DHR News Clips, Week of July 16, 2010

July 18, 2010

News from DHR:

National Register of Historic Places: New listings in Virginia:  Hockley, Gloucester Co.;  “The Work of Marshall Swain Wells, Architect” (Multiple Property Document), Albemarle and other counties;  St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Norfolk.

Statewide Virginia:

Minds Wide Open: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts: Virginia’s First Ladies to honored with portraits: First lady Maureen McDonnell has announced her plan to commission portraits of every living first lady for the mansion’s 200th anniversary in 2013.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Historic Virginia: Buildings and Architecture:  Flickr group has wonderful selection of photographs, ever growing.  Flickr

NoVa & Shenandoah Valley:

Culpeper Co., John Preston “Pete” HillNegro League Hall of Famer:  John Preston “Pete” Hill, born Oct. 12, 1882, was an outfielder and manager in baseball’s Negro Leagues from 1899 to 1925. Hill played for the Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants, Chicago American Giants, Detroit Stars, Milwaukee Bears, and Baltimore Black Sox. He died in Buffalo on Dec. 19, 1951.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.   But his plaque lists his name as “Joseph” and his birthplace is recorded as Pittsburgh, Pa.  Research shows Hill was actually born in Culpeper County, and his family is determined to get that hall of fame entry corrected.   Star-Exponent More here: Star-Exponent

Salubria, Culpeper Co.:  Germanna Foundation researchers pry loose secrets:  Salubria is the 18th-century Georgian-style house built by the widow of colonies founder Alexander Spotswood and her second husband. The popular wisdom had been that Montpelier–the home James Madison built in 1764–influenced the design of Salubria. But the scientific dating process for Salubria’s lumber “places it before wood used in Montpelier.”  Free Lance-Star Also here: Star-Exponent

Battlefield Grants: NPS awards 3 to Virginia:  The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation won $61,500 to “create a new battlefield preservation and planning website … in preparation for the Civil War Sesquicentennial.”  Shenandoah Valley Network was given $21,500 to “secure improved local zoning and planning in two Shenandoah Valley counties.”  Stafford County was selected to receive $77,700 to help recognize one of the first naval engagements of the Civil War, the Battle of Aquia Creek.  InsideNoVa.com

Strasburg, Shenandoah Co.: A block of historic town goes up for auction: The roadside attractions of Leo M. Bernstein, the late Washington financier with a fondness for the history and kitsch of the Shenandoah, go on the auction block July 22, two years after he died at age 93. It’s the rare auction that puts a key part of a town’s identity up for sale, but it’s equally rare that an entire side of a city block goes up for bid — almost all of it with no reserve minimum price. Washington Post

Orange Co., Leland-Madison Park: Columnist: Park’s significance: “It was during the later years of his stay in Virginia that Elder John Leland and James Madison met (near the location of the Leland-Madison Park). In 1788, with the final state endorsements of the Constitution being sought, Madison asked Leland to endorse the Constitution for Virginia. Leland promised his support with one condition: Madison must develop an amendment in the Constitution to assure religious liberty.”  Star-Exponent

“Wilderness” Walmart, Orange Co.: Next court date Aug. 13: Attorneys are due back in court next month in the battle over a Walmart Supercenter proposed near an endangered Civil War battlefield in northern Virginia. A trial date was expected to be scheduled at a hearing July 13 in Orange Circuit Court, but lingering issues delayed that decision until an Aug. 13 hearing.  Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

Rockingham Co.: Remembering War of 1812:  Members of the recently chartered Shenandoah Valley Chapter National Society of the United States Daughters of 1812 are seeking to make sure those who fought in that conflict, as well as others, are remembered.  As the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812 approaches, Shenandoah Chapter members plan to mark as many grave sites of veterans of that conflict as possible between Winchester and Roanoke. Washington Examiner

Mary Washington University, Fredericksburg: Master Plan announced: The proposed plan calls for Ball, Virginia and Willard halls, which are described as “jewels” of the campus, to be among the first eight residence halls to be renovated. Bushnell, Jefferson and Marshall halls, however, would be torn down and replaced.  Free Lance-Star

Woodford, Spotsylvania Co.: Historic Beazley’s Store auctioned:  The old general store at the corner of U.S. 1 and Arcadia Road sold for $122,000 at auction. The building has become a curiosity of a bygone era. The store closed in 2003 after its proprietor, Arthur Lee Beazley Jr. died at 62. The store had been in the Beazley family since 1929.  Free Lance-Star

