DHR News Clips, December 5

December 5, 2010

Greetings,

We have now posted on the web a slide show about the Old Thomas James Store, Mathews County, our featured December state and national register listing for “Historic Virginia, Site of the Month.” The show was created in collaboration with the Mathews County Historical Society.  You can access the slide show from DHR’s home page or directly from this link.

To inquire about collaborating with DHR on a “Historic Virginia, Site of the Month” slide show, please contact Randy.Jones@dhr.virginia.gov. (A site must be listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register or the National Register of Historic Places.)

Now, here is a selection of articles of interest on history, preservation, land use and related issues from around Virginia and beyond since mid November.

Northern Virginia & Shenandoah Valley

Colchester, Fairfax Co.: Archaeological research underway: Located on the Occoquan River, Colchester once was a bustling port to which tobacco planters  would bring their crop for export. Later, wheat and other commodities were shipped from the port. “This would have been one of the hubs” for tobacco shipment, said Christopher Sperling, a county archeologist who is historic field director for the site. “Tobacco was the lifeblood of the Virginia colony. We’re finding aspects of what was used early on in the colonial port town.”  Washington Post Also here: American Archaeologist

Fairfax Co.: 6th Annual Fairfax County History Conference held: With more than 100 attendees, the conference, “Preserving Our Paths in History,” was a tremendous success.  Fairfax Connection

Manassas: Businessman leading sesquicentennial plans dies: Nothing Creston Martin Owen did was small, so when he began leading efforts for the upcoming Civil War sesquicentennial anniversary, friends said they knew Manassas’s commemoration would be one to remember. A probable accident, however, has left friends and city officials with the task of carrying out next year’s Civil War commemoration without the energetic, charismatic Manassas businessman by their side. Washington Post

Stafford Co.: Atlatl expert: Eric Rugg tests and evaluates a Stone Age weapon that has survived since its invention some 17,000 years ago. It was in use in the 1600s in the first contacts in Virginia between Europeans and American Indians. The weapon is, Rugg points out, “the first compound machine weapon designed by man”–the first weapon with moving parts. Called an atlatl, it was the forerunner of the bow and arrow.  Free Lance-Star (includes video)

Spotsylvania Co.Officials visit Arlington Urban Development Area: County officials visit Clarendon to learn how they could take aspects of an urban, mixed-use development in Arlington back to Spotsylvania. The county planning department has been working with consultants to designate UDAs in the county.  Free Lance-Star

University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg: Students rally to save Seacobeck HallPreservation Magazine

Waterford Foundation, Loudoun Co.: Help restore historic community school: The foundation is requesting your assistance to win a $50k Pepsi Refresh Grant to restore the fire-damaged Waterford Old School. Go here for more information: Pepsi Refresh Grant

Culpeper: Holiday house tour: Dec. 4 tour, which is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and incorporates some of the most historic homes in Culpeper’s East Street Historic District.  Star Exponent

Warren Co.: NPS and Dominion reach deal on proposed powerplant: Dominion Virginia Power and the Shenandoah National Park have reached a deal over the proposed Warren County Power Station proposed for Front Royal. Although the agreement between the park and the power company was approved by the Obama administration, the deal does not address a range of concerns expressed by the Shenandoah National Park superintendent and others at a November 9 public hearing held by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Clarke Daily News

Strasburg, Shenandoah Co.: SVBF eyes Island Farm: The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation is interested in purchasing the “Island Farm” property. Although not a Civil War battlefield, the property has historical significance and also could be important to SVBF’s effort to build trails connecting Strasburg, Shenandoah National Park and the Fishers Hill battlefield area because of its location near the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.  NV Daily

Waynesboro, Augusta Co.: Slow road to greenway: City officials said a section of the greenway stretching along the South River from Constitution Park to Loth Springs finally will be constructed. Meanwhile, a grant application for the second phase is underway. Officials acknowledged that progress on the greenway has been slow, with more than a decade passing since its conceptualization.  News Virginian

Richmond & Central Region

Thomas Jefferson & Wine: Monticello restores wine cellar: Jefferson famously declared wine a “necessity of life,” and he tried in vain to produce wine at his Charlottesville home.  Jefferson’s fully restored wine cellar is now open to the public, permitting visitors to experience the room that once held his prized collection of European wines. Preservation Magazine

Albemarle Co.: Popular novelist restores Esmont, plantation house: Jan Karon has set her own life among rolling green hills in a nearly perfect recreation of the past—an 1816 brick plantation house she spent four years restoring. “She did everything right,” says K. Edward Lay, a professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Virginia, who says the house is an unusually sophisticated example of the Jeffersonian style of architecture.  Wall Street Journal

