DHR News Clips, January 27

January 27, 2011

Greetings,

Here are some news items of interest in preservation and history from around Virginia and beyond that appeared during the latter half of December and this month.  Also, in case you missed it, on December 17, DHR approved 12 new historical highway markers (press release) and listing 15 new sites to the Virginia Landmarks Register (press release).  Some of the stories below highlight these new markers and VLR listings.

In other news, DHR has posted online a PDF of the most recent copy of Notes on Virginia (No. 53, 2009/2010). The magazine will not be printed, and is available only online. Please be aware the PDF is a large file (about 9 MB) and may take some time to download.

And in other . . .

DHR News:

Save the Date: April 17-18: Virginia Battlefield Preservation Conference, Manassas:Taking the Lead in Battlefield Preservation: Tools, Resources, and Strategies for Virginia.” This conference, sponsored by Prince William County, DHR, and the National Park Service, is geared for local officials with stewardship responsibilities for Virginia’s nationally significant battlefields; land conservation advocates and battlefield friends groups; owners and managers of battlefield land; local and regional planning commissioners and local preservation commissioners; local committees for Virginia’s Sesquicentennial Civil War Anniversary Commemoration; citizens who want to put battlefields to work for tourism, education and sustainable development. To encourage local government participation, stipends to cover lodging and registration costs will be available to one official from every Virginia Certified Local Government and to one offical from every Virginia jurisdiction with a nationally significant Civil War battlefield. To find out if your locality may qualify for a stipend, contact Ann Andrus at DHR (804.367-2323, ext. 133).


News from Around Virginia:

Tidewater and Eastern Shore:

Newport News: USS Monitor’s steam engine a marvel of its day: Last month conservators at the USS Monitor Center drained the 35,000-gallon solution in which the massive engine was submerged. Working slowly and carefully, they stripped off more than two tons of encrustation and gradually revealed the details of a naval milestone that had not been seen since the historic Union ironclad sank in December 1862. “This is a technological marvel,” said conservation project manager Dave Krop.   L. A. Times

Eastville, Northampton Co.: Effort to save two historic jails underway: The Northampton Branch Preservation Virginia has established a fund to raise $119,000 for the preservation of the 1899 and 1914 jails on Eastville’s Court Green. To date, $33,000 has been raised.  DelmarvaNow

Hog Island, Eastern Shore: Former resident recalls a lost way of life: Short video includes many historic photos. Virginian-Pilot

Bacon’s Castle, Surry: Preservation Virginia closes site for programming and maintenance projects:  Elizabeth Kostelny, PV’s executive director describes the temporary closure as “a fulfillment of our role as steward of such a unique site, a rare surviving example of Jacobean architecture in America.”  “Our vision is to create at Bacon’s Castle a distinct heritage tourism destination and a community asset as a place where residents and visitors alike come to learn and reflect.”  Bacon’s Castle dates from 1665.  Daily Press / Virginia Gazette

Jamestown: 400-years old pipes unearthed:  The white clay pipes—actually, castoffs likely rejected during manufacturing—were crafted between 1608 and 1610 and bear the names of English politicians, social leaders, explorers, officers of the Virginia Company that financed the settlement and governors of the Virginia colony. Archeologists also found equipment used to make the pipes.  Associated Press

Hampton Roads: 3 new historical markers approved: Virginian-Pilot

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley:

“Wilderness” Walmart, Orange Co.: Company withdraws from proposed site: Walmart issued a statement saying it would buy the parcel it had hoped to build on, but would not develop it. The company said it would reimburse Orange County for all of its administrative costs and legal fees and begin looking for another parcel along the Route 3 corridor in the eastern part of the county on which to build the store.  Free Lance-Star

“Wilderness” Walmart #2: Preservationist formidable foes?: The case looks to be the latest proof that when big-box stores take on preservationists in Virginia, they face formidable foes. . . One industry analyst said that said it is rare for Walmart to back away from a store once it has researched a location and chosen a site.  Free Lance-Star

