D-Day foundation hope Robin Reed’s historical bent, and experience, will help propel the memorial through troubled times.   Roanoke Times

Wade’s Mill, Rockbridge Co.:  Still grinding:  The 260-year-old mill, situated between Staunton and Lexington, was built by a Scotsman, Captain Joseph Kennedy, in 1750 and was owned by the Kennedy family for about 100 years.  James F. Wade bought the mill in 1882, and four generations of the Wade family operated the mill successively.  The new owners sell their flours and mixes through both wholesale outlets as well as a retail outlet on the ground floor of the mill.  They are seeing an increase in their wholesale sales as a result of the local food movement and the increasing popularity of whole grains.  Lancaster Farming

Radford: Easement approved on the city’s Wildwood Park:  The Virginia Outdoors Foundation formally approved putting the park’s 54 acres under a conservation easement, which prohibits future development of the land.  Roanoke Times

Franklin, Franklin Co.July 22 and 23 “Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Downtown”: This event is designed to help communities focus the Main Street Four Point Approach to entrepreneur and local business expansion for a thriving, home-grown, downtown marketplace.  To build on the momentum of the program, at the end of day two the DHCD Project Management Office will host a Southern Virginia Downtown Interchange to bring together the region’s fruitful minds and enterprising resources.  Join the Virginia Main Street network of downtown revitalization professionals and volunteers for these fast-paced, interactive events featuring the latest in successful business development strategies and town-raising entertainment in the heart of Franklin.  More info here

Capital & Central Region

Amherst Co.:  Architectural survey completed:  Through joint funding from DHR and the county, The Antiquaries was asked to identify 275 buildings and determine their historical significance, with additional funding coming from Sweet Briar College.  “That sounds like a lot,” Scott Smith said, “but there’s more than 1,000 we could have done.”  New Era Progress

UVa, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library: A new exhibit, “Taking the Waters: 19th c. Medicinal Springs of Virginia”:  Opened concurrently in the lobby of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library and online, the exhibit is inspired by The Mineral Springs of Western Virginia by William Burke, published in 1846.  The physical exhibit will be on display July 1-October 30, 2010.  Selected information from Burke’s book is enhanced by dozens of images and transcriptions of 19th-century letters and documents from the University of Virginia’s Special Collections Library.   Moore Library News

Richmond: “Slave Burial Ground” lawsuit:  A circuit court judge denied Sa’ad El-Amin’s effort to force “state-of-the-art” test excavations to determine the boundaries of a slave burial ground under a Virginia Commonwealth University parking lot.  But Circuit Judge Clarence N. Jenkins Jr. did not dismiss El-Amin’s lawsuit, which asks the judge to order the director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to have the excavations performed.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond: Developer halts two rehab projects: Construction has stopped on two commercial renovations in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition. Contractors haven’t been paid and the buildings, which were being turned into apartments, are in foreclosure.  Times-Dispatch

Virginia Center for Architecture, Richmond: Receives restoration grant:  VCA announced that it has received a $90,000 challenge grant by the Robert G. Cabell III and Maude Morgan Cabell Foundation to restore the leaded-glass windows in its largest gallery, the Great Hall.  Age has caused the windows’ lead frames, which hold the characteristic rectangular- and diamond-shaped panes in place, to buckle.   The Center’s home is a Tudor-Revival mansion designed by John Russell Pope, a renowned architect who also designed the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art, both in Washington, D.C., as well as Richmond’s Broad Street Station, now the Science Museum of Virginia. The house was completed in 1919 for Virginia’s prominent Branch Family.   PR Web

Shirley Plantation, Charles City Co.: Seeks charter members for foundation:  Join the foundation in 2010 as a charter member to help preserve, protect and pass on the legacy of Virginia’s oldest plantation, America’s oldest family-owned business, and one of the first economic engines of the New World.  Established in 2009 the Shirley Plantation Foundation is a pioneering project due to its distinctive organizational structure and agreements with the 10th and 11th generations of the Hill Carter Family of Shirley.  Charter memberships will be available until December 31, 2010. For more information, visit www.shirleyplantation.com or call 1-800-232-1613.

Tidewater Region

Underground Railroad, Norfolk & Portsmouth: A new self-guided tour announced:  The tour highlights 15 places places along the Norfolk and Portsmouth waterfronts that were relevant to the Underground Railroad.  During the early 19th century, more than 100,000 slaves escaped from the South using the network.  No one knows how many traveled through Norfolk, but it would have been a considerable number, said Cassandra Newby-Alexander, a Norfolk State University history professor.  Although Norfolk’s waterfront, landscape and street names have changed considerably in 150 years, tourists easily can compare them in two maps provided in the guidebook – a current map and one from 1873.  Virginian-Pilot

Virginia Beach: Eastern Branch a hidden gem: The Eastern Branch was once a deep-water shipping route for early settlers who built homes in Kempsville in what was then Princess Anne County. Today the river is narrow and silted in from development that has taken place all along its shores. The shallow waterway has evolved instead into a great transportation route for nature lovers who like to get out on the water in their canoes and kayaks.  Virginian Pilot

Norfolk: Feds file suit to claim Granby Tower site:  Federal officials filed a condemnation lawsuit to claim the site of the failed Granby Tower project and will take ownership of the property as soon as today.  The federal government plans to use the site for a $104.7 million expansion of the Walter E. Hoffman Courthouse, which it hopes will open in 2013.  Granby Tower would have been at the intersection of Granby Street and Brambleton Avenue, across Granby from the courthouse.  Virginian Pilot

GloucesterNew highway marker honors WASPs:  A highway marker commemorating the contribution of a former Gloucester woman in shaping Virginia and U.S. history has been approved by DHR.  The “Women Air Force Service Pilots” marker will recall the role of women pilots during World War II, as well as former WASP and Gloucester resident Margaret Ann Hamilton Tunner.  Daily Press

HamptonHow NASA transformed city:  On Tuesday, July 6, at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Michael Cobb, curator of the Hampton History Museum, presents “NACA and the Transformation of Hampton: From Log Canoes to Outer Space” at 2 p.m. in the Reid Conference Center.  Cobb will describe how the location and building of Langley airfield and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) facility brought fortune and fame to Hampton.  PR Newswire

Fort MonroeFM Authority takes over:  The 11-member Fort Monroe Authority charged with overseeing its maintenance, preservation and rebirth “as a vibrant and thriving community” takes the reins from the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority, a quasi-public agency that has been involved for several years in the planning of the military’s departure from the fort.  Planners envision a tourism destination with museums and other attractions focusing on the post’s military history, in addition to private investment to attract visitors. Washington Examiner

Richmond Co.: Writer researches his Mozingo-family origins:  “I returned to hear the tale of two clans: Rhodie Mozingo’s in Virginia and Wiley Mozingo’s in North Carolina.  Rhodie’s was white. Wiley’s was black.  I wondered how each would react to the long-buried fact that our common forefather, Edward Mozingo, was black, and that our surname was Bantu.”  Bellingham Herald

Obici House, SuffolkStill on the register — for now:  Some have expressed concern that work on the Sleepy Hole Golf Course site, which has included removing both porches and part of the kitchen on Obici House and demolishing the Carriage House, would threaten its place on the lists. The home is the estate of Suffolk benefactor and Planters Peanuts founder Amedeo Obici.  Upon his death, Obici left nearly his entire estate to Suffolk residents for the improvement of health care in the city.  News-Herald

