News from DHR

March 15, 2011

New or Updated Features on DHR’s website:

Destruction of the CSS Richmond-based Ironclads

Destruction of the Confederate ironclads on the James River.

Notes on Virginia Online: The Battle of Trent’s Reach, James River, 1865:  Civil War photographers typically used enormous glass negatives to capture an image. When these same negatives are scanned at a high resolution and posted online, as the Library of Congress has done, it is possible using photographic software to explore small and often previously unrevealed details inherent within each negative. That’s exactly what archaeologist Taft Kiser has done to create fresh views of historic photographs and illustrations.  In so doing, he also tells the story of a little-recalled battle between the Confederate and Union navies on the James River in January 1865. “It was a bold and eleventh-hour attempt by the Confederate navy to cut off the Union army’s supply base at City Point in January of 1865,” says Kiser, an archaeologist with Cultural Resources Inc.  See this fascinating slideshow of Kiser’s narrative, an online feature of Notes on Virginia, a publication of the Department of Historic Resources. (The slideshow expands an annotated gallery that Kiser contributed to Notes on Virginia, No. 53.)
_____

Updated: Virginia Atlas of Archaeology: We have posted an updated atlas featuring links to destinations in Virginia that are open to the public and feature exhibits or information related to archaeology. Visit the Virginia ArchNet webpage or go directly to the atlas here.
_____

Forthcoming DHR-sponsored Events of Interest:

Register Now for April Cemetery Workshop!: Flowers are optional but participants will be encouraged to bring mirrors and cameras, and clipboards and questions during a forthcoming Cemetery Workshop being offered by staff of the Department of Historic Resources at Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg. The two-day workshop, offered in partnership with Preservation Virginia, will be held April 8 and 9. For more information, see this press release.
_____

The Agenda is Posted: 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, Preservation Virginia 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.  For more information, go here.
_____


Historic Virginia / Site of the Month

March 8, 2011

Greetings,

Thumbnail photo of Gadsby's Tavern Museum

Gadsby's Tavern Museum

For DHR’s “Historic Virginia, Site of the Month” March selection, we partnered with Gadsby’s Tavern Museum to create this slideshow about this legendary tavern and inn, located in Alexandria, and visited by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other American leaders. Here patrons could order iced refreshments and ice cream (including oyster flavor!) year round.  (To see past “Historic Virgina” slideshows, go here.)


DHR News Clips, February 10

February 10, 2011

Greetings,

Below are new postings for news items of interest from around Virginia and beyond pertaining to history and preservation and related matters.

News from DHR:

National Register of Historic Places: New listings:  (1) Town of Halifax Court House Historic District and (2) Donk’s Theatre, Mathews Co. (see article below).

Also, please be sure to check out DHR’s new Historic Virginia site of the month posting. In celebration of Black History Month, we are featuring a slide show (14 slides) about the Reconstruction-era Longs Chapel in Rockingham County. You can access the slide show from DHR’s home  page here.  Or go directly to the title slide here.

Western Region:

Bristol: New historic district likely to be proposed: Cold and dark as a January night, the nearly vacant, red brick warehouse at 220 Lee St., is now the impetus for efforts to establish the city’s newest historic district. Herald Courier

Virginia Marker History: Richard Harrison, founder of VMH: Harrison has staked out signs noting the Barter Theatre, Bristol, Benge’s Gap, Wytheville Training School and the Stonewall Jackson Female Institute. All of which was part of Harrison’s mammoth project to photograph every historic marker in Virginia.  Herald Courier

Martinsville: Historic Henry Co. Courthouse: The former Henry County courthouse has been converted into a historical museum. Debbie Hall, Executive Director of the museum, says they plan to use the site for meetings, weddings and mock trials for students. She says this building was once the center of public life, and the historical society wants it to become that, once again. WSET-TV

Roanoke: LOV to honor to local women: Pearl Fu and Lucy Addison have long been considered important female leaders in Roanoke. Now, that distinction has gone statewide. The Library of Virginia included them in its 2011 list of “Virginia Women in History,” which recognizes women’s accomplishments during the congressionally sanctioned National Women’s History Month in March.  Roanoke Times

Capital and Central Region:

Sweet Briar College, Amherst Co.: New exhibit focuses on un-built college:  If architect Ralph Adams Cram had had his way, the campus of Sweet Briar College might be a very different-looking place.  “When you see the 1901, 1902 renderings, it looks like this city,” said Marc Wagner, an architectural historian from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. “This really fussy, detailed design.” A selection of Cram’s architectural renderings that never came to fruition are now on display in a new exhibit, “Unbuilt Sweet Briar,”  New Era Progress

