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


DHR News Clips, October 28

October 28, 2010

News from DHR

November 5-6: Cemetery Preservation Workshop, Abingdon: DHR staff will be conducting a two-day cemetery preservation workshop in partnership with Preservation Virginia. The workshop will be held at the Masonic Lodge, 325 W. Main Street in Abingdon. Topics will include researching and recording historic cemeteries, following good practices for cleaning and maintaining gravestones, interpreting funerary symbols and iconography, and the proper techniques for photographing monuments and grave markers.  For more information about the fees and registering, contact Dee DeRoche, Chief Curator, DHR. or see this press release for more information.

Historic Cemeteries in Virginia: This new blog is brought to you by DHR as a place for citizens who care for, and about Virginia’s historic cemeteries. There you will find information on workshops, cemetery preservation, and other resources.  http://dhrcemeteries.blogspot.com/.

Historic Virginia, Site of the Month: Slide Show: Fairfield Archaeological Site, Gloucester County: View a slide show of this significant archaeological site where research is focused on understanding the plantation landscape and specifically the 1694 manor house and its immediate surroundings.  Excavations also are shedding light on the house’s evolution, the lifestyles of its occupants, and the layout and transformation of the surrounding landscape. Archaeological evidence has revealed slave quarters, fence lines, and a large formal garden. The slide show was developed in collaboration with the Fairfield Foundation. Slide show here

Now, some items of interest from around Virginia and beyond during October:

Tidewater and Eastern Shore Region:

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic TrailNPS seeks public comment on plan:  Four hundred years ago, John Smith and fellow adventurers set off on a journey to explore nearly 3,000 miles of the Chesapeake Bay, including waterways throughout the Historic Triangle.   Congress has designated the routes Smith and his team took as the first national historic water trail. The National Park Service is now looking for citizen input on the future of the historic trail.  W-Y Daily

York River State Park: Archaeologist finds 17th-century site:  Jerome Traver, archaeologist for York River State Park, has uncovered a previously undocumented fortified complex with a double palisade wall, bastions and redoubts dating to 1676. Inside the complex were several structures, including a barn and a house.  It’s unclear who built the fortification, but Traver said that the property was owned by a man named Brian Smith, a supporter of Royal Gov. Sir William Berkeley.   Virginia Gazette

Hampton: City reprints 3 books about Hampton’s history: Greater Hampton, Phoebus, Old Point and Places of Interest is the kind of publication that could easily have disappeared into antiquity. But the book, and two others, have been given a longer shelf life after being reprinted by the city as commemorative volumes to mark the Hampton’s 400th anniversary. The picture book, Hampton Illustrated, is the oldest of the three. It was originally published in 1892. The third book, Little England Chapel, is a reprint of the 1993 booklet about the African-American landmark. Daily Press

Norfolk, Attucks Theatre: Struggles to fill seats: In 2004, the glass doors to the restored historically black theater opened. Six years later, those who oversee the theater struggle to fill the 625 velvety, wine-red seats. Programming is one issue that plagues the Attucks, but others keep it from being a draw, including its budget, competition and location.  Virginian-Pilot

Virginia Beach: Historic house relocated: A 200-ton historic brick house was moved 300 feet.  Built sometime before 1886, the house was moved from one road side to the other to make way for a new intersection.  WAVY

Historic Triangle: EPA regs could obliterate local budgets: New EPA regs could balloon municipal budgets in the Historic Triangle by more than $1 billion, which local officials say would be devastating. Under the agency’s proposed “pollution diet” for Chesapeake Bay, York would have to pay $594 million over the next 14 years to comply, or $42 million a year. In a budget of $125 million, that’s one-third.  Virginia Gazette

Colonial Williamsburg: Pioneering digital curriculum for high school students: Schools across the nation are shedding textbooks, and CW is in the vanguard of a digital curriculum.  No books required.  “The Idea of America,” a web-based history curriculum for high school, takes American history from pre-colonial times into the 21st century. Bill White, director of educational program development, said CW is a forerunner in the field in textbook-free education.  Virginia Gazette

Northampton Co.: New partners to co-hold easements: The county continues to offer a land conservation program to county residents to help protect open space and the county’s rural agricultural setting. To assist the county with its program, the Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation have accepted partnership roles as conservation easement co-holders.  DelmarvaNow.com

Northampton Co. #2: Op-ed: Preserve the historic jail buildings: “. . . Northampton County should endeavor to keep its two former jails on the courthouse green–one built in 1914, one built in 1899. Even if there is only funding enough to repair and restore their exteriors, that decision should be swiftly made. They should not be torn down. . . . Certainly the former jails aren’t the stars of Northampton’s architectural reputation. . . But the jails tell the story of the county’s history and complete one of the state’s most notable courthouse greens.” DelmarvaNow

Southampton Co.: DHR adds two landmarks to state register: The two county treasures are the Sebrell Rural Historic District and the Rochelle-Prince House. The historic district includes the village of Sebrell and its predecessor, a settlement informally known as Barn Tavern. The Rochelle-Prince House, located in Courtland, was built around 1814 and served as the residence of James Henry Rochelle, a naval officer during the Mexican War and the Civil War who later served with the Peruvian Navy. His niece, Martha Rochelle Tyler, was a granddaughter of President John Tyler who also lived at the house.  Tidewater News To see all the recent additions to the Virginia Landmarks Register, go here.

Onancock, Accomack Co.: Kentucky writer finds town a step back in time, with updates: Lexington Herald-Leader

Capital Region:

Richmond: A.C.O.R.N. announces Golden Hammer Awards: The Alliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods has announced the 27 nominees in all 4 categories (Residential Renovation, Commercial Renovation, Urban Infill, and Neighborhood Design) for the 2010 Golden Hammer Awards.  ACORN

Richmond, Slave Burial Ground: Judge dismisses case against DHR’s director: Sa’ad El-Amin, a former Richmond city councilman, lost his bid to force Kathleen Kilpatrick, the director of the Virginia Department for Historic Resources, to explore the boundaries of the slave burial ground under a VCU parking lot in downtown Richmond.  “I do believe very strongly that we can do better. For a 195 years the burial ground has been ill treated,” Kilpatrick said.  She says the site should be memorialized and that she’s offered to help raise the $3 million to buy the site back from VCU.  WTVR More here:  RTD

Nelson Co., Elk Hill: Rare farm prizery embodies the story of tobacco in county:  Peter Agelasto knew he had something special when he bought Elk Hill in 1978. The then-owner, the last in a long line of Coleman family members who had lived there for generations, advised him to hang on to the prizery no matter what. An international tobacco company had approached the last Coleman owner with a request to buy the prizery. No sale was the answer. The prizery’s preservation proved fortuitous. There are precious few left.  Nelson County Times

Charlottesville: Martha Jefferson neighborhood, first conservation district: The local designation brings an extra layer of regulation to protect some of the neighborhood’s properties. The Martha Jefferson neighborhood is the first to request the designation, which says no building or structure can be constructed and no “contributing structure” can be demolished in the district unless approved by the city’s Board of Architectural Review and the council. Unlike the city’s eight architectural design control districts, conservation districts’ guidelines are less restrictive.  Daily Progress

Goochland Co.: Chancery records now available online: The chancery images span the years 1731 through 1912 (the index covers through 1924). The Library of Virginia says that this completion of another digital scanning project marks a milestone in its ongoing effort to preserve the documentary heritage of Virginia’s circuit courts. The images have been added to the Chancery Records Index (CRI) on Virginia Memory. Because these records rely so heavily on testimony from witnesses, they offer a unique glimpse into the lives of Virginians from the early eighteenth century to the eve of the first World War.  Goochland Gazette

Caroline Co.: County taps rising interest in racehorse Secretariat:  Although Secretariat left Caroline as a 2-year-old to begin his racing career, the foaling barn and many other buildings associated with the chestnut colt’s early days still exist. They’ve been preserved by the State Fair of Virginia, which currently owns the former farm. It hopes that the recent Disney movie will boost not only interest in Secretariat and Caroline, but also in donations to its proposed Museum of the Virginia Horse and the additional equine facilities it plans to build at the event park.  Free Lance-Star

Roanoke & Western Region:

Dante, Russell Co.: Historic train station gets stay of demolition: Community members and preservationists–with the help of Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., and Rep. Rick Boucher,  D-9th–asked the CSX to step on the brakes with its planned demo of the station. The community’s goal is to turn the building, which has been vacant for decades, into a library and community center, giving it a modern-day use while preserving its historic function as a stop along the Virginia Coal Heritage Trail, a 325-mile driving route being developed to showcase the region’s history.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Pittsylvania Co.: Launches self-guided heritage tour: Thirteen sites in the Pittsylvania County/Danville area are featured in a self-guided heritage tourism package compiled by a member of the Pittsylvania Historical Society, a local field representative with Preservation Virginia and Pittsylvania County’s agriculture development director. Members of area historic groups and the director of the county’s agriculture development office hope to attract tourists to heritage sites in Danville and Pittsylvania County and spread awareness of the area’s history and heritage.  GoDanRiver.com

Washington & Lee: Rededicates Newcomb Hall: The renovation of Newcomb Hall, built in 1882, had two distinct aims—the historic preservation of the exterior of the building (remaining true to the building materials and the means and methods of putting those materials together) and the historic rehabilitation of the inside.  News at W&L

