DHR News Clips, January 27

January 27, 2011

Greetings,

Here are some news items of interest in preservation and history from around Virginia and beyond that appeared during the latter half of December and this month.  Also, in case you missed it, on December 17, DHR approved 12 new historical highway markers (press release) and listing 15 new sites to the Virginia Landmarks Register (press release).  Some of the stories below highlight these new markers and VLR listings.

In other news, DHR has posted online a PDF of the most recent copy of Notes on Virginia (No. 53, 2009/2010). The magazine will not be printed, and is available only online. Please be aware the PDF is a large file (about 9 MB) and may take some time to download.

And in other . . .

DHR News:

Save the Date: April 17-18: Virginia Battlefield Preservation Conference, Manassas:Taking the Lead in Battlefield Preservation: Tools, Resources, and Strategies for Virginia.” This conference, sponsored by Prince William County, DHR, and the National Park Service, is geared for local officials with stewardship responsibilities for Virginia’s nationally significant battlefields; land conservation advocates and battlefield friends groups; owners and managers of battlefield land; local and regional planning commissioners and local preservation commissioners; local committees for Virginia’s Sesquicentennial Civil War Anniversary Commemoration; citizens who want to put battlefields to work for tourism, education and sustainable development. To encourage local government participation, stipends to cover lodging and registration costs will be available to one official from every Virginia Certified Local Government and to one offical from every Virginia jurisdiction with a nationally significant Civil War battlefield. To find out if your locality may qualify for a stipend, contact Ann Andrus at DHR (804.367-2323, ext. 133).


News from Around Virginia:

Tidewater and Eastern Shore:

Newport News: USS Monitor’s steam engine a marvel of its day: Last month conservators at the USS Monitor Center drained the 35,000-gallon solution in which the massive engine was submerged. Working slowly and carefully, they stripped off more than two tons of encrustation and gradually revealed the details of a naval milestone that had not been seen since the historic Union ironclad sank in December 1862. “This is a technological marvel,” said conservation project manager Dave Krop.   L. A. Times

Eastville, Northampton Co.: Effort to save two historic jails underway: The Northampton Branch Preservation Virginia has established a fund to raise $119,000 for the preservation of the 1899 and 1914 jails on Eastville’s Court Green. To date, $33,000 has been raised.  DelmarvaNow

Hog Island, Eastern Shore: Former resident recalls a lost way of life: Short video includes many historic photos. Virginian-Pilot

Bacon’s Castle, Surry: Preservation Virginia closes site for programming and maintenance projects:  Elizabeth Kostelny, PV’s executive director describes the temporary closure as “a fulfillment of our role as steward of such a unique site, a rare surviving example of Jacobean architecture in America.”  “Our vision is to create at Bacon’s Castle a distinct heritage tourism destination and a community asset as a place where residents and visitors alike come to learn and reflect.”  Bacon’s Castle dates from 1665.  Daily Press / Virginia Gazette

Jamestown: 400-years old pipes unearthed:  The white clay pipes—actually, castoffs likely rejected during manufacturing—were crafted between 1608 and 1610 and bear the names of English politicians, social leaders, explorers, officers of the Virginia Company that financed the settlement and governors of the Virginia colony. Archeologists also found equipment used to make the pipes.  Associated Press

Hampton Roads: 3 new historical markers approved: Virginian-Pilot

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley:

“Wilderness” Walmart, Orange Co.: Company withdraws from proposed site: Walmart issued a statement saying it would buy the parcel it had hoped to build on, but would not develop it. The company said it would reimburse Orange County for all of its administrative costs and legal fees and begin looking for another parcel along the Route 3 corridor in the eastern part of the county on which to build the store.  Free Lance-Star

“Wilderness” Walmart #2: Preservationist formidable foes?: The case looks to be the latest proof that when big-box stores take on preservationists in Virginia, they face formidable foes. . . One industry analyst said that said it is rare for Walmart to back away from a store once it has researched a location and chosen a site.  Free Lance-Star

Fredericksburg: Op-ed: Slavery museum plans: “Let’s call it a bitter- sweet confirmation of what we already knew. Nowhere in Sunday’s lengthy New York Times report on ‘The Thorny Path to a National Black Museum’ was there any mention of the project that was to rise in Fredericksburg’s Celebrate Virginia.” Free Lance-Star

Patsy Cline House, Winchester: Foundation will restore and open house: Celebrating Patsy Cline announced it has raised the $100,000 needed to begin work on the late singer’s childhood home and eventually open it to the public.  Cline lived in the house with her siblings and mother, Hilda Hensley, from 1948 to 1957.  NV Daily