Steven Spielberg: Gov. McDonnell seeks Lincoln bio-pic: Gov. Bob McDonnell called film director Spielberg this week to help try to convince him to bring his new movie on Abraham Lincoln to Virginia.  The project could translate to $50 million in the Richmond area, according to the Governor. Washington Post

Library of Virginia: Exhibit focuses on Virginia’s Secession Convention: The convention that met in Richmond from Feb.14 through May 1, 1861, is known as the Secession Convention because on April 17, the delegates voted for a motion to secede from the Union — but for its first two months it was a Union convention. A major exhibition at LOV reveals how Virginians from all walks of life and from all parts of the state experienced the drama of the secession crisis.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond: Tribal chiefs deliver game to Governor: The 333-year-old tradition of delivering game to the governor commemorates the peace treaty with Virginia’s Indian tribes that was signed by England’s King Charles II and royal Gov. Herbert Jeffreys in 1677.  RTD

Richmond: RTD offering map of city’s historical sites: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Colonial Heights, Chesterfield Co.: Historic church to be demolished: After years of debate and discussion, the old Colonial Heights Baptist Church will be demolished next year to make way for a new courthouse complex. Progress-Index

Amherst Co.: Local historian publishes new book: For more than three decades, Florence Nixon has gathered bits of history of Monroe and Elon. Her book, “In the Shadow of Tobacco Row Mountain,” is a collection of stories and includes more than 500 photographs depicting the way of life in Monroe and Elon, from the 1930s to 1970s. New Era Progress

Mario di Valmarana: Former UVa architecture professor dies: Di Valamarana came to the University of Virginia in 1972 to teach in the School of Architecture for three months. It became his academic home for 27 years. He taught and directed the Historic Preservation Program, and founded in 1975 the university’s first study-abroad program, which takes architecture students to live among the cultural treasures in Vicenza, Italy.  He retired in 2000, and died Oct. 13 at his home in Venice.  RTD

Roanoke & Southwestern Region

Carroll Co.: Commemorating “The Carroll County Courthouse Tragedy”:  100 years ago, two teenagers in southwest Virginia shared a seemingly innocent kiss that eventually led to a courtroom massacre that dominated the news until it was bumped from the front pages by the sinking of the Titanic. Residents are preparing to commemorate the shooting’s anniversary starting with a community corn shucking on Dec. 18. Daily Press

Danville: Student founds historic preservation club in high school: For 17-year-old Ella Schwarz, co-founding a historic preservation club at George Washington HS is a way to get classmates fired up about the past. DanRiver

Danville: Lynchburg program can serve as preservation model: Southside preservationists hope a Lynchburg program might act as a model to revitalization efforts in Danville. Lynchburg’s Spot Blight program has rehabilitated about 140 properties in the last decade. Preservationists sent a letter to Danville’s City Council, asking them to consider starting a program similar to Lynchburg’s Spot Blight Program.   TV-13 (includes video)

Bush Mill, Scott Co.: Preservation funds awarded: Plans to restore the historic mill were boosted by  $300,000 in recent grants.  A check for $100,000 from the Virginia Tobacco Commission was presented this week. That money, plus $200,000 from the Virginia Department of Transportation, will give the mill new life for restoration to begin.  WCBY TV-5

Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum, Bland Co.: Archaeological research: The seeds of the museum were sewn in May 1970, when highway construction crews encountered a Native American village site as they worked to re-locate Wolf Creek to make room for I-77. During the past two weekends, some of Virginia’s top archaeologists visited to re-examine the topsoil that was removed from the original village site in 1970 as part of Dr. Howard MacCord’s original examination of the Brown Johnston Site.  Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Bristol: Local historian Bud Phillips new book: Hidden History of Bristol: Stories from the State Line: For years, Bud Phillips has collected stories along the state line, where Virginia meets Tennessee. It started soon after he arrived in town, practically penniless, in 1953. The Arkansas native heard tales from the rich and mighty but also folks who had even less money than him – among the earliest pioneers of the city that became Bristol. Then for years, like a student, Phillips went home and scribbled, writing down nearly everything – word for word.  Herald Courier

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

Upper Mattaponi Tribe, King William Co.Restoring Sharon Indian School: The school, as well as the Indian View Baptist Church next to it, remains a cornerstone of a tribal community that has survived centuries of discrimination with its dignity intact. The tribe will celebrate the restoration of the school Dec. 12.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Jamestown: 400-year-old personalized pipes found: “Finding these pipes has illuminated the complex political and social network in London that was behind the settlement,” said William Kelso, director of archaeology for Historic Jamestowne. The personalized clay pipes, which archaeologists say were probably made between 1608 and 1610, also provide new insights into Jamestown’s early pipemaking industry. The settlers’ lives depended on pleasing the investors of the Virginia Company, which bankrolled and supplied struggling Jamestown. It may not be surprising, then, that among the eight names that can be seen on, or inferred from, the fragments are those of several Jamestown investors.  National Geographic

