DHR News Clips, January 27

January 27, 2011

Greetings,

Here are some news items of interest in preservation and history from around Virginia and beyond that appeared during the latter half of December and this month.  Also, in case you missed it, on December 17, DHR approved 12 new historical highway markers (press release) and listing 15 new sites to the Virginia Landmarks Register (press release).  Some of the stories below highlight these new markers and VLR listings.

In other news, DHR has posted online a PDF of the most recent copy of Notes on Virginia (No. 53, 2009/2010). The magazine will not be printed, and is available only online. Please be aware the PDF is a large file (about 9 MB) and may take some time to download.

And in other . . .

DHR News:

Save the Date: April 17-18: Virginia Battlefield Preservation Conference, Manassas:Taking the Lead in Battlefield Preservation: Tools, Resources, and Strategies for Virginia.” This conference, sponsored by Prince William County, DHR, and the National Park Service, is geared for local officials with stewardship responsibilities for Virginia’s nationally significant battlefields; land conservation advocates and battlefield friends groups; owners and managers of battlefield land; local and regional planning commissioners and local preservation commissioners; local committees for Virginia’s Sesquicentennial Civil War Anniversary Commemoration; citizens who want to put battlefields to work for tourism, education and sustainable development. To encourage local government participation, stipends to cover lodging and registration costs will be available to one official from every Virginia Certified Local Government and to one offical from every Virginia jurisdiction with a nationally significant Civil War battlefield. To find out if your locality may qualify for a stipend, contact Ann Andrus at DHR (804.367-2323, ext. 133).


News from Around Virginia:

Tidewater and Eastern Shore:

Newport News: USS Monitor’s steam engine a marvel of its day: Last month conservators at the USS Monitor Center drained the 35,000-gallon solution in which the massive engine was submerged. Working slowly and carefully, they stripped off more than two tons of encrustation and gradually revealed the details of a naval milestone that had not been seen since the historic Union ironclad sank in December 1862. “This is a technological marvel,” said conservation project manager Dave Krop.   L. A. Times

Eastville, Northampton Co.: Effort to save two historic jails underway: The Northampton Branch Preservation Virginia has established a fund to raise $119,000 for the preservation of the 1899 and 1914 jails on Eastville’s Court Green. To date, $33,000 has been raised.  DelmarvaNow

Hog Island, Eastern Shore: Former resident recalls a lost way of life: Short video includes many historic photos. Virginian-Pilot

Bacon’s Castle, Surry: Preservation Virginia closes site for programming and maintenance projects:  Elizabeth Kostelny, PV’s executive director describes the temporary closure as “a fulfillment of our role as steward of such a unique site, a rare surviving example of Jacobean architecture in America.”  “Our vision is to create at Bacon’s Castle a distinct heritage tourism destination and a community asset as a place where residents and visitors alike come to learn and reflect.”  Bacon’s Castle dates from 1665.  Daily Press / Virginia Gazette

Jamestown: 400-years old pipes unearthed:  The white clay pipes—actually, castoffs likely rejected during manufacturing—were crafted between 1608 and 1610 and bear the names of English politicians, social leaders, explorers, officers of the Virginia Company that financed the settlement and governors of the Virginia colony. Archeologists also found equipment used to make the pipes.  Associated Press

Hampton Roads: 3 new historical markers approved: Virginian-Pilot

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley:

“Wilderness” Walmart, Orange Co.: Company withdraws from proposed site: Walmart issued a statement saying it would buy the parcel it had hoped to build on, but would not develop it. The company said it would reimburse Orange County for all of its administrative costs and legal fees and begin looking for another parcel along the Route 3 corridor in the eastern part of the county on which to build the store.  Free Lance-Star

“Wilderness” Walmart #2: Preservationist formidable foes?: The case looks to be the latest proof that when big-box stores take on preservationists in Virginia, they face formidable foes. . . One industry analyst said that said it is rare for Walmart to back away from a store once it has researched a location and chosen a site.  Free Lance-Star