Arlington Cemetery: Historic urns to be returned: The owner of a pair of towering decorative urns that were originally part of Arlington National Cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater told Army officials that he would return them, saying they belong at the nation’s most revered burial ground, not on the auction block. Washington Post

Arlington Co., Lyon Park: Rehabilitating the 1930s-era community center:  Residents have been working on the community center’s building plan for more than a year. It includes new bathrooms, widened doorways and a sunroom, all accessible for people with disabilities. “Arlington is a very interesting community. The neighborhood pride is very strong,” said Michael Leventhal, who helped the Lyon Park residents work historic preservation of the old building into their renovation plans. “Despite it being a small county, there are no municipalities within the county. The neighborhoods take on an interesting sense of importance.” WashingtonPost

Arlington Co.: Winslow House added to VLR: The home was designed by architect Kenton Hamaker and built by Ira Henry for Earle and Blanche Winslow, and “successfully fuses the elements of the remarkably popular Colonial Revival style with those of the distinctive Streamline Moderne” and features an interior “remarkably intact in plan, design and materials.” Sun Gazette

Fairfax Co.: Drops to second place in tourism: Although Fairfax County remains one of Virginia’s top tourism destinations, it no longer holds the state title for generating revenues after being supplanted by neighboring Arlington County. Fairfax officials don’t plan on being second for long. Washington Post

Mount Vernon: Historian Mary Thompson:  When Mount Vernon’s event planners decided to re-enact Washington’s 1899 funeral, Thompson dug up the details so the event was historically accurate.  When visitors see Martha’s famous Christmas cake on the dining room table, it is Thompson who supplies the recipe. For the last three years, winter visitors have delighted in “George Washington’s camel,” thanks to  Thompson.  She learned 25 years ago that Washington paid a man to bring a camel to Mount Vernon at Christmas and she suggested to program managers that a camel would be something new and fun for the holidays. Mount Vernon Patch

Loudoun Co.: Crednal added to VLR: Crednal’s John Armistead Carter was a lawyer who served in the state legislature from 1842 to 1877. Acting as one of Loudoun’s two delegates to the State Conventions, he voted against secession. Among the visitors to the property noted in the nomination packet were John Marshall, John Mosby, and Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, who reportedly camped on the property with his officers during the Battle of Unison. Leesburg Today More here: Middleburg Life

Frederick Co.: High Banks House added to VLR: High Banks survived the Civil War and represents a “vanishing” architectural style.  NV Daily

Clarke Co.: BOS resolution supports CW sesquicentennial: Civil War commemoration activities are planned to run from 2011 through 2015. Much of Clarke County’s participation will be coordinated with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District. Clarke County is one of the eight constituent counties in the district determined by Congress to promote and commemorate this important historic milestone.  Clarke Daily News

Front Royal: Rezoning endorsed to preserve McKay house site: The Warren County Planning Commission has endorsed a rezoning proposal from town and county officials that seeks to preserve land containing remains of the historic Robert McKay Jr. house and make the rest of the property eligible for commercial development. The McKay house, which had been recognized as the oldest home in Warren County, was destroyed by a fire and is a total loss.  NV Daily

Front Royal #2: New highway marker approved: The sign will highlight Warren County’s place in the history of public school desegregation. The marker memorializes events at the former Warren County High School during Virginia’s Massive Resistance era. NV Daily

Capital & Central Region:

Richmond: Developer Justin French pleads guilty in historic rehabilitation tax credit case: “The Department of Historic Resources profoundly regrets that an individual schemed to commit fraud,” said DHR Director Kathleen S. Kilpatrick. “I am proud that this agency identified a problem that went unnoticed by some pretty heavy duty companies and agencies and brought it to the attention of law enforcement.”  Kilpatrick said DHR first alerted law enforcement close to two years ago that something was fishy about French.  “It became a concern that things didn’t add up,” Kilpatrick said.  Richmond BizSense

Richmond, Slave Burial Ground: Gov. McDonnell supports transferring property from VCU to city: The African burial ground beneath a Virginia Commonwealth University parking lot should be preserved to tell the story of Richmond’s role as a slave center for the Civil War sesquicentennial, Gov. Bob McDonnell said last month in announcing a budget amendment that would transfer the property to the city. Times-Dispatch

St. John’s Church, RichmondAfrican-American spirituality: It took root among a people who were enduring the “horrific experience lived on a daily basis” that was slavery. But they had faith that one day they would live as free people, “and if they didn’t see it their children would,” Lauranett Lee, curator of African-American history for the Virginia Historical Society, told a group gathered one Sunday evening at St. John’s Church.  Lee noted that her talk was on the 225th anniversary of Virginia’s religious-freedom statute, “the most radical result of the American Revolution.”  RTD