Bruce Library, Appomattox Co: Citizens oppose demolition: Opposition was loud and clear at a public hearing held to discuss the possibility of demolishing the old Appomattox County library, which was dedicated on April 12, 1940. The library was built with funds anonymously donated by diplomat and philanthropist David K. E. Bruce. Times-Virginian

University of Mary Washington: Freedom Riders celebrated: UMW kicks off Freedom Rider celebration with activists who rode buses to challenge segregation. The anniversary is especially significant to UMW because civil rights activist James Farmer was a distinguished professor of history and American studies at Mary Washington from 1985 until 1998.  Free Lance-Star

Jefferson School, Charlottesville: Plans on schedule for re-purposing building: Planners are moving forward to re-develop the historic Jefferson School into a mixed-use community space. The space got it’s start as one of just 10 African American high schools in Virginia back in 1926. This spring, construction is scheduled to begin to convert the building into a mixed-use community space.  NBC-29

Richmond Slave Trail: Missouri writer visits the trail: “My husband and I had come to Richmond to follow the designated Slave Trail consisting of nine stops around the city. Janine Bell of the Richmond Slave Trail Commission says the trail “reveals so much of our past that’s hidden in plain sight. We invite people to see first-hand where history that helped shape the nation took place.”  St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Virginia Historical Society: “An American Turning Point: Virginia in the Civil War“: New exhibit is a blockbuster exhibition.  Free Lance-Star Also see this review of exhibit “Bizarre Bits: Oddities From the Collection“: Free Lance-Star

Greene Co.: Land conservation: New conservation totals show that in 2010, landowners in Greene County permanently protected 668 acres of land, bringing the total amount of land protected by conservation easements to approximately 8,700 acres, or 8.5 percent of the total land within the county. Greene Co. Record

Tidewater:

Fort Monroe: Housing proposal put on table: A $30 million proposal, unveiled at a Hampton City Council work session, would bring 445 multi-family residences to a large office building on the parade ground within the moat at Fort Monroe and the present U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) complex which is outside the moat in the historic village.  HRMilitary.com

Fort Monroe#2: Oak tree is remarkable: A live oak tree on the grounds of Fort Monroe that predates the founding of Jamestown has been nominated to Virginia’s equivalent of the hall of fame for trees. The Algernoune (al-jer-nuhn) Oak is estimated to date back to 1540, according to research conducted by R.J. Stipes, a professor of plant pathology and physiology at Virginia Tech.  WSET-TV

Middlesex Co.: New historical highway marker will recall vanished Indian village: VDOT will soon install a road marker on Route 227 near Rosegill denoting that John Smith’s mystery Indian town of “Opiscopank” was once located on the banks of Urbanna Creek. “It is a mystery village,” said Deanna Beacham of the Virginia Council on Indians. “They were never mentioned again in any writing found from that time period. We know nothing about them but they are significant because they are mentioned on John Smith’s map.”  SSentinel.com

Donk’s Theatre, Mathews Co.: Listed on National Register: Located in Hudgins, Donk’s Theater dates to 1946-47, when the late Wilton E. “Donk” Dunton constructed the building. A movie house operated at the theater until 1970. In 1975, new owners founded Virginia’s Lil’ Ole Opry in the theater. The theater’s 2011 season — its 36th — kicks off on Feb. 19 with the “All-Star Opry.” Daily Press

Off-Shore Wind Energy: Picks up speed: The Obama administration has announced that it could begin leasing sites off the coasts of Virginia and three other states for wind energy development by the end of the year. The Virginia site is approximately 20 nautical miles off the coast of Virginia Beach and spans 165 square nautical miles.  Virginian-Pilot

James E. McGee: Painter of slave experience: McGee, 75, a black-experience artist and collector of slave-era artifacts, has kept his work draped in obscurity at his Southampton home for most of his career. He has shunned repeated requests to document his work from both local and national media and has allowed only limited viewing by close friends and associates. For Black History Month, however, McGee plans to offer a rare glimpse into his world on a limited basis.  Virginian-Pilot

Montross, Westmoreland Co.: Historic inn being restored: While town and county governments ponder changes and improvements to the court square in the heart of the town, Cindy Brigman Syndergaard is restoring the inn built around 1800 on the site of a 17th-century tavern, near the square.  Free Lance-Star

Suffolk: Eyes development of waterfront property: The city and Tidewater Community College know they are sitting on a gold mine–nearly 450 acres of prime waterfront property at the foot of the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel. A panel of experts from the Urban Land Institute will conduct a weeklong study this month and offer recommendations for developing the site.  Virginian-Pilot

Carter’s Grove, James City Co.: Colonial Williamsburg forecloses on the Halsey Minor entity which purchased Carter’s GroveVirginia Gazette

