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

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DHR Approves 21 New Historical Highway Markers

October 7, 2010

State Approves New Historical Highway Markers Honoring

Early Negro League Power Hitter Pete Hill,

Virginia’s War of 1812 Legacy in 10 Locales,

And 7 Other Signs

Baseball Hall of Famer Pete Hill was born in Culpeper County—
—War of 1812 markers slated for Caroline, Charlotte, Essex, Henrico, Lancaster, Middlesex, Northumberland, Orange, and Westmoreland counties, and Va. Beach—
—Other new markers recall people, places, or events in the counties of Halifax, Northampton, and Surry; and the cities of Norfolk, Radford and Richmond—

[Text of each marker can be found at the end of this particular post]

RICHMONDAs one of black baseball’s earliest power hitters, John Preston “Pete” Hill was welcomed home often by ecstatic fans of the many legendary African American teams for whom he played during the first quarter of the 20th century. Yet Hill never made it back home to the place of his birth in Culpeper County, Virginia.

Now, through the teamwork of researchers including Culpeper historian Zann Nelson, Hill family members, and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which late last week approved a new historical highway marker honoring his career, Hill is coming home.

Home, in this case, is Buena, a small, historically African-American community that arose along the Orange & Alexandria Railroad in Culpeper County after the Civil War. That railroad carried Hill’s mother, likely a former slave, and her children north to eventually settle in Pittsburgh in the late 19th century, making Hill, born on October 12, probably in 1882, part of the Great Migration of African Americans who departed the South during the era of segregation.

“With the approval of this new marker, we commemorate Pete Hill’s accomplishments and his inspiring story of triumph, despite the limits imposed by an era of segregation,” said Governor Bob McDonnell. “At long last, we welcome Hill home to Buena, the rural Culpeper County community where he was born. It’s a homecoming that’s long overdue, and we have, in particular, Culpeper’s own Zann Nelson to thank for the research that firmly established Hill’s connection to Culpeper County,” Gov. McDonnell added.

As in the example of Hill’s career, the story of how the Hill highway marker came to be contains lessons in stick-to-it-ivness—and teamwork as well.

That story spans four years. And it involves “players” in North Carolina, Kansas, and Culpeper, and Hill family members in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and elsewhere, now connected to Hill kin in Virginia. All of them, like one of Hill’s teams, have been brought together by the baseball legend, who was a star outfielder for many black teams including the Philadelphia Giants and Chicago American Giants, and who also hit 28 home runs for the Detroit Stars in 1919, the same year Babe Ruth hit 29 in more games.

The marker’s story begins in 2006 when officials in Cooperstown inducted Hill into the National Baseball Hall of Fame with a plaque reading “Joseph Preston Hill” and citing his place of birth as “Pittsburgh, Pa.”

In 2007, avocational baseball historians Gary Ashwill, in North Carolina, and Patrick Rock, in Kansas, first questioned the accuracy of the Hall of Fame plaque. Based on documentation the two uncovered, Ashwill, through his blog, began publically making the case that “Joseph” Hill was actually John “Pete” Hill, born in Virginia, possibly Culpeper County.

Ashwill next contacted Hill’s grand-niece Leslie Penn of Los Angeles and informed her about her connection to the great Negro League player and Virginia. Penn, in turn, relayed that news to her cousin, Ronald Hill, in Pittsburgh.

An inspired Ronald Hill, who has coached Little League, spent the next couple of years lobbying the Hall of Fame to correct his great-uncle’s plaque. Seeking assistance with his efforts, in 2009 he eventually connected with Nelson, a former director of the Museum of Culpeper History, and a historian and columnist for Culpeper’s Star-Exponent.

Excited by the prospect that Culpeper County was the birthplace of yet another baseball Hall of Famer (the other is Eppa Rixey, a white player whose career overlapped with Hill), Nelson spent much of 2009 doggedly pursuing the Hill story through court records, deeds, passenger manifests, census reports, Social Security documents, and death certificates, in addition to field investigations and personal interviews with numerous people including long time residents of the communities of Buena and Rapidan.

In December 2009, through a three-part feature story published in the Culpeper Star Exponent, Nelson summarized her research confirming that Hill was born in Buena. She also submitted her findings and documentation to officials at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

She struck a home run.

As a result of her work, the NBHF announced earlier this year that it would correct Hill’s plaque. In a ceremony scheduled for later this month, on Hill’s October 12th birthday, officials in Cooperstown will rededicate the Hill plaque, correcting his proper name and place of birth.

“Certainly, the fact that Culpeper can now claim two Hall of Fame baseball players is fun and a genuine source of pride,” said Nelson. “But Hill’s story personalizes a far greater message. He was a real-life super hero, rising from the same streets and fields that we walk every day. Times may be different, and many of the hardcore obstacles that Pete Hill faced have dissipated. Yet we share similar struggles and desires for opportunity, fairness, security and success,” Nelson added.

Nelson’s columns drew the attention of Kathleen S. Kilpatrick, director of the Department of Historic Resources, to the incredible story of Pete Hill, resulting in the department working with Ashwill (with input from Rock and Nelson) in developing the marker text approved by the Board of Historic Resources during its September 30th quarterly meeting.