Virginia Randolph Museum, Henrico Co.: BOS taking control:  The Henrico County Board of Supervisors plans to preserve the historic property. Virginia Randolph, a pioneer educator who worked in Henrico County for 57 years, was a daughter of slaves.  WDBJ

Henricus Historical Park, Chesterfield Co.Anniversary year: Throughout 2011, Henricus Historical Park will celebrate 400 years of history in the Richmond Region as the site of North America’s second successful English settlement. TravelVideoNews

Lynchburg Area: New additions to VLR: WDBJ

Western Region and Southside:

Bristol: Plans underway to renovate historic warehouse:  Architect Bill Huber made a lengthy presentation, showing concepts for rehabilitating the two-story Bristol Builder’s Supply-Central Warehouse into office space for school division administrators, work areas for part of school maintenance operations and a new space for board meetings.  Herald Courier

Wise Co.: Group works to restore Wise Inn: For the past 100 years, the Wise Inn has been a landmark for Southwest Virginia residents, but in the last 20 years has fallen into disrepair. A series of private owners proved unable to peel back the layers of time on the building, and the Wise County Industrial Development Authority purchased the building in December 2007.  Herald Courier

Roanoke, Old Heironimus Warehouse: Gets new life despite unexpected structural problems:  By the time the project is finished in June or July, the renovation costs could be upward of $500,000. It’s only working financially because a previous owner won recognition for the building on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. Those designations qualify the rehab project for historic tax credits.  Roanoke Times

Roanoke: Firetrucks from 1950s through 1970s:  Nice photos and information about various models of firetrucks that served City of Roanoke. Va Fire News

Historic Henry Co. Courthouse: Re-purposed: The former Henry County courthouse in uptown Martinsville is now home to the Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society. The courthouse, the oldest part of which was built in 1824, was restored to its 1929 appearance using $93,000 from The Harvest Foundation and $98,000 from Save America’s Treasures, as well as private contributions. Martinsville Bulletin.  See this DHR slide show about the courthouse.

Danville, Dan River Inc. Personnel Building: Listed on Virginia Landmarks Register:  The Dan River mill owners used the building to provide child care, a health clinic and meeting space for employees. GoDanRiver NBC12

Blacksburg, Yellow Sulphur Springs: Jim Crow-era resort served blacks:  In the late 1920s, during the days of segregation that legally separated white and black communities, Yellow Sulphur Springs was operated by and for African-Americans as a resort. However, until the recent discoveries of a VT professor this fact was virtually unknown.  Roanoke Times

Coal Heritage Trail: Plan progresses: A corridor management plan is complete for the 325-mile driving route, with detailed descriptions of some of the places and things that might appeal to visitors and help tell the region’s history. Herald Courier

Statewide:

Chesapeake Bay: New map charts shipwrecks: Commissioned by National Geographic, Don Shomette, who’s written volumes about nautical history, was tasked with culling the 7,000 known shipwrecks to the 2,200 featured ones on the map. Based on predictive modeling, he said between 10,000 and 12,000 wrecks are believed to lie on or beneath the sea floor. USA Today

Better Ideas for Growth: Op-ed: “Urban planners, elected officials and all others who care about preserving the scenic wonder and great places of Virginia, will want to get a copy of an insightful new book: Better Models for Development in the Shenandoah Valley 2010.”  Times Dispatch

Buildings, Landscapes, and Memory: New book by Daniel Bluestone:  Bluestone chronicles historic preservation in the United States through 10 case studies that look at preservation from the early days of the new nation, when French general and American Revolutionary supporter Marquis de Lafayette toured the U.S. in 1824 and 1825, to the restoration and preservation of lands that were once toxic landscapes, which provides a more broad and more diverse understanding of our world today. UVa Today

Virginia Landmarks Register: 15 new sites added in DecemberVirginian-Pilot

Beyond Virginia:

Calder Loth’s “Classicist Blog”Ionic of the Erechtheum: DHR’s senior architectural historian Calder Loth (now part-time with DHR) contributes to a monthly blog on the website of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America. His most recent illustrated posting examines the Ionic of the Erechtheum, “commonly acknowledged to be the most beautiful of the Greek Ionic orders.”  Classicist Blog

Robert E. Lee: 150 Years After Civil War/NPR’s Talk of Nation: NPR’s Neal Conan spoke with historian Noah Andre Trudeau, reporter Mary Hadar, and Joseph Riley, mayor of Charleston, S.C., about how and why we mark the anniversary of the Civil War. NPR