Northern Region and Shenandoah Valley

Montpelier, Orange Co.: Pieces of James Madison’s chess set unearthed: Archaeologists at Madison’s home say they’ve unearthed fragments of a chess set they think Madison used.  Archaeologists recently found fragments of two pawns while investigating part of Madison’s Montpelier estate. Initially, they thought the pieces’ quarter-inch tops were sewing bobbins, but then figured out they were shards of chessmen. Free Lance-Star NBC-29 video

Prince William Co.: Ken Burns creates tour of battlefields: A highly-anticipated Civil War-related tour created by award-winning documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, is headed to the county. The tour will focus on the “the people’s” point of view as opposed to strict historical reporting. Guests will embark on themed adventures designed to give context to the Civil War and the three topics that Ken Burns sees as critical to understanding it: “Lincoln’s War,” “The Meaning of Freedom,” and “The People’s War.” PRNewswire

Aquia Landing: Gateway to Freedom: Aquia Landing is now recognized as the “Gateway to Freedom,” the key junction on the Trail to Freedom, a regional project designed to focus attention on the area’s role in the story of emancipation. Aquia Landing was a point of departure for slaves seeking freedom for decades before the Civil War. Some of those individual stories are illuminated by new markers that have been installed at Aquia Landing, now a county park at the confluence of Aquia Creek and the Potomac River. The markers were dedicated by National Park Service historian Noel Harrison.  Free Lance-Star

Clifton, Orange Co.: 1863 photograph: Caption: “General Hermann Haupt supervising a construction site at Devereux Station of the Orange & Alexandria Railroad in Clifton, Virginia. The locomotive bears his name. At right is J.H. Devereux, superintendent. Photo taken in 1863 by photographer Andre J. Russell.”  Jiggsy

Culpeper Co.: Easements in 2010: The Piedmont Environmental Council has announced that county landowners in 2010 placed 1,774 acres of land into permanent conservation easements, bringing the total area of protected land in the county to nearly 13,200 acres, which is about 5.5 percent of the total land in the county. The newly protected areas include the 349-acre Beauregard Farm in Brandy Station and Triloch, a 118-acre tract in the Rixeyville area.  Star Exponent

Culpeper: State Theatre restoration re-started: The State Theatre Foundation last month held a symbolic groundbreaking to signal the restart of a multimillion-dollar restoration project designed to make the theater a centerpiece of downtown Culpeper. While the exact cost of restoring the circa-1938 Main Street theater and creating a new addition is still uncertain, the overall cost of the project is estimated to be about $8.5 million.  Free Lance-Star

Clarke Co.: Fairfield for sale: The house that was built by George Washington’s first cousin and later owned by Robert E. Lee’s aunt.  WashPost

Loudoun Co.: Boom continues: The county in the last decade grew 84.1 percent to 312,311, figures show, placing it as the fourth most populated county in Virginia.  Loudoun Times

Waynesboro, Mill at South River: Completes $5.5 million environmental prep work: It is the largest known voluntary Brownfield investment by an individual in Virginia and ranks in the top 7 percent in size of Voluntary Remediation Program sites in the state. With a nearly 40-acre site with 490,000 square feet of buildings, the mill project to preserve and restore the historic buildings is symbolic of the city’s attempt to reshape its economy through adaptive reuse, while paying homage to its industrial heritage. Augusta Free Press

Virginia:

Leroy R. Hassell Sr.: Virginia’s first black chief justice dies: Hassell rose from segregated Norfolk to become the first black chief justice of the Virginia Supreme Court—a role in which he pressed for a judiciary attuned to the disabled and dispossessed. He died after a lengthy illness. He was 55.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

The Civil War 150 Legacy Project: Profile of program: The program works this way: You bring in whatever items you have, the archivists scan them with a high-resolution scanner, you fill out a permission form for the library to include them in the collection  and jot down any details about the item you know. You go home with your belongings, and the Library of Virginia has another piece of the Civil War puzzle for historians. Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginia’s Historic Churches: Many now threatened: Preservation Virginia’s Sonja Ingram posts a guest blog about recent efforts to save churches in Colonial Heights and South Boston PreservationNation

Classicist Blog: Calder Loth: The Gibbs Surround: “The Gibbs surround is a particular form of rusticated doorway or window frame, the pedigree for which extends to ancient times. The term derives from the 18th-century English architect, James Gibbs (1692-1754), a leading figure in the Anglo-Palladian movement. . . . ”  Classicist Blog

FitzGerald D. Bemiss: Former legislator and preservationist dies: Bemiss was a pioneer in conservation, heading statewide studies that, among other things, led to the creation of programs supporting the preservation of open space through tax credits. In 2008, he wrote the introduction to a history of the state’s preservation movement, “Conserving the Commonwealth,” by Margaret T. Peters. Times-Dispatch

