Week of June 25

News from DHR:

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

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

News from Around Virginia:

Tidewater Region

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roanoke & Southwest Region

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

Roanoke, Mill MountainCity council approves easement on 500 acresWSLS

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

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

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley

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

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

Capital & Central Region

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Beyond Virginia

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


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