National Building Museum: “Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey“:  Why has Roman classicism been so pervasive for 2,000 years? And why, during the past two centuries, did many European and American architects rebel against classicism’s aesthetic dominance and stylistic constraints? In the rejection of classicism, has something been lost? Some answers to these questions can be found at the NBM’s exhibition. WashPost

Wench: Novel explores relationship between slave owners and slave mistresses: Dolen Perkins-Valdez was reading a biography of W.E.B. DuBois when she came across the small aside. It was piece of history she hadn’t known, and couldn’t stop thinking about.  The land for Ohio’s Wilberforce University, the nation’s oldest private historically black college, where DuBois had once taught, at one time had been part of a resort–a place called Tawawa House, where wealthy Southern slaveholders would take their slave mistresses for open-air “vacations.”  Washington Post

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DHR News Clips, November 19

November 19, 2010

Greetings,

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

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley

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

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

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

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

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

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

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

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

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

Capital & Central Region

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western Region

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

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

Statewide

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

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

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

Beyond Virginia

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


DHR News Clips, Aug. 2-21

August 19, 2010

News from DHR:

Greetings,

Last week the Virginia Department of Historic Resources conducted a survey of an undocumented shipwreck in the York River, situated near previously documented Revolutionary War shipwrecks that are now listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

The survey, funded through DHR’s “Threatened Sites Program,” set out to map and confirm if the ship, discovered in 2008 through sonar, was associated with Lord Cornwallis’s fleet from the Battle of Yorktown.

The preliminary conclusion of the archaeologists from DHR and Tidewater Atlantic Research involved in the project, which wrapped up Thursday, is that the ship is almost certainly part of Cornwallis’s fleet.  A report is expected later this year.

Meanwhile, if you missed it, here are a few of the stories the survey generated and that carried the news around the world:

Yorktown Survey Articles:

Pre-survey story:  Two years ago a sonar company in Gloucester was testing equipment in the York River when the  crew hit the jackpot: an uncharted shipwreck on the river bottom.  “That was quite a surprise,” said David Hazzard, an archaeologist with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.  Virginia Gazette

During survey: Two of the nation’s foremost underwater archaeologists began work in the river off Yorktown Beach Wednesday morning, surveying the previously undetected wreck of a ship that may have been scuttled by the British during the Revolution.  Brought in by the Department of Historic Resources’ Threatened Sites Program, the team includes John D. Broadwater and Gordon Watts.  Daily Press

During survey: Archaeologists dived to a shipwreck Wednesday that they suspect dates to the Siege of Yorktown.  Working in 16-20 feet of olive-green water, four divers found a nearly fully buried 40-foot section of hull on the bottom of the York River, said Dave Hazzard, one of the divers and an archaeologist with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.  Free Lance-Star / AP

Post survey:  A veteran team of underwater archaeologists working off Yorktown Beach concluded a survey of a recently discovered shipwreck late Thursday.  But despite delays caused by lightning, they came away with evidence linking the half-buried vessel to the fleet of some 60 ships scuttled along the shore by Gen. Charles Lord Cornwallis’ embattled British forces during the October 1781 Siege of Yorktown.  Daily Press

Post Survey: Diver Dave Hazzard said metal probes were used Thursday to plot out the new, 27-foot section of the hull. He said that section and a 40-foot portion of the hull found Wednesday would be consistent with the size of other wrecks found off of Yorktown.  Associated Press

Post Survey:  The ship is about 67 feet long and 22 feet wide; its dimensions suggest the vessel was about 160 tons, according to David Hazzard, an archaeologist with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in the Tidewater region.  Williamsburg-Yorktown Daily

Annual Virginia Preservation Conference:

Please mark your calendars and join DHR and Preservation Virginia at the 25th Annual Virginia Preservation Conference, September 20-21 in Hampton. This year’s conference, titled “Playing for Keeps: Challenges and Benefits of Heritage Stewardship,” will focus, in part, on Fort Monroe.  For more information and to see an agenda or to register, visit Preservation Virginia.

Cemetery Preservation Workshop:

DHR staff will be conducting a two-day cemetery preservation workshop on September 10-11 at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville.  For more information, visit this link or contact Dee.Deroche@dhr.virginia.gov.

New National Register Listings

The National Park Service has listed the following sites on the National Register of Historic Places:  Floris Historic District, Fairfax Co.; Calverton Historic District, Fauquier Co.; and Portsmouth Community Library, Portsmouth.