Fredericksburg: Op-ed: Slavery museum plans: “Let’s call it a bitter- sweet confirmation of what we already knew. Nowhere in Sunday’s lengthy New York Times report on ‘The Thorny Path to a National Black Museum’ was there any mention of the project that was to rise in Fredericksburg’s Celebrate Virginia.” Free Lance-Star

Patsy Cline House, Winchester: Foundation will restore and open house: Celebrating Patsy Cline announced it has raised the $100,000 needed to begin work on the late singer’s childhood home and eventually open it to the public.  Cline lived in the house with her siblings and mother, Hilda Hensley, from 1948 to 1957.  NV Daily

Arlington Cemetery: Historic urns to be returned: The owner of a pair of towering decorative urns that were originally part of Arlington National Cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater told Army officials that he would return them, saying they belong at the nation’s most revered burial ground, not on the auction block. Washington Post

Arlington Co., Lyon Park: Rehabilitating the 1930s-era community center:  Residents have been working on the community center’s building plan for more than a year. It includes new bathrooms, widened doorways and a sunroom, all accessible for people with disabilities. “Arlington is a very interesting community. The neighborhood pride is very strong,” said Michael Leventhal, who helped the Lyon Park residents work historic preservation of the old building into their renovation plans. “Despite it being a small county, there are no municipalities within the county. The neighborhoods take on an interesting sense of importance.” WashingtonPost

Arlington Co.: Winslow House added to VLR: The home was designed by architect Kenton Hamaker and built by Ira Henry for Earle and Blanche Winslow, and “successfully fuses the elements of the remarkably popular Colonial Revival style with those of the distinctive Streamline Moderne” and features an interior “remarkably intact in plan, design and materials.” Sun Gazette

Fairfax Co.: Drops to second place in tourism: Although Fairfax County remains one of Virginia’s top tourism destinations, it no longer holds the state title for generating revenues after being supplanted by neighboring Arlington County. Fairfax officials don’t plan on being second for long. Washington Post

Mount Vernon: Historian Mary Thompson:  When Mount Vernon’s event planners decided to re-enact Washington’s 1899 funeral, Thompson dug up the details so the event was historically accurate.  When visitors see Martha’s famous Christmas cake on the dining room table, it is Thompson who supplies the recipe. For the last three years, winter visitors have delighted in “George Washington’s camel,” thanks to  Thompson.  She learned 25 years ago that Washington paid a man to bring a camel to Mount Vernon at Christmas and she suggested to program managers that a camel would be something new and fun for the holidays. Mount Vernon Patch

Loudoun Co.: Crednal added to VLR: Crednal’s John Armistead Carter was a lawyer who served in the state legislature from 1842 to 1877. Acting as one of Loudoun’s two delegates to the State Conventions, he voted against secession. Among the visitors to the property noted in the nomination packet were John Marshall, John Mosby, and Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, who reportedly camped on the property with his officers during the Battle of Unison. Leesburg Today More here: Middleburg Life

Frederick Co.: High Banks House added to VLR: High Banks survived the Civil War and represents a “vanishing” architectural style.  NV Daily

Clarke Co.: BOS resolution supports CW sesquicentennial: Civil War commemoration activities are planned to run from 2011 through 2015. Much of Clarke County’s participation will be coordinated with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District. Clarke County is one of the eight constituent counties in the district determined by Congress to promote and commemorate this important historic milestone.  Clarke Daily News

Front Royal: Rezoning endorsed to preserve McKay house site: The Warren County Planning Commission has endorsed a rezoning proposal from town and county officials that seeks to preserve land containing remains of the historic Robert McKay Jr. house and make the rest of the property eligible for commercial development. The McKay house, which had been recognized as the oldest home in Warren County, was destroyed by a fire and is a total loss.  NV Daily

Front Royal #2: New highway marker approved: The sign will highlight Warren County’s place in the history of public school desegregation. The marker memorializes events at the former Warren County High School during Virginia’s Massive Resistance era. NV Daily