Fredericksburg: Op-ed: Slavery museum plans: “Let’s call it a bitter- sweet confirmation of what we already knew. Nowhere in Sunday’s lengthy New York Times report on ‘The Thorny Path to a National Black Museum’ was there any mention of the project that was to rise in Fredericksburg’s Celebrate Virginia.” Free Lance-Star

Patsy Cline House, Winchester: Foundation will restore and open house: Celebrating Patsy Cline announced it has raised the $100,000 needed to begin work on the late singer’s childhood home and eventually open it to the public.  Cline lived in the house with her siblings and mother, Hilda Hensley, from 1948 to 1957.  NV Daily

Arlington Cemetery: Historic urns to be returned: The owner of a pair of towering decorative urns that were originally part of Arlington National Cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater told Army officials that he would return them, saying they belong at the nation’s most revered burial ground, not on the auction block. Washington Post

Arlington Co., Lyon Park: Rehabilitating the 1930s-era community center:  Residents have been working on the community center’s building plan for more than a year. It includes new bathrooms, widened doorways and a sunroom, all accessible for people with disabilities. “Arlington is a very interesting community. The neighborhood pride is very strong,” said Michael Leventhal, who helped the Lyon Park residents work historic preservation of the old building into their renovation plans. “Despite it being a small county, there are no municipalities within the county. The neighborhoods take on an interesting sense of importance.” WashingtonPost

Arlington Co.: Winslow House added to VLR: The home was designed by architect Kenton Hamaker and built by Ira Henry for Earle and Blanche Winslow, and “successfully fuses the elements of the remarkably popular Colonial Revival style with those of the distinctive Streamline Moderne” and features an interior “remarkably intact in plan, design and materials.” Sun Gazette

Fairfax Co.: Drops to second place in tourism: Although Fairfax County remains one of Virginia’s top tourism destinations, it no longer holds the state title for generating revenues after being supplanted by neighboring Arlington County. Fairfax officials don’t plan on being second for long. Washington Post

Mount Vernon: Historian Mary Thompson:  When Mount Vernon’s event planners decided to re-enact Washington’s 1899 funeral, Thompson dug up the details so the event was historically accurate.  When visitors see Martha’s famous Christmas cake on the dining room table, it is Thompson who supplies the recipe. For the last three years, winter visitors have delighted in “George Washington’s camel,” thanks to  Thompson.  She learned 25 years ago that Washington paid a man to bring a camel to Mount Vernon at Christmas and she suggested to program managers that a camel would be something new and fun for the holidays. Mount Vernon Patch

Loudoun Co.: Crednal added to VLR: Crednal’s John Armistead Carter was a lawyer who served in the state legislature from 1842 to 1877. Acting as one of Loudoun’s two delegates to the State Conventions, he voted against secession. Among the visitors to the property noted in the nomination packet were John Marshall, John Mosby, and Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, who reportedly camped on the property with his officers during the Battle of Unison. Leesburg Today More here: Middleburg Life

Frederick Co.: High Banks House added to VLR: High Banks survived the Civil War and represents a “vanishing” architectural style.  NV Daily

Clarke Co.: BOS resolution supports CW sesquicentennial: Civil War commemoration activities are planned to run from 2011 through 2015. Much of Clarke County’s participation will be coordinated with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District. Clarke County is one of the eight constituent counties in the district determined by Congress to promote and commemorate this important historic milestone.  Clarke Daily News

Front Royal: Rezoning endorsed to preserve McKay house site: The Warren County Planning Commission has endorsed a rezoning proposal from town and county officials that seeks to preserve land containing remains of the historic Robert McKay Jr. house and make the rest of the property eligible for commercial development. The McKay house, which had been recognized as the oldest home in Warren County, was destroyed by a fire and is a total loss.  NV Daily

Front Royal #2: New highway marker approved: The sign will highlight Warren County’s place in the history of public school desegregation. The marker memorializes events at the former Warren County High School during Virginia’s Massive Resistance era. NV Daily

Capital & Central Region:

Richmond: Developer Justin French pleads guilty in historic rehabilitation tax credit case: “The Department of Historic Resources profoundly regrets that an individual schemed to commit fraud,” said DHR Director Kathleen S. Kilpatrick. “I am proud that this agency identified a problem that went unnoticed by some pretty heavy duty companies and agencies and brought it to the attention of law enforcement.”  Kilpatrick said DHR first alerted law enforcement close to two years ago that something was fishy about French.  “It became a concern that things didn’t add up,” Kilpatrick said.  Richmond BizSense

Richmond, Slave Burial Ground: Gov. McDonnell supports transferring property from VCU to city: The African burial ground beneath a Virginia Commonwealth University parking lot should be preserved to tell the story of Richmond’s role as a slave center for the Civil War sesquicentennial, Gov. Bob McDonnell said last month in announcing a budget amendment that would transfer the property to the city. Times-Dispatch

St. John’s Church, RichmondAfrican-American spirituality: It took root among a people who were enduring the “horrific experience lived on a daily basis” that was slavery. But they had faith that one day they would live as free people, “and if they didn’t see it their children would,” Lauranett Lee, curator of African-American history for the Virginia Historical Society, told a group gathered one Sunday evening at St. John’s Church.  Lee noted that her talk was on the 225th anniversary of Virginia’s religious-freedom statute, “the most radical result of the American Revolution.”  RTD

Virginia Randolph Museum, Henrico Co.: BOS taking control:  The Henrico County Board of Supervisors plans to preserve the historic property. Virginia Randolph, a pioneer educator who worked in Henrico County for 57 years, was a daughter of slaves.  WDBJ

Henricus Historical Park, Chesterfield Co.Anniversary year: Throughout 2011, Henricus Historical Park will celebrate 400 years of history in the Richmond Region as the site of North America’s second successful English settlement. TravelVideoNews

Lynchburg Area: New additions to VLR: WDBJ

Western Region and Southside:

Bristol: Plans underway to renovate historic warehouse:  Architect Bill Huber made a lengthy presentation, showing concepts for rehabilitating the two-story Bristol Builder’s Supply-Central Warehouse into office space for school division administrators, work areas for part of school maintenance operations and a new space for board meetings.  Herald Courier

Wise Co.: Group works to restore Wise Inn: For the past 100 years, the Wise Inn has been a landmark for Southwest Virginia residents, but in the last 20 years has fallen into disrepair. A series of private owners proved unable to peel back the layers of time on the building, and the Wise County Industrial Development Authority purchased the building in December 2007.  Herald Courier

Roanoke, Old Heironimus Warehouse: Gets new life despite unexpected structural problems:  By the time the project is finished in June or July, the renovation costs could be upward of $500,000. It’s only working financially because a previous owner won recognition for the building on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. Those designations qualify the rehab project for historic tax credits.  Roanoke Times

Roanoke: Firetrucks from 1950s through 1970s:  Nice photos and information about various models of firetrucks that served City of Roanoke. Va Fire News

Historic Henry Co. Courthouse: Re-purposed: The former Henry County courthouse in uptown Martinsville is now home to the Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society. The courthouse, the oldest part of which was built in 1824, was restored to its 1929 appearance using $93,000 from The Harvest Foundation and $98,000 from Save America’s Treasures, as well as private contributions. Martinsville Bulletin.  See this DHR slide show about the courthouse.

Danville, Dan River Inc. Personnel Building: Listed on Virginia Landmarks Register:  The Dan River mill owners used the building to provide child care, a health clinic and meeting space for employees. GoDanRiver NBC12

Blacksburg, Yellow Sulphur Springs: Jim Crow-era resort served blacks:  In the late 1920s, during the days of segregation that legally separated white and black communities, Yellow Sulphur Springs was operated by and for African-Americans as a resort. However, until the recent discoveries of a VT professor this fact was virtually unknown.  Roanoke Times

Coal Heritage Trail: Plan progresses: A corridor management plan is complete for the 325-mile driving route, with detailed descriptions of some of the places and things that might appeal to visitors and help tell the region’s history. Herald Courier

Statewide:

Chesapeake Bay: New map charts shipwrecks: Commissioned by National Geographic, Don Shomette, who’s written volumes about nautical history, was tasked with culling the 7,000 known shipwrecks to the 2,200 featured ones on the map. Based on predictive modeling, he said between 10,000 and 12,000 wrecks are believed to lie on or beneath the sea floor. USA Today