Rosenwald Schools in Virginia

We have posted a new slide show, “Rosenwalds in Virginia,” to the DHR website for our “Historic Virginia / Site of the Month” feature, found on the DHR homepage.  Consisting of 17 slides, the show features three Rosenwalds listed on the state and national registers: Dry Bridge School, in Martinsville; Scrabble School, in Rappahannock Co., and Shady Grove School, Louisa Co, and also includes some wonderful historic and contemporary images.  See the slide show.

* * * * *

Now here are some of the news items gleaned from around the state (and beyond) since the beginning of August. I’ve arranged them thematically, in hopes you can home in on areas of most interest.

Civil War Related

Wilderness Walmart, Orange Co.Trial date set:  A judge set a January trial date for a lawsuit challenging Orange County’s approval of a Walmart Supercenter in the Wilderness battlefield area.  Circuit Judge Daniel R. Bouton scheduled the trial to run Jan. 25 through Feb. 3.   Free Lance-Star

Staunton: Columnist: Ex-Confederate made city business history: “Had the Yankees been a little nicer to Stephen D. Timberlake, generations of Stauntonians might never have benefited from his prodigious business acumen.”   News Leader

Stafford Co.: Civil War park underway:  Vulcan Materials Co. will donate 5,000 tons of gravel to the park effort.  Backers of the park want it to commemorate Stafford’s important but often overlooked role in the Civil War.  No battles occurred in the county, but some 130,000 Union troops spent the winter of 1862-63 camped in Stafford, regrouping between the key battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Free Lance-Star

Kelly’s Ford, Culpeper & Fauquier Cos.:  Civil War site is being trashed:  Recreational overuse and abuse of Kelly’s Ford has prompted local officials and volunteers to take action.  The Brandy Station Foundation owns the Culpeper bank of Kelly’s Ford.  Foundation president Bud Hall says his group and other preservation foundations are working to stop the abuses.  Star-Exponent More here: Free Lance-Star

Staunton River Battlefield, Halifax & Charlotte Cos.Historic Staunton River Foundation receives Civil War document:  HSRF has accepted donation of the 1864 “minutes” of the Employees of the Danville Arsenal. These rare “minutes” from Captain W. H. Otey’s Company include particulars of the defense of the Staunton River Bridge.  Virginian Gazette

Prince William Co.: Prepares for Civil War Sesquicentennial:   Over the past decade, the county has invested more than $16 million to preserve historic sites, including “The Prince William Civil War Heritage Trail’ which includes 25 key sites and Civil War Trails markers. Inside NOVA

Fredericksburg: Legal battle over the location of a memorial to Confederate dead to go to trial:  The City Council wants the SCV’s Matthew Fontaine Maury Camp No. 1722 to remove a granite-and-bronze memorial it erected in early 2009 to honor 51 Confederate soldiers who were buried nearby. The small monument sits on one corner of the much-larger Fredericksburg Area War Memorial. A court must decide some of the facts disputed by both sides.  Free Lance-Star

Rocky Mount, Franklin Co.Replacement Confederate memorial dedicated:  During an hour-long ceremony attended by Confederate re-enactors, dignitaries and more than 100 bystanders, the county’s history was applauded, and a new statue was unveiled.  Roanoke Times More here:  Franklin Co. Post

Museums:

Virginia Historical Society: Opens new exhibit on rockabilly: The exhibit, “Virginia  Rocks! The History of Rockabilly in the Commonwealth,” runs from Aug. 28 through Dec. 12.  The traveling exhibit was organized by the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College.  It looks at more than 60 artists and bands from all over the state who made rockabilly records in small recording studios and radio stations in the 1950s and early 1960s.  It also features well-known musicians like Elvis Presley and Patsy Cline, and Virginia artists Janis Martin, Phil Gray, the Rock-A-Teens and the Dazzlers. VHS

Lancaster and Northumberland Cos: New exhibits focus on watermen’s history:  Great steamboats and menhaden rigs are featured in new or updated exhibits at two Northern Neck museums that do an inspired job of interpreting the commerce and history of the Chesapeake Bay region. While the exhibits at the Irvington Steamboat Era Museum and Reedville Fishermen’s Museum tell very different stories, there’s actually some crossover in the designers and model builders who helped create them.  Free Lance-Star

Landmarks/Districts in the News:

Mount VernonFamily traces history back to Washington’s slaves: For the Quanders, their connection to Washington is at the heart of familial lore.  It’s a history they celebrate and lament but continue to pass on.  Quanders from all over the East Coast toured the estate, gathering around a memorial to the hundreds of slaves who lived and died here in the 1700s. Somewhere nearby, the Quander matriarch and field laborer Suckey Bay is buried in an unmarked grave.  Washington Post