“The Hill highway marker serves as a reminder that just as the history of our national game is incomplete without the story of black baseball, so too is American and Virginia history incomplete if we fail to recognize the struggles, triumphs, and contributions of all the people who have had a role in shaping it,” said Kilpatrick.

In addition to Culpeper’s County’s Rixey and Hill, Virginia has three other baseball hall of famers, all of whom played in the Negro Leagues. They are Ernest “Jud” Wilson from Fauquier County; Leon Day from Alexandria; and Ray Dandridge from Richmond. DHR plans to sponsor and develop new signs to honor each of these Hall of Fame players. The department also will unveil the Hill marker during a public dedication ceremony in Buena in 2011.

War of 1812 Markers

In addition to the Hill highway marker, DHR’s Board of Historic Resources reviewed and approved a trove of other history-rich markers, including 13 new signs focusing on Virginia’s important legacy of people, places, and events associated with the War of 1812.

“These new markers are part of a broad-based collaboration between DHR and the bicentennial commission for the War of 1812 to better inform the public about what many people call ‘America’s forgotten war,’” said Kathleen S. Kilpatrick, director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. “They recall crucial events in Virginia, such as the burning of Norfolk and the vulnerability of Hampton Roads, that profoundly shaped our post-war national defense policy as a young nation,” Kilpatrick added.

According to the legislation enacted by the General Assembly to establish the bicentennial commission, “An estimated 70,000 Virginians served during the War of 1812. There were some 73 armed encounters with the British that took place in Virginia during the war.” The legislation also states, “The nation’s capitol, strategically located off the Chesapeake Bay, was a prime target for the British, and the coast of Virginia figured prominently in the Atlantic theatre of operations.”

“Virginia’s epic role in the American Revolution and the Civil War can all too easily eclipse the state’s significant role in the War of 1812. It’s appropriate to remind Virginians and visitors to our state about the Commonwealth’s great sacrifices in that war as well,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech.

These markers, developed by DHR in collaboration with The Virginia Bicentennial of the American War of 1812 Commission, are aimed at boosting public awareness of Virginia’s significant role in the war in advance of the bicentennial. Among the many subjects covered are —

  • Dolly Madison’s role as First Lady, and significantly when the White House was burned by the British;
  • The soldiering contributions of many African Americans who sided with the British in order to gain freedom from enslavement;
  • British attacks on towns in Northumberland, Westmoreland, and Essex counties, as well as Norfolk and present-day Virginia Beach.

Virginia’s Civil War Sesquicentennial

The DHR board also approved two new markers for Richmond as part of the department’s initiative to create new signs as a part of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, which begins in 2011.  The two markers highlight “Lincoln’s Visit to Richmond” and “Richmond’s Civil War Hospitals.”

Other New Highway Markers

The remaining markers chronicle significant events as well.  These markers, like the Pete Hill marker, stem from DHR’s nearly decade-long effort to sponsor or work with other sponsors to create new signs that reveal the full spectrum and richness of Virginia history.

Topics covered by this grouping include signs to—

  • Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman whose cell tissue was removed “without permission” after her death in 1951 for medical research, giving rise to an internationally recognized cell line, the “HeLa line,” a “gold standard” of cell lines, from which Jonas Salk developed his polio vaccine.
  • Pauline Adams, an Irish-born, suffragist who co-founded the Norfolk Equal Rights Suffrage League and who was arrested in 1917 for picketing the White House.
  • Lovely Mount Baptist Church in Radford; “the first church of the Baptist denomination in Radford, [it] served the African American community for more than 60 years until Radford College purchased it in 1961 and demolished it.”
  • And two signs to educational facilities founded by and for African Americans in Surry County (“Temperance Industrial & Collegiate Institute”) and Northampton County (“Northampton County High School”).

The Virginia highway marker program, which began in 1927 with the installation of the first historical markers along U.S. Rte. 1, is considered the oldest such program in the nation. Currently there are more than 2,100 official state markers, most maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The manufacturing cost of each new highway marker approved by the DHR board is covered by its respective sponsor, except for those markers developed by the Department of Historic Resources, which are funded by a federal grant awarded to DHR.

More information about the Historical Highway Marker Program is available on the website of the Department of Historic Resources at http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/.

Full Texts of Markers:

Lovely Mount Baptist Church (First Baptist Church)

On 13 Nov. 1869, the Rev. Capt. Charles S. Schaeffer of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands met with the people of Lovely Mount (later Radford) and organized the Lovely Mount Baptist Church.  In 1898, the congregation purchased the Lutheran church that stood at this location on Fairfax Street, and changed its name to the First Baptist Church.  The first church of the Baptist denomination in Radford, Lovely Mount/First Baptist Church served the African American community for more than 60 years until Radford College purchased it in 1961 and demolished it to expand Peters Hall.

Sponsor: Radford University (contact Karen Casteele)

City: Radford

Temperance Industrial & Collegiate Institute

On 12 Oct. 1892, Dr. John Jefferson Smallwood, born enslaved in 1863 in Rich Square, North Carolina, founded the Temperance Industrial & Collegiate Institute nearby with fewer than ten students.  Sprawled over sixty-five acres on the James River in Claremont, his school provided a high level of education for African American boys and girls from Virginia and other states.  After Smallwood’s untimely death on 29 Sept. 1912, his school underwent several mergers and name changes.  By the time the school closed in 1928, more than two thousand students had attended.