Better Ideas for Growth: Op-ed: “Urban planners, elected officials and all others who care about preserving the scenic wonder and great places of Virginia, will want to get a copy of an insightful new book: Better Models for Development in the Shenandoah Valley 2010.”  Times Dispatch

Buildings, Landscapes, and Memory: New book by Daniel Bluestone:  Bluestone chronicles historic preservation in the United States through 10 case studies that look at preservation from the early days of the new nation, when French general and American Revolutionary supporter Marquis de Lafayette toured the U.S. in 1824 and 1825, to the restoration and preservation of lands that were once toxic landscapes, which provides a more broad and more diverse understanding of our world today. UVa Today

Virginia Landmarks Register: 15 new sites added in DecemberVirginian-Pilot

Beyond Virginia:

Calder Loth’s “Classicist Blog”Ionic of the Erechtheum: DHR’s senior architectural historian Calder Loth (now part-time with DHR) contributes to a monthly blog on the website of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America. His most recent illustrated posting examines the Ionic of the Erechtheum, “commonly acknowledged to be the most beautiful of the Greek Ionic orders.”  Classicist Blog

Robert E. Lee: 150 Years After Civil War/NPR’s Talk of Nation: NPR’s Neal Conan spoke with historian Noah Andre Trudeau, reporter Mary Hadar, and Joseph Riley, mayor of Charleston, S.C., about how and why we mark the anniversary of the Civil War. NPR

National Building Museum: “Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey“:  Why has Roman classicism been so pervasive for 2,000 years? And why, during the past two centuries, did many European and American architects rebel against classicism’s aesthetic dominance and stylistic constraints? In the rejection of classicism, has something been lost? Some answers to these questions can be found at the NBM’s exhibition. WashPost

Wench: Novel explores relationship between slave owners and slave mistresses: Dolen Perkins-Valdez was reading a biography of W.E.B. DuBois when she came across the small aside. It was piece of history she hadn’t known, and couldn’t stop thinking about.  The land for Ohio’s Wilberforce University, the nation’s oldest private historically black college, where DuBois had once taught, at one time had been part of a resort–a place called Tawawa House, where wealthy Southern slaveholders would take their slave mistresses for open-air “vacations.”  Washington Post


DHR News Clips, Nov. 12

November 12, 2010

Greetings,

Here are some of the recent stories of interest from around Virginia and beyond.


Tidewater & Eastern Shore

Fort Monroe: Army scopes moat: The U.S. Army will officially leave Fort Monroe and hand it over to the state in September. Before it does, it must make sure nothing dangerous–most important, live ordnance–is left behind. So for the first time in 30 years, the military is digging into the moat’s muddy floor to see what’s there. The moat is one of the base’s best-known and oldest features. Its tall stone walls were erected in the 1820s to protect the original fort. Virginian-Pilot

Hampton Roads: Recalling the first successful airplane shipboard takeoff:  Five minutes after his takeoff from the cruiser Birmingham in 1910, Nov. 14, Eugene Ely landed his plane alongside the  beach houses of Willoughby Spit, a distance of about 2.5 miles. It didn’t matter where he landed. . .  he had proven a shipboard takeoff was possible. Virginian-Pilot (Story includes historic photos)

Pamunkey Indian Museum, King William Co.: Make a visit: “To learn a little-known part of our region’s unique history, make plans to visit the Pamunkey Indian Museum . . . The Pamunkey have been living along the river bearing their tribal name in King William County for at least 12,000 years, maybe longer, according to archaeologists and anthropologists.”  Free Lance-Star

Montross, Westmoreland Co.New courthouse plans could impact historic square: If built, a proposed new building could empty three county-owned buildings on Court Square, where county courthouses have been located since 1688. One possible casualty of the new courts building could be an iconic old courthouse that dates from 1900.  Free Lance-Star