Capital & Central Region:

Richmond: Developer Justin French pleads guilty in historic rehabilitation tax credit case: “The Department of Historic Resources profoundly regrets that an individual schemed to commit fraud,” said DHR Director Kathleen S. Kilpatrick. “I am proud that this agency identified a problem that went unnoticed by some pretty heavy duty companies and agencies and brought it to the attention of law enforcement.”  Kilpatrick said DHR first alerted law enforcement close to two years ago that something was fishy about French.  “It became a concern that things didn’t add up,” Kilpatrick said.  Richmond BizSense

Richmond, Slave Burial Ground: Gov. McDonnell supports transferring property from VCU to city: The African burial ground beneath a Virginia Commonwealth University parking lot should be preserved to tell the story of Richmond’s role as a slave center for the Civil War sesquicentennial, Gov. Bob McDonnell said last month in announcing a budget amendment that would transfer the property to the city. Times-Dispatch

St. John’s Church, RichmondAfrican-American spirituality: It took root among a people who were enduring the “horrific experience lived on a daily basis” that was slavery. But they had faith that one day they would live as free people, “and if they didn’t see it their children would,” Lauranett Lee, curator of African-American history for the Virginia Historical Society, told a group gathered one Sunday evening at St. John’s Church.  Lee noted that her talk was on the 225th anniversary of Virginia’s religious-freedom statute, “the most radical result of the American Revolution.”  RTD

Virginia Randolph Museum, Henrico Co.: BOS taking control:  The Henrico County Board of Supervisors plans to preserve the historic property. Virginia Randolph, a pioneer educator who worked in Henrico County for 57 years, was a daughter of slaves.  WDBJ

Henricus Historical Park, Chesterfield Co.Anniversary year: Throughout 2011, Henricus Historical Park will celebrate 400 years of history in the Richmond Region as the site of North America’s second successful English settlement. TravelVideoNews

Lynchburg Area: New additions to VLR: WDBJ

Western Region and Southside:

Bristol: Plans underway to renovate historic warehouse:  Architect Bill Huber made a lengthy presentation, showing concepts for rehabilitating the two-story Bristol Builder’s Supply-Central Warehouse into office space for school division administrators, work areas for part of school maintenance operations and a new space for board meetings.  Herald Courier

Wise Co.: Group works to restore Wise Inn: For the past 100 years, the Wise Inn has been a landmark for Southwest Virginia residents, but in the last 20 years has fallen into disrepair. A series of private owners proved unable to peel back the layers of time on the building, and the Wise County Industrial Development Authority purchased the building in December 2007.  Herald Courier

Roanoke, Old Heironimus Warehouse: Gets new life despite unexpected structural problems:  By the time the project is finished in June or July, the renovation costs could be upward of $500,000. It’s only working financially because a previous owner won recognition for the building on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. Those designations qualify the rehab project for historic tax credits.  Roanoke Times

Roanoke: Firetrucks from 1950s through 1970s:  Nice photos and information about various models of firetrucks that served City of Roanoke. Va Fire News

Historic Henry Co. Courthouse: Re-purposed: The former Henry County courthouse in uptown Martinsville is now home to the Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society. The courthouse, the oldest part of which was built in 1824, was restored to its 1929 appearance using $93,000 from The Harvest Foundation and $98,000 from Save America’s Treasures, as well as private contributions. Martinsville Bulletin.  See this DHR slide show about the courthouse.

Danville, Dan River Inc. Personnel Building: Listed on Virginia Landmarks Register:  The Dan River mill owners used the building to provide child care, a health clinic and meeting space for employees. GoDanRiver NBC12

Blacksburg, Yellow Sulphur Springs: Jim Crow-era resort served blacks:  In the late 1920s, during the days of segregation that legally separated white and black communities, Yellow Sulphur Springs was operated by and for African-Americans as a resort. However, until the recent discoveries of a VT professor this fact was virtually unknown.  Roanoke Times

Coal Heritage Trail: Plan progresses: A corridor management plan is complete for the 325-mile driving route, with detailed descriptions of some of the places and things that might appeal to visitors and help tell the region’s history. Herald Courier

Statewide:

Chesapeake Bay: New map charts shipwrecks: Commissioned by National Geographic, Don Shomette, who’s written volumes about nautical history, was tasked with culling the 7,000 known shipwrecks to the 2,200 featured ones on the map. Based on predictive modeling, he said between 10,000 and 12,000 wrecks are believed to lie on or beneath the sea floor. USA Today

Better Ideas for Growth: Op-ed: “Urban planners, elected officials and all others who care about preserving the scenic wonder and great places of Virginia, will want to get a copy of an insightful new book: Better Models for Development in the Shenandoah Valley 2010.”  Times Dispatch

Buildings, Landscapes, and Memory: New book by Daniel Bluestone:  Bluestone chronicles historic preservation in the United States through 10 case studies that look at preservation from the early days of the new nation, when French general and American Revolutionary supporter Marquis de Lafayette toured the U.S. in 1824 and 1825, to the restoration and preservation of lands that were once toxic landscapes, which provides a more broad and more diverse understanding of our world today. UVa Today

Virginia Landmarks Register: 15 new sites added in DecemberVirginian-Pilot

Beyond Virginia:

Calder Loth’s “Classicist Blog”Ionic of the Erechtheum: DHR’s senior architectural historian Calder Loth (now part-time with DHR) contributes to a monthly blog on the website of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America. His most recent illustrated posting examines the Ionic of the Erechtheum, “commonly acknowledged to be the most beautiful of the Greek Ionic orders.”  Classicist Blog

Robert E. Lee: 150 Years After Civil War/NPR’s Talk of Nation: NPR’s Neal Conan spoke with historian Noah Andre Trudeau, reporter Mary Hadar, and Joseph Riley, mayor of Charleston, S.C., about how and why we mark the anniversary of the Civil War. NPR

National Building Museum: “Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey“:  Why has Roman classicism been so pervasive for 2,000 years? And why, during the past two centuries, did many European and American architects rebel against classicism’s aesthetic dominance and stylistic constraints? In the rejection of classicism, has something been lost? Some answers to these questions can be found at the NBM’s exhibition. WashPost

Wench: Novel explores relationship between slave owners and slave mistresses: Dolen Perkins-Valdez was reading a biography of W.E.B. DuBois when she came across the small aside. It was piece of history she hadn’t known, and couldn’t stop thinking about.  The land for Ohio’s Wilberforce University, the nation’s oldest private historically black college, where DuBois had once taught, at one time had been part of a resort–a place called Tawawa House, where wealthy Southern slaveholders would take their slave mistresses for open-air “vacations.”  Washington Post

Advertisements

DHR News Clips, Nov. 5

November 5, 2010

News from DHR:

National Register Submission Schedule: Now posted here.

Calendar of Events:  See forthcoming public meetings for proposed historic districts and nominations: DHR Calendar

Now for news items from around Virginia and beyond:

Virginia:

Gov. Bob McDonnell: Governor’s father John F. “Jack” McDonnell dies: Mr. McDonnell, 94, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and intelligence specialist, died Nov. 2 at Burke Health and Rehabilitation Center in Fairfax County. He had Alzheimer’s disease.  Washington Post

A House Divided: Interesting Civil War blog:  “A House Divided is a blog dedicated to news and issues of importance to Civil War enthusiasts across the country and around the world.  Washington Post

Va. History Textbook: Hampton historian, author files a lawsuit:  Veronica Davis, author of a study of black cemeteries in and around Richmond, filed the injunction against the book’s publisher, the state Board of Education and Williamsburg-James City County Schools.  Davis feels the book’s offending sentence rather than being omitted should be revised to reflect accepted scholarship. Daily Press