Sponsors: Parkside Historic Preservation Corporation, Philadelphia, PA

County: Surry

Northampton County High School

Constructed in 1953 as the county’s first purpose-built African American high school, Northampton County High School reflects the desires of local African Americans to obtain modern educational facilities.  It is an example of the statewide efforts by African American and Virginia Indian communities during the early 20th century to secure better education for their children. The building contained classrooms, a library, a gymnasium, and a 500-seat auditorium.  Concurrent with integration of Virginia’s public schools, the high school ceased operations with the 1970 class.  Until 2008, the facility served as a junior high school and middle school for all Northampton County students.

Sponsors: DHR and Northampton County High School Alumni Foundation,

County: Northampton

Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951)

Born in Roanoke on 1 Aug. 1920, Henrietta Pleasant lived here with relatives after her mother’s 1924 death. She married David Lacks in 1941 and, like many other African Americans, moved to Baltimore, Md. for wartime employment.  She died of cervical cancer on 1 Oct. 1951.  Cell tissue was removed without permission (as usual then) for medical research. Her cells multiplied and survived at an extraordinarily high rate, and are renowned worldwide as the “HeLa line,” the “gold standard” of cell lines. Jonas Salk developed his polio vaccine with them. Henrietta Lacks, who in death saved countless lives, is buried nearby.

Sponsor: DHR

County: Halifax

Pauline Adams (1874-1957)

Born in Ireland in 1874, Pauline Adams was a suffragist and activist for women’s rights, known for her militant approach to campaigning for women’s suffrage. The Norfolk Equal Suffrage League was formed at her house here in Ghent on 18 Nov. 1910; Adams was elected its first president. On 4 Sept. 1917, Adams and 12 other women were arrested for picketing at a parade attended by President Woodrow Wilson in Washington D.C.  In 1921, Adams passed the bar exam and became the second woman to practice law in Norfolk. She died on 10 Sept. 1957 and is buried in Norfolk.

Sponsor: DHR

City: Norfolk

Pete Hill (1882-1951)

John Preston “Pete” Hill, Negro League baseball player and manager, was born nearby on 12 Oct., probably 1882, and likely to formerly enslaved parents. Banned from whites-only major leagues, Hill became a star outfielder for African American teams, notably the Philadelphia Giants and Chicago American Giants. A Cuban League 1910/11 winter-season batting champion (with a .365 average), Hill hit 28 home runs for the Detroit Stars in 1919 (when Babe Ruth hit 29 in more games), marking Hill as among black baseball’s earliest power hitters. Hill died 19 Dec. 1951 and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Sponsor: DHR

County: Culpeper

War of 1812 Bicentennial Markers

(DHR is the sponsor for each War of 1812 marker.)

The War of 1812

Impressment of Americans into British service and the violation of American ships were among the causes of America’s War of 1812 with the British, which lasted until 1815. Beginning in 1813, Virginians suffered from a British naval blockade of the Chesapeake Bay and from British troops’ plundering the countryside by the Bay and along the James, Rappahannock, and Potomac rivers. The Virginia militia deflected a British attempt to take Norfolk in 1813, and engaged British forces throughout the war. By the end of the war, more than 2000 enslaved African Americans in Virginia had gained their freedom aboard British ships.

Locale: Various—would be placed on opposite side of some markers to provide background information.

British Naval Blockade and Cape Henry Lighthouse

During the War of 1812, a British naval blockade along much of the U.S. East Coast disrupted foreign trade and interfered with commerce. On 4 Feb. 1813, the blockade was extended to the Chesapeake Bay. At that time, the light at the Cape Henry Lighthouse was extinguished to prevent British ships from using it as a navigational aid. The British attacked the lighthouse early in Feb. 1813 and thereafter British scouting parties often visited the area to obtain freshwater from local wells. On 14 July 1813, Captain Lawson of the Princess Anne militia captured 20 British marines nearby.

City: Virginia Beach

Capture of Tappahannock

Here on 3 December 1814, British naval forces under the command of Capt. Robert Barrie assaulted and seized the town of Tappahannock during the War of 1812. Aiding the British were three companies of African American Colonial Marines. Although the British held the town for only a few hours, they destroyed a number of private houses, and completely demolished the Essex County courthouse. British Royal Marines ransacked many of the town’s dwellings, set fire to landmarks such as the Brockenbrough mansion, and pillaged the family burial vaults of the prominent Ritchie family before Virginia militia reinforcements arrived.

County: Essex

Capture of the Dolphin

On 3 April 1813, one of the largest naval engagements in Virginia waters during the War of 1812 took place at the mouth of Carter’s Creek. One hundred five British naval and marine forces under Lt. Polkinghorne managed to subdue four American privateers: Arab, Dolphin, Lynx, and Racer. The largest ship, Dolphin, out of Baltimore, had twelve guns and one hundred men commanded by Capt. W.J. Stafford.  Stafford stubbornly refused to give up when the other ships were taken, and defended his ship until he was severely wounded and his ship boarded.

County: Middlesex or Lancaster (at one entrance to the Robert O. Norris Bridge, Rte. 3)

African Americans in the War of 1812

During the War of 1812, thousands of enslaved African Americans gained freedom by fighting for the British or serving as guides during British raids on coastal communities. Many were given the choice of enlisting in the armed services or settling in various locations throughout the British Empire. East of here on Tangier Island, at the British base of Fort Albion, the British trained African Americans to serve in the Colonial Marines. From Fort Albion, the Colonial Marines, along with British troops, engaged the Virginia militia in numerous landings along the Northern Neck and the Eastern Shore throughout the summer of 1814.

