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


DHR News Clips, Nov. 12

November 12, 2010

Greetings,

Here are some of the recent stories of interest from around Virginia and beyond.


Tidewater & Eastern Shore

Fort Monroe: Army scopes moat: The U.S. Army will officially leave Fort Monroe and hand it over to the state in September. Before it does, it must make sure nothing dangerous–most important, live ordnance–is left behind. So for the first time in 30 years, the military is digging into the moat’s muddy floor to see what’s there. The moat is one of the base’s best-known and oldest features. Its tall stone walls were erected in the 1820s to protect the original fort. Virginian-Pilot

Hampton Roads: Recalling the first successful airplane shipboard takeoff:  Five minutes after his takeoff from the cruiser Birmingham in 1910, Nov. 14, Eugene Ely landed his plane alongside the  beach houses of Willoughby Spit, a distance of about 2.5 miles. It didn’t matter where he landed. . .  he had proven a shipboard takeoff was possible. Virginian-Pilot (Story includes historic photos)

Pamunkey Indian Museum, King William Co.: Make a visit: “To learn a little-known part of our region’s unique history, make plans to visit the Pamunkey Indian Museum . . . The Pamunkey have been living along the river bearing their tribal name in King William County for at least 12,000 years, maybe longer, according to archaeologists and anthropologists.”  Free Lance-Star

Montross, Westmoreland Co.New courthouse plans could impact historic square: If built, a proposed new building could empty three county-owned buildings on Court Square, where county courthouses have been located since 1688. One possible casualty of the new courts building could be an iconic old courthouse that dates from 1900.  Free Lance-Star

Swann’s Point Plantation, Surry Co.: To be auctioned on Nov. 15:  William Swann, the first recorded owner, was born in England and patented 1,200 acres in the area in 1635. His son, Thomas Swann, was born in Virginia in 1610 and died here in 1680.  Daily Press

Virginia Beach: Expert House Movers: When one Va. Beach family was forced to move because their property was in the way of a city project, they decided to take their beloved house with them. Behind the scenes with Jim Matyiko, head of the company that recently moved the 200 ton 19th-century brick home.  Virginian-Pilot

Craney Island: Short video: Craney Island is valuable habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl, but they have to share it with the big earth moving equipment of the Corps of Engineers. Virginian-Pilot

Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society: To screen new film “Our Island Home”:  The documentary produced by The Barrier Islands Center features three former residents of the long-lost settlement of Broadwater on Hog Island. The film showcases their unique existence of life on this remote barrier island off of Virginia’s Eastern Shore coast.  DelmarvaNow

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley

University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg: Seacobeck Hall may be preserved: UMW President Rick Hurley says that the school is reconsidering its plan to demolish the dining hall, built in 1931, “because of the outpouring of support and other reasons.” Free Lance-Star

Arlington National Cemetery: Stafford Co. student creates grave database:  After news of burial mix-ups at ANC unfolded over the summer, Ricky Gilleland, a junior at North Stafford High School, created preserveandhonor.com, a website providing an accurate and continually updated listing of burials at Arlington for those who served in the global war on terror. Free Lance-Star

Loudoun Co., Lunette House: Neighbors to BOS, house must go: Residents of Kirkpatrick Farms who came before the Board of Supervisors had one message: remove the dilapidated Lunette House from their neighborhood. The home was constructed around 1820 and was the subject of an architectural survey by DHR in 1982. In recent years, it has fallen into severe disrepair.  Leesburg Today

Oatlands, Leesburg: New director of NTHP site named: Loudoun County Supervisor Andrea McGimsey has been chosen to lead the Board of Directors of Oatlands as executive director. McGimsey will oversee all operations of Oatlands, which was built in 1804, and boasts 4.5 acres of formal gardens, rare original outbuildings dating from 1810 to 1821, and a Carriage House dating from 1906.  Loudoun Times

Spotsylvania Co.: Developer reconstructs historic buildings on property: Dan Spears has reconstructed an 1812 plantation house from North Carolina and several cabins and cottages on his historic property. He also is building a nearly 12,000-square-foot venue for weddings and other large celebrations called the Lodge. At the heart of the $1.5 million structure are the framing timbers and roof trusses of a church from Canada, probably dating to the early 19th century.  Free Lance-Star

Pete Hill: Culpeper Co. Baseball Hall of Famer’s grave found:  The grave of baseball great John Preston “Pete” Hill, believed to be the only Hall of Famer whose burial site had been lost to history, was discovered recently in a suburb of Chicago by Dr. Jeremy Krock, coordinator of the Negro Leagues Baseball Grave Marker Project.  WTOP

Sully Historic Site, Fairfax Co.: Brings Revolutionary era to lifeFairfax Times

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park: Release of a new podcast tour: Covering the Battle of Cedar Creek, the podcast is free and can be downloaded onto an iPod or mp3 player, then taken to the park for a tour of the battlefield.  CivilWarTraveler