Roslyn: Previously undocumented Charlie Chaplin film to be shown: The movie will be shown before an audience for the first time since its original release in 1914, at the Slapsticon Festival.  The film, “A Thief Catcher,” is a 10-minute comedy discovered last autumn.”I stopped, got up, rewound the projector, watched it again, watched it again, watched it again and it finally sank in that I had found a completely previously undocumented, unknown Charlie Chaplin film appearance,” said Paul Gierucki.  Chaplin makes a three-minute cameo as a policeman in the film. SkyNews HD

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

William & MaryWMCAR discovers two small, unmarked graves on campus:  Dating to sometime prior to the mid-19th century, the graves contain tiny bone fragments that have been incorporated into the soil matrix. They were discovered July 13 by the William & Mary Center for Archaeological Research (WMCAR).  W & M News

Virginia Beach: Will preserve Lynnhaven River open space: The city, in partnership with several conservation groups, plans to buy 122 acres of environmentally sensitive land off Shore Drive that had been marked for a housing development.  The purchase would guarantee that the last major tract of undeveloped land along the Lynnhaven River, which boasts oyster beds, wetlands and a maritime forest, is preserved.  Virginian-Pilot

Portsmouth: Historic church in disrepair and apparently abandoned: The 110-year-old church remains vacant and work has stopped. The church’s building permits expired months ago. Code violations have racked up. And construction crews and the former owner of the building have filed liens and lawsuits, claiming they haven’t been paid.  Virginian-Pilot

Assateague Lighthouse: Undergoing renovations:  After ownership of the 100-plus-years building passed from the U.S. Coast Guard to the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004, a $1.5 million, multi-phase restoration project began. The lower gallery deck has already been replaced, allowing visitors to walk on the deck — approximately 130 feet in the air — for the first time. Fund raising is underway for remaining phases of renovation.  DelmarvaNow

Roanoke & Southwest

Danville, Pittsylvania Co.: Proposal to balance historic preservation concerns at mega industrial park site:  About 70 dilapidated buildings, including old log barns, houses and outbuildings and at least one old slave cemetery can be found in the site Danville and Pittsylvania County officials hope to transform into a major industrial center.  Preservation Virginia and the Danville and Pittsylvania historical societies propose six items to include in the covenants for the park to protect the site’s natural beauty and historic resources.   GoDanRiver.com

Danville: One-time hospital in critical condition:  Built by the Ladies’ Benevolent Association in 1903, the 23,000-square-foot structure was a hospital for about 20 years, according to local historian Gary Grant. It served as an apartment building from the 1920s until a fire in 1996. This month, the city will tear down the now-dilapidated Georgian Revival building.  Preservation Magazine Online

Lexington, Rockbridge Co.: Fire destroys Southern Inn Restaurant: The Lexington landmark went up in flames around 1:30 a.m. Buildings next door were damaged by smoke and water.  The buildings go back to the 1820s.  WDBJ

Beyond Virginia:

World Trade Center Site, NYC: 18th-century ship uncovered:  A 30-foot length of a wood-hulled vessel has been discovered about 20 to 30 feet below street level. The area under excavation had not been dug out for the original trade center. The vessel, presumably dating from the mid- to late 1700s, was evidently undisturbed more than 200 years.  A 1797 map shows that the excavation site is close to where Lindsey’s Wharf and Lake’s Wharf once projected into the Hudson.  NY Times AP YouTube Video

Vernon Baker: Last living black veteran awarded Medal of Honor for valor in World War II:  Baker received his award 52 years after he wiped out four German machine-gun nests on a hilltop in northern Italy. He died at his home near St. Maries, Idaho. He was 90. On April 5, 1945, Lt. Baker was leading 25 black infantrymen through a maze of German bunkers and machine gun nests near Viareggio, Italy, a coastal town north of Pisa. About 5 a.m., they reached the south side of a ravine, 250 yards from Castle Aghinolfi, a German stronghold they hoped to capture. . .  NY Times

Leonardo da Vinci’s “Virgin of the Rocks”Restoration reveals new details: The 18-month conservation project involved removing much of some badly degraded varnish that was applied to the painting in the late 1940s, enabling experts to take a much closer look at the picture’s brush strokes and styles. The cleaning revealed the painting’s full tonal range, especially in the darker areas, and resulted in a clearer sense of how the artist intended for space to recede through the rocky landscape. It also affirmed that Leonardo likely painted the entire picture himself. Washington Post


DHR News Clips, Week of

July 11, 2010

Northern & Shenandoah Valley

Mount Vernon DistilleryAnother go round on G.W.’s whiskey making:  “We learned everything about making the whiskey from Washington’s papers,” said Dennis Pogue, vice-president of restoration at Mount Vernon.  After Washington built the distillery in 1797, it became one of the most successful of its day, topping out at a production of 11,000 gallons of spirits in 1799.  After Washington’s death, the distillery fell into disrepair and then burned in 1814.  Kansas City Star