County: Northumberland

Lt. Col. George Armistead (1780-1818)

Known for his service in the War of 1812, George Armistead was born here at Newmarket plantation.  Armistead distinguished himself in 1813 during the capture of Fort George, Canada, but is best known as the commanding officer of Fort McHenry during the 1814 Battle of Baltimore, for which he earned the rank of lieutenant colonel. The American victory proved a turning point in the war, and was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key’s poem “The Star Spangled Banner.” Armistead commanded at Fort McHenry until his death in Baltimore in 1818.  He is buried there in Old St. Paul’s Cemetery.

County: Caroline

War of 1812 Opposition—John Randolph

The War of 1812 sparked intense opposition, particularly among members of the Federalist Party who unanimously opposed the June 1812 declaration of war. One of its most outspoken opponents was Virginia Republican Congressman and later Senator John Randolph of nearby Roanoke Plantation.  Echoing other opponents, he denounced the war as needless and argued that it would lead to high taxes and a larger national debt. Randolph lost his reelection bid in 1813 over his opposition to the war, but was elected to his former seat in 1815. He died in Philadelphia in 1833 and is buried in Richmond.

County: Charlotte

British Attacks at Kinsale and Mundy Point

Two miles east on 3 Aug. 1814, 500 British marines and seamen under Adm. Sir George Cockburn landed at Mundy’s Point and Kinsale. Opposing the enemy at the Point were Capt. William Henderson and thirty Northumberland county militiamen. Henderson’s company was forced to retreat to the county courthouse. Later that day, British forces took Kinsale, burned the town, and seized tobacco. Three days later, they began raids along the Coan River. The British troops included about fifty formerly enslaved African Americans, who were among the thousands who gained freedom by fighting or working for the British.

County: Northumberland

British Landing at Nomini Ferry

On 20 July 1814, Adm. Sir George Cockburn sent about a thousand marines ashore at Nomini Ferry to attack the Westmoreland County militia under the command of Lt. Col. Richard E. Parker. Parker’s Virginians bravely defended their positions, but were soon outflanked by superior British forces and forced to retreat to Westmoreland Court House (Montross). Before they left the next morning, the British marines burned and destroyed a number of houses and several plantations in the immediate area, such as Bushfield, and ransacked nearby Nomini Church.

County: Westmoreland

Richmond’s War of 1812 Defensive Camps

During the War of 1812, Virginia established three militia posts on the outskirts of Richmond to guard against possible British invasion. Within a mile of this point was built Camp Carter (Sept.1814-Feb. 1815) under the command of Gen. John H. Cocke. Camp Holly Springs (April 1813-Feb. 1814) was located five miles southwest at Route 5 near Newmarket Road, under Gen. Robert Porterfield. Camp Bottoms’ Bridge (Sept.-Nov. 1814), under the command of Gen. William Chamberlayne, was two miles east at Bottoms Bridge. These posts were never threatened by British forces during the war.

County: Henrico

Admiral Sir George Cockburn on the Chesapeake

During the War of 1812, a British naval squadron arrived in Hampton Roads on 4 February 1813 to establish a naval blockade of the Chesapeake Bay. Later commanded by Adm. Sir George Cockburn, the squadron remained in the Bay for two years. Its missions were to seize USS Constellation, to occupy Norfolk, and to harass, seize, and destroy commercial traffic on the Bay and its tributaries. Although the attempt to seize Norfolk failed, Cockburn’s squadron carried out numerous raids on the James, Rappahannock, York, and Potomac rivers. In August 1814, British forces burned Washington, but were later defeated at Baltimore.

City/County: TBD (Hampton Roads area)

Governor James Barbour

Here at Barboursville lie the ruins of the family home of James Barbour, Virginia’s governor during the War of 1812. As commander in chief of Virginia’s militia forces, Barbour planned, organized, and directed the defense of Virginia from January 1812 until December 1814. Known for his oratorical skills and organizing talents, he inspired his fellow Virginians to defend the Commonwealth from relentless British incursions in Hampton Roads and the Northern Neck.  On a few occasions, he took command of the militia while in the field. He later served as U.S. Senator from Virginia and U.S. Secretary of War.

County: Orange

Dolley Madison (1768-1849)

Born to Quaker parents in North Carolina, Dolley Payne lived with her family in Hanover County, Virginia until 1783. Following the death of her first husband, John Todd, she married Congressman James Madison in 1794. As First Lady of the United States from 1809-1817, her social graces, political acumen, and enthusiasm for public life became the standard by which first ladies were measured for more than a century afterward. Before the British burned the White House in August 1814, Mrs. Madison oversaw the removal and safeguard of many national treasures, including a large portrait of George Washington. She is buried at Montpelier.

County: Orange

2011 Civil War Sesquicentennial Markers

(DHR is the sponsor for each Civil War Sesquicentennial marker.)