Northern & Shenandoah Valley

Fairfax Co., Mount Vernon Area Aviation history:   By the 1930s, two airports had opened on the Route 1 corridor between Alexandria and the Mount Vernon estate.  Only one other airport, located on the site of the current Pentagon building, was fully operational in the region.  “Hybla Valley was the first licensed airport in Virginia,” said Anna Marie Hicks, who has researched the local history of airports with her husband Harry Lehman. The other, Beacon Field, was initially used for air mail and recreational flying in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The facility, located at one of the highest points in Fairfax County, featured a beacon, which emitted a light that helped guide airplane pilots traveling up and down the east coast before radar technology was invented, according to the couple.  Mount Vernon Gazette

Mount Vernon DistillerySells a limited-edition rye whiskey: Made from George Washington’s original recipe, the whiskey went on sale last week.  Following the original grain recipe of 60 percent rye, 35 percent corn and 5 percent malted barley, George Washington’s Rye was distilled by Dave Pickerell, who is the former master distiller of Maker’s Mark bourbon.  This rye is an unaged white whiskey.  There’s a soft kiss of sweetness on the tongue and the finish is smooth.  Washington Post

Loudoun Co.: Hibbs Bridge listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register:   Washington Post

Clifton, Fairfax Co.: Profile of historic village:  About 25 miles west of downtown Washington near the Prince William County line, Clifton oozes with history.  In its early days, it served as an Orange and Alexandria Railroad depot called Devereux Station, and as a southern outpost for the Union Army during the Civil War. Its historic district was added to the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.  Washington Post

Chapman-Beverley Mill, Fauquier Co. July 24 event:  There will be an evening of family fun and entertainment at the mill on Saturday, July 24 from 4:00 to 7:30 p.m. Visitors will experience the First Virginia Cavalry Confederate re-enactors, plus artillery and infantry re-enactors. The 1st Virginia Cavalry will depict Civil War camp life and describe the role of cavalry units in the Civil War. Chapman/Beverley Mill is a 268-years old architectural, industrial and Civil War history site and a popular visitors’ destination.  Admission for Family Night at Chapman/Beverley Mill is only $15.00 per family.  For more information, visit http://www.chapmansmill.org.or email: Mill@chapmansmill.org

23rd Annual Bike Virginia: Comes to the Shenandoah Valley:  Thousands of bicyclists are expected to pump millions of dollars into the local economy.  An estimated 2,000 cyclists from around the country began arriving by vehicle June 25 in Staunton.  Kim Perry, executive director of BikeWalk and an organizer of the event, said the economic impact should be about $3.1 million as money is spent at restaurants, hotels, shops and tourist attractions.  News-Leader

Winchester: Washington Hotel listed in National Register:  Built in 1924, the George Washington Hotel features Colonial Revival-style and Neoclassical Revival-style architecture.  NBC 12

WaynesboroSouth River Complex rehab launched:  Spiderwebs, dirt and broken glass still fill many of the cracked windows in the lifeless buildings of the old South River Complex.  But as construction equipment began operating on the site, the $50-million plan to convert the decrepit facilities into a thriving mixed-use development was kicked into a new gear.  The project illustrates a growing regional and national trend to overhaul old, abandoned buildings so they can be used for new purposes. The project is designed to maintain the historic quality of the former textile plant while updating and refurbishing the buildings for business, commercial, tourism and research purposes.  News-Leader

WaynesboroMarker dedication scheduled:  Waynesboro will host a dedication for the “Port Republic Road Historic District” historical marker at 10 a.m. July 23 at the Rosenwald Community Center on Port Republic Road.  Calder Loth, a retired DHR architectural historian and Del. Steve Landes will speak alongside city officials.  News-Virginian.com

Augusta Co.Maple Font Farm added to VLR:  Nestled in the hilly pasture lands outside Middlebrook, John and Maggie Miller of Charlotte, N.C., have spent the past 10 years restoring the large, white Victorian house and cluster of matching outbuildings around it. The farm last belonged to John’s great-aunt, Cornelia Clemmer, whose family built Maple Front, and he visited there as a child on holidays.  Staunton News-Leader

Beyond Virginia

Manteo, North CarolinaAncient grape vine nearly killed by power-line herbicide:  A large, old grape vine possibly growing here before the Lost Colony disappeared is on the mend after getting an accidental dose of a powerful herbicide.  The vine is known worldwide for its age. Oral history and recorded memories say it was large and old in the early 1700s and was probably there when the first Englishmen explored Roanoke Island in the late 1500s.  Sir Walter Raleigh’s company wrote about the abundance of grapes there cultivated by the Native Americans.  Virginian Pilot

Negro Leagues Grave Marker Project: Marks 19th player’s grave:  The project volunteers track down unmarked graves, raise money for headstones and install them, often with their own hands.Since 2004, the remains of Highpockets Trent (Burr Oak Cemetery outside Chicago), Steel Arm Taylor (Springdale Cemetery, Peoria), Gable Patterson (Greenwood Cemetery, Pittsburgh) and other baseball pioneers have been tracked down and memorialized by the group, which raises money for the $700 headstones primarily through members of the Society for American Baseball Research.  NY Times

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia: Former black landowners fight to reclaim land: When the managers from the federal Fish and Wildlife Service talk about this 2,800-acre preserve of moss-draped cypress, palmetto and marsh, they speak of endangered wood stork rookeries and disappearing marsh habitat, dike maintenance and interpretive kiosks. But when the members of the Harris Neck Land Trust talk about it, they speak of injustice, racism and a place they used to call home until 1942.  Harris Neck was deeded by a plantation owner to a former slave in 1865.  Black families who settled there built houses and boats and started crab and oyster factories. But the community, many descendants suspect, was too independent for the comfort of McIntosh County’s whites.  NY Times

Historic Wade’s Mill Keeps Grinding Away

Jennifer Merritt
Virginia CorrespondentRAPHINE, Va. – When Jim and Georgie Young saw Wade’s Mill in Raphine, Virginia it was love at first sight.”We saw it, and we loved it,” said Georgie Young.  “I’m from Colorado.  The idea of owning something 200 years old was beyond my ken.”The 260-year-old mill sits between Staunton and Lexington in the Shenandoah Valley.  It was built by  a Scotsman, Captain Joseph Kennedy, in 1750 and was owned by the Kennedy family for about 100 years.  James F. Wade bought the mill in 1882, and four generations of the Wade family operated the mill successively. Young estimates that since its construction Wade’s Mill has been functioning as a flour mill for all but about 20 years.A stream, formerly known as Captain Joseph Kennedy’s Mill Creek, powers the 21-foot water wheel that turns the millstones.  Wade’s Mill is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the few mills still grinding flour on millstones.  The Young’s sell their flours and mixes through both wholesale outlets as well as a retail outlet on the ground floor of the mill.  They are seeing an increase in their wholesale sales as a result of the local food movement and the increasing popularity of whole grains.Georgie Young teaches cooking classes, and in addition to selling flour and mixes in their trademark paper sacks, the mill’s retail outlet houses a small kitchen store.  The Young’s also host several special events at the mill through out the year.  Georgie Young has taken several trips to France and attributes the French with starting the local foods movement.”They (the French) put the name of the farm the animal came from on the packages of beef.  When I was at the Beef Institute, they asked if that was the way we did it here,” chuckled Young.In honor of all things French, the Young’s are hosting a Bastille Day celebration at Wade’s Mill on July 17th.  Virginia wines and bouillabaisse made from Virginia fish will round out the festivities.On August 8th, the chef and owner of the Southern Inn in Lexington will present a cooking demonstration using neighboring Rockbridge Vineyard’s wines. When the leaves in the Shenandoah Valley near their peak color, the third Saturday in October, Wade’s Mill will host an Apple Butter Festival.”Our neighbor makes apple butter from Virginia apples, and we’ll be baking bread in our outdoor bread oven,” said Young.