Uranium Mining: NAS committee studies issue: A National Academy of Sciences committee pressed Virginia mining and environmental officials on the state’s ability to regulate uranium mining if a 1982 state ban is lifted. Opponents said the statements of the department heads made it clear the state doesn’t have the resources to oversee the mining of the largest uranium deposit in the United States. Martinsville Bulletin More here: Virginian-Pilot

Preservation Virginia / RESTORE VIRGINIA: New membership program: In order to reach a wider audience RESTORE VIRGINIA! is now a web-based resource dedicated to connecting people and resources. Search the directory to find contractors, craftsmen, materials and preservation related services for your historic property. If you have a preservation related business or service PV invites you to please consider joining as a RESTORE VIRGINIA member. Your business will be listed on PV’s website in the RESTORE VIRGINIA directory. Preservation Virginia/Restore Virginia

Beyond Virginia:

World War I: Last living U.S. veteranNews Leader

Harriet Tubman: Push for National Park: In honor of Black History Month, Democratic Sens. Benjamin Cardin and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have renewed efforts to honor Tubman with a national park in each state. News Journal

New York Public Library: Completes restoration project: The New York Public Library has just completed a three-year, $50 million restoration and preservation of the landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street, which has stood as an impressive symbol of opportunity and access for the people of New York City for a century.  artdaily.org

China: Preservation: Across the country, local governments have launched projects costing tens of billions of pounds in order to save, restore and recreate ancient Chinese sites. The Telegraph

China: Influx of architects changes skylines: Drawn by a building boom unmatched in the world in recent decades, U.S. and European architects are flocking to China, turning Chinese leaders’ bold visions into concrete and steel realities and giving Chinese cityscapes a distinctly foreign signature. Washington Post

Human migration: Modern humans may have left Africa thousands of years earlier than previously thought, turning right and heading across the Red Sea into Arabia rather than following the Nile to a northern exit, an international team of researchers says. Stone tools discovered in the United Arab Emirates indicate the presence of modern humans between 100,000 and 125,000 years ago. NBC-29


DHR News, Longs Chapel Slide Show

February 7, 2011

Greetings,

In celebration of Black History Month, DHR is featuring a slide show (14 slides) about the Reconstruction-era Longs Chapel in Rockingham County for this month’s Historic Virginia / Site of the Month web highlight.

You can access the slide show from DHR’s home  page here.  Or go directly to the title slide here.

Longs Chapel, Rockingham County, Virginia

Longs Chapel, Rockingham Co., Va., after restoration.


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, December 10

December 10, 2010

News from DHR:

Announcing a new DHR website feature: Lost in Virginia or Vanished? Help DHR locate historic resources for which we have documentation but no exact map location.  Please visit our new webpage feature and see if you recognize any of the highlighted sites. Help us confirm the status and location of a resource and you’ll help contribute to DHR’s ongoing efforts to document Virginia’s rich history.  (Since posting this feature earlier this week, several people have helped us locate and update featured sites in Accomack Co., Vinton, and Fredericksburg. ) We will be updating the page on a regular basis. So, check back often!

Western Region

Bush Mill, Scott Co.: Community works to preserve and restore mill: Both the Southwest Virginia Community Foundation and the Nickelsville Ruritan Club are contributing in-kind management, technical expertise, labor and equipment to the restoration process. “Our goal is to rehabilitate the mill, to make it functional,” said Bob Etherton, a member of the foundation member and the Ruritan Club. “It will serve the community as a tourist attraction and learning center for local students.” The present mill dates back to 1896 and is listed on the National Register.  Herald Courier

Stonewall Jackson House, Lexington: VMI board approves plan to acquire house: The Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors voted last week to proceed with the process that could lead to the transfer to VMI the assets and activities of the Stonewall Jackson Foundation. Under the transfer, the Jackson House Museum would be operated within the current VMI Museum Operation.  Rockbridge Weekly

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley

Alexandria: Old Carver School gets stay of demolition: The building was constructed in 1944 as the Carver Nursery School, to care and educate children of black families during World War II. It was turned into an American Legion post, which served as a gathering place for the surrounding segregated African American community. The old legion building was listed by Preservation Virginia as one of the most endangered historic buildings in the commonwealth this year. Washington Post Related story: Washington Post

Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, King George Co.: Commandant’s House featured on holiday tour: It’s one of the grand homes for U.S. military officers, literally fit for an admiral. You wouldn’t know that chickens once roosted on the top floor. The still-splendid dwelling is just one of the attractions that will be open to visitors Saturday as part of the second annual Holiday House Walking Tour.  Free Lance-Star

