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

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DHR News Clips, Nov. 5

November 5, 2010

News from DHR:

National Register Submission Schedule: Now posted here.

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

Now for news items from around Virginia and beyond:

Virginia:

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

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

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

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

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

Capital Region:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shenandoah Valley & Northern Region:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roanoke and Western Region

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

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

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

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

Beyond Virginia

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

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

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

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

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

Recent Past Preservation NetworkWebsite:  Worth checking out. RPPN