Berryville, Clarke Co.: Fire House Gallery wins design award: Berryville Main Street has received the Virginia Downtown Development Association’s 2010 Building Development and Improvements Award of Merit for its Fire House Gallery & Shop. Clarke Daily News

Harrisonburg: New Civil War Trails markers: The city will dedicate three new Civil War Trails markers in downtown at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at the City Municipal Building. Adding these new Civil War Trails markers will inform the community and visitors of the stories of life in Harrisonburg during the Civil War. The markers were funded through a grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. (No link)

Roanoke & Southwest Region

Grayson Co.: Proposed Spring Valley Rural Historic District: The 4,220-acre Spring Valley community was settled in the 1760s, long before Grayson County was formed in 1792. The proposed Spring Valley Rural Historic District’s “period of significance occurs from circa 1800, because of the earliest standing structure, and ends in 1950 because no significant construction occurred after this time,” the register nomination writers note.  Galax Gazette

Saltville: Civil War scholar gives Southwest Va. its due: Historian Thomas Mays says the mountainous regions of KY, TN, and VA have been neglected by historians in the last 50 years. In one of his three books, The Saltville Massacre, he follows the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry, a regiment formed at Camp Nelson (KY), into its first large-scale battle, which took place in October 1864 in the mountains of southwest Virginia.  Lexington Herald-Leader

Capital and Central Region

“Negro Burial Ground,” Richmond: Historian Jeffrey Ruggles traces history of the site: Ruggles uses primary sources, maps, and historic photos to trace the evolution of the site. A PDF of his article is available here: The Shockoe Examiner

Richmond: “Connecticut” finds new home: A 2,400-pound fiberglass-and-resin sculpture of an American Indian that resided at the top of Richmond’s minor-league baseball stadium for more than two decades has found a new home and a new role. “Connecticut” now rests atop a downtown architectural firm housed in the historic Lucky Strike Building near the James River.  Indian Country

Virginia Historical Society: Online collection of Presidential memorabilia: “The VHS has compiled from Dr. Allen Frey’s extensive collection of political ephemera and memorabilia a dozen examples of American presidential campaign materials to see if politicians and campaigns of the past were as negative and bitter as they are today.”  Virginia Historical Society

Berkeley Plantation, Charles City Co.: Virginia Thanksgiving Festival: Chickahominy Indian Tribal Dancers and drummers capped one of the biggest days in the festival’s 49 years of celebrating the first Thanksgiving by English settlers at Berkeley on Dec. 4, 1619. An estimated 2,000 people attended the four-hour celebration.  Richmond Times-Dispatch (video also)

Virginia:

“American Indian Heritage Month”: Gov. Bob McDonnell issues proclamation: The Governor signed the proclamation November 10 at a ceremony at the Old House Chamber in the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. He was joined by representatives from nine of Virginia’s 11 state recognized tribes. SynaVista News

Rhys Isaac: The Transformation of Virginia author dies: Only Australian to receive the prestigious American Pulitzer Prize for history, Isaac died of advanced melanoma. He was 72. He was awarded the Pulitzer in 1983 for his seminal book The Transformation of Virginia, in which he expounded methods used to understand radical changes in both blacks and whites in colonial plantation culture that had traded a king for a constitution and bill of rights.  The Age

Historic Family Cemeteries: New interactive map for recordation: Preservation Virginia introduces a great interactive public map where anyone can record the location of historic family cemeteries. Users can add place markers and describe cemeteries for others to see.  Historic Cemeteries in Virginia

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail: NPS is studying expanding the L&CNHT  to include “Eastern Legacy” sites. Learn more here: NPS

Afton Mountain, Shenandoah National Park: Ceremony launches park’s 75th anniversary: From the family of President Herbert Hoover to the descendants of those displaced, to present and past employees, everyone had a story to tell about Shenandoah National Park.  Free Lance-Star

Beyond

Washington Monument: Designing security: The Washington Monument is unlike any other in the capital, so austere and abstract that creating security arrangements for it has dogged the National Park Service for a decade. Washington Post

Mount Morris, New YorkMan buys up Main Street to revitalize town: For several years, Greg O’Connell moved stealthily, buying building after building along a run-down stretch of Main Street here. He has snatched up 19 buildings, some at tax lien sales for $2,000, and has restored the historic look of a half-dozen storefronts, dusting off the tin ceilings and renovating the apartments on the second floor, where he has installed new bathrooms and oak floors. NY Times

Atlantic Records / Warner Music Group: Dives into its archives: “Every day is like, what am I going to find today?” said Grayson Dantzic, the archivist for Atlantic Records. With colleagues at Warner Music Group, he is part of an ambitious project to recover the company’s story—and a good chunk of American cultural history as well—by excavating the contents of nearly 100,000 boxes from warehouses around the globe, whose accumulated photographs and other memorabilia track popular music from the Edwardian and Victorian ages to disco and jazz, from Beethoven to Miles Davis.  NY Times Slide Show