Manassas National Battlefield Pipeline repairs could disturb 150th anniversary events: An energy firm is seeking to expand and replace a natural gas pipeline under the Northern Virginia Civil War battleground.  Civil War reenactors fear that construction will affect next year’s commemoration, which organizers have estimated could draw 150,000 people for a string of events July 21-24.  Washington Post

Clifton, Fairfax Co.:  Historic school to close:  The Fairfax School Board has voted to shut down Clifton Elementary School, following months of intense resistance from residents seeking to save the town’s only school.  Parents in the tiny picturesque town and its pastoral environs said the school is an integral part of their community and a crucial gathering place for families.  Clifton neighbors are seeking a historic designation for the 1950s-era building.  Washington Post

Spotsylvania Co. WW II-vet receives French government’s highest award:  It wasn’t the first time the French thanked Col. Jack Morris for his World War II service. Morris has been honored in four different decades by those he and other Allies helped liberate during the war.  The first reception came in August 1944, after Paris was freed from German forces. Morris was with the 749th Tank Battalion, the first American tank unit to cross the Seine River at the site of the first Allied bridgehead.  F’burg Free Lance-Star

Roanoke & Southwest

Rocky Mount, Franklin Co.: Ceremony to dedicate new Confederate monument: Author and distinguished Civil War historian Dr. James I. Robertson Jr. will deliver the keynote address Saturday, Aug. 7, at the 2 p.m. dedication of the new Confederate monument on the courthouse green. The monument replaces one originally erected in Dec. 1910, which a wayward pickup truck destroyed in 2007. Smith Mountain Eagle

Abingdon, Washington Co.Custom woodworker has hand for history:  Joe Cress creates custom-made furniture-– specializing in Civil War era reproductions.  Among the pieces in his repertoire are replicas of the field desks used by Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, the bed that Jackson died in, and J.E.B. Stuart’s field desk.  Cress has recreated pieces at the Virginia Military Institute, the Museum of the Confederacy, and in cooperation with the NPS.  Bristol Herald Courier

Gate City, Scott Co.City officials delighted to be on register:  Town officials are elated that DHR has recognized the town’s historic district for inclusion into the Virginia Landmarks Register. Gate City officials have been working for the past four years on obtaining the historic district designation for a five-block area of Gate City’s downtown area. Virginia Star

Capital & Central

University of VirginiaRestoring Jefferson’s flat-roof design:  Jefferson designed the roofs over the student rooms and colonnades that span the distance between the pavilions, which were both learning spaces and faculty housing.  Built beginning in 1817, the roofs were flat-topped over metal and wood channels to divert the water that flowed through gaps in the decking into gutters and cisterns. Professors could use the flat roofs as an elevated walkway to move from one pavilion to the other.  “Flat roofs were popular in France while Jefferson was living there,” said Joseph. D. Lahendro, historical architect.  News Leader

University of Virginia: Nears completion of first extension of the Lawn:  The project includes what the university is calling Vista Point, a large circular stone plaza surrounded by pergolas.  In the distance beyond the trees, one can see Carters Mountain and neighboring peaks. James A. Kelley Jr., U.Va.’s project manager for the South Lawn Project, said Vista Point is meant to bring back the view of the mountains that students in Jefferson’s era might have seen, before the construction of Old Cabell Hall in 1898. “This restores the original Jeffersonian concept of the vista at the end of the Lawn,” Kelley said.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Historic Albemarle Co. Jail: BOS deciding on study for its future:  The Board of Supervisors weighed Wednesday whether to retain a firm to study the historic Albemarle County Jail or to leave the task to the local historical society.  Built in 1876 on East High Street, the jail is listed on the National Register.  A steering committee involving members from the BOS, county staff and the historical society was established in 2008 to devise a strategy to reclaim the jail and preserve its architectural and social significance.  C’villeTomorrow Background story: Daily Press

MonticelloW&L archaeology advances research on Edmund Bacon, overseer:  According to Alison Bell, associate professor of anthropology and archaeology at W&L, who is leading the project, the artifacts they have uncovered provide important insights into Bacon’s life and, quite possibly, into the lives of the middle spectrum of the Virginia population in the 18th and 19th century.   Washington & Lee

Amherst Co.: Historic resources survey completed:  Through matching funds from DHR,  Amherst County hired The Antiquaries to identify 275 “new” buildings and determine their historical significance.  “That sounds like a lot,” Scott Smith said, “but there’s more than 1,000 we could have done.”  News Advance