The Young’s have many talented neighbors.  The mill is only four miles from Interstate 81, but it is well off the beaten path.  The country road to Wade’s Mill winds through Raphine past antique shops, the vineyard and a yarn shop.  It is well worth the trip to visit “the miller and his wife.”

More information on Wade’s Mill can be found at wadesmill.com or by calling 800-290-1400.  The Young’s are interested in finding farmers who grow and dry white corn.

Week of June 25

June 22, 2010

News from DHR:

New Virginia Landmarks Register Listings:  State-owned landmarks and the soon-to-be state owned Fort Monroe were among the 18 new sites added to the Virginia Landmarks Register by the Department of Historic Resources last week.  (See this press release for a summary of each site).

New Historical Highway Markers Approved:  Four new state historical highway markers, recently approved along with six others by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, honor the contributions of individual women and organizations founded by women in shaping Virginia and U.S. history.   Together the ten newly approved signs reveal the rich spectrum of Virginia history, highlighting topics that range from colonial plantations and leaders, to the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley, women’s suffrage, and an early government laboratory to research flight.   (See this press release for more information and the text of each of the new signs.)

News from Around Virginia:

Tidewater Region

Menokin, Richmond Co.:  Archaeological field school:  The 500-acre parcel that was once the home of patriot Francis “Lightfoot” Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was host to an archaeological field school with several different sorts of students.  “From work done here before, we have reason to believe that the area where these test pits are being dug might have been in the area where slave quarters once existed,” said Sarah Pope, Menokin’s executive director.  “We’re hoping some of this week’s work will shed light on that.”  Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

Mathews Co.Rich in potential archaeological resources:  Five 17th century archaeological sites have been discovered in the county by the Middle Peninsula Chapter of the ASV.   During the 17th century the county was part of a water-based transportation system, located in Gloucester, Virginia’s largest and most populated county. Kingston Parish, in the area that became modern-day Mathews, was supposedly the wealthiest parish in Virginia.  ASV members Forrest Morgan and Tom Karow suspect the county is rich in potential archaeological finds, both post-European colonization and pre-historic.  Gazette-Journal

Lancaster Co.Historic White Marsh church:  The Virginia United Methodist Conference closed White Marsh church in 2002 when its congregation dwindled to a few elderly members.  Now the conference has deeded the church and its 3-acre cemetery to a new nonprofit organization that hopes to repair the 1848 sanctuary and make it a place for meetings, special occasions and worship services by any denomination.  Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

Virgina Beach: New museum to open Saturday:  Forty-one years after the end of school segregation, Virginia Beach is recognizing that history by opening a museum. The Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum will open Saturday with a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m.  Black parents purchased the land and helped build the school in 1937 after the school board refused to build a high school for black children, who were being bused to Norfolk.  It closed in 1969, after integration.  PilotOnline

Chincoteague IslandOld cabin to be preserved:  What is believed to be the oldest house on the island is on its way toward restoration.  On Monday, the cabin was moved.  Capt. Timothy Hill may have bought or built the house in 1822, but Timothy Robinson of Heartland Restoration believes it may date further back.  WBOC

Chesapeake Bay WatercraftDr. Paul Ewell’s passion:  Over the years, Ewell has located, researched and cataloged over 400 of these once popular working vessels.  Ewell will speak about these historic boats and his research at 2 p.m. on June 26 at Ker Place in Onancock. The presentation will include the era of Chesapeake skipjacks as well as the buyboats and deadrise boats of the recent past.  Tasley Eastern Shore News

Ker Place, Accomack Co.History camp scheduled:  Basic camp activities include stitching a sampler, painting a floor cloth, touring historic Onancock, dancing to early American music, making butter, and writing with a quill pen. Campers also explore archaeology, architecture, trades and bartering, manners, uses of herbs and so many other historical topics.  DelmarvaNow.com

Roanoke & Southwest Region

Wolf Creek Museum and Indian Village, Bland Co.:  Its origins and mission: Wolf Creek is dedicated to getting the story right, and in recent years, the regional Native American community has stepped forward to assist in that respect.  This year’s All Nations Green Corn Festival, July 16-18, at the Bland County Fairgrounds in Bland, will mark the third annual pow wow. “We learn more about the past every time we host the festival,” Denise Smith said. “There are some great speakers coming this year.”  Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Roanoke, Mill MountainCity council approves easement on 500 acresWSLS

Pocahontas, Tazewell Co.Historic downtown revitalization gets funding:  Gov. Bob McDonnell announced awards of more than $12 million in Community Development Block Grant Funding in 24 Virginia communities. The awards include $1 million to the Town of Pocahontas for the Pocahontas Historic Downtown Revitalization Project.  Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Virginia Tech: Crandall Shifflett designated “professor emeritus”:   A member of the VT community since 1979, American history professor Shifflett pioneered digital scholarship by creating and administering Virtual Jamestown. He also shared his understanding of American history with public school teachers throughout the Commonwealth to enhance their teaching methods.  Media Newswire

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley

Fredericksburg & Stafford Co.: Officials launch “Trail to Freedom”:  The trail is a regional effort to tell people about the 10,000 central Virginia slaves who self-emancipated here in 1862.  “We cannot omit this part of our history,” said Shenandoah University historian James K. Bryant II.  “Trail to Freedom” now features two wayside exhibits, maps, two interpretive trails, rack cards for tourists and a brand-new website telling the story of one ex-slave in particular, John Washington of Fredericksburg.  Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

Prince William Co. PW “Resolves” celebrated by PW DAR:  The local DAR chapter, along with Historic Dumfries, reenacted a historical debate to celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of the “Prince William Resolves.”  The “Resolves” were written in response to the Boston Port Bill which became law on March 31, 1774.  That bill, which closed Boston harbor, was the British response to the Boston Harbor “Tea Party,” Dec. 16, 1773.   InsideNOVA.com

Capital & Central Region

Golden Ball Tavern, PetersburgArchaeology resumes:  The dig, which began last week and will continue through July 18, is the last of of three consecutive summers of this grant-funded project. In three years, Dr. Christopher Stevenson’s crew unearthed more than 36 cart loads of artifacts, numbering in the thousands.  The Golden Ball was built in the 1760s by tobacco merchant Richard Hanson. British soldiers are known to have frequented it during the Revolutionary War, and later it served as the first Petersburg City Hall and courthouse. It was demolished in 1944.  Petersburg Progress-Index

Legacy Museum of African-American History, LynchburgNew exhibit to open:  For 10 years the museum has worked to preserve the stories of the black community within Central Virginia.  A new anniversary exhibit, “Celebrating Community! The Legacy Museum’s First Ten Years,” opens Sunday and features elements of the museum’s nine previous exhibits.  Since June 2000, the museum has collected artifacts, photographs and oral accounts that make up the rich history of Lynchburg’s black community.  The News & Advance

Charlottesville Area Community Foundation: Announces grants:  $270,000 in grants from the Dave Matthews Band’s BAMA Works Fund, which awards grants twice per year, are going to groups ranging from local schools to the Fluvanna County Historical Society to the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.  Daily Progress


Civil War TourismGrant (funds, not the general) on tap to boost it:  Millions of dollars in grant money from the Commonwealth Transportation Board will go towards enhancements of Civil War tourism.  John Hutchinson, from the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, says, “[Battlefields] are a potential for tourism that really hasn’t been tapped all that well.”  WHSV

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership: 5th annual conference:  Richard Dreyfuss was the guest speaker for the JTHGP conference.  It’s through organizations such as JTHG and their efforts at educating the public and especially schoolchildren that some of the wisdom of the Founding Fathers can be communicated to the next generation, Dreyfuss said.  Charlottesville Daily Progress