Swann’s Point Plantation, Surry Co.: To be auctioned on Nov. 15:  William Swann, the first recorded owner, was born in England and patented 1,200 acres in the area in 1635. His son, Thomas Swann, was born in Virginia in 1610 and died here in 1680.  Daily Press

Virginia Beach: Expert House Movers: When one Va. Beach family was forced to move because their property was in the way of a city project, they decided to take their beloved house with them. Behind the scenes with Jim Matyiko, head of the company that recently moved the 200 ton 19th-century brick home.  Virginian-Pilot

Craney Island: Short video: Craney Island is valuable habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl, but they have to share it with the big earth moving equipment of the Corps of Engineers. Virginian-Pilot

Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society: To screen new film “Our Island Home”:  The documentary produced by The Barrier Islands Center features three former residents of the long-lost settlement of Broadwater on Hog Island. The film showcases their unique existence of life on this remote barrier island off of Virginia’s Eastern Shore coast.  DelmarvaNow

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley

University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg: Seacobeck Hall may be preserved: UMW President Rick Hurley says that the school is reconsidering its plan to demolish the dining hall, built in 1931, “because of the outpouring of support and other reasons.” Free Lance-Star

Arlington National Cemetery: Stafford Co. student creates grave database:  After news of burial mix-ups at ANC unfolded over the summer, Ricky Gilleland, a junior at North Stafford High School, created preserveandhonor.com, a website providing an accurate and continually updated listing of burials at Arlington for those who served in the global war on terror. Free Lance-Star

Loudoun Co., Lunette House: Neighbors to BOS, house must go: Residents of Kirkpatrick Farms who came before the Board of Supervisors had one message: remove the dilapidated Lunette House from their neighborhood. The home was constructed around 1820 and was the subject of an architectural survey by DHR in 1982. In recent years, it has fallen into severe disrepair.  Leesburg Today

Oatlands, Leesburg: New director of NTHP site named: Loudoun County Supervisor Andrea McGimsey has been chosen to lead the Board of Directors of Oatlands as executive director. McGimsey will oversee all operations of Oatlands, which was built in 1804, and boasts 4.5 acres of formal gardens, rare original outbuildings dating from 1810 to 1821, and a Carriage House dating from 1906.  Loudoun Times

Spotsylvania Co.: Developer reconstructs historic buildings on property: Dan Spears has reconstructed an 1812 plantation house from North Carolina and several cabins and cottages on his historic property. He also is building a nearly 12,000-square-foot venue for weddings and other large celebrations called the Lodge. At the heart of the $1.5 million structure are the framing timbers and roof trusses of a church from Canada, probably dating to the early 19th century.  Free Lance-Star

Pete Hill: Culpeper Co. Baseball Hall of Famer’s grave found:  The grave of baseball great John Preston “Pete” Hill, believed to be the only Hall of Famer whose burial site had been lost to history, was discovered recently in a suburb of Chicago by Dr. Jeremy Krock, coordinator of the Negro Leagues Baseball Grave Marker Project.  WTOP

Sully Historic Site, Fairfax Co.: Brings Revolutionary era to lifeFairfax Times

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park: Release of a new podcast tour: Covering the Battle of Cedar Creek, the podcast is free and can be downloaded onto an iPod or mp3 player, then taken to the park for a tour of the battlefield.  CivilWarTraveler

Berryville, Clarke Co.: Fire House Gallery wins design award: Berryville Main Street has received the Virginia Downtown Development Association’s 2010 Building Development and Improvements Award of Merit for its Fire House Gallery & Shop. Clarke Daily News

Harrisonburg: New Civil War Trails markers: The city will dedicate three new Civil War Trails markers in downtown at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at the City Municipal Building. Adding these new Civil War Trails markers will inform the community and visitors of the stories of life in Harrisonburg during the Civil War. The markers were funded through a grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. (No link)

Roanoke & Southwest Region

Grayson Co.: Proposed Spring Valley Rural Historic District: The 4,220-acre Spring Valley community was settled in the 1760s, long before Grayson County was formed in 1792. The proposed Spring Valley Rural Historic District’s “period of significance occurs from circa 1800, because of the earliest standing structure, and ends in 1950 because no significant construction occurred after this time,” the register nomination writers note.  Galax Gazette