Richmond, Slave Museum: Editorial: City should be the location: “From the beginning, Richmond should have rated as the top choice for the museum.  Although slavery was not introduced in Richmond, the city played an important role in its history. Slaves were bought and sold here. The legislature that convened in Richmond passed the laws affecting not only slaves but emancipated African-Americans. The story told by a slave museum must not end with the Civil War but must include Jim Crow, Massive Resistance, and other social and political phenomena with roots in the peculiar institution.”  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond Area: Profile of Warren Davies, historic masonry restoration and repair:  Davies was 8 years old when he started helping his father, Glyn Davies, with masonry work. “He was Welsh, and he was an amazing brickmason. He was an artist,” Davies said. “He worked for members of the royal family in Wales.  He moved to London after completing his indentured apprenticeship and was recruited by a company in Missouri to work in the United States.”  Davies became interested in historic restorations after working on many homes in Richmond’s Fan District in the 1990s.  Richmond Times-Dispatch


Virginia Beach: Fate of 1793 farmhouse uncertain: Preservationists are hoping to save the Whitehurst/Buffington House, located across from the municipal center. The city is spending $2,500 on a second try to get the house listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register, a critical step because it would allow the city-owned house to qualify for historic restoration tax credits.  WHSV

Tidewater Archaeology: Why We Dig,” by Garrett R. Fesler, Matthew R. Laird and Nicholas M. Luccketti:  “Tidewater is arguably the richest archaeological region in the nation, with evidence of human occupation spanning more than 20,000 years. Hundreds of significant sites remain to be discovered. . . ”  Daily Press

Virginia’s Historic Triangle: Where African-American history had its beginnings: “Virginia is home to the longest continuous experience of African-American life and culture in the United States; so this would be a good place to start your exploration of African Diaspora Heritage Trails. Forty percent of blacks living in America today have roots in Virginia. Virginia has recognized the integral role that African slaves played in helping to build America into what it is today.” African Diaspora Tourism (Web site)


Virginia Main StreetSummer Toolkit: Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Downtown: July 22 and 23, Franklin, Franklin Co.: For more info contact:  kyle.meyer@dhcd.virginia.gov.

Robert E. Lee: Why didn’t Lee write his memoirs?: “After 1866, Lee put the military history project aside, having never progressed past a few pages of memoranda on several of his wartime campaigns. Yet it would be wrong to conclude that he had not thought or talked about what he would say. Based on notes of conversations with him, as well as public statements and his private correspondence, we can gain insight into what he would likely have written.”  HistoryNet.com

Chesapeake Bay Oysters: Hopeful signs of a comeback:  Oysters are slowly gaining strength against two diseases that have nearly wiped out the species in the Chesapeake Bay, according to a new report.  While MSX and Dermo continue to thrive in Bay waters, more and more native oysters are able to tolerate their bite.  And while kill rates once hovered around 90 percent, they now are softening, to 50 percent or 70 percent.  Virginian-Pilot Also, more here

Blue Ridge ParkwayCongressional resolution commemorating road:  Rep. Tom Perriello has introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives that “commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway and acknowledges the historic and enduring scenic, recreational, and economic value of this unique national treasure.”  WHSV

Virginia Forum, March 25-26, 2011: Call for papers:  VF welcomes proposals from scholars, teachers, and historical professionals in all fields.  The theme, “Different Virginias,” is comparative and invites scholars to submit papers about all aspects of Virginia life, history, and culture.  The VF also plans to offer sessions or workshops on teaching Virginia history, digital history, museums, and libraries.  Additional information is available online at Virginia Forum.

American ShadNot rebounding, cause of coastwide decline is not known:  “Because problems appear to be coastwide rather than focused on individual river spawning stocks, many believe shad are being impacted as they migrate along the coast, where stocks from many rivers are believed to merge.”  Chesapeake Bay Journal

Virginia Department of Conservation and RecreationVirginia Cultural Heritage Site Directory:  DCR seeks applications for sites for designation and inclusion in the Heritage Site Directory. The designation and directory were established to help promote sites across the state that are open to the public and provide insight into their historic or cultural significance. Sites such as museums and visitor centers that promote history or culture may also be included. Privately and publically owned sites are eligible, with the exception of properties owned or managed by the Commonwealth of Virginia.  DCR Cultural Heritage webpage

Beyond Virginia

Sen. Robert C . ByrdPacking office: substantial collection to archive:  The Dear Abby note is one of thousands of letters, photographs and other memorabilia that fill drawers and closets and filing cabinets in Byrd’s cluttered office in the Senate Office Building.  “It’s a pretty big process,” said Senate Archivist Karen D. Paul. “We’ve developed checklists to help manage aspects of this. It isn’t like 30 years ago when people could just put papers in a box and just ship it off.”  Washington Post