The Land Trust of Virginia: Presents conservation awards: The nationally accredited nonprofit land trust that protects open space and natural and historic resources in Virginia presented three prominent landowners with conservation awards at their annual “Garden Party to Save Virginia’s Countryside” on June 13.  NOVA Daily

Virginia CemeteriesGuest blogger (Sonja Ingram) highlights cemetery preservation: “Many cemeteries can provide an abundance of information through the study of cemetery landscapes, gravestone designs and religious and mortuary practices, but rural cemeteries can provide more fundamental information about the lives of the disenfranchised or poor — information that may not be available elsewhere.”  PreservationNation

Beyond Virginia

BermudaArchaeologists discover intact horse skeleton: The remains of a horse dating back more than 200 years was unearthed during a dig in St. George’s, Whitehall.  The skeleton will give archaeologists an idea of the breeds of horses used in Bermuda in the 1700s.  Bermuda Sun

Week of June 18

June 18, 2010

News from DHR:

New Easement:
Brandy Station Battlefield: Beauregard Farm, LP, has donated an easement on the Nalle Parcel in Culpeper County, thereby protecting 349.28 acres within the core of the Brandy Station Battlefield and situated along the Hazel River.  On June 9, 1863, Union cavalry under the command of Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker crossed the Rappahannock River and attacked Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry and several Confederate foot brigades, initiating the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War and inaugurating the Gettysburg Campaign.  The Nalle property saw fighting between two of Stuart’s cavalry brigades, under the command of Col. Thomas Munford and Brig. Gen. William H. F. Lee, and those of Federal Brig. Gen. John Buford, setting the scene for the larger conflict. The Brandy Station Battle lasted all day, with 21 separate engagements centering on attempts to capture or hold artillery positions atop Fleetwood Hill.  Both sides claimed victory, despite some 1400 casualties.  The Nalle Parcel, currently used for grain and soybean, will remain active farmland. The easement also protects nearly a mile of frontage along the Hazel River.

Historic Virginia:
In May, DHR  launched a monthly web-based slide show highlighting a site chosen among those listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.  May featured Foster Falls Historic District in Wythe County.  For June, we bring you Flat Gap High School, in Wise County.  The links to the two slide shows can also be found on the DHR home page: www.dhr.virginia.gov.  (If you have a VLR-NR site to suggest for Historic Virginia, contact Randy Jones, DHR.)

News from Around Virginia:

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley

Green Spring Gardens, AlexandriaNew state historical marker dedication and more:  The highway marker celebrates the work of two renowned 20th century designers, Walter Macomber and Beatrix Farrand, who collaborated on the renovations of both the house and the gardens at Green Spring in the 1940s.  Green Spring’s brick manor house was built in 1784, and the property was, at various times, a tobacco plantation, a family farm, and a country estate.  It was purchased in 1942 by Beatrice and Michael Straight, who added to the house and raised their children there.  Given the Straights’ significant social standing in the Washington area (he was editor of the New Republic magazine), Green Spring hosted such luminaries as Hubert Humphrey, Eric Sevareid, Dylan Thomas, and Justice Hugo Black.  Falls Church News-Press

Fredericksburg, Civil War’s 150th Anniversary:   “Thought-provoking” commemoration planned:  So says the group planning the events and programs to be held in the region over the next five years.  The 150th’s programs will ask visitors “to see battlefields not just as places of conflict, but as home places disrupted; to see the presence of the Union army not just as a cause for destruction, but as an opportunity for slaves seeking freedom; to see battles not just as military clashes, but as human experiences that reverberated across the American landscape,” the committee said.  This Saturday, a sesquicentennial-related event will dedicate a new “Trail to Freedom” in Stafford and Fredericksburg.  Wayside exhibits, and more, will outline the story of the 10,000 slaves who gained their liberty by crossing the Rappahannock River after the Union army arrived in 1862.   Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

Strasburg Seeks Civil War-era locomotive:  Strasburg needs the locomotive to help tell its part of the story of the Great Train Raid of May 23, 1861, when “Stonewall” Jackson stole some 50 locomotives and 380 railroad cars from the B&O Railroad in Martinsburg and transported some of them over rail and road to Strasburg, where they were sent south to Richmond.  Washington Post

Capital & Central Region

St. Francis de Sales School, Powhatan Co.:  Crumbling and endangered:  In March, a major section of the bell tower edifice collapsed, creating a gaping hole in the structure and leaving the interior exposed to the elements.  Preservation Virginia included the school on its annual list of the Most Endangered Historic Sites in Virginia.  Built in 1895, St. Frances de Sales was founded as a private high school to educate young, African American women.  “Sister” Katharine Drexel, daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia banker and philanthropist, became a Roman Catholic nun who founded the religious order of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.  Powhatan Today

MonticelloNew “Behind the Scenes” tour:  New interior spaces in Thomas Jefferson’s estate will be open to public.  The dome room on the top floor of the house, accessible only by climbing steep, narrow stairs and painted a brilliant yellow with circular windows surrounding its walls, is part of the new tour.  Rooms on the second floor are also be on display.  Monticello also opened an exhibit titled “Crossroads.”  Installed in the house’s central cellar space, the exhibit focuses on the work and the people required to sustain Jefferson’s household.  Hernando Today

Charlottesville, Martha Jefferson Neighborhood: BAR puts off decision:  The Board of Architectural Review has postponed making a recommendation on whether the neighborhood should become the city’s first historic conservation district.  Some BAR members said they did not want to make a decision until a list of architectural features that define the neighborhood’s character is created.  Much of the state and national register-listed neighborhood was carved out of Locust Grove farm.  In 1892, the land was sold to the Locust Grove Investment Company, who created the grid system for the neighborhood.  Charlottesville Tomorrow

Richmond African American Oral History ProjectLooking for first-hand accounts: The Virginia Commonwealth University Department of African American Studies, in collaboration with the Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission, is inviting African Americans, 90-years of age or above, who were born and raised in Richmond and/or the surrounding area, to participate in an oral history project.  For more information, contact Dr. Shawn O. Utsey,  at VCU at 804.828.4150, or  by email at soutsey@vcu.edu.   WTVR

Richmond “Burial Ground for Negroes“:  Suit seeks to make state conduct archaeological investigation:  A lawsuit seeking to force test excavations to determine the boundaries of a slave burial ground under a Virginia Commonwealth University parking lot is scheduled to be heard July 1 in Richmond Circuit Court.   Richmond Times-Dispatch

Juneteenth, Richmond: Events scheduled this weekend:  Americans will celebrate Independence Day with fireworks and barbecues. But tomorrow, the Elegba Folklore Society will celebrate the African-American Independence Day in downtown Richmond.  African-American Independence Day, better known as Juneteenth, is a celebration of the end of slavery in Texas.  Though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, most African-Americans in the South remained enslaved until the end of the Civil War in 1865.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginia Capital Trail: Foundation seeks corporate support:  VTCF is looking for corporate partners to assist in enhancing portions of the 55-mile long, multi-use trail that will eventually connect the  historic capitals of Williamsburg/Jamestown with Richmond.  The trail will travel along Route 5.   Business Wire

Monacan Nation, Amherst Co.Funeral for George Branham Whitewolf:  Surrounded by children and those who held him as beloved, Monacan Indian Nation Assistant Chief George Branham Whitewolf was laid to rest at the tribal burial grounds on June 12.  Whitewolf, 67, died of complications from heart bypass surgery.  Lynchburg News & Advance