Yorktown: Plans to erect replica windmill halted: When Walt Akers started building a replica of an 18th-century windmill more than two years ago, he hoped to have it completed and displayed by 2011 to mark the 300th anniversary of a similar windmill in Yorktown.  A little known National Park Service rule, however, may take the wind out of the project.  Virginia Gazette

Stratford Hall, Westmoreland Co.: Writer’s visit combines good food and history:  “So the home of the Lees, the 1807 birthplace of a boy named Robert who would go on to become a great general, became a balance between the idealistic and the practical, the big picture and the everyday. It’s still that way today, as I rediscovered during what promises to be a new Thanksgiving tradition–dinner at Stratford, followed by an overnight stay in a small lodge on the property.” Free Lance-Star

Old Dominion University, Norfolk: Seeks to become hub on study of rising sea levels: ODU unveils an initiative to become a national hub for research, teaching and expertise in rising sea levels related to climate change.The university’s initiative includes at least $200,000 and a commitment to pursue federal grants to hire faculty, conduct research and expand climate change in the university’s curriculum. Virginian-Pilot

Hampton University: Black military history: Historian and author Bennie J. McRae Jr. has donated his entire archives on the African-American military experience to Hampton University. The centerpiece of McRae’s collection is the history of the Union Army’s United States Colored Troops that served in the Civil War. Hudson Valley Press

Swann’s Point, Surry Co.: Plantation sells for $7.1 million: The 1,688-acre historic plantation on the James River was sold at auction last month.  The plantation was part of a wedding gift to Pocahontas in 1614 from her father, Chief Powhatan, when she married colonist John Rolfe. The property was most recently owned by Stanley Yeskolske, a businessman who died several years ago.  Virginian-Pilot

Suffolk: Visitor Center opens in re-purposed historic courthouse:  A ribbon cutting ceremony with city’s elected officials marked the rebirth of a historic building. The courthouse building played a pivotal role in the history of old Nansemond County and the City of Suffolk. The 1840-era building is the third such structure built on the site.  WVEC

Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Issues report on pollution costs: Report says pollution is killing jobs and slowing the region’s economy, and the foundation says that delays in cleaning up the nation’s richest estuary could cost government and businesses billions of dollars.  Free Lance-Star

Virginia War Memorial Foundation: To host events with historian Dr. James I. Robertson: Dr. Robertson, executive director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and author of many books,  will be the featured speaker at a dinner at The Chamberlin, Fort Monroe, Friday, December 10, 6:30 p.m.  He will also be signing books after a lecture on December 11 at the Virginia War Museum. For more information, call (757) 247-8523. (No link)

Virginia Beach and Norfolk: Historic photographic collection online: Va. Beach Photographer (blog)

Virginia:

Off-Shore Drilling: Obama administration halts development: The Obama administration announced this week that it will not allow any drilling for oil and gas off the Virginia coast until at least 2017, a move rooted in the record oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year.  Virginian-Pilot

Journey Through Hallowed Ground: First Lady Maureen McDonnell honors organizationLoudoun Times

Patrick Henry: New biography published: review: “It’s unfair to reduce Henry’s career to excerpts from two speeches, but it’s also fitting that he’s remembered chiefly for his words. Henry was a hardworking lawyer, a somewhat adequate military commander, and a popular, if inconsistent, politician. He wasn’t the best farmer or the best businessman, but he was almost certainly the greatest orator in 18th century America. And he was, in a way, the Father of the Founding Fathers — as Harlow Giles Unger notes in his excellent new Lion of Liberty, Henry was the first of the American revolutionaries ‘to call for independence, for revolution against Britain, for a bill of rights, and for as much freedom as possible from government — American as well as British’.”  NPR

Preservation Virginia: Holiday event calendar: PV is pleased to announce its special programming for the holidays offered at several of its historic sites across the Commonwealth. Preservation Virginia

Beyond Virginia:

Black American Indians: “A Hidden Heritage“: NPR interviews historian and author William Loren Katz, and Shonda Buchanan, a descendent of North Carolina and Mississippi Choctaw Indians and a professor of English at Hampton University in Virginia. NPR

Civil War Sesquicentennial: Controversy surrounds some commemorative events: “That some — even now — are honoring secession, with barely a nod to the role of slavery, underscores how divisive a topic the war remains, with Americans continuing to debate its causes, its meaning and its legacy.” NY Times

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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