Lincoln’s Visit to Richmond

President Abraham Lincoln first entered Richmond at Rocketts Landing on 5 Apr. 1865. He was brought upstream from City Point for a tour of the captured capital by Adm. David Dixon Porter on his ship, USS Malvern. Crowds formed as Lincoln walked through Richmond to the White House of the Confederacy. The president also visited the State Capitol, Camp Lee where U.S. Colored Troops had made camp, and Libby Prison and Castle Thunder, former Confederate prisons then holding Confederate officers. On 9 April, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, ending the Civil War.

City: Richmond

Richmond’s Civil War Hospitals

Hospitals such as Chimborazo, erected on this site in 1861, were built to handle the increasing influx of wounded Civil War soldiers to Richmond from nearby battlefields. The construction of Winder Hospital followed to the west in 1862.  Eventually, soldiers from throughout the Confederacy were brought to Richmond for treatment here and at more than twenty-five warehouses, private homes, and churches used as hospitals throughout the city. Although officials at first prohibited women from working in these hospitals, they later relented and women such as Juliet Hopkins, Phoebe Pember, and Sally L. Tompkins gained distinction through hard work caring for wounded soldiers.

City: Richmond


DHR News Clips, July 20 — Aug. 6, 2010

August 7, 2010

Greetings,

I was away on vacation at the end of July.  Here are some of the interesting news items from around Virginia during the past three weeks.

Randy Jones, Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources

Statewide

Battlefield Preservation: Man’s legacy will help preserve four Civil War battlefields in Virginia:  Karl M. Lehr entrusted his estate to the Civil War Round Table of Eastern Pennsylvania. The group now is donating Lehr’s bequest–with interest–to three separate efforts to save four Virginia battlefields. The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, based in Fredericksburg, will receive $53,000 to help preserve 93 acres of the Wilderness battlefield in Spotsylvania.  Another $53,000 will go to the Richmond Battlefields Association toward purchase of 13 acres at Fussell’s Mill and 4 acres at the Malvern Hill battlefield. The Civil War Preservation Trust, based in Washington, will get $22,000 for 10 acres at Manassas.  Free Lance-Star

Farmland in VirginiaLoss of acreage slows:  The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced earlier this month that loss of farmland to development appears to be slowing in the Commonwealth. Virginia lost 81,500 acres of agricultural land directly to developed uses between 1997 and 2002 but lost 25 percent less–60,800 acres–between 2002 and 2007.   Brookneal Union Star

Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech: Interview with Sec. Domenech: “[He] calls himself a ‘granola Republican’ who loves the outdoors. But he also is a self-professed climate change skeptic and is not reluctant to decry what he calls ‘shocking’ behavior by his regulatory counterparts at the federal level. Domenech had a wide-ranging conversation recently about jobs, energy and the environment.”  Blue Ridge Business Journal: Pt 1 Pt. II

Virginia Indians: One writer reflects about her “lost” family history and Virginia’s “lost” history: “The only surviving photo I have of my great-great-grandmother, on my mother’s side, hangs in my parents’ house. She was a Native American. . . . Very little has been passed down through the oral history of our family about this woman. . . .” Richmond Times-Dispatch

Capital & Central Region

Hatton Ferry, Albemarle Co.Profile of a singular place:  “Once upon a time in America, this was the way we crossed rivers.  We boarded flat-bottomed ferries, tethered to land by rope, and glided slowly but surely from shore to shore, propelled by nothing more than the flow of the river and the strength of the ferryman poling the craft through the water.”  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Hatton Ferry #2: Voice-over slideshowThe Hatton Ferry

Hatton Ferry #3: Success raises parking problems:  When the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society took over the ferry in order to keep this link with the past alive, too many visitors for available parking was not then a concern.  The Daily Progress

William Faulkner: UVa launches audio archive:  During spring semesters in 1957 and 1958, at 36 different public events, Faulkner gave two addresses, read a dozen times from eight of his works and answered more than 1,400 questions.  Fortunately, two English department faculty members had the presence of mind to preserve those conversations, which have now been compiled into “Faulkner at Virginia: An Audio Archive.”  Besides recordings and transcripts, the site contains a trove of photos, documents and scholarly articles.   News Leader Website: Faulkner at Virginia: An Audio Archive

Buckingham Co.Historic company continues to mine prized slate:  The slate that lies in the county’s hills has attracted entrepreneurs for centuries now.  Since Colonial times, the durable material has been quarried and shipped to builders who prized it as a roofing material, or to stonemasons to make historical markers and tombstones.  “It’s recognized as the best in the world,” said Mark Claud, president of Buckingham Slate Co., a 143-year-old company based in Arvonia that quarries and sells the famous stone.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Appomattox Co.Gains first VDOF conservation easement:  The Virginia Department of Forestry has secured its first conservation easement in the county– a 275-acre working forest easement owned by Joan Rockwell and Hugh Radcliffe.  The property, known as Rockcliffe Farm, borders the James River near the Beckham community.  DOF Press Release More here: The News & Advance

Powhatan Co.: Proposed State Police shooting range continues to draw fire: Gov. Bob McDonnell has directed his secretary of public safety and the superintendent of state police to look at all options regarding a controversial state police shooting range and training facility proposed for the county.  The planned range has drawn intense opposition from residents and county leaders, and the FBI has confirmed that it is pulling out of the project. It was supposed to contribute the bulk of the funding.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond: Developer Justin French: Agents raided the Shockoe Slip offices of embattled developer French. The FBI would not say what they were investigating but said the search warrant was sealed. However, two sources close to the investigation said French might have violated the rules that allow developers to obtain historic tax credits from the state and federal governments  RichmondBizSense.com Also here: Richmond Times-Dispatch Previous story (Aug. 1)Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond #2:  History and bar tour: “Whether you’re a dedicated drinker looking to expand your horizons or a history buff trying to let loose, select from these pairings of iconic Richmond historical sites and drinking establishments.” Richmond.com