Fredericksburg Renovated historic home featured on Candlelight Tour: The property has deep roots in the area, dating back to 1700s.  In 1884 the initial portion of the existing house was built as a basic Victorian “foursquare.”  In 1907 a new owner gave it the welcoming Colonial Revival facade and full-width front porch with Corinthian columns that endure today.  The house remained that way until it was sold to Benjamin Willis in 1919.  Free Lance-Star

Augusta Co.: JMU profs assist in documenting family cemetery: “We get a lot of calls about family cemetery plots,” said professor Carole Nash. “Usually there is not a lot of maintenance, and a lot of the information is lost. There are hundreds of cemeteries just like this one in Augusta County.”  Nash, along with geophysics professor Anna Courtier, have moved on from mapping to using ground- penetrating radar to try and determine the location and number of graves in the cemetery.  News Leader Related article & photos: News Virginian And more here: Breeze

Staunton, Sears Hill Bridge: Campaign for funds aims to save historic footbridge:  Donation jugs for spare change are popping up in stores, restaurants, and banks. A committee working to restore and replace the century old footbridge is placing the jugs across the city.  The cash will help pay for the restoration work. Committee members hope the community’s generosity can save taxpayer dollars. NBC-29 (video)

Capital & Central Region

Albemarle Co.: Lewis & Clark Discovery Center groundbreaking:  History was on the minds of many at Darden Towe Park when a crowd turned out for a groundbreaking for the $1.3 million Discovery Center. The afternoon’s activities also included a public hearing to collect input on the possible expansion of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail into parts of Virginia.  NBC-29 (video)

Charlottesville: Focus on “Massive Resistance”: Dozens of people got together at Charlottesville High School to remember the end of Massive Resistance, the movement that closed schools to resist desegregation in the 1950s. Charlottesville is one of three school districts in Virginia that closed schools in the 1950s, even after receiving court orders to integrate. NBC-29 (video)

Charlottesville, McIntire ParkCitizens seek improved mitigation to protect park from McIntire Road extension: An anti-Meadow Creek Parkway group is using two historic-resources agencies’ refusal to sign an agreement for Charlottesville’s piece of the project as a way to push for greater measures to protect McIntire Park once the road is built.  Daily Progress Also here: C’ville Weekly

Colonial Heights Baptist Church: Fight over planned demolition may go on: While City Council’s recent decision to demolish the church may be a solution to the courthouse problem, some are now concerned that the city is about to destroy one of the few historic landmarks left in Colonial Heights. And at least one leader in the effort to reuse the church says he’s willing to fight to prevent demolition. Progress-Index

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

Colonial Williamsburg: Receives two historic letters dating to 1608 and 1609: A new partnership with Preservation Virginia paid dividends for CW this week as crime novelist Patricia Cornwell donated two letters from King Philip III of Spain that reveal his fear that Jamestown would provide a base for pirates to prey on Spanish ships. The letters date from 1608 and 1609, and were written to Alonso Perez du Guzman, 7th Duke of Medina Sidonia. He had commanded the Spanish Armada in 1588.  Virginia Gazette

Aquaculture: State to create zones for raising shellfish: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission in January is expected to set aside about 1,000 acres of prime waters to create 15 aquaculture opportunity zones for growing oysters and clams on state-owned bottom. The zones would be divided into blocks of up to five acres in the lower Rappahannock River, tributaries of Mobjack Bay and around Tangier Island.  Free Lance-Star Related storyChesapeake Bay Journal

Submerged Cultural Site Protection NOAA asking states to identify potential sites: A new federal action plan to restore the Bay gives fresh focus to places of historic and cultural value, including those that rest on the Bay’s bottom. As a result, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants to see new protected areas in Chesapeake waters selected for their historic or cultural value rather than ecology.  Chesapeake Bay Journal

Hampton Roads: Governor’s budget to support OpSail: In 2012 OpSail will commemorate the War of 1812. Hampton Roads is one of only 5 U.S Ports to host the event, which will feature tall ships and naval vessels from around the world, generating worldwide recognition and visibility for the growing Port of Virginia.  GovMonitor

Archaeology at Kiskiak, Gloucester Co.: W&M students focus on site: The 2010 excavations uncovered deposits dating from the Late Archaic period, circa 3000 years ago, through early 17th-century materials contemporaneous with Jamestown.  Since the site has never been disturbed by mechanized plowing, its archaeology is remarkably intact. W & M

Portsmouth: WWII veteran recalls Pearl HarborVirginian-Pilot

Virginia

Wetlands: NRCS preservation funds available: Are you interested in restoring or enhancing wetlands? If so, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) may be able to help. The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) has over $1.1 million available to help landowners protect, restore and enhance wetlands. Applications will be ranked on a competitive basis. Sign-up is continuous, but the first ranking period will end January 14, 2011.  NRCS

Beyond Virginia

Tall Buildings, Short Architects: Why are so many great architects short of stature? Slate


DHR News Clips, December 5

December 5, 2010

Greetings,

We have now posted on the web a slide show about the Old Thomas James Store, Mathews County, our featured December state and national register listing for “Historic Virginia, Site of the Month.” The show was created in collaboration with the Mathews County Historical Society.  You can access the slide show from DHR’s home page or directly from this link.