Clifton, Fairfax Co.Group seeks to register historic school:  Parents of current and future Clifton students, with the help of the local nonprofit group Friends of Community Schools, have formally nominated the elementary school’s circa-1953 building for inclusion in the Town of Clifton Historic District. Washington Examiner

Fairlington, Arlington Co.:  An appreciation of the close-knit neighborhood:  Built in the early 1940s at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to house defense workers, the 322-acre, 3,400-unit complex was the largest publicly financed housing development at that time. Despite wartime supply shortages, the buildings — a mix of townhouses and apartments — were made with sturdy materials: solid brick exteriors, oak floors and slate roofs.  Washington Post

Shenandoah Co., CourthouseTask force still looking at plans for 1795 building’s futureNVDaily

Charlottesville: Jefferson School plans raise controversy:  “The story of the sale of the Jefferson School to a group that wants to preserve it as the center of African-American history in the city sounds almost too good to be true, particularly given Charlottesville’s history of taxpayer-funded giveaways.  So when the city sells a property valued at $10 million to a private company for the nominal sum of $100,000 (a price actually coming out of nearly $6 million handed to the project from city coffers), how can this be a good deal for the community? The Hook finds out.”  The Hook

Charlottesville1939 Coca-Cola building soon to be vacant: The Mid-Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Co. announced last month that it would be closing its Charlottesville sales and distribution center. “There’s a whole string of historic buildings along Preston Avenue,” said Mary Joy Scala, the city’s preservation and design planner.  “I think it’s important that this building is saved, but also it’s a great location because it’s so close to downtown.”  Daily Progress

Ingles Ferry, RadfordHistoric gem: Visitors and volunteers at Radford’s Ingles Ferry take part in the site’s history for different reasons but agree that it’s a gem for the area. The 18th-century living history farm is best known as the site of the cabin of Mary Draper Ingles, whose story of escaping Indian captivity and returning home after an arduous trek has been re-told in books, films and re-enactments.  The Roanoke Times

Accomack Co.Central High School listed on state register:  Built in two phases in 1932 and 1935, the school is “an excellent example of a pre-World War II Art Deco high school and a rare example of Art Deco architecture on the Eastern Shore, especially on a monumental scale,” according to the nomination form.  Eastern Shore News

St. John’s Church, HamptonEnglish America’s oldest continuous parish and its 1728 landmark church: “Not many churches have this kind of story — and certainly not over such a period of time,” says James Tormey, author of “How Firm a Foundation: The 400-Year History of Hampton, Virginia’s St. John’s Episcopal Church.”  Daily Press

Landmark Lost:

Blackstone, Nottoway Co.Fire destroys landmark Ambuster house:   For many in the tiny town of Blackstone, the Armbruster estate is an icon.  A symbol of their community.  Now it’s gone and neighbors are stunned.  The home, once used as a restaurant and a hotel, according to townspeople, burned to the ground around last week.    WTVR

Archaeology:

Newport News: Warwick Town artifacts exhibited:  Artifacts showcasing the history of Warwick Town — which for many years were nearly inaccessible to the public — are now on display at the Main Street Library.  Warwick Town was founded in 1680 at the confluence of the James and Warwick rivers, and dissolved in 1813. Today, the Newport News City Farm is located where the thriving river town once existed. The town included a courthouse, tavern, tobacco inspection warehouse and homes.  Daily Press

Hampton Colonial era site emerging:  When archaeologists began exploring the site of the future Old Point Bank headquarters weeks ago, they feared that any clues to this historic town’s lost colonial landscape might have been destroyed by later construction.  Instead, more than 800 features have been unearthed since the downtown dig began in June, including an early 18th-century structure, a recently discovered cellar and three wells that date to the period when Hampton ranked among Colonial America’s busiest port towns.  Daily Press

Other News:

Richmond: Columnist:  Developer French’s problems don’t negate tax credits’ value:  “The face of Richmond would be unrecognizable without state historic tax credits to renovate old buildings . . . . ‘It’s the best economic-development tool that Virginia has. And without it, these projects won’t happen,'[developer Robin] Miller said.”  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Route 5 Corridor, Henrico Co.: Public forum focuses on road’s future:  Planners envision the corridor becoming a friendly stretch for walkers, joggers and cyclists, among others.  “We’re starting with a blank slate,” RRPDC Principal Planner Lee Yolton told those in attendance.  “We’re looking for your vision.  There is going to be a lot of future development. We want to try to get ahead of the curve.”  Henrico Citizen