Orange Co.Civil War-era history:  Events offer opportunity to partake in a living history weekend at the Gordonsville Exchange Hotel Civil War Museum or witness a Civil War camp reenactment at Montpelier.  Orange County Review

Tidewater Region

Obici House, Suffolk: City demolishes part of historic home:  Contractors tore down the front and back porches and the entire kitchen.  Deputy City Manager Patrick Roberts said the city was removing the structural damage in the home before turning it over to the operator of the Sleepy Hole Golf Course, for a future clubhouse.  The house, built in 1924, belonged to Amedeo Obici, founder of Planters Peanuts.   The Virginian-Pilot

Colonial WilliamsburgArtisans to reproduce a British  Revolutionary War cannon:  The first-ever cannon pour is the result of extensive research and trial-and-error testing to rediscover the 18th-century art of large object casting practiced by foundrymen of the time.   PilotOnline

Norfolk, Talbot Hall Future uncertain:  Neighbors and supporters of historic Talbot Hall are uniting to thwart the possible sale of the 200-year-old property on the bank of the Lafayette River.  The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia owns the estate, which includes four buildings and the plantation.  PilotOnline

Roanoke & Southwest Region

Booker T. Washington National Monument, Franklin Co.Expansion bill in pipeline:  Congressman Tom Perriello has introduced a bill to authorize the National Park Service to acquire an additional 67.5 acres of land surrounding the current monument park, which was founded in 1956 to preserve portions of the tobacco farm where Washington was born into slavery in 1856.  In 2008, the monument attracted nearly 20,000 visitors who contributed over $1 million dollars to local economies.   The Union Star More here: Roanoke Times


Film Tax Credits Gov. signs bill to lure film projects to state:  Set against a backdrop any movie director could work with, Gov. Bob McDonnell ceremonially signed bills extending tax credits to productions filmed in Virginia.  Up to $2.5 million will be up for grabs between January 2011 and July 2012.   Starting in 2013, the credits will extend to interactive digital media projects.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

National Heritage AreasSVBF joins in rallying support for NHAs:  Representatives of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation joined with members of Congress and partners from across the country to rally support for national heritage areas at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol.  Legislation authorizing a National Heritage Areas Program would improve the establishment of new areas by creating criteria and standards for qualification as a heritage area, and ensuring that they meet management guidelines. The legislation would also foster a permanent base funding stream for the program.  WHSV

Virginia PeanutsVote for them:  The Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call magazine in Washington are conducting a contest in conjunction with the Congressional Baseball Game played between the Democrats and the Republicans.  Leading up to the game on June 29 at Nationals Stadium, people will be asked to sample the peanuts in the Congressional offices of peanut states and go to a website to vote on the ones they consider the best.  You can go here and vote for Virginia.

Beyond Virginia

Pig Point, Archaeological Site,  MarylandPatuxent River site indicates occupation 10k years back:   Slicing deeper in the sandy bluff overlooking the Patuxent’s broad marsh, archaeologist Al Luckenbach’s crew has found stone tools suggesting that humans were exploiting the river’s abundance as far back as 10,000 years ago. There are also post molds beyond a layer where pottery disappears — a time about 3,000 years ago, before ceramic technology came to the area.   Baltimore Sun

RosesRustling old roses:  The simple beauty and heady scent of old roses have captivated rose lovers, including Napoleon’s Empress Josephine, for centuries. And they were all there were in this country till 1867, when the first hybrid tea rose — with its elegant, pointed buds and stiff, upright stems — entered the marketplace and, over time, blew almost everything else off the shelf.  Philadelphia Inquirer

William J. MitchellUrban visionary and architect dies:  Mitchell was an architect by training but an urban visionary by avocation.  Early on, he saw the application of computers to architectural design.  His pioneering work in this area, and his books “Computer-Aided Architectural Design” (1977) and “The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation and Cognition” (1990) profoundly changed the way architects approached building design.  New York Times

Exotic Building MaterialsThe high-end global market:  There are those who think nothing of dispatching their architects and builders to the Middle East for the perfect limestone, even as bombs are going off, or to Indonesia for centuries-old reclaimed teak.  John Finton travels the world to find rare and beautiful building materials for his clients. He has gone to China for cobblestones, to the jungles of Nicaragua because another client wanted an authentic and rustic clay tile, to Jerusalem to make sure the so-called biblical stone his client had ordered was coming from a school that really was hundreds of years old.  New York Times

American Soccer: In the 1920s was it on the cusp of going mainstream?:  “If you aren’t a soccer fan—really, even if you are—you’ve likely never heard of the ASL or imagined a thriving soccer scene in 1920s America.  For many years after the league’s collapse, its story was almost completely forgotten.  The ASL’s records were lost, probably when the governing body of U.S. soccer moved its office to the Empire State Building after World War II.  . .  That we know anything at all about the ASL today is largely thanks to the efforts of a few committed historians.”   Slate

National Trust for Historic PreservationNames Stephanie Meeks president:  The NTHP has named Meeks its first woman president.  National Trust

Week of

June 11, 2010


These clips are provided as a service of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.  The clips are gathered and posted on a weekly basis or as time allows.

News from DHR:

Cemetery Workshop: In May DHR staff developed and hosted a two-day Cemetery Workshop at DHR headquarters in Richmond.  The workshop (with attendance at full capacity both days) drew attendees from consulting firms, government agencies, historical societies, and the general public.  DHR’s easement archaeologist Joanna W. Green,  conservator Caitlin O’Grady, and archaeological data manager Jolene Smith gave presentations.  Representatives from the Library of Virginia, the Archeological Society of Virginia, and two cultural resource consulting firms also gave presentations.  DHR state archaeologist Mike Barber opened and closed the event.  Topics included conservation, documentation, DHR’s cemetery recordation process, iconography and symbols, genealogy, laws and enforcement, skeletal analysis, and the process for “ground-truthing” or identifying unmarked cemeteries.  The workshop’s second day consisted of a hands-on session at Hollywood Cemetery that dealt with gravestone photography, proper conservation techniques, iconography, and recordation.  DHR will be posting highlights of the event on our web site, including some of the information presented during the workshop.  The event was such a huge success judging by the feedback received that DHR is now making plans to hold similar workshops at other venues around the state.  For more information, contact Dee DeRoche, DHR chief curator, by email: dee.deroche@dhr.virginia.gov.

New Civil War battlefield easementFisher’s Hill Battlefield, Shenandoah Co.:  An easement has been completed on property owned by Larry W. Allamong in Shenandoah Co.  The easement was purchased by and is co-held with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, using grants from Virginia’s Civil War Historic Site Preservation Fund, the American Battlefield Protection Program and the Civil War Preservation Trust.  It protects 32.439 acres of land, southwest of Strasburg and adjacent to 194-acres of land owned by the SVBF.  The property lies within the core area of the Fisher’s Hill battlefield (September 22, 1864).  That battle resulted in a Union victory for Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan, and opened the Shenandoah Valley to Union control and what would later be known as “the Burning” of the Valley by Sheridan’s army.  Placing this property under historic preservation and open-space easement will protect the historic battlefield landscape and preserve a visitor’s views of the battlefield.

New National Register listings in Virginia:  Altavista Downtown Historic District, Campbell Co.;  Purcellville Train Station, also Purcellville’s Tabernacle–Fireman’s Field, Loudoun Co.; Martinsville Novelty Corporation Factory, Martinsville; Noland Company Building, Newport News.