To inquire about collaborating with DHR on a “Historic Virginia, Site of the Month” slide show, please contact Randy.Jones@dhr.virginia.gov. (A site must be listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register or the National Register of Historic Places.)

Now, here is a selection of articles of interest on history, preservation, land use and related issues from around Virginia and beyond since mid November.

Northern Virginia & Shenandoah Valley

Colchester, Fairfax Co.: Archaeological research underway: Located on the Occoquan River, Colchester once was a bustling port to which tobacco planters  would bring their crop for export. Later, wheat and other commodities were shipped from the port. “This would have been one of the hubs” for tobacco shipment, said Christopher Sperling, a county archeologist who is historic field director for the site. “Tobacco was the lifeblood of the Virginia colony. We’re finding aspects of what was used early on in the colonial port town.”  Washington Post Also here: American Archaeologist

Fairfax Co.: 6th Annual Fairfax County History Conference held: With more than 100 attendees, the conference, “Preserving Our Paths in History,” was a tremendous success.  Fairfax Connection

Manassas: Businessman leading sesquicentennial plans dies: Nothing Creston Martin Owen did was small, so when he began leading efforts for the upcoming Civil War sesquicentennial anniversary, friends said they knew Manassas’s commemoration would be one to remember. A probable accident, however, has left friends and city officials with the task of carrying out next year’s Civil War commemoration without the energetic, charismatic Manassas businessman by their side. Washington Post

Stafford Co.: Atlatl expert: Eric Rugg tests and evaluates a Stone Age weapon that has survived since its invention some 17,000 years ago. It was in use in the 1600s in the first contacts in Virginia between Europeans and American Indians. The weapon is, Rugg points out, “the first compound machine weapon designed by man”–the first weapon with moving parts. Called an atlatl, it was the forerunner of the bow and arrow.  Free Lance-Star (includes video)

Spotsylvania Co.Officials visit Arlington Urban Development Area: County officials visit Clarendon to learn how they could take aspects of an urban, mixed-use development in Arlington back to Spotsylvania. The county planning department has been working with consultants to designate UDAs in the county.  Free Lance-Star

University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg: Students rally to save Seacobeck HallPreservation Magazine

Waterford Foundation, Loudoun Co.: Help restore historic community school: The foundation is requesting your assistance to win a $50k Pepsi Refresh Grant to restore the fire-damaged Waterford Old School. Go here for more information: Pepsi Refresh Grant

Culpeper: Holiday house tour: Dec. 4 tour, which is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and incorporates some of the most historic homes in Culpeper’s East Street Historic District.  Star Exponent

Warren Co.: NPS and Dominion reach deal on proposed powerplant: Dominion Virginia Power and the Shenandoah National Park have reached a deal over the proposed Warren County Power Station proposed for Front Royal. Although the agreement between the park and the power company was approved by the Obama administration, the deal does not address a range of concerns expressed by the Shenandoah National Park superintendent and others at a November 9 public hearing held by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Clarke Daily News

Strasburg, Shenandoah Co.: SVBF eyes Island Farm: The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation is interested in purchasing the “Island Farm” property. Although not a Civil War battlefield, the property has historical significance and also could be important to SVBF’s effort to build trails connecting Strasburg, Shenandoah National Park and the Fishers Hill battlefield area because of its location near the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.  NV Daily

Waynesboro, Augusta Co.: Slow road to greenway: City officials said a section of the greenway stretching along the South River from Constitution Park to Loth Springs finally will be constructed. Meanwhile, a grant application for the second phase is underway. Officials acknowledged that progress on the greenway has been slow, with more than a decade passing since its conceptualization.  News Virginian

Richmond & Central Region

Thomas Jefferson & Wine: Monticello restores wine cellar: Jefferson famously declared wine a “necessity of life,” and he tried in vain to produce wine at his Charlottesville home.  Jefferson’s fully restored wine cellar is now open to the public, permitting visitors to experience the room that once held his prized collection of European wines. Preservation Magazine

Albemarle Co.: Popular novelist restores Esmont, plantation house: Jan Karon has set her own life among rolling green hills in a nearly perfect recreation of the past—an 1816 brick plantation house she spent four years restoring. “She did everything right,” says K. Edward Lay, a professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Virginia, who says the house is an unusually sophisticated example of the Jeffersonian style of architecture.  Wall Street Journal