Valley Forge: Archaeologists believe they’ve found G W  log cabin site:  Martha Washington mentioned the cabin in a letter to a friend 232 years ago while she was visiting Valley Forge. During the Continental Army’s stay, Washington, his aides, servants and wife all lived and worked together in the small headquarters house. To ease the cramped conditions, the general had a cabin constructed; it served as both a dining hall and war room for Washington and his men.  Norristown Times Herald

Norfolk, England: Evidence indicates human occupation 800,000 years ago:  Researchers from the British Museum and other institutions announced that an eroding cliff in Norfolk, England, has yielded evidence of the earliest substantial record of the human presence in Northern Europe.  The discovery of 78 flint tools, more than 800,000 years old, shows that early humans, thought to survive only in warm, Mediterranean-style climates, could penetrate much colder regions and survive with a kit of crude tools.  NY Times

Evanston, Illinois: Film honors black Y.M.C.A.:  The Emerson Street Y.M.C.A., known around town as “the black Y,” served as the heart of the African-American community for more than 50 years after opening in 1914.  To honor the Emerson, the Y.M.C.A. here commissioned a filmmaker, Susan Hope Engel, to produce a documentary, “Unforgettable: Memories of the Emerson Street Branch Y.M.C.A.”  Copies of it are being passed around town to families, and schools are planning to use the documentary as part of the curriculum to teach about race relations.  NY Times, includes slide show

China: Retracing the incredible odyssey of China’s Imperial Art Treasures:  Scholars, from mainland China and Taiwan, took part in an extraordinary two-week research project, retracing the routes taken by the imperial treasures in the 1930s and 1940s, when they were being safeguarded from the ravages of civil war and Japanese aggression.  “We had a rough idea of how things happened, but we didn’t know the details,” said Li Wenru, deputy director at the Palace Museum in Beijing. “But we knew it was a miracle that in wartime over a million treasures were moved 10,000 kilometers, on roads, in water, by air, and nothing was lost.”  NY Times,  slide show here

Week of July 4, 2010

July 4, 2010

News from DHR:

New Listings Approved for National Register: Daughters of Zion Cemetery, Charlottesville; Presbyterian Orphans Home, Lynchburg;  Worsham High School,  Farmville, Prince Edward Co.;  Blackford Bridge, Russell Co.;  The George Washington Hotel, Winchester.

News from Around Virginia:

Roanoke & Southwest Region

D-Day Memorial, Bedford: Profile of  and interview with new foundation president:  The leaders of the D-Day foundation hope Robin Reed’s historical bent, and experience, will help propel the memorial through troubled times.   Roanoke Times

Wade’s Mill, Rockbridge Co.:  Still grinding:  The 260-year-old mill, situated between Staunton and Lexington, was built by a Scotsman, Captain Joseph Kennedy, in 1750 and was owned by the Kennedy family for about 100 years.  James F. Wade bought the mill in 1882, and four generations of the Wade family operated the mill successively.  The new owners sell their flours and mixes through both wholesale outlets as well as a retail outlet on the ground floor of the mill.  They are seeing an increase in their wholesale sales as a result of the local food movement and the increasing popularity of whole grains.  Lancaster Farming

Radford: Easement approved on the city’s Wildwood Park:  The Virginia Outdoors Foundation formally approved putting the park’s 54 acres under a conservation easement, which prohibits future development of the land.  Roanoke Times

Franklin, Franklin Co.July 22 and 23 “Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Downtown”: This event is designed to help communities focus the Main Street Four Point Approach to entrepreneur and local business expansion for a thriving, home-grown, downtown marketplace.  To build on the momentum of the program, at the end of day two the DHCD Project Management Office will host a Southern Virginia Downtown Interchange to bring together the region’s fruitful minds and enterprising resources.  Join the Virginia Main Street network of downtown revitalization professionals and volunteers for these fast-paced, interactive events featuring the latest in successful business development strategies and town-raising entertainment in the heart of Franklin.  More info here

Capital & Central Region

Amherst Co.:  Architectural survey completed:  Through joint funding from DHR and the county, The Antiquaries was asked to identify 275 buildings and determine their historical significance, with additional funding coming from Sweet Briar College.  “That sounds like a lot,” Scott Smith said, “but there’s more than 1,000 we could have done.”  New Era Progress

