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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Civil War battlefield easement: Fisher’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, Bedford: Citizens 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
Staunton: Bill 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, Tidewater: Group’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
Dan River, North Carolina: Submerged 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
Palladio: His 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 Films: Significant 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