Virginia Indians: Baptist execs urge federal recognition:  The top executives of two Virginia Baptist groups have joined other religious leaders in calling for federal recognition of six Native American tribes in the state.  Federal recognition acknowledges a tribe’s sovereignty in dealing with the U.S. government and qualifies tribal members for federal education and health-care programs.   Associated Baptist Press

Spotsylvania Co.Couple’s plans for inn move ahead:  Dan and Debbie Spear are gaining notoriety for reusing old, rustic structures and turning them into quarters for guests at their inn.  The county has approved a tax incentive plan for the  Spears, who will get business tax incentives for building a 10,000-square-foot event center that will host weddings and other special occasions.   One of the chief attractions of the property are Civil War trenches Union troops dug in May 1864.  Free Lance-Star

Orange Co.: Woman helps build new chapter of DAR:  Debbie DeHart organized the Mine Run chapter in 2006.  It was chartered a year later, and currently has an astounding 78 members, including 74 who didn’t belong to DAR before DeHart corralled them.  Here’s her lure:  She offers to do the legwork to see if she can connect modern residents to the 1770s.  Free Lance-Star

Richmond Co.: Writer’s appreciation for preservationist Francene Barber:  “I’m saddened to say that this woman who always knew how to make history come alive, who gave freely of her time to so many Northern Neck attractions and efforts, won’t be doing that any longer.  She died Sunday [Aug. 2] at Westminster Canterbury in Irvington at the age of 80.  Free Lance-Star

University of Virginia: Receives grant to bolster history education: In partnership with the Southwest Virginia Public Education Consortium and the Wythe County school system, the UVa. project aims to address the lack of resources with a three-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s “Teaching American History Program.”  Through the grant, a group of Virginia history teachers will participate in “My History Partner,” a new support program its creators hope will ultimately increase students’ knowledge and performance. UVa Today

Culpeper Co.Baseball Hall of Fame will correct record for Negro League player Pete Hill: Thanks to the genealogical sleuthing of a Virginia historian/journalist, the Hall of Fame announced in late July that it will commission a new, correct plaque and unveil it on Oct. 12 — more than a century after John Preston Hill was born in Culpeper County. A star on some of the greatest early black teams — the Cuban X-Giants, Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants and Chicago American Giants — he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006 with 16 other African-Americans.  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Culpeper Historical SocietyGone:  After a 40-year run, the CHS officially became part of history in June.  Local attorney Butch Davies, who was president of the society in 1975 and remained a life member until the end, said it became clear that the CHS was no longer serving its intended purpose. CHS’s accumulated $65,000, and will split the money between the Culpeper Library Foundation and the Museum of Culpeper History.  Star-Exponent

Forthcoming Events

International Preservation Trades WorkshopsFrankfurt Kentucky October 21-23:  IPTW workshops provide an opportunity to interact with tradespeople from across the globe and to ask lots of questions regarding technical preservation trades matters.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to ask questions and get them answered.  For more information, visit IPTW.

Virginia Indian Festival: To be held at Riverbend Park in Great Falls, 10 am- 4 pm, Saturday, Sept. 11. This celebration of the American Indian returns after a two-year hiatus. Members of eight tribes of Virginia Indians will be featured, including the Upper Mattaponi, to share their culture, dance, storytelling and history at this family-friendly celebration.  Events will feature canoe and arrowhead building, archery and spear throwing, animal hide tanning and a chance to see totem poles, Indian costumes and tools.  Admission: $5, under three free.  See more information.  

Colonial Williamsburg Annual brick kiln burn scheduled: Fans of CW’s annual brick kiln burn can double the experience this year. This year the Historic Trades brickmakers will ignite two kilns several months apart.  The first burn begins Sept. 8 as brickmakers stoke the kiln fires for five days to push the kiln’s internal temperatures to nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The second kiln burn is scheduled to begin Dec. 8. Reconstruction of the James Anderson Blacksmith and Public Armoury, perhaps wartime Williamsburg’s most important industrial site, will require more than 25,000 bricks in three different sizes.  Virginia Gazette

Beyond Virginia

Georgia: Camp Lawton located: A succession of scholars and officials, including a U.S. congressman, spoke during a ceremony to announce the discovery of the exact location of Camp Lawton, a Civil War stockade that housed some 10,000 Union prisoners. Camp Lawton, constructed in late 1864 to help relieve overcrowding at the prison at Andersonville, held Northern soldiers and housed hundreds of Confederates who guarded them.  Savannah Morning News Also related story here CNN