Steven Spielberg: Gov. McDonnell seeks Lincoln bio-pic: Gov. Bob McDonnell called film director Spielberg this week to help try to convince him to bring his new movie on Abraham Lincoln to Virginia.  The project could translate to $50 million in the Richmond area, according to the Governor. Washington Post

Library of Virginia: Exhibit focuses on Virginia’s Secession Convention: The convention that met in Richmond from Feb.14 through May 1, 1861, is known as the Secession Convention because on April 17, the delegates voted for a motion to secede from the Union — but for its first two months it was a Union convention. A major exhibition at LOV reveals how Virginians from all walks of life and from all parts of the state experienced the drama of the secession crisis.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond: Tribal chiefs deliver game to Governor: The 333-year-old tradition of delivering game to the governor commemorates the peace treaty with Virginia’s Indian tribes that was signed by England’s King Charles II and royal Gov. Herbert Jeffreys in 1677.  RTD

Richmond: RTD offering map of city’s historical sites: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Colonial Heights, Chesterfield Co.: Historic church to be demolished: After years of debate and discussion, the old Colonial Heights Baptist Church will be demolished next year to make way for a new courthouse complex. Progress-Index

Amherst Co.: Local historian publishes new book: For more than three decades, Florence Nixon has gathered bits of history of Monroe and Elon. Her book, “In the Shadow of Tobacco Row Mountain,” is a collection of stories and includes more than 500 photographs depicting the way of life in Monroe and Elon, from the 1930s to 1970s. New Era Progress

Mario di Valmarana: Former UVa architecture professor dies: Di Valamarana came to the University of Virginia in 1972 to teach in the School of Architecture for three months. It became his academic home for 27 years. He taught and directed the Historic Preservation Program, and founded in 1975 the university’s first study-abroad program, which takes architecture students to live among the cultural treasures in Vicenza, Italy.  He retired in 2000, and died Oct. 13 at his home in Venice.  RTD

Roanoke & Southwestern Region

Carroll Co.: Commemorating “The Carroll County Courthouse Tragedy”:  100 years ago, two teenagers in southwest Virginia shared a seemingly innocent kiss that eventually led to a courtroom massacre that dominated the news until it was bumped from the front pages by the sinking of the Titanic. Residents are preparing to commemorate the shooting’s anniversary starting with a community corn shucking on Dec. 18. Daily Press

Danville: Student founds historic preservation club in high school: For 17-year-old Ella Schwarz, co-founding a historic preservation club at George Washington HS is a way to get classmates fired up about the past. DanRiver

Danville: Lynchburg program can serve as preservation model: Southside preservationists hope a Lynchburg program might act as a model to revitalization efforts in Danville. Lynchburg’s Spot Blight program has rehabilitated about 140 properties in the last decade. Preservationists sent a letter to Danville’s City Council, asking them to consider starting a program similar to Lynchburg’s Spot Blight Program.   TV-13 (includes video)

Bush Mill, Scott Co.: Preservation funds awarded: Plans to restore the historic mill were boosted by  $300,000 in recent grants.  A check for $100,000 from the Virginia Tobacco Commission was presented this week. That money, plus $200,000 from the Virginia Department of Transportation, will give the mill new life for restoration to begin.  WCBY TV-5

Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum, Bland Co.: Archaeological research: The seeds of the museum were sewn in May 1970, when highway construction crews encountered a Native American village site as they worked to re-locate Wolf Creek to make room for I-77. During the past two weekends, some of Virginia’s top archaeologists visited to re-examine the topsoil that was removed from the original village site in 1970 as part of Dr. Howard MacCord’s original examination of the Brown Johnston Site.  Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Bristol: Local historian Bud Phillips new book: Hidden History of Bristol: Stories from the State Line: For years, Bud Phillips has collected stories along the state line, where Virginia meets Tennessee. It started soon after he arrived in town, practically penniless, in 1953. The Arkansas native heard tales from the rich and mighty but also folks who had even less money than him – among the earliest pioneers of the city that became Bristol. Then for years, like a student, Phillips went home and scribbled, writing down nearly everything – word for word.  Herald Courier

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

Upper Mattaponi Tribe, King William Co.Restoring Sharon Indian School: The school, as well as the Indian View Baptist Church next to it, remains a cornerstone of a tribal community that has survived centuries of discrimination with its dignity intact. The tribe will celebrate the restoration of the school Dec. 12.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Jamestown: 400-year-old personalized pipes found: “Finding these pipes has illuminated the complex political and social network in London that was behind the settlement,” said William Kelso, director of archaeology for Historic Jamestowne. The personalized clay pipes, which archaeologists say were probably made between 1608 and 1610, also provide new insights into Jamestown’s early pipemaking industry. The settlers’ lives depended on pleasing the investors of the Virginia Company, which bankrolled and supplied struggling Jamestown. It may not be surprising, then, that among the eight names that can be seen on, or inferred from, the fragments are those of several Jamestown investors.  National Geographic

