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

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DHR News Clips, Sept 28

September 28, 2010

Greetings,

I am hoping to get back on track with regular postings of news stories from around Virginia and beyond pertaining to preservation, history, and related topics. Meanwhile here are some items of interest from September. –Randy Jones

News from DHR:

Virginia’s Historic Cemeteries:  A dedicated group of DHR personnel has been providing two-day workshops focusing on various topics and stewardship issues associated with historic cemeteries.  Interest in the workshops has spurred DHR to create a new blog, “Historic Cemeteries in Virginia.”  The blog will focus on forthcoming events and other news related to historic cemeteries.  DHR’s next cemetery workshop will be presented, in partnership with Preservation Virginia, in Abingdon during November 5-6.  More details about that workshop will be forthcoming.

Around Virginia:

Gov. McDonnell: Addresses Civil War conference:  Speaking at Virginia’s second annual conference on the Civil War sesquicentennial, Gov. McDonnell promised that next April his proclamation on the beginning of the war in Virginia will more carefully examine the full scope of the nation’s bloodiest conflict. “It will remember all Virginians–free and enslaved; Union and Confederate.  It will be written for all Virginians,” he said.  Free Lance-Star (Text of Governor’s full remarks here)

Tidewater & Eastern Shore:

Fort Monroe, Hampton: NPS supports park unit: The National Park Service supports establishing a park unit at Fort Monroe after the Army vacates the historic post next year, according to a letter sent this week to Virginia’s senior U.S. senator, Jim Webb.  It also calls for protection of the fort’s historic assets and a stronger plan to present parts of its history to the public.  The park service’s primary interest is in 65 acres enclosed by the stone fort and circled by another 35 acres outside the moat.  Virginian-Pilot

Fort Monroe: Developer visits fort to see potential redevelopment:  Hal Fairbanks was at Fort Monroe last week to see the historic properties that the Army will vacate next September and to identify any ripe for investment.  HRI Properties is also working as the master developer of a military base in New Orleans, the Naval Support Activity base, that is closing down under the BRAC.  Daily Press

Portsmouth & Negro League Baseball: Honoring player Leon Ruffin and recalling memories of NL days: Norfolk and Portsmouth were popular stops for barnstorming Negro Leagues teams. Many of the greats of the game stopped through. Willie Mays, stationed at Fort Eustis during the Korean War, formed an all-star team that played on weekends.  Portsmouth also had its own semipro teams – The Belleville Grays, the Portsmouth Quick Steps and others.  Ruffin and another Portsmouth catcher, Buster Haywood, were the best of the area’s pre-World War II players.  Virginian-Pilot

Historic TriangleWorld Heritage status sought:  Colonial Williamsburg and Preservation Virginia, with the assistance of the National Park Service, plan to seek World Heritage status for the Historic Triangle, which includes CW, Historic Jamestowne, Yorktown National Battlefield and the Colonial National Historic Park.  WUSA-9 (AP)

Virginia Beach, Adam Thoroughgood House: Re-opening delayed as restoration continues:  Work on the restoration project – which began September 2009 – was delayed several months by problems finding suitable replacement brick for the 1719 home. The city’s historic resources coordinator said it was important that the bricks match the size, color and texture used in the home’s original construction.  Virginian-Pilot

College of William & Mary: Discovered remains bone fragments of dogs: Laboratory analysis by the College of William and Mary’s Center for Archaeological Research has revealed that the bone fragments found during the summer in two unmarked graves on campus are the remains of dogs interred some two centuries ago.  Evidence of the formal interment of dogs dating from the Colonial period is unprecedented. WMCAR has dated the graves to the late 17th to mid 18th Century.   W&M News

Ivor Noel Hume: Pens memoirs:  “[Hume] recollects how he discovered his avocation on the London mud flats of the Thames and how, with the professional support of his first wife Audrey, disclosed the harsh lives spent by English people on Roanoke Island and at Wolstenholme Towne and those colonists who followed to reside in relative security and prosperity at Mathews’ Manor in Warwick County, Rosewell Plantation in Gloucester County, and throughout Williamsburg.”  Virginia Gazette

Roanoke & Southwest Region:

Abingdon: Muster Ground interpretive center opened: With fifes and drums and a crowd of well over 100, Abingdon formally opened its new interpretive center at the Muster Ground, a site where men mustered before marching over the mountains to the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780.  Bristol Herald-Courier

Radford UniversityWhite supremacist’s name removed from campus building: Powell Hall is no more. The name of one of RU’s arts and music buildings has been stripped by a unanimous vote of the school’s board of visitors.The vote came five years after Radford history professor Richard Straw and his class discovered that the namesake of the building, John Powell, was an influential white supremacist in Virginia. Roanoke Times

Gretna, Pittsylvania Co.: Seeks historic designation of downtown district:  Gretna Town Council voted earlier this month to seek historic designation for its downtown. About 20 structures, including a former Masonic lodge building, would be included in the district, said Mike Pulice, architectural historian DHR. GoDanRiver.com

Bristol: Beaver Creek has long history in city: “Early and numerous water-powered mills were set up in Bristol.  So numerous were they that J. R. Anderson once wrote that the ‘water barely left one mill pond until it was in another.’ Beaver Creek certainly helped Bristol to become an industrial town. Then came the negative uses of this stream.”  Bristol Herald Courier

Rockbridge Co.WWII reenactments grow in popularity:  Every autumn for years, history buffs have been coming to Bells Valley to practice what is a growing hobby nationwide — re-enacting World War II.  Saturday’s re-enactment was based on a conflict that played out on the war’s eastern front, with the Germans trying to defend what had been a stronghold in Romania against the advancing Russians, who at the time of the battle, were Soviets.  Roanoke Times