National Park Service: Partnership with Temple University recruits students to guard NPS sites: The National Park Service, facing a shortage of rangers, sought out Temple students to stand guard over the sites where U.S. history was made,The four-year, paid internship program is called ProRanger Philadelphia. Temple students are also law enforcment rangers at the early English settlements in Virginia, the place where the Declaration of Independence was written in Philadelphia and at major battlefields of the Civil War, among other spots.Temple was chosen for its nationally ranked criminal justice program and for its diversity Associated Press

Blair Mountain, West Va.: The battle to preserve it and the man who is leading the charge:  It was on Blair Mountain in 1921 that an army of coal miners clashed with an armed force representing the authorities in league with coal companies — the largest battle on American soil since the Civil War and a watershed in labor’s struggle for recognition.  L.A. Times

Green Buildings: Op-Ed: Why they “won’t save the planet”:  “‘Green’ buildings alone are not enough to divert our perilous course. A broader vision of sustainability is imperative to meet America’s challenge. We must decide if we are willing to change our behavior: to migrate toward more populated, more diverse, more sustainable cities. Only by changing behavior — particularly suburban sprawl and its accompanying carbon intensive lifestyle — can the United States reach ecological balance. Strategies for maximizing the potential of our urban cores’ existing vitality and infrastructure must be the basis for any definition of sustainability.”  CNN


DHR News Clips, July 20 — Aug. 6, 2010

August 7, 2010

Greetings,

I was away on vacation at the end of July.  Here are some of the interesting news items from around Virginia during the past three weeks.

Randy Jones, Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources

Statewide

Battlefield Preservation: Man’s legacy will help preserve four Civil War battlefields in Virginia:  Karl M. Lehr entrusted his estate to the Civil War Round Table of Eastern Pennsylvania. The group now is donating Lehr’s bequest–with interest–to three separate efforts to save four Virginia battlefields. The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, based in Fredericksburg, will receive $53,000 to help preserve 93 acres of the Wilderness battlefield in Spotsylvania.  Another $53,000 will go to the Richmond Battlefields Association toward purchase of 13 acres at Fussell’s Mill and 4 acres at the Malvern Hill battlefield. The Civil War Preservation Trust, based in Washington, will get $22,000 for 10 acres at Manassas.  Free Lance-Star

Farmland in VirginiaLoss of acreage slows:  The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced earlier this month that loss of farmland to development appears to be slowing in the Commonwealth. Virginia lost 81,500 acres of agricultural land directly to developed uses between 1997 and 2002 but lost 25 percent less–60,800 acres–between 2002 and 2007.   Brookneal Union Star

Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech: Interview with Sec. Domenech: “[He] calls himself a ‘granola Republican’ who loves the outdoors. But he also is a self-professed climate change skeptic and is not reluctant to decry what he calls ‘shocking’ behavior by his regulatory counterparts at the federal level. Domenech had a wide-ranging conversation recently about jobs, energy and the environment.”  Blue Ridge Business Journal: Pt 1 Pt. II

Virginia Indians: One writer reflects about her “lost” family history and Virginia’s “lost” history: “The only surviving photo I have of my great-great-grandmother, on my mother’s side, hangs in my parents’ house. She was a Native American. . . . Very little has been passed down through the oral history of our family about this woman. . . .” Richmond Times-Dispatch

Capital & Central Region

Hatton Ferry, Albemarle Co.Profile of a singular place:  “Once upon a time in America, this was the way we crossed rivers.  We boarded flat-bottomed ferries, tethered to land by rope, and glided slowly but surely from shore to shore, propelled by nothing more than the flow of the river and the strength of the ferryman poling the craft through the water.”  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Hatton Ferry #2: Voice-over slideshowThe Hatton Ferry

Hatton Ferry #3: Success raises parking problems:  When the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society took over the ferry in order to keep this link with the past alive, too many visitors for available parking was not then a concern.  The Daily Progress

William Faulkner: UVa launches audio archive:  During spring semesters in 1957 and 1958, at 36 different public events, Faulkner gave two addresses, read a dozen times from eight of his works and answered more than 1,400 questions.  Fortunately, two English department faculty members had the presence of mind to preserve those conversations, which have now been compiled into “Faulkner at Virginia: An Audio Archive.”  Besides recordings and transcripts, the site contains a trove of photos, documents and scholarly articles.   News Leader Website: Faulkner at Virginia: An Audio Archive

Buckingham Co.Historic company continues to mine prized slate:  The slate that lies in the county’s hills has attracted entrepreneurs for centuries now.  Since Colonial times, the durable material has been quarried and shipped to builders who prized it as a roofing material, or to stonemasons to make historical markers and tombstones.  “It’s recognized as the best in the world,” said Mark Claud, president of Buckingham Slate Co., a 143-year-old company based in Arvