News from DHR

March 15, 2011

New or Updated Features on DHR’s website:

Destruction of the CSS Richmond-based Ironclads

Destruction of the Confederate ironclads on the James River.

Notes on Virginia Online: The Battle of Trent’s Reach, James River, 1865:  Civil War photographers typically used enormous glass negatives to capture an image. When these same negatives are scanned at a high resolution and posted online, as the Library of Congress has done, it is possible using photographic software to explore small and often previously unrevealed details inherent within each negative. That’s exactly what archaeologist Taft Kiser has done to create fresh views of historic photographs and illustrations.  In so doing, he also tells the story of a little-recalled battle between the Confederate and Union navies on the James River in January 1865. “It was a bold and eleventh-hour attempt by the Confederate navy to cut off the Union army’s supply base at City Point in January of 1865,” says Kiser, an archaeologist with Cultural Resources Inc.  See this fascinating slideshow of Kiser’s narrative, an online feature of Notes on Virginia, a publication of the Department of Historic Resources. (The slideshow expands an annotated gallery that Kiser contributed to Notes on Virginia, No. 53.)
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Updated: Virginia Atlas of Archaeology: We have posted an updated atlas featuring links to destinations in Virginia that are open to the public and feature exhibits or information related to archaeology. Visit the Virginia ArchNet webpage or go directly to the atlas here.
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Forthcoming DHR-sponsored Events of Interest:

Register Now for April Cemetery Workshop!: Flowers are optional but participants will be encouraged to bring mirrors and cameras, and clipboards and questions during a forthcoming Cemetery Workshop being offered by staff of the Department of Historic Resources at Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg. The two-day workshop, offered in partnership with Preservation Virginia, will be held April 8 and 9. For more information, see this press release.
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The Agenda is Posted: 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, Preservation Virginia 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.  For more information, go here.
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DHR News Clips, November 19

November 19, 2010

Greetings,

Here are some recent stories of interest from around Virginia and beyond that touch on history, preservation, and related matters. Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday!

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley

Loudoun Co.: Couple rescues 141-years-old homestead linked to Bushrod Lynn: A construction project-turned-historical detective case is coming to a head. The house has new floors, handsome woodwork and modern appliances. And Bushrod Lynn, the 19th-century Virginia reformer who had been lost to history, is about to get his own marker out by the highway. In heritage terms, he’s going from forgotten man to made guy.  Washington Post

Stafford Co.: Planning Com. approves Comp. Plan: This final version has been in the works for about a year. Residents who opposed the plan said it does little to control sprawl, ease traffic congestion or relieve the burden on taxpayers. Urban Development Areas were another point of contention.  Free Lance-Star

“Wilderness” Walmart, Orange Co.: BOS reject resolving out of court: Two of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit to block construction of a Walmart Supercenter in the Wilderness battlefield area have been turned away in their bids to resolve the issue out of court. Free Lance-Star

“Wilderness” Walmart #2Judge to allow county’s experts: The expert witnesses for Orange County Board of Supervisors will remain part of the defense according to a ruling in the case brought by plaintiffs trying to keep a Walmart from being built near the Wilderness Battlefield. The plaintiffs wanted seven of the county’s eight experts stricken–a ruling Circuit Judge Daniel R. Bouton refused to make.  Free Lance-Star

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training: Historic Trees Workshop: NCPTT will conduct a three-day workshop about historic tree management, November 30-December 2. This training is for landscape managers, maintenance staff, volunteers, and others who care for, or are interested in historic trees.  The workshop will feature a combination of presentations and hands-on field sessions at historic Kenmore in downtown Fredericksburg, and at George Washington Birthplace National Monument.  PreservationDirectory

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

Nansemond Indian Tribe, Suffolk: City gives land to tribe: Elected leaders agreed for the first time in Virginia’s modern history to give locally owned land to native residents, without a lawsuit. Nansemond Indian Chief Barry Bass told council members, “Mattanock Town will give Nansemond people land that was once the site of one of our villages, and can once again become our sacred home.”  WAVY (includes video) / Suffolk News-Herald

Fort Monroe: Debate over NPS involvement: “I think we need to be careful how much we put on the table for the park service, because once they’re there, they’re never going to go away,”  said Doug Domenech, a board member and the state’s secretary of natural resources, during a meeting of the Fort Monroe Authority’s board of trustees and a few dozen citizens. Virginian-Pilot

Naval Station Norfolk: Short video: Bob Coolbaugh talks about flying his replica 1911 Curtiss-Ely Pusher at Naval Station Norfolk to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Naval Aviation. Virginian-Pilot

Capital & Central Region

Poplar Forest, Bedford Co.: Garden Club of Va. to assist with landscape plans: The GCV will work with  Poplar Forest on two projects. The first involves excavating and restoring an allee, or double row of paper mulberry trees, on the west side of the house. The second project is the investigation and restoration of ornamental plantings in front of the house, similar to ones Jefferson had seen in Europe. Richmond Times-Dispatch

Vinegar Hill, Charlottesville: A Memory Scape:  The University of Virginia’s visualeyes project has created a  visualization of a 1960’s urban renewal project.  visualeyes

Vinegar Hill#2: Va. Film Festival honors documentary on neighborhood: That World is Gone: Race and Displacement in a Southern Town, produced by School of Architecture faculty member Scot French, premiered at the festival and won the Audience Favorite Award for Best Short Documentary. The film explores the history of Charlottesville’s largest African-American neighborhood, Vinegar Hill.  French said the film addresses the American dream of property ownership and the devastating impact of urban renewal on African-American community life in the city.  UVaToday

Pocahantas Island, Petersburg: Va. Film Festival honors documentary on neighborhood: Earning top honors in the Best Short Documentary category was The Enduring Legacy of Pocahantas Island, a history of one of the oldest African-American communities in the country, made by students at Virginia State University and overseen by noted actor/director Tim Reid.  UVaToday

James River and the Civil War: Tour of river’s historic sites: Since June, Scott Williams and Mike Ostrander have offered Civil War tours of the tidal James from Dutch Gap to Deep Bottom boat landing. Williams, an amateur historian and map maker for Chesterfield County, and Ostrander, a catfish and bald eagle tour guide, are a perfect match. Williams supplies the history, Ostrander the river knowledge. Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond: VCU posts online images from Richmond Comprehensive Planning Slide Collection: The  collection contains over 8,000 photographs of mostly Richmond. Over 99% of the original collection is presented on the Virginia Commonwealth University site. Materials in the collection are in the public domain, and thus are free of any copyright restriction. VCU Libraries Digital Collections

Richmond: Devil’s Triangle: While Richmond is home to many historic neighborhoods, not all can claim such infamous tales, nor independent revitalization, as the Devil’s Triangle. Concentrated efforts in the past six years have transformed this once rough neighborhood into an economic corridor and designation for locals and visitors alike.  Richmond.com

Lynchburg Museum: Planning Civil War Sesquicentennial events: In Central Virginia, the legacy of the Civil War is all around us, says Doug Harvey, director of the Lynchburg Museum. Harvey and other local groups already have begun planning how they’ll mark the 150th anniversary of the war over the next four years. News & Advance

Western Region

Virginia Intermont College, Bristol: May seek historic designation: College officials are exploring historic designation for its campus. VI’s board of trustees endorsed seeking the state historic designation to try and qualify for historic tax credits to help pay for the rejuvenation and repair of some of the college’s aging structures. VI was established more than 125 years ago; it opened its Moore Street campus in 1893. The current inventory includes some of those original buildings and others that are 75 or more years old. Bristol Herald Courier

Danville: City demolishes ca-1900 home: It’s a house that once stood grandly on the corner of one of Danville’s finest neighborhoods, but time took it’s toll on the Lee Street home. The city decided to take it down, leaving local preservationists furious.  WSET-TV Also here: GoDanRiver

Statewide

Urban Development Areas: GA subcommittee hears from Stafford Co.: Virginia legislators listened to concerns from local officials about state-mandated urban development areas. Collectively a county’s UDAs must be able to absorb 10 to 20 years worth of projected population growth in a mixed-use development where people can live, work and shop. Supporters say that UDAs could limit sprawl and save tax dollars by reducing the road miles maintained by VDOT.  Free Lance-Star

Virginia Golf Trail: Links to boost tourism: A newly created Virginia Golf Trail website will include 36 public and private golf courses throughout the state, divided into six zones. In addition to listing golf courses, each zone will recommend nearby hotels, restaurants, vineyards, historic sites and other attractions.  Virginia Business / Trail website

Uranium Mining: Sides debate issue: The National Academy of Sciences’ provisional committee studying uranium mining in Virginia heard from both industry advocates and opponents earlier this week. GoDanRiver

Beyond Virginia

Digital Humanities: Data and technology reshaping scholarship: “Members of a new generation of digitally savvy humanists argue it is time to stop looking for inspiration in the next political or philosophical “ism” and start exploring how technology is changing our understanding of the liberal arts. This latest frontier is about method, they say, using powerful technologies and vast stores of digitized materials that previous humanities scholars did not have.” NY Times

Slavery and Southern Railroads: From the Railroads and the Making of America website: “By 1860 the South’s railroad network was one of the most extensive in the world, and nearly all of it had been constructed with slave labor. Moreover, railroad companies became some of the largest slaveholders in the South.” Website includes letters of Claudius Crozet pertaining to the building of the Blue Ridge Tunnels. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Joliet, Illinois: First Dairy Queen recognized as landmark: The Joliet City Council awarded landmark status to a building, which now houses a storefront church, that was home to the first Dairy Queen in 1940.  UPI

Green Building: How historic buildings are undervalued “green” assets:  Historic preservationists say renovating an old building is almost always better for the environment than framing up a new one. You don’t add to sprawl by taking up more land. And, you don’t waste all the energy and resources, like wood and metal, already in existing buildings. But people don’t often equate old buildings with “going green.” Marketplace

Save The Windows: Spread the Word:  As an epidemic of window replacement sweeps across the country, the best hope for saving historic windows is to spread the word now about the benefits of repair and retrofit. PreservationNation

UNESCO: Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding: The U.N. body that hands out the World Heritage designation, also keeps this lesser known list. Four items that were added to that list this week: Meshrep, a gathering within Uighur communities featuring dance, music and song; the technology for building watertight compartments on wooden Chinese sailing vessels called junks; wooden movable-type printing, also from China; and from Croatia, Ojkanje singing, featuring a voice shaking technique.  NPR