Virginia Capitol: Green project launched:  Gov. Bob McDonnell broke ground last week on a set of construction projects that will “green” Virginia’s Capitol grounds and surrounding Richmond streets.  These projects that will retrofit the Capitol and make it one of the greenest in the nation. Several low impact development techniques will let storm water slowly infiltrate rather than flow over the ground and into the James River.  WHSV

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

WilliamsburgSite of first school in U.S. for African Americans?: Terry Meyers, an English professor with a penchant for local history, suggests that the College of William and Mary was instrumental in opening a school in 1760 — at the urging of Benjamin Franklin, no less — and so became the first college in America involved in the education of black students.  Washington Post

Williamsburg#2: Architectural historian Calder Loth on “The Block Modillion”:  “The block modillion is a little used classical detail but one meriting greater attention.  Hardly any architectural treatises or glossaries make note of it. . . .  One of America’s earliest uses of the block modillion is the exterior cornice of the 1748 Public Records office in Williamsburg, Virginia. . . .” Read his well-illustrated blog here:   Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America

James River Institute: Profile of the archaeology firm:  Long before Nick Luccketti and other archaeologists arrived at the corner of East Queens Way and Wine Street in Hampton last month, they knew that 18th-century dwellings once occupied part of the half-acre site.  Since the 1960s, state and federal efforts to protect culturally significant properties from development spurred demand for professional archaeologists like those at James River Institute.  Virginian-Pilot

Hampton Roads: 10 obscure, weird or plain interesting places:  Click a number on the map to begin reading the story behind the location.  Virginian-Pilot

Tidewater Oyster IndustrySuffers from BP spill:  While most attention from the oil spill centers on the gulf, there are businesses throughout the country that are feeling the weight of the spill. Virginia’s oyster industry has lost $11.6 million since April, according to a report from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.   Daily Press More here: Richmond Times-Dispatch

NorfolkEntrepreneurs offering historic tours:  Several local businesses have opened in recent years to capitalize on Norfolk’s rich 400-year history by adding some creativity to their guided tours, hoping it will allow tourists to discover the city in new ways.  Virginian Pilot

Southampton Co.Grant to develop Nat Turner tour:  A $420,000 federal grant, with a matching $105,000 from the Southampton County Historical Society, will be used to create a driving tour through the county, marking Turner’s path. There are plans for an “electronic map” at the Rebecca Vaughan House in Courtland. Vaughan’s house was the last place people were killed in 1831, and it will serve as the visitor s center for the tour.  Virginian-Pilot

Tiffany Lamps / Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk: Exhibit reveals work of Clara Driscoll, not Tiffany:  Driscoll was mentioned in 1894 as the head of the women’s glass-cutting department in the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Now experts label her the designer of treasured lamps on display in an internationally touring show of Tiffany glass at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, which has a world-renowned Tiffany collection.  The egotistical artist-designer Tiffany might be mortified that the world has learned that most of his signature lamps–much-copied icons of American decorative arts–were actually designed by Driscoll and her “Tiffany girls.”  Virginian-Pilot

Sebrell, Southampton Co.: Public meeting scheduled for proposed historic district: A proposal to designate the Sebrell area as a historic district is moving forward with a public hearing to discuss the issue.  DHR will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11, in the board room of the county’s administration building at 26022 Administration Center Drive in Courtland.  Tidewater News

Suffolk, Nansemond Indian Tribe: Council ends talks to transfer land to tribe: The dream of having part of its ancestral land back is apparently dead for the Nansemond Indian Tribe.  City officials and an attorney for the tribe have confirmed a letter had been sent to the tribe that essentially ends talks on a transfer of land at Lone Star Lakes to the tribal association.  Suffolk News-Herald

Preservation Planning for Campuses, Complexes, and Installations, Hampton: September 28-29:  The workshop is being hosted in cooperation with Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority, DHR, and the U.S. Army, Fort Monroe. The advance registration rate is available through August 17.  The workshop will focus on understanding how buildings and landscapes contribute to the institutional identity of campuses, complexes, and installations.  More info an agenda here:  www.npi.org.