Saltville: Civil War scholar gives Southwest Va. its due: Historian Thomas Mays says the mountainous regions of KY, TN, and VA have been neglected by historians in the last 50 years. In one of his three books, The Saltville Massacre, he follows the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry, a regiment formed at Camp Nelson (KY), into its first large-scale battle, which took place in October 1864 in the mountains of southwest Virginia.  Lexington Herald-Leader

Capital and Central Region

“Negro Burial Ground,” Richmond: Historian Jeffrey Ruggles traces history of the site: Ruggles uses primary sources, maps, and historic photos to trace the evolution of the site. A PDF of his article is available here: The Shockoe Examiner

Richmond: “Connecticut” finds new home: A 2,400-pound fiberglass-and-resin sculpture of an American Indian that resided at the top of Richmond’s minor-league baseball stadium for more than two decades has found a new home and a new role. “Connecticut” now rests atop a downtown architectural firm housed in the historic Lucky Strike Building near the James River.  Indian Country

Virginia Historical Society: Online collection of Presidential memorabilia: “The VHS has compiled from Dr. Allen Frey’s extensive collection of political ephemera and memorabilia a dozen examples of American presidential campaign materials to see if politicians and campaigns of the past were as negative and bitter as they are today.”  Virginia Historical Society

Berkeley Plantation, Charles City Co.: Virginia Thanksgiving Festival: Chickahominy Indian Tribal Dancers and drummers capped one of the biggest days in the festival’s 49 years of celebrating the first Thanksgiving by English settlers at Berkeley on Dec. 4, 1619. An estimated 2,000 people attended the four-hour celebration.  Richmond Times-Dispatch (video also)

Virginia:

“American Indian Heritage Month”: Gov. Bob McDonnell issues proclamation: The Governor signed the proclamation November 10 at a ceremony at the Old House Chamber in the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. He was joined by representatives from nine of Virginia’s 11 state recognized tribes. SynaVista News

Rhys Isaac: The Transformation of Virginia author dies: Only Australian to receive the prestigious American Pulitzer Prize for history, Isaac died of advanced melanoma. He was 72. He was awarded the Pulitzer in 1983 for his seminal book The Transformation of Virginia, in which he expounded methods used to understand radical changes in both blacks and whites in colonial plantation culture that had traded a king for a constitution and bill of rights.  The Age

Historic Family Cemeteries: New interactive map for recordation: Preservation Virginia introduces a great interactive public map where anyone can record the location of historic family cemeteries. Users can add place markers and describe cemeteries for others to see.  Historic Cemeteries in Virginia

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail: NPS is studying expanding the L&CNHT  to include “Eastern Legacy” sites. Learn more here: NPS

Afton Mountain, Shenandoah National Park: Ceremony launches park’s 75th anniversary: From the family of President Herbert Hoover to the descendants of those displaced, to present and past employees, everyone had a story to tell about Shenandoah National Park.  Free Lance-Star

Beyond

Washington Monument: Designing security: The Washington Monument is unlike any other in the capital, so austere and abstract that creating security arrangements for it has dogged the National Park Service for a decade. Washington Post

Mount Morris, New YorkMan buys up Main Street to revitalize town: For several years, Greg O’Connell moved stealthily, buying building after building along a run-down stretch of Main Street here. He has snatched up 19 buildings, some at tax lien sales for $2,000, and has restored the historic look of a half-dozen storefronts, dusting off the tin ceilings and renovating the apartments on the second floor, where he has installed new bathrooms and oak floors. NY Times

Atlantic Records / Warner Music Group: Dives into its archives: “Every day is like, what am I going to find today?” said Grayson Dantzic, the archivist for Atlantic Records. With colleagues at Warner Music Group, he is part of an ambitious project to recover the company’s story—and a good chunk of American cultural history as well—by excavating the contents of nearly 100,000 boxes from warehouses around the globe, whose accumulated photographs and other memorabilia track popular music from the Edwardian and Victorian ages to disco and jazz, from Beethoven to Miles Davis.  NY Times Slide Show


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