News from Around Virginia:

Capital / Central Region

Morven Farm, Albemarle Co.Archaeology:  Research may shed light on early tenant farmers.  Archaeologists identified seven or eight sites, as well as one that contained prehistoric artifacts.  The research should also yield new insights on Jefferson’s relationship with William Short, “one of the most interesting people who lived in Albemarle County” during the era, according to one researcher. C’ville Weekly

Albemarle Co.Funding for land protection down: The county spent $1 million or more per year between 2000 and 2008 on a program designed to protect rural land from development through conservation easements. The economic downturn, however, has reduced funding for the program.  Charlottesville Daily-Progress

Powhatan Co.: Proposed firing range draws heat:  A planned law-enforcement shooting range came under heavy fire from the nearly 300 Powhatan residents attending the first meeting on the topic. While the land is part of the Virginia Department of Correction’s sprawling 2,600 acres, it is also about 1,000 feet from several homes and farms in a  quiet, historic community.  Richmond Times Dispatch

Roanoke / Southwest Region

National D-Day Memorial, BedfordCitizens see red over Joseph Stalin bust:  The bust of the reviled Soviet dictator, placed at the memorial despite public protest, is part of a series of Allied world leaders who united against Hitler’s Germany.  Annie Pollard, a Bedford County supervisor, said she feels its presence is “a slap in the face to all these other people we honor and remember.”  Lynchburg News & Advance

Northern / Shenandoah Valley Region

Loudoun Co.Limestone overlay district designated:  To protect homeowners, the county created a limestone overlay district.  The ordinance requires X-rays of the ground to locate voids and dictates setbacks from these above- and below-ground sinks. From 1793 to 1817, when the U.S. Capitol was built and then rebuilt after it burned in 1814, the county’s Potomac marble (limestone) was delivered by wagon the 40 miles, then cut, polished and put in place. Visitors continue to admire the stone, as lustrous as real marble, in the lower level of the Capitol building. Washington Post

Purcellville, Loudoun Co.: Town’s Tabernacle and train depot listed on National Register:  The Tabernacle, constructed in 1903 to host the annual “bush meetings” of the Prohibition and Evangelical Association of Loudoun County, is one of only three such bush meeting structures remaining in Virginia.  It  is undergoing a substantial rehabilitation by the town.  The 1904 Train Station was restored in the late 1990’s in its original location along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, formerly a Southern Railway line.  Loudoun Daily-Monitor

Potomac River, King George Co.: Navy divers locate steamboat that wrecked in 1873:  A team from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit, composed of reserve and active-duty Navy divers, spent a week-long training mission searching for the remains of the steamboat Wawaset, which went down in flames on Aug. 8, 1873. The Wawaset used to ferry folks from D.C., up and down the river.   Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

StauntonBill Frazier weighs in on current Central Ave. project:   “The irony here is the city is now installing new brick sidewalks and historically styled lighting as a part of the Churchville Avenue project but evidently failed, for whatever reason, to recognize the value of Central Avenue’s original cobble and brick streets.”   Staunton News Leader

National Museum of the Marines Corps: New galleries focus on World War I:  Marine and Stafford County resident Harry Clark was among the ‘Devil Dogs’ who fought in an iconic battle with the Germans in June 1918.  Clark  survived the Battle of Belleau Wood, which began June 6, 1918.  That fight lasted 20 days.  Belleau Wood is the centerpiece of the gallery honoring Marines like Clark, whose daughter, Mary Clark Bryant, 89, lives in southern Stafford with her husband.  Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star


Jamestown Yorktown Foundation: Receives Paspahegh archaeological collection:  The vast  collection, unearthed during the creation of an upscale subdivision in the early 1990s, has been donated to JYF.  Much of the collection stems from Paspahegh, a Powhatan Indian village that stood at the time of Jamestown’s 1607 founding.  “This is, for the story of early Colonial-Indian relations in Virginia, as important as Jamestown,” said Tom Davidson, senior curator for JYF.  “It’s the other half of the Jamestown story. Indians and Englishman were interacting at Jamestown, but Indians and Englishman, perhaps the same people, were also interacting at Paspahegh, which is only a short distance away. This is a very significant site.”  Williamsburg Yorktown Daily

Gloucester, Gloucester Co.: Foundation purchases historic gas station building:  The Fairfield Foundation has purchased the J.C. Brown Texaco building and car wash.  FF envisions restoring the exterior of the building and housing on the inside an office and archaeological laboratory.  Built in 1930, and opened in 1931, the gas station went out of business and was abandoned for good in the 1990s.   Daily Press Also:  examiner.com

The College of William & Mary: Endowed chair honors archaeologist William Kelso:  Margaret Nelson Fowler and Roy Hock, both of Williamsburg, considered Kelso’s experience at W & M, and together made a decision to endow the Dr. William M. Kelso Graduate Fellowship in Early American Studies with a gift of $250,000.  The fellowship will provide an entering W & M history, American studies or anthropology graduate student with stipend support and research expenses.  W & M Website

Four Rivers Native American Drum, TidewaterGroup’s origins and diversity:  Four Rivers Native American Drum started in the mid 1990s with just four drummers and singers and has grown to 19 members.  They eventually named themselves Four Rivers because of their location on the Virginia Peninsula.  In order for members to perform at an event, they must cross one of the four rivers that surround them. One of the distinctions of the group is its Native diversity.  Indian Country Today

Beyond Virginia:

Dan River, North CarolinaSubmerged batteau replica recovered:  The batteau replica, aptly named Dan River, was built in Virginia in 2002.  A high water event in 2008 caused the boat to submerge and eventually sink.  “I call them [batteaux] the freight haulers of the 19th century,” Dr. Lindley Butler said. “The river was really like the interstate highway of that period, because the roads were hard to travel during this time. You could get through on foot and horseback, but bringing a wagon of goods along the land was nearly impossible.”  GoDanRiver.com

PalladioHis influence on American architecture:  Witold Rybczynski slide show:  “Palladio combines practicality with grandeur. . .  which particularly appealed to American sensibilities.  Since Palladio’s designs could be achieved in a variety of materials, and with a variety of means—grand and modest—they particularly suited a democracy.  And Roman allusions fitted the new republic.”   Slate

Silent FilmsSignificant trove recovered:  A late silent feature directed by John Ford, a short comedy directed by Mabel Normand, a period drama starring Clara Bow and a group of early one-reel westerns are among a trove of long-lost American films recently found in the New Zealand Film Archive.  Some 75 of these movies, chosen for their historical and cultural importance, are in the process of being returned to the U.S. to be preserved.  New York Times NYT Slideshow

DHR News Clips for the Week of April 9

April 19, 2010

Department of Historic Resources
DHR News Clips, April 9:

News from DHR:
New NRHP Listings: The following sites have been approved by the National Park Service for listing on the National Register of Historic Places: Sibley’s and James Store Historic District, Mathews Co.; Saltville Battlefields Historic District, Saltville, Wythe Co;


Restore Virginia!:  Workshop scheduled: If you own an older or historic home, consider heading south for Preservation Virginia’s Restore Virginia event in Old Towne Petersburg, at the historic McIlwaine House and Union Train Station, Saturday, April 24. Through workshops, demonstrations, and talks by restoration experts, you can learn how to restore original windows, prevent water infiltration, boost energy efficiency and obtain tax credits for historic rehabilitation. You can also take advantage of free 10-minute consultations with preservation experts. More info at http://www.apva.org/

Historic Garden Week: April 17-25: The event is a shining example of how Virginia’s rich traditions, warm hospitality and beautiful landscape make it a great place to relax and reconnect with loved ones. Known as “America’s Largest Open House,” Historic Garden Week showcases more than 250 of Virginia’s most beautiful private homes, gardens and historic landmarks annually. Now in its 77th year, the program is the oldest and largest statewide tour event of its kind in the nation. Properties showcased on three dozen tours hosted by garden clubs across the state span four centuries of Virginia’s architecture, history and landscape design. Tours range from $10 to $35 per person. Compete details are available on http://www.virginia.org.

Virginia Main Street Program: 25th Anniversary: To help celebrate the Virginia Main Street 25th anniversary, the DHCD has identified “25 Treasures of Main Street,” a list representing the best of what can be found downtown in Virginia. http://www.appomattoxhistory.com/2010/virginias-main-street-program-turns-25.html

Nature Conservancy in Virginia: Director Michael Lipford recognized: The Virginia Environment Symposium has presented its 2010 Erchul Environmental Leadership Award to Lipford. The Erchul Award recognizes a Virginian who has made significant individual efforts to better the environment through vision, expertise, commitment, integrity, communication skills, accomplishments, and diplomacy. The award is named for retired Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Ronald A. Erchul, the founder of the Environment Virginia Symposium, hosted annually on the VMI Post. http://www.vmi.edu/show.aspx?tid=4294970021&id=4294970210

2010 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards: The awards were presented by Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling on April 7th at the Environment Virginia 2010 Symposium in Lexington. The awards recognize the significant contributions of environmental and conservation leaders in three categories: environmental projects, environmental programs and land conservation. They are given to businesses and industrial facilities, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies and individuals. More info and recipients here: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/News/viewRelease.cfm?id=112

Confederate History Month: Gov. McDonnell issues additional language to proclamation recognizing “abomination of slavery”: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/News/viewRelease.cfm?id=111

“Virginia Rocks! The History of Rockabilly in the Commonwealth”: Exhibit guide now available: Published to compliment the exhibit on display at the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum on the Ferrum College campus, the guide gives a visitor “something to take home” after viewing the exhibit, which features Virginia musicians who influenced rockabilly, a blend of rock ‘n’ roll and hillbilly music. Notable Virginians playing roles in the new sound that lasted through the 1950s include Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps; Janis Martin, the female Elvis; Roy Clark; Jim Eanes and the Shenandoah Valley Boys; Wayne Newton; Moon Mullins; The Dazzlers; and Patsy Cline.  http://www.thefranklinnewspost.com/article.cfm?ID=15941

“The Story of Virginia, an American Experience”: Teacher seminar: The course, offered by the University of Richmond in partnership with the Virginia Historical Society, will be offered July 26-30. It will provide an overview of the history of Virginia from earliest habitation to the present and follows the curriculum framework for Virginia Studies. http://scs.richmond.edu/summer/opportunities/vhs.html

Capital / Central Region:

Charlottesville, Downtown Mall: Activities to highlight mall’s history: Several area groups are behind a new exhibition showcasing Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall that will open today. The public history research project, “More than Just Bricks. Designing Community — a Social and Design History of the Charlottesville Downtown Mall,” will include several exhibits, walking tours, gallery talks and lectures. The project is sponsored by the Charlottesville Community Design Center, Preservation Piedmont and the University of Virginia School of Architecture. The exhibition will run through May 31 and all events, most of which will be held at 100 Fifth St. N.E., are open to the public.  http://www2.dailyprogress.com/cdp/news/local/article/downtown_mall_–_more_than_just_bricks/54240/

Richmond: Gettysburg visitor center inspires Richmonders: The recent grand-opening of a $103 million visitor/museum facility in Gettysburg is prompting some Richmonders to consider whether the project could be a model for Richmond. With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War approaching in 2011, the potential for commemorative tourism is significant in both places, even though they appeal in different ways. Creating a Gettysburg-type visitor experience in Richmond would require a public-private partnership similar to the Gettysburg Foundation. The Richmond National Battlefield Park and the American Civil War Center, adjacent to each other at Tredegar Iron Works, would be a possible starting point.  http://nocasinogettysburg.org/gettysburg-a-model-for-civil-war-tourism

Wilton House, Richmond: New exhibits: “To Entertain and Gratifie the eye: The History of Centrepieces in America,” April 17 through June 11: Tour Wilton House Museum and view the history of table decorating in American culture. Displays showcase different trends in American households from ‘salts’ to ‘centrepieces’; fresh flowers to paper flowers; dazzling displays of silver and glass; to elaborate figural ‘garden’ designs complete with boxwood, temples, and fountains. http://www.wiltonhousemuseum.org.

University of Virginia, Morven Farm: New archaeological findings: Recently completed archaeological work at the farm, combined with some documentary detective work, found promising glimpses of several little-studied aspects of history, including local Indians both before and after contact with the first European settlers, and the life of “middling class” tenant farmers in the 18th and early-19th centuries.  http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?print=1&id=11429

University of Virginia: History of its colors: From 1861-87 students and faculty wore the school’s of red and grey with great pride. The crew and baseball teams wore these colors and men wore them on their coats. But then, according to an article by Professor William Echols in the 1914 Corks & Curls yearbook a few “callow youths in charge of a football team, about 1888, permitted themselves to be persuaded, by a Yankee manufacturer, that the red and grey would run, and therefore substitute for them a streak of yellow and the federal blue!” http://www.thesabre.com/news_archive/showArticle-5291.php

Monticello: Indiana University archaeology team researches landscape: Members of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology at IU are working with Monticello staff to help restore Monticello to its appearance as it was during Jefferson’s lifetime. During the project the thickness and characteristics of the historic fills that underlie the southern end of the East Lawn were documented. The Monticello Plantation Survey, to which IU’s team has contributed, is part of a long-term effort to complete an inventory of the archaeological resources located on the 2,000-acre tract currently owned by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/14014.html

Charlottesville: DEQ finds unusual levels of pesticide in two creeks: Abnormally high levels of chloradance, a pesticide that was banned more than two decades ago because of its potential to harm plants, animals and people, have been found in two Charlottesville creeks–Meadow Creek and Schenk’s Branch. Two samples showed levels of chlordane that were 40 and 1,000 times higher, respectively, than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s probable effects concentration benchmark.  http://www2.dailyprogress.com/cdp/news/local/article/harmful_pesticide_found_in_city_creeks/54328/

Roanoke and Southwest Region

Lynchburg: Historical marker for Abram Biggers dedicated: The ceremony to unveil a historical marker dedicated to pioneer Lynchburg school superintendent Abram Biggers attracted around 60 people. Biggers, who served the city as superintendent from 1871 to 1878, cobbled together a network of public schools from the disarray left by the Civil War by talking various wealthy Lynchburgers into helping to bankroll the project, and wrestled more money out of a reluctant city government. http://www2.newsadvance.com/lna/news/local/article/a_signpost_for_a_school_that_left_its_mark_on_lynchburg/25590/

Christiansburg, Montgomery Co.: Residents unenthusiastic about local historic district overlay: Residents do not see an overwhelming need for the town to recognize a historic district, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by the town. The survey was meant to get public input about whether Christiansburg should adopt a historic district and regulations into its zoning ordinance. Surveys were sent to 198 property owners in the town’s three historic areas, as well as some adjoining areas, and the town received 80 responses. http://www.roanoke.com/news/nrv/wb/242469

Danville, Ferrell Furniture Store: Demolition pending: Judy and Earl Vipperman were given an extra six weeks to make headway on building code violations at the Ferrell Building by a Danville General District Court. Building code violations had been filed by Mike Burton, a maintenance code inspector for the city’s Inspections Department. The city was asking for the building to be stabilized and made weather tight. http://www2.godanriver.com/gdr/news/local/danville_news/article/repairs_must_be_made_judge_tells_owners_of_downtown_danville_building/19501/  More here: http://www2.godanriver.com/gdr/news/opinion/editorials/danville_editorials/article/reaching_the_end_of_the_line/19735/

Scott Co., Dungannon Train Depot: Added to VLR: Dungannon Mayor Karen Powers said the designation will help the town’s efforts to promote heritage-based tourism in the area. http://www.timesnews.net/article.php?id=9021846

Radford University: Students research arctic sea ice: An ongoing Radford University student study of arctic sea ice in Alaska could eventually help climate scientists better monitor the melting of polar ice caps and other threats to endangered species and native cultures.  The group of 11 led by physics professor Rhett Herman spent two weeks, including spring break, enduring temperatures of minus-40 degrees to collect data for the project in Barrow, Alaska. http://www.roanoke.com/news/nrv/wb/241687

Tidewater Region:

The College of William and Mary: Examines its role as a slave owner and other related race issues: The Lemon Project Committee will examine slavery and race relations from the end of the Civil War to present times. It takes its name from a slave named Lemon, owned by William and Mary in the 1800s. Research has found the college owned five to 10 slaves from the early 1800s to the start of the Civil War, and it may also have hired slave laborers, said Kimberley Phillips, a history professor who is co-chairing the Lemon committee with colleague Robert Vinson. Slaves also built some of the college’s buildings, but that wasn’t uncommon during the era, Phillips said.  http://fredericksburg.com/News/apmethods/apstory?urlfeed=WFA/content/AP%20Virginia%20State%20News%20-%20No%20Weather/c6cc1788da194727ba83c354b38aabb3-eff19abc8b304923a5b9663fedac8f51-entry.xml

Windsor Castle, Smithfield, Isle of Wight Co.: Christopher Newport University students assist in archaeological research: Meg Voelkner rubbed dirt off a tiny brick fragment that had long been buried outside Windsor Castle. “This is living history,” said Voelkner, one of 18 Christopher Newport University history students helping launch the first professional excavation at Windsor Castle. For generations, the circa-1750s mansion overlooking the Pagan River was home to the family of Thomas Smith IV, founder of the town of Smithfield.  Article and video: http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-local-windsor-castle-0405apr05,0,6220307.story

Mathews Co., Sibley’s and Thomas James Store Historic District: Listed in the National Register of Historic Places: The historic district features three store buildings, two of which were connected at some point, that have played a role in the development of the county since 1810.  http://www.gazettejournal.net/articles.php?artid=4332

Norfolk: Short video essay envisions downtowns future: http://hamptonroads.tv/hrtv.php?id=12294220

Northern Virginia / Shenandoah Valley

Northern Virginia: House museums’ visits surge up: The Weems-Botts Museum, a historic home in Dumfries, is experiencing what they call “exploding” visitorship rates, according to museum administrator Beth Cardinale. It’s not alone. Prince William County government historical sites, such as the Ben Lomond House in Manassas and Rippon Lodge in Woodbridge, saw an increase from about 17,000 visitors in 2008 to more than 25,000 in 2009. The county’s Brentsville Courthouse Historic Center reported a 30 percent increase in attendance in 2009, according to site manager Rob Orrison.  http://www2.insidenova.com/isn/news/local/dumfries/article/historic_homes_sites_have_record_admissions/55344/

Front Royal, Riverton Dam: Demolition approved: If things go as planned, demolition of the Riverton Dam on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River could begin in September. The Town Council voted unanimously to accept a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to demolish the dam, which is more than 100 years old. http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2010/03/council-approves-demolition-of-dam.php

Loudoun Co., Windham Farm: Easement: The 496-acre Windham Farm property that houses Doukenie Winery north of Hillsboro has been placed in conservation easement with the Land Trust of Virginia.The property contains nearly 135 acres of forested mountainside and 360 acres of agricultural land. http://www.loudountimes.com/index.php/news/article/496_acres_near_hillsboro_protected_in_easement/

Harrisonburg: Revitalization through Main Street Program: In 2003, Harrisonburg’s downtown commercial district had a high number of retail vacancies, buildings falling into disrepair, limited downtown housing and crumbling sidewalks. Today, the area features brick sidewalks, a $300,000 farmers market, landscaping and more than two dozen restaurants, and the number of housing units has increased from 170 to 440. “The contrast is rather dramatic in many people’s minds,” said Eddie Bumbaugh, executive director of the nonprofit Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance. “In my opinion, being a part of Virginia Main Street was a key to our success.” http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/business/local/article/MAIN04_20100403-190807/334927/

Blue Ridge Parkway, Augusta Co.: Man arrested in shooting: A 56-year-old mechanic has been charged in the shootings of two people at a scenic overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. http://www.wdbj7.com/Global/story.asp?S=12261634

Beyond Virginia:

Historic Preservation and Green Architecture: Friends Or Foes?: According to architecture critic Blair Kamin, they’re natural allies—and always have been. http://www.preservationnation.org/magazine/2010/march-april/green-architecture.html

North Carolina: Historic shipwreck recovered: In a race against the tide, crews dug the 12-ton remains of a 300-year-old shipwreck out of the sand, loaded it on a sled and moved it to high ground so it would not disappear or break apart. Video: http://hamptonroads.tv/hrtv.php?id=12469256

Galveston, Texas: Historic house has ties to Virginia: The Powhatan House was built as the home of John S. Sydnor, a prominent cotton merchant, early mayor of Galveston, financier, and Texas’ largest slave dealer. Col. Sydnor migrated to Galveston from his native Hannover (sic) County, Virginia, in 1838. Sydnor dubbed the 24-room, Doric Greek Revival house “Powhatan,” after the Indian tribes in his native Virginia. http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM8FZ1_Powhatan_House_Galveston_Texas

Why We Study Archaeology:  Video summarizes project in East St. Louis: The 7-1/2 minute narrated video shows the discovery and investigation of a 1,000-year-old Native American village and graphically demonstrates why archaeological investigations are performed and what we can learn from these investigations into America’s past. The video explains the importance of archeology in easy to understand language that is accessible to school children and adults alike. 3-D interpretive renderings help visualize Native American life up to 1,000 years ago. A link to the video is posted on the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Archaeology web page: http://www.illinoishistory.gov/PS/archaeology.htm. Here’s a direct link: http://www.illinoishistory.gov/PS/78th.m3u

Narragansett, Rhode Island: Developer and state contest archaeological site: Archaeological evidence of the Narragansetts’ early presence in Rhode Island has ignited a debate over private development on a site that some consider to be culturally and historically significant. The state maintains it has the regulatory authority to stop development on the site. The developer says this amounts to a taking of his land, for which he is constitutionally entitled to compensation, a claim the state denies. At issue is a 25-acre parcel in Narragansett, part of a 67-acre tract on which the developer wants to build 53 single-family houses.  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/realestate/commercial/07indian.html

Cyclorama Center, Gettysburg National Battlefield: NPS must reconsider demolition: A U.S. District Court judge told the Park Service that it must go back and reconsider its 1999 decision to raze the 48-year-old Cyclorama Center, designed by nationally-renowned architect Richard Neutra. The park planned to knock down the building, which sits atop Ziegler’s Grove near Pickett’s Charge, as part of its long-time plan to restore the 6,000-acre battlefield to its Civil War era appearance. Those plans are now likely delayed.   http://www.gettysburgtimes.com/articles/2010/04/02/news/local/doc4bb6427d12ed4526769098.txt

Eugene Allen, White House Butler: Dies: Allen, who endured a harsh and segregated upbringing in his native Virginia and went on to work for eight presidents as a White House butler, died March 31. During Mr. Allen’s 34 years at the White House, some of the decisions that presidents made within earshot of him came to have a direct bearing on his life — and that of black America.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/01/AR2010040103444.html


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