UVa, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library: A new exhibit, “Taking the Waters: 19th c. Medicinal Springs of Virginia”:  Opened concurrently in the lobby of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library and online, the exhibit is inspired by The Mineral Springs of Western Virginia by William Burke, published in 1846.  The physical exhibit will be on display July 1-October 30, 2010.  Selected information from Burke’s book is enhanced by dozens of images and transcriptions of 19th-century letters and documents from the University of Virginia’s Special Collections Library.   Moore Library News

Richmond: “Slave Burial Ground” lawsuit:  A circuit court judge denied Sa’ad El-Amin’s effort to force “state-of-the-art” test excavations to determine the boundaries of a slave burial ground under a Virginia Commonwealth University parking lot.  But Circuit Judge Clarence N. Jenkins Jr. did not dismiss El-Amin’s lawsuit, which asks the judge to order the director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to have the excavations performed.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond: Developer halts two rehab projects: Construction has stopped on two commercial renovations in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition. Contractors haven’t been paid and the buildings, which were being turned into apartments, are in foreclosure.  Times-Dispatch

Virginia Center for Architecture, Richmond: Receives restoration grant:  VCA announced that it has received a $90,000 challenge grant by the Robert G. Cabell III and Maude Morgan Cabell Foundation to restore the leaded-glass windows in its largest gallery, the Great Hall.  Age has caused the windows’ lead frames, which hold the characteristic rectangular- and diamond-shaped panes in place, to buckle.   The Center’s home is a Tudor-Revival mansion designed by John Russell Pope, a renowned architect who also designed the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art, both in Washington, D.C., as well as Richmond’s Broad Street Station, now the Science Museum of Virginia. The house was completed in 1919 for Virginia’s prominent Branch Family.   PR Web

Shirley Plantation, Charles City Co.: Seeks charter members for foundation:  Join the foundation in 2010 as a charter member to help preserve, protect and pass on the legacy of Virginia’s oldest plantation, America’s oldest family-owned business, and one of the first economic engines of the New World.  Established in 2009 the Shirley Plantation Foundation is a pioneering project due to its distinctive organizational structure and agreements with the 10th and 11th generations of the Hill Carter Family of Shirley.  Charter memberships will be available until December 31, 2010. For more information, visit www.shirleyplantation.com or call 1-800-232-1613.

Tidewater Region

Underground Railroad, Norfolk & Portsmouth: A new self-guided tour announced:  The tour highlights 15 places places along the Norfolk and Portsmouth waterfronts that were relevant to the Underground Railroad.  During the early 19th century, more than 100,000 slaves escaped from the South using the network.  No one knows how many traveled through Norfolk, but it would have been a considerable number, said Cassandra Newby-Alexander, a Norfolk State University history professor.  Although Norfolk’s waterfront, landscape and street names have changed considerably in 150 years, tourists easily can compare them in two maps provided in the guidebook – a current map and one from 1873.  Virginian-Pilot

Virginia Beach: Eastern Branch a hidden gem: The Eastern Branch was once a deep-water shipping route for early settlers who built homes in Kempsville in what was then Princess Anne County. Today the river is narrow and silted in from development that has taken place all along its shores. The shallow waterway has evolved instead into a great transportation route for nature lovers who like to get out on the water in their canoes and kayaks.  Virginian Pilot

Norfolk: Feds file suit to claim Granby Tower site:  Federal officials filed a condemnation lawsuit to claim the site of the failed Granby Tower project and will take ownership of the property as soon as today.  The federal government plans to use the site for a $104.7 million expansion of the Walter E. Hoffman Courthouse, which it hopes will open in 2013.  Granby Tower would have been at the intersection of Granby Street and Brambleton Avenue, across Granby from the courthouse.  Virginian Pilot

GloucesterNew highway marker honors WASPs:  A highway marker commemorating the contribution of a former Gloucester woman in shaping Virginia and U.S. history has been approved by DHR.  The “Women Air Force Service Pilots” marker will recall the role of women pilots during World War II, as well as former WASP and Gloucester resident Margaret Ann Hamilton Tunner.  Daily Press

HamptonHow NASA transformed city:  On Tuesday, July 6, at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Michael Cobb, curator of the Hampton History Museum, presents “NACA and the Transformation of Hampton: From Log Canoes to Outer Space” at 2 p.m. in the Reid Conference Center.  Cobb will describe how the location and building of Langley airfield and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) facility brought fortune and fame to Hampton.  PR Newswire

Fort MonroeFM Authority takes over:  The 11-member Fort Monroe Authority charged with overseeing its maintenance, preservation and rebirth “as a vibrant and thriving community” takes the reins from the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority, a quasi-public agency that has been involved for several years in the planning of the military’s departure from the fort.  Planners envision a tourism destination with museums and other attractions focusing on the post’s military history, in addition to private investment to attract visitors. Washington Examiner