Gate City, Scott Co.: Downtown historic district added to National RegisterKingsport Times-News

Capital and Central Region:

University of Virginia, McCormick ObservatoryRecently restored observatory 125 years old: For several years senior scientist in the astronomy department and the observatory’s caretaker have been working with the university to bring the telescope and building back to its original look. The effort has restored it to a near like-new appearance.  And these days the magnificent telescope continues to educate and inspire.  Daily Progress

Monticello: Archaeologist focus on world of enslaved:  Largely out of sight of Thomas Jefferson’s esteemed guests at Monticello was a world of enslavement that archaeologists are gradually bringing to life through excavations. “We want to be able to show what life was like then,” said Thomas Jefferson Foundation spokeswoman Lisa Stites, adding that a true picture would show the world of Jefferson’s slaves.  Jefferson had as many as 200 slaves at any given time.  Richmond Times Dispatch

Richmond: City’s role in history easy to experience:  “Any place you point on the timeline of America, Richmond has a story to tell. An important story. An interesting story. An amazing story. At times, a disturbing story.” Richmond Time-Dispatch Related storiesPlaces to visit: RTD City prepares for Civil War SesquicentennialRTD

Richmond, Tredegar: Designated gateway to Civil War: The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar and the Richmond National Battlefield Park/National Park Service have designated Historic Tredegar as Your Gateway to the Civil War, with the 8.3-acre site serving as the Region’s official Civil War 150th Visitor Center under the banner, “The Story Starts Here.”  Tredegar was the largest munitions foundry in the South.  WTVR

State Capitol: Civil Rights leader’s portrait unveiled:  Barabara Johns, who died in 1991, will join former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder as the only African-Americans with portraits hanging in the historic Capitol that was built in part by slave labor. When she was only 16, Johns heroically lead a school strike in 1951 that led to the abolition of segregated schools in the Old Dominion and across the country. Gov. Bob McDonnell recently unveiled her portrait at the State Capitol.  blackvoicesnews.com

Blandford Cemetery, Petersburg: Receives donation of granite stones:  Bill Delk, owner of Pembroke Granite Works in Petersburg, provided the Historic Blandford Foundation with three pieces of granite for use in the Foundation’s project to restore monuments in Blandford Cemetery.  Progress-Index

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley

CulpeperMan fights to save Blair House:  The structure was built circa 1920 by Charles Claiborne Blair, a black barber born 1899 in Culpeper.  It is located across from Antioch Baptist Church, a historic black congregation dating to the 1850s. The Rev. Harrison Blair was among the church’s first leaders — he was also the grandfather of Charles. The home sits in an old black neighborhood once known as Sugar Bottom for the sweet spring that ran through it.  Star Exponent

Fairfax Co.: Archaeological research on Colchester to begin:  The Fairfax County Park Authority will be conducting archaeological investigations at the Old Colchester Park and Preserve. The Town of Colchester, chartered in 1753, was one of the first towns in Fairfax County. The property has the potential to provide important information about the history of one of the earliest settlements in this community.  Fairfax Daily-Monitor

Frederick Co.: Easement authority opposes PATH: The Frederick County Conservation Easement Authority adopted a resolution last week opposing the construction of the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline in Frederick County.  NVDaily

Dahlgren Navy Base, King George Co.: Museum to be established:  The base is a treasure trove of military history unrivaled in its focus on ordnance. The base was established in 1918 as the Naval Proving Ground, to test guns destined for Navy warships.  The site along the Potomac River has evolved into one of the Navy’s premier research and development labs, and includes a 25-mile firing range along the river.  Free Lance-Star

Calendar

Lexington: Lecture on Robert E. Lee:  William C. Davis, a noted historian and professor of history at Virginia Tech, will be the featured speaker at the annual Remembering Robert E. Lee program on Monday, Oct. 11, at 12:15 p.m. in Lee Chapel. Davis’ topic is “Lee: The Man in the Middle” and the talk is open to the public.  Rockbridge Weekly

Gloucester (Co.) History CrawlSaturday October 16: The Fairfield F0undation is hosting its first ever  Gloucester Fall History Crawl, which will feature tours, archaeology, and food at three of Gloucester’s most significant landmarks: Rosewell, Fairfield, and Walter Reed’s Birthplace.  The event will be followed by a wine tasting at Rosewell.  Tickets are limited. For more information contact fairfield@inna.net.

Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail: Conference October 21:  Register to participate in the exciting statewide meeting of the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail (CREIGHT) at the Prizery, the award winning meeting place in South Boston, Halifax Co.  The conference is sponsored by Dominion, and is presented by Virginia’s Retreat and the Robert Russa Moton Museum.  More info here

Beyond Virginia:

Michigan1679 Giffon shipwreck may have been located:  The effort to confirm whether a suspected shipwreck in Lake Michigan is the long-lost Griffon, the first European sailing ship on the Great Lakes, just took a step forward. The Griffon disappeared in 1679, carrying furs that were to help finance the expedition of René-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle.  Detroit Free Press

Lorenzo Dow Turner, African American HistorySmithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum exhibit focuses on scholar’s work:  Lorenzo Turner was one of the earliest scholars to suggest that traces of African languages and customs, brought across the Atlantic by slaves, survived in modern African-American culture. For 40 years he worked steadily and traveled widely to validate that proposition.  NY Times