Roanoke & Southwest

Smyth Co., African American HistoryImportant document preserved:  The Library of Virginia has conserved a document found in the Smyth County courthouse that could prove invaluable to students of local African-American genealogies and other historians. Titled “The Register of Colored Persons of Smyth County, Virginia, cohabitating together as Husband and Wife on 27th February 1866,” and hand-penned in ink long-since oxidized but still legible, the document “is the first legal recognition of slaves’ marriages and the first legal recognition of their lives,” said Circuit Court Clerk John Graham.  SWVA.com

Poplar Forest, Bedford Co.:  Archaeology focuses on Jefferson’s historic landscape design:  This summer, activity and focus at the site has shifted to an exterior project led by Jack Gary, director of archaeology and landscapes at the third president’s Forest plantation.  The goal is to locate and eventually re-establish Jefferson’s landscaping and other outdoor features that have disappeared during the past 200 years.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginia’s Coal Heritage Trail: Supporters push for a national byway designation: The Coal Heritage Trail is already designated as a state scenic highway in Virginia. It winds more than 325 miles through the beautiful mountains of Southwest Virginia, including seven counties and one city. Beyond providing a welcomed tourism boost to the coalfield counties of Southwest Virginia, a national byway designation would also help promote additional economic development and historical preservation in the region. Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Virginia Tech: Landmark tree downed:  The sycamore on the hill was cut down piece by piece. Some say the tree was on the Henderson Lawn when VT was founded in 1872.  WSLS10.com

Explore Park, Roanoke & Bedford CountiesNew plans proposed:  After a Florida developer’s $200 million vision for a resort at Virginia’s Explore Park faded away this year due to lack of finances, a “Plan B” to bring new life to the site is taking shape.  The Virginia Recreational Facilities Authority, the board that governs the 1,100-acre park, was presented a preliminary plan from a consortium of stakeholders last month.  News Advance

Abingdon, Washington Co.: Sec. Domenech visits town:  Strolling the Barter Green and touring the Muster Ground recently, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech said Abingdon sets an example on preserving history.  “The folks at DHR [Department of Historic Resources in Richmond] have just talked about the amount of tax incentives here and how wisely the town has been able to seek out and use state support and federal support and private foundation support,” Domenech said. “It’s a great model for the rest of the state.”  Bristol Herald News

Abingdon, Washington Co.Recently-arrived resident leads local history tours: Carl Mallory has been researching Abingdon’s history for the past four years, ever since he bought a home on Main Street.  Now Mallory, a self-proclaimed history buff, conducts historical walking-tours of downtown Abingdon for the Virginia Highlands Festival.  One Sunday, while many people were buying new crafts and other goods along Remsburg Drive, Mallory explained the rich history of the 270-year-old town.  Bristol Herald

Washington Co.: BOS creates conservation program: The Washington County Board of Supervisors decided this past week to create a Purchase of Development Rights program for the county, which would allow landowners to sell the right to develop their property, keeping it rural in perpetuity.  Bristol Herald

Chatham, Pittsylvania Co.: VT group offers plan for visual enhancements: The Community Design Assistance Center, an outreach of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, has completed a report that recommends visual improvements to the town’s entrances, medians, and downtown area, along with recommendations on a trail, model ordinances and grants.  Star-Tribune

Pittsylvania Co.NRC names uranium study committee: The National Research Council has named a 13-member provisional committee for a scientific study of uranium mining in Virginia. Virginia Uranium announced plans three years ago to explore mining uranium at Coles Hill, about six miles northeast of Chatham.  Discovered in the early 1980s, the uranium deposit is one of the largest in the U.S. and is worth an estimated $7 billion.  Star-Tribune

Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville: Technology costs may increase nearly 66 % this fiscal year: Joe Keiper, executive director at VMNH, said he recently received a memo that the museum will have to pay the entire cost of services it gets from the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. Martinsville Bulletin

NOVA & Shenandoah Valley

City of Fairfax: Historic photographs of Fairfax county available online:  A new partnership between the Virginia Room at the City of Fairfax Regional Library and the Library of Virginia has resulted in a total of 574 historic photos recently added to the Library of Virginia’s online photo database. This allows people to pore over photos showing the county’s agrarian past, the important role it played during the Civil War and the rapid changes over the past few decades.  Connection Newspapers

Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park: USA Travel Guide highlights park: The W&OD RPR exists to preserve the path originally cut for the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, which served the short line from Alexandria to Bluemont as late as 1968. While almost all remnants of the actual rail lines are gone today, the rail bed has been repaved in asphalt and has blossomed into a truly remarkable historic recreation trail. Today you can follow all 44.8 miles from just outside Alexandria to the town of Purcellville.  USA Travel Guide

Mount VernonOne family’s reunion: One of the oldest and largest black families in America, the Quanders celebrated a part of their 85th reunion this year at Mount Vernon, the Virginia home of George Washington, where some of the family’s ancestors were once held as slaves.  NPR

Loudoun Co., Mountain Gap FarmPlaced under conservation easement: Sandy Lerner, owner of Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, has placed the 350-acre Mountain Gap Farm south of Leesburg near Oatlands Plantation under protective conservation easement with the county. The farm dates back to 1741.  The property contains a 19th century archaeological site, house and six ancillary structures.  Leesburg Today

Montpelier, Orange Co.Archaeology focuses on African American history:  Archaeologists are unearthing the undisturbed remains of slave dwellings.  The actual dwellings of house, stable, garden and field slaves were abandoned abruptly in about 1840. But the sites on which they had stood were never dug up again, leaving a trove for researchers.  “We’ve just got an incredible playground for aarchaeologists to work in,” said Matthew Reeves, director of archaeology at Montpelier.  The Daily Progress

Montpelier #2: Students participate in archaeology field school:  James Madison University students were among college students from all over the country who, in separate month-long sessions, got to live at the historic home of the nation’s fourth president. Their charge: spending long days doing excavations to find and understand the layout of the lost Madison Stable Quarter, made up of the stables, a blacksmith’s shop and slave quarters.  The student work fits in with a three-year effort to investigate the life and quarters of slaves who toiled at Montpelier during Madison’s time.  Free Lance-Star

Brandy Station Battlefield, Culpeper Co.: Two new easements preserve additional land:  The two conservation easements on the sprawling battleground–site of the world’s largest cavalry engagement–add 782 acres to the 1,000 acres preserved there since 1987.  The 349-acre northern tract, which includes nearly a mile of Hazel River frontage, is where Union Brig. Gen. John Buford’s cavalry fought Confederate troopers led by W.H.F. “Rooney” Lee, Robert E. Lee’s middle son.  Its easement was donated by Beauregard Farms LP.  The southern tract, comprising 433 acres southwest of Culpeper Regional Airport, includes land where Union Col. Thomas Devin’s Federal cavalry repeatedly clashed with Confederates led by Gen. Wade Hampton. Free Lance-Star

Brandy Station #2: Editorial praises easements: “IMAGINE: It could have been a 3.4-million-square-foot development of condominiums, a multiplex theater, a water park, an equestrian center, a hotel and asphalt, lots of asphalt. Instead, thanks to some generous landowners, 443 acres in Culpeper County, part of the Brandy Station battlefield, has been preserved.”  Free Lance-Star

Wilderness Battlefield, Orange Co.:  Group to protect more land: The Central Virginia Battlefield Trust will purchase a tract of land adjacent to the Wilderness Battlefield near Rts. 3 and 20. The group moved on the land purchase when the Wilderness Walmart dispute heated up.  “It’s an extremely important piece of property, especially because of it’s close proximity to the new Walmart,”  said a CVBT representative. Orange Co. Review

Staunton: Facebook page features history:  The “I Grew Up in Staunton, Virginia” page is a unique fusion of technology and history that provides a forum for memories, photos, reminiscences and links to articles about Staunton.  The page has posts about everything from businesses that no longer exist, teachers who made a difference, schoolhouse behavior that netted detention hall, news—even descriptions of “characters” who used to populate downtown.   News Leader

Staunton #2Historic pedestrian bridge to be preserved:  A last-minute deal has saved a century-old Staunton bridge from demolition. The city’s Historic Preservation Commission has approved a plan to temporarily take down the Sears Hill pedestrian bridge and let restoration begin.  NBC29.com

Waynesboro, Augusta Co.: New state historical marker dedicated:  About 60 people gathered for the unveiling, including city officials, longtime residents of ‘The Hill’ and many who graduated from the community’s historic all-black Rosenwald School.  The sign honors the the Port Republic Road Historic District, which is one of the city’s oldest intact neighborhoods, said Calder Loth, an architectural historian with DHR.  The neighborhood’s oldest home dates to 1818. By 1867, there were 23 black families in the area.  The News Virginian Also covered here: News Leader

Waynesboro #2 Officials promote Main Street grant program: Downtown merchants last year maxed out a Waynesboro fund that offsets building renovation costs, but money is left untapped some years, so officials are ramping up promotion of the program. The grant program matches business owner investments of up to $5,000 for simple facade improvements such as new signage, awnings and paint, and more extensive reconstruction efforts such as swapping out bricks or restoring historic stonework.  News Virginian

Chapman/Beverley Mill, Prince William Co.:  Dedication event scheduled: The Turn The Mill Around Campaign proudly invites the public to attend the dedication for Chapman/Beverley Mill’s Prince William County Civil War Trails sign on Sunday, August 15, at 11 a.m. at Chapman/Beverley Mill in Thoroughfare Gap in Broad Run. After wards, guests may attend the “John Chapman’s Civil War Nightmare” and partake of refreshments. More info here: www.chapmansmill.org.

Beyond Virginia

New York CityNY Times webpage highlights recent archaeology:  Since the late 1970s, hundreds of archaeological digs around the city have uncovered thousands of artifacts and structures — each of which have helped to shape our understanding of New York’s history. The NY Times editors asked 12 local archaeologists to share their most memorable discoveries.  NY Times

Train Depots: Preservationists on track to save depots: Preservationists weave a bit of time travel and local pride to restore old train stations across the USA. Many are being saved from demolition and finding new uses as museums and businesses. The depots also are reclaiming their roles as community gathering places, says Jerry Hardwich, a spokesman for the National Railway Historical Society.  USA Today

Maryland: Shipwreck could be associated with War of 1812: The sailing ship could be the USS Scorpion, part of a fleet known as the Chesapeake Flotilla that was designed to navigate the shallow waters of the Patuxent River and harass the British, whose Royal Navy at the time was terrorizing towns from Havre de Grace to Norfolk. Researchers hope to find more definitive proof when they map the ship’s dimension  Washington Post

New York City: World Trade Tower-site ship: The ship, discovered in New York on July 12 when its ribs were spotted poking out of the muck as workers were excavating the World Trade Center site, has been shipped to Maryland’s state archaeological conservation laboratory, which specializes in such work.  Washington Post

Timbuctoo, New JerseyArchaeologists’ research of lost African American community part of larger trend: Tmibuctoo was founded by freed blacks and escaped slaves in the 1820s. Archaeological excavation of African American communities such as Timbuctoo is booming across the country, spurred by an increasing number of prominent black academics and politicians and a proliferation of museums dedicated to African American history, whose curators are eager to display the artifacts. Washington Post


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