Richmond Co.: Writer researches his Mozingo-family origins:  “I returned to hear the tale of two clans: Rhodie Mozingo’s in Virginia and Wiley Mozingo’s in North Carolina.  Rhodie’s was white. Wiley’s was black.  I wondered how each would react to the long-buried fact that our common forefather, Edward Mozingo, was black, and that our surname was Bantu.”  Bellingham Herald

Obici House, SuffolkStill on the register — for now:  Some have expressed concern that work on the Sleepy Hole Golf Course site, which has included removing both porches and part of the kitchen on Obici House and demolishing the Carriage House, would threaten its place on the lists. The home is the estate of Suffolk benefactor and Planters Peanuts founder Amedeo Obici.  Upon his death, Obici left nearly his entire estate to Suffolk residents for the improvement of health care in the city.  News-Herald

Northern & Shenandoah Valley

Fairfax Co., Mount Vernon Area Aviation history:   By the 1930s, two airports had opened on the Route 1 corridor between Alexandria and the Mount Vernon estate.  Only one other airport, located on the site of the current Pentagon building, was fully operational in the region.  “Hybla Valley was the first licensed airport in Virginia,” said Anna Marie Hicks, who has researched the local history of airports with her husband Harry Lehman. The other, Beacon Field, was initially used for air mail and recreational flying in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The facility, located at one of the highest points in Fairfax County, featured a beacon, which emitted a light that helped guide airplane pilots traveling up and down the east coast before radar technology was invented, according to the couple.  Mount Vernon Gazette

Mount Vernon DistillerySells a limited-edition rye whiskey: Made from George Washington’s original recipe, the whiskey went on sale last week.  Following the original grain recipe of 60 percent rye, 35 percent corn and 5 percent malted barley, George Washington’s Rye was distilled by Dave Pickerell, who is the former master distiller of Maker’s Mark bourbon.  This rye is an unaged white whiskey.  There’s a soft kiss of sweetness on the tongue and the finish is smooth.  Washington Post

Loudoun Co.: Hibbs Bridge listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register:   Washington Post

Clifton, Fairfax Co.: Profile of historic village:  About 25 miles west of downtown Washington near the Prince William County line, Clifton oozes with history.  In its early days, it served as an Orange and Alexandria Railroad depot called Devereux Station, and as a southern outpost for the Union Army during the Civil War. Its historic district was added to the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.  Washington Post

Chapman-Beverley Mill, Fauquier Co. July 24 event:  There will be an evening of family fun and entertainment at the mill on Saturday, July 24 from 4:00 to 7:30 p.m. Visitors will experience the First Virginia Cavalry Confederate re-enactors, plus artillery and infantry re-enactors. The 1st Virginia Cavalry will depict Civil War camp life and describe the role of cavalry units in the Civil War. Chapman/Beverley Mill is a 268-years old architectural, industrial and Civil War history site and a popular visitors’ destination.  Admission for Family Night at Chapman/Beverley Mill is only $15.00 per family.  For more information, visit http://www.chapmansmill.org.or email: Mill@chapmansmill.org

23rd Annual Bike Virginia: Comes to the Shenandoah Valley:  Thousands of bicyclists are expected to pump millions of dollars into the local economy.  An estimated 2,000 cyclists from around the country began arriving by vehicle June 25 in Staunton.  Kim Perry, executive director of BikeWalk and an organizer of the event, said the economic impact should be about $3.1 million as money is spent at restaurants, hotels, shops and tourist attractions.  News-Leader

Winchester: Washington Hotel listed in National Register:  Built in 1924, the George Washington Hotel features Colonial Revival-style and Neoclassical Revival-style architecture.  NBC 12

WaynesboroSouth River Complex rehab launched:  Spiderwebs, dirt and broken glass still fill many of the cracked windows in the lifeless buildings of the old South River Complex.  But as construction equipment began operating on the site, the $50-million plan to convert the decrepit facilities into a thriving mixed-use development was kicked into a new gear.  The project illustrates a growing regional and national trend to overhaul old, abandoned buildings so they can be used for new purposes. The project is designed to maintain the historic quality of the former textile plant while updating and refurbishing the buildings for business, commercial, tourism and research purposes.  News-Leader

WaynesboroMarker dedication scheduled:  Waynesboro will host a dedication for the “Port Republic Road Historic District” historical marker at 10 a.m. July 23 at the Rosenwald Community Center on Port Republic Road.  Calder Loth, a retired DHR architectural historian and Del. Steve Landes will speak alongside city officials.  News-Virginian.com