Stonewall Jackson House, Lexington: House to merge with VMI: The Stonewall Jackson Foundation and the Virginia Military Institute have announced a proposal to transfer the assets and activities of the Stonewall Jackson House to VMI. Under the plan, the Jackson house and its collection of historic artifacts would be administered and managed by the VMI Museum, whose operations include management of the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park. The proposed transfer is subject to approval by The VMI Board of Visitors and the board of the Stonewall Jackson Foundation, as well as state agencies.  If approved, this arrangement could become effective sometime in 2011. VMI News

Bedford/Bedford Co.: Preservationist Clara Sizemore Lambeth dies:  For decades Lambeth was on the front line of the effort to preserve historic buildings and properties in Bedford and Bedford County. She was still talking about saving buildings from her nursing-home bed before her death at age 96.  A charter member and guiding light of the Bedford Historical Society, Lambeth was instrumental in establishing the Bedford Historic District for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.   RTD

Virginia Creeper Trail: Writer recommends a visit: Salisbury Post

Bristol: Historic warehouse to be converted to school admin offices: The Bristol Virginia School Board plans to convert the former Bristol Builder’s Supply-Central Warehouse building into school division offices after city leaders donated the building and helped arrange interest-free funding.  Herald Courier

Shenandoah Valley & Northern Region:

Orange Co.: CWPT to purchase Wilderness Battlefield tract:  Civil War Preservation Trust has announced that it is working to buy 49 acres beside the battlefield’s best-known landscape, Saunders Field along State Route 20. The property, owned for the past 50 years by Orange County resident Wayne Middlebrook, is bordered on three sides by Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and on the north by Lake of the Woods. It fronts Route 20 and adjoins the site of the park’s Saunders Field exhibit shelter, where tens of thousands of visitors come each year to learn about the May 1864 battle.  Free Lance-Star

Fairfax Co.: New book chronicles history of police department:  In July 1940, the Fairfax County Police Department was created, and the first five decades of that department are re-created in a new, coffee table-style book written and compiled by a group of retired Fairfax officers and recently released by Fairfax publisher History4All.  Washington Post

Stafford Co.: DHR-led archaeological field school brings scholarship and education together:  Archeologists and students visited the site of a Civil War encampment where Union soldiers spent the winter of 1862-63. Eric Powell, Stafford County Schools social studies coordinator,  said he hoped having the students help out at the site by sifting through the dirt volunteers took from the dig would illustrate what archeology is all about.  Clarence Geier, a JMU professor of anthropology, told a group of the Stafford students that camp life for Civil War soldiers was sometimes more dangerous than combat.  News & Messenger

Stafford Co. #2: More on the DHR-JMU-ASV field school:  Some Union soldiers called the area “Camp Misery” because of its harsh living conditions in the winter of 1862.  Many shared huts–smaller than many walk-in closets–with four people for weeks or months, according to the state historians. Officials with the DHR, James Madison University and the Archaeological Society of Virginia worked to identify features of those huts.  Free Lance-Star

Frederick Co.PATH moves along: The Virginia State Corporation Commission said it will continue to consider an application to build a high-voltage power line through Frederick County, nearly a month after SCC staff recommended rejecting the proposal as incomplete. The 765-kilovolt line is projected to run from the Amos substation near St. Albans, W.Va., through Frederick, Clarke and Loudoun Counties in Virginia to the proposed Kemptown substation in Frederick County, Md.  NV Daily

Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria: A fire significantly damaged the 129-year-old Immanuel Chapel.  “It is clear that significant damage has occurred, including the loss of the stained glass windows and iconic words, ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel,’” the Episcopalian seminary said on its website.  RTD Photo hereWashington Post

Culpeper Co., Cedar Mountain Battlefield: Additional wooded acreage protected: The Friends of the Cedar Mountain Battlefield, with the help of a transportation-enhancement grant and funding from the Civil War Preservation Trust, have purchased two wooded acres in what was called “the bloody wheat field” during the Aug. 9, 1862, battle. That land adjoins another 152-acre parcel that is already owned by the CWPT.  Free Lance-Star

Culpeper Co.Pete Hill, Negro League Baseball star:  DHR has announced that a historical marker on Hill’s home turf will honor the phenomenal Negro league player. The marker will be erected in the small African-American community of Buena in Culpeper County, where John Preston Hill was born on Oct. 12, probably in 1882.   Free Lance-Star More hereCulpeper Star Exponent

Northern Virginia Conservation Trust: Seeks to establish green belt in NoVa: The trust’s goal for the next 15 years is to ensure that area residents will be connected to some kind of green space. The group is setting out to connect green spaces across the region, including privately owned properties, trail systems and parks. Washington Post

Spotsylvania Co.:  Looking to draw National Academy of Environmental Design: Luck Development Partners is recruiting the National Academy of Environmental Design to locate its headquarters at a proposed mixed-use development off U.S. 1 in Massaponax called Ni Village. The environmental design academy is a public think tank of some of the nation’s top experts in architecture, planning and design.  Free Lance-Star

“Wilderness” Walmart, Orange Co.: Historian James McPherson to testify:  Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson has agreed to testify on behalf of residents attempting to block the construction of a Walmart Supercenter near an endangered Civil War battlefield in Orange County. McPherson said he will testify that the Walmart site and nearby acres were blood-soaked ground and a Union “nerve center” in the Battle of the Wilderness and not simply a staging area for the 1864 battle, as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and its supporters have contended.  Texarkana Gazette

Waynesboro: Selects firm for downtown revitalization: Officials have selected Staunton-based Frazier Associates to design a spark to kindle downtown revitalization.  News Virginian

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation: Celebrates its 10th anniversaryWHSV

Statewide:

Oliver L. Perry Sr., Chief Emeritus of the Nansemond Tribe: Passed away Oct. 2: Virginia’s American Indian community recently lost a leader and a hero with the death of Perry, whose Indian name was Fish Hawk.  He was a native of Norfolk and served in the Army Air Corps for 32 years and then worked as the senior supervisor aircraft aeronautical examiner at the Naval Air Rework Facility. Following his retirement, he devoted himself to American Indian affairs on the local, state and national levels. Virginian Pilot

The Jeffersons at Shadwell: New book by W&M professor:  Dr. Susan Kern was a member of a team from Monticello’s Department of Archaeology who conducted a five-year excavation of Shadwell. The main house burned to the ground in 1770, the fire depositing a rich bed of artifacts. Interpretation of Shadwell’s material culture helped Kern to depict the household life.  “The book’s about the Jeffersons—plural,” Kern said. Her book corrects a number of scholarly misconceptions about the young Jefferson.  W&M News

Blue Ridge Parkway: Symposium focuses on the next 75 years: The scenic attraction needs partnerships to sustain its purpose. That was the driving message during the opening of a three-day symposium on the parkway’s sustainability. Stakeholders and community leaders gathered to celebrate the parkway’s 75th year of existence but also to ponder how to preserve the 469-mile stretch for future generations.  Lynchburg News & Advance

Shenandoah National Park: Budget cuts proposedWHSV

Virginia History Textbook: Publisher will correct mistakes in future printings: Responding to national media attention sparked by factual inaccuracies, the publisher of a fourth-grade Virginia history textbook has announced it will begin printing revised editions early next year. The new versions will correct a sentence that inaccurately states the combat role of Southern blacks in the Confederate military and replace a photo of an animal that is not native to Virginia, the publisher announced.  Daily Press

Va. History Textbook #2: W & M professor at heart of story: When Carol Sheriff looked through her daughter’s social studies textbook, the William & Mary history professor had no idea she would soon find herself a central player in a national story.  A section of the fourth-grade textbook on the Civil War claimed that two battalions of African American soldiers fought under Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. Sheriff, who teaches about the Civil War at the College and has authored a book on the subject, knew the passage in the textbook to be factually inaccurate.   W&M website

Beyond Virginia:

Civil War Photographs: Virginia collector donates nearly 700 pictures to Library of Congress:  The donation is the largest trove of Civil War-era photographs depicting average soldiers that the LOC has received in at least 50 years. The stunning photographs–small, elegant ambrotypes and tintypes–show hundreds of the young men who fought and died in the war, often portrayed in the innocence and idealism before the experience of battle.  The pictures make up the bulk of the collection of Tom Liljenquist, 58, of McLean. Washington Post

Founding FathersMany of their documents to go online: The University of Virginia Press is putting the published papers of Washington, Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin on a National Archives website that is expected to be accessible to the public in 2012.  Salon

Holland Island, Maryland: Lost to erosion: Slide Show: The last house on Holland Island, a large Chesapeake Bay island that was reduced to one house by erosion, recently toppled over. The island gradually succumbed to nature and is now completely submerged by water during high tide. Washington Post

Lost Colony, North CarolinaOne man’s quest:  Sam Sumner retired as a schoolteacher, left his Hawaii home and recently moved to North Carolina, all for the purpose of solving the mystery of the Lost Colony.The answer lies not in Buxton where experts and amateur sleuths have searched for decades, he says, but at Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge in Currituck County, a site that leaves experts skeptical.  Virginian Pilot

Norway: Archaeologist find unique town site: Archaeologists discovered a mini-Pompeii-type site while digging in the headland formed by the Topdalselva River and the North Sea near southern Norway.  Under three feet of sand, they found a settlement that has been undisturbed for 5,500 years.  The Norwegian settlement was likely built by people of the Funnel Beaker Culture — a late Neolithic culture that thrived in northern Europe and Scandinavia between 4,000 B.C. and 2,400 B.C.  Aolnews