Yorktown: Plans to erect replica windmill halted: When Walt Akers started building a replica of an 18th-century windmill more than two years ago, he hoped to have it completed and displayed by 2011 to mark the 300th anniversary of a similar windmill in Yorktown.  A little known National Park Service rule, however, may take the wind out of the project.  Virginia Gazette

Stratford Hall, Westmoreland Co.: Writer’s visit combines good food and history:  “So the home of the Lees, the 1807 birthplace of a boy named Robert who would go on to become a great general, became a balance between the idealistic and the practical, the big picture and the everyday. It’s still that way today, as I rediscovered during what promises to be a new Thanksgiving tradition–dinner at Stratford, followed by an overnight stay in a small lodge on the property.” Free Lance-Star

Old Dominion University, Norfolk: Seeks to become hub on study of rising sea levels: ODU unveils an initiative to become a national hub for research, teaching and expertise in rising sea levels related to climate change.The university’s initiative includes at least $200,000 and a commitment to pursue federal grants to hire faculty, conduct research and expand climate change in the university’s curriculum. Virginian-Pilot

Hampton University: Black military history: Historian and author Bennie J. McRae Jr. has donated his entire archives on the African-American military experience to Hampton University. The centerpiece of McRae’s collection is the history of the Union Army’s United States Colored Troops that served in the Civil War. Hudson Valley Press

Swann’s Point, Surry Co.: Plantation sells for $7.1 million: The 1,688-acre historic plantation on the James River was sold at auction last month.  The plantation was part of a wedding gift to Pocahontas in 1614 from her father, Chief Powhatan, when she married colonist John Rolfe. The property was most recently owned by Stanley Yeskolske, a businessman who died several years ago.  Virginian-Pilot

Suffolk: Visitor Center opens in re-purposed historic courthouse:  A ribbon cutting ceremony with city’s elected officials marked the rebirth of a historic building. The courthouse building played a pivotal role in the history of old Nansemond County and the City of Suffolk. The 1840-era building is the third such structure built on the site.  WVEC

Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Issues report on pollution costs: Report says pollution is killing jobs and slowing the region’s economy, and the foundation says that delays in cleaning up the nation’s richest estuary could cost government and businesses billions of dollars.  Free Lance-Star

Virginia War Memorial Foundation: To host events with historian Dr. James I. Robertson: Dr. Robertson, executive director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and author of many books,  will be the featured speaker at a dinner at The Chamberlin, Fort Monroe, Friday, December 10, 6:30 p.m.  He will also be signing books after a lecture on December 11 at the Virginia War Museum. For more information, call (757) 247-8523. (No link)

Virginia Beach and Norfolk: Historic photographic collection online: Va. Beach Photographer (blog)

Virginia:

Off-Shore Drilling: Obama administration halts development: The Obama administration announced this week that it will not allow any drilling for oil and gas off the Virginia coast until at least 2017, a move rooted in the record oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year.  Virginian-Pilot

Journey Through Hallowed Ground: First Lady Maureen McDonnell honors organizationLoudoun Times

Patrick Henry: New biography published: review: “It’s unfair to reduce Henry’s career to excerpts from two speeches, but it’s also fitting that he’s remembered chiefly for his words. Henry was a hardworking lawyer, a somewhat adequate military commander, and a popular, if inconsistent, politician. He wasn’t the best farmer or the best businessman, but he was almost certainly the greatest orator in 18th century America. And he was, in a way, the Father of the Founding Fathers — as Harlow Giles Unger notes in his excellent new Lion of Liberty, Henry was the first of the American revolutionaries ‘to call for independence, for revolution against Britain, for a bill of rights, and for as much freedom as possible from government — American as well as British’.”  NPR

Preservation Virginia: Holiday event calendar: PV is pleased to announce its special programming for the holidays offered at several of its historic sites across the Commonwealth. Preservation Virginia

Beyond Virginia:

Black American Indians: “A Hidden Heritage“: NPR interviews historian and author William Loren Katz, and Shonda Buchanan, a descendent of North Carolina and Mississippi Choctaw Indians and a professor of English at Hampton University in Virginia. NPR

Civil War Sesquicentennial: Controversy surrounds some commemorative events: “That some — even now — are honoring secession, with barely a nod to the role of slavery, underscores how divisive a topic the war remains, with Americans continuing to debate its causes, its meaning and its legacy.” NY Times


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 30 other followers