Civil War & Black Confederates: Columnist: “Civil War History Is a Battlefield”: “The phone message was frustrating and intriguing — a caller scolding me for last week’s column criticizing the research of a textbook writer who claimed thousands of blacks fought as Confederates.”  Daily Press

“Virginians in the Making of Liberia”: VHS lecture available online: Last month Marie Tyler-McGraw discussed her book An African Republic: Black and White Virginians in the Making of Liberia in a special Banner Lecture at the Virginia Historical Society. The lecture is now available online and provides valuable historic context for VHR’s Nov. 6 program featuring President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Republic of Liberia.  The Richmond Forum

Capital Region:

Fork Union, Fluvanna Co.Cemetery discovered: Rows of uninscribed stones and depressions mark the graves of 56 long-forgotten people about 400 feet from the site of a new firehouse. The cemetery doesn’t appear on early 20th-century deeds, which suggests it may have been forgotten about by that time and therefore was used during the late 18th century and 19th century. The Daily Progress

Edward AyersProfile of UR president & leader of Richmond’s Civil War sesquicentennial commemoration: Ayers delights in challenging every simple theory of the war. He hopes to reshape America’s understanding of the bloodiest conflict in its history. Washington Post

Virginia Historical Society, Richmond: 2010 Holiday Shoppers Fair: Nov. 5 and 6, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: The annual Museum Stores of Richmond Holiday Shoppers Fair will be at the VHS this year. Fifteen area museums are participating in the event.  (No link.)

Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery: New book by John Peters: Now available at the Valentine Richmond History Center, which is the publisher of the book. The author will sign books at Shoppers Fair, November 5th & 6th at the Virginia Historical Society, at Book People on November 9th, at St. James Bazaar on November 11th-12th, and will deliver a lecture on December 9th at VHS.  VRHC

Albemarle Co.: Public hearing for proposed Greenwood-Afton Rural Historic District Crozet Gazette

Petersburg: Hermanze Fauntleroy Jr. dies: A local civil rights leader and civic leader, Fauntleroy Jr., was the city’s first black mayor and the first black mayor in the state according to the Virginia Historical Society. Progress-Index

Celebrate Chesterfield: Karenne Wood to speak:  Wood, a member of the Monacan Indian Nation, will speak on Saturday, Nov. 13, at historic Magnolia Grange plantation house at 11 a.m.  Wood serves as director of the Virginia Indian Heritage Program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.  She will address commonly accepted notions regarding Virginia Native American history and culture as well as recent discoveries that challenge these prevailing theories.  Progress-Index

Shenandoah Valley & Northern Region:

Government Island, Stafford Co.:  County’s newest park supplied stone for DC: When George Washington and his commissioners got busy building “the Federal City,” this small island on Aquia Creek is where they turned to get essential material. It was the center of incredible activity, off and on, for more than 150 years–from the late 1600s until the mid-19th century.  With this week’s opening of Government Island as Stafford County’s newest park, that amazing national heritage will be apparent to every visitor. Free Lance-Star

Loudoun Co.: 18th Annual Loudoun History Awards announced: Four local leaders in the fields of historical research and preservation will be honored Sunday, Nov. 14, during the 18th Annual Loudoun History Awards.  Leesburg Today

Fredericksburg Area: Interesting blog: Past is PrologueFree Lance-Star staff writer Clint Schemmer has a good blog to keep abreast of events or news of interest pertaining to history in the city and surrounding counties.  Free Lance-Star

Stonewall Jackson: His arm’s burial and other topics; an interview with NPS’s John Hennessy: “Jackson is one of the few . . .  major American figures, who has more than one grave. He now actually has three graves. One for his arm, one for the rest of him, which resides in Lexington, Virginia, but also a third grave where he was buried on an interim basis for several years before his current gravesite was prepared. And that grave, in the Lexington cemetery in Virginia, is still marked and preserved as the former grave of Stonewall Jackson.”  NPS Traveler

Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria: Immanuel Chapel will be rebuilt:  VTS members say that the 129-year-old chapel, destroyed by a two-alarm fire Oct. 22, will come back to life in some form. The chapel, with classic Victorian elements, was built in 1881.  Washington Post

Manassas: A new exhibit honoring the contributions of eight extraordinary Virginia women: Virginia Women in History 2010, an exhibit on loan to the Manassas Museum from the Library of Virginia, will be displayed at the Manassas City Hall lobby through Dec. 4.  InsideNOVA

New Market Battlefield State Historical Park: Free digitizing of historical documents: On Friday, Nov. 5, the Shenandoah County Civil War sesquicentennial committee will be offering a free scanning project from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of the Civil War 150 Legacy Project. The public is invited to bring original photographs, letters, diaries, hand-drawn sketches and other documents from the Civil War era to be evaluated and digitally scanned, with all of the material then to be made available on the Library of Virginia’s website.  NV Daily

Staunton: Sears Hill historic pedestrian bridge removed for repairs: For more than a century, a footbridge gave pedestrians access over the railroad tracks that divide the Sears Hill neighborhood from downtown Staunton.  The bridge is on the state and national registers.  NBC29

Roanoke and Western Region

Saltville: Civil War heritage tourism potential: Saltville is sitting on a gold mine, and citizens may need to lead the digging. That was the thrust of citizens’ comments following a presentation by Dr. Cliff Boyd and Dr. Robert Whisonant about the town’s Civil War battlefields that have gained listing on the state and National Register.  SWVA Today

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

James River “Ghost Fleet”: Writer makes an overnight visit: The James River Reserve Fleet has been a source of fascination, history and lore for decades. Its roots trace to 1919, just after World War I, when the Navy and Merchant Marine began mothballing their surplus ships within the river. At its peak, following World War II, the fleet held more than 700 ships, stretching in a line almost to Norfolk. Virginian-Pilot

Northampton Co., Historic Jails: Writer offers reasons for preserving buildings:  “The two jail buildings can be stabilized (new roof, cornice and porch repair) allowing a decision on their future use to be deferred. Both buildings are of brick and are in sound structural condition (1998 Structural Inspection Report of the Northampton County Jail). . . ”  Eastern Shore News

Beyond Virginia

The Cities We Want: Essay from Witold Rybczynski:  “The question is not whether we want to live in cities. Obviously, a growing number of us do—otherwise we would not build so many of them. The real question is: In what kind of cities do we want to live? Compact or spread out? Old or new? Big or small?” Slate

Lost Colony, North Carolina: One researcher’s alternative theory to Roanoke Island:  Scott Dawson’s research, combined with his intimate knowledge of Hatteras Island, has led him to conclude that the Lost Colony must have abandoned its settlement on Roanoke Island, traveled south and eventually assimilated into the Croatoan tribe – all in an effort to escape the threat of the Secotan. Virginian-Pilot

Charles McKim: New biography published:  “Triumvirate: McKim, Mead & White: Art, Architecture, Scandal, and Class in America’s Gilded Age,” by Mosette Broderick. This 581-page history serves as the only modern work to examine the career of the reflective, often depressed McKim, perennially in the shadow of his flamboyant and equally troubled partner, Stanford White. NY Times / Slide Show of McKim’s work.

Texas: Historic painting of Battle of San Jacinto found in W. Va. attic: Virginia resident Jon Buell was visiting his grandfather last year when he decided to check out the antiques in the family attic.  Amid the dusty relics, he found a forgotten piece of Texas history: a 1901 painting by Henry Arthur McArdle of the decisive Battle of San Jacinto. McArdle, Buell’s great-great-grandfather, depicted important Texas battles in his many paintings. Dallas News

West Virginia: Lincoln election ballot discovered:  Found at an old plantation in West Virginia, the ballot is from the 1860 election that Abraham Lincoln won. Officials at Henderson Hall say it’s even more unique in the area, which was part of Virginia at the time.  WOOD TV

Recent Past Preservation NetworkWebsite:  Worth checking out. RPPN