Augusta Co.Maple Font Farm added to VLR:  Nestled in the hilly pasture lands outside Middlebrook, John and Maggie Miller of Charlotte, N.C., have spent the past 10 years restoring the large, white Victorian house and cluster of matching outbuildings around it. The farm last belonged to John’s great-aunt, Cornelia Clemmer, whose family built Maple Front, and he visited there as a child on holidays.  Staunton News-Leader

Beyond Virginia

Manteo, North CarolinaAncient grape vine nearly killed by power-line herbicide:  A large, old grape vine possibly growing here before the Lost Colony disappeared is on the mend after getting an accidental dose of a powerful herbicide.  The vine is known worldwide for its age. Oral history and recorded memories say it was large and old in the early 1700s and was probably there when the first Englishmen explored Roanoke Island in the late 1500s.  Sir Walter Raleigh’s company wrote about the abundance of grapes there cultivated by the Native Americans.  Virginian Pilot

Negro Leagues Grave Marker Project: Marks 19th player’s grave:  The project volunteers track down unmarked graves, raise money for headstones and install them, often with their own hands.Since 2004, the remains of Highpockets Trent (Burr Oak Cemetery outside Chicago), Steel Arm Taylor (Springdale Cemetery, Peoria), Gable Patterson (Greenwood Cemetery, Pittsburgh) and other baseball pioneers have been tracked down and memorialized by the group, which raises money for the $700 headstones primarily through members of the Society for American Baseball Research.  NY Times

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia: Former black landowners fight to reclaim land: When the managers from the federal Fish and Wildlife Service talk about this 2,800-acre preserve of moss-draped cypress, palmetto and marsh, they speak of endangered wood stork rookeries and disappearing marsh habitat, dike maintenance and interpretive kiosks. But when the members of the Harris Neck Land Trust talk about it, they speak of injustice, racism and a place they used to call home until 1942.  Harris Neck was deeded by a plantation owner to a former slave in 1865.  Black families who settled there built houses and boats and started crab and oyster factories. But the community, many descendants suspect, was too independent for the comfort of McIntosh County’s whites.  NY Times

Historic Wade’s Mill Keeps Grinding Away

Jennifer Merritt
Virginia CorrespondentRAPHINE, Va. – When Jim and Georgie Young saw Wade’s Mill in Raphine, Virginia it was love at first sight.”We saw it, and we loved it,” said Georgie Young.  “I’m from Colorado.  The idea of owning something 200 years old was beyond my ken.”The 260-year-old mill sits between Staunton and Lexington in the Shenandoah Valley.  It was built by  a Scotsman, Captain Joseph Kennedy, in 1750 and was owned by the Kennedy family for about 100 years.  James F. Wade bought the mill in 1882, and four generations of the Wade family operated the mill successively. Young estimates that since its construction Wade’s Mill has been functioning as a flour mill for all but about 20 years.A stream, formerly known as Captain Joseph Kennedy’s Mill Creek, powers the 21-foot water wheel that turns the millstones.  Wade’s Mill is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the few mills still grinding flour on millstones.  The Young’s sell their flours and mixes through both wholesale outlets as well as a retail outlet on the ground floor of the mill.  They are seeing an increase in their wholesale sales as a result of the local food movement and the increasing popularity of whole grains.Georgie Young teaches cooking classes, and in addition to selling flour and mixes in their trademark paper sacks, the mill’s retail outlet houses a small kitchen store.  The Young’s also host several special events at the mill through out the year.  Georgie Young has taken several trips to France and attributes the French with starting the local foods movement.”They (the French) put the name of the farm the animal came from on the packages of beef.  When I was at the Beef Institute, they asked if that was the way we did it here,” chuckled Young.In honor of all things French, the Young’s are hosting a Bastille Day celebration at Wade’s Mill on July 17th.  Virginia wines and bouillabaisse made from Virginia fish will round out the festivities.On August 8th, the chef and owner of the Southern Inn in Lexington will present a cooking demonstration using neighboring Rockbridge Vineyard’s wines. When the leaves in the Shenandoah Valley near their peak color, the third Saturday in October, Wade’s Mill will host an Apple Butter Festival.”Our neighbor makes apple butter from Virginia apples, and we’ll be baking bread in our outdoor bread oven,” said Young.

The Young’s have many talented neighbors.  The mill is only four miles from Interstate 81, but it is well off the beaten path.  The country road to Wade’s Mill winds through Raphine past antique shops, the vineyard and a yarn shop.  It is well worth the trip to visit “the miller and his wife.”

More information on Wade’s Mill can be found at wadesmill.com or by calling 800-290-1400.  The Young’s are interested in finding farmers who grow and dry white corn.