Week of June 18

News from DHR:

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

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

News from Around Virginia:

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley

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

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

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

Capital & Central Region

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tidewater Region

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

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

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

Roanoke & Southwest Region

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


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

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

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

Beyond Virginia

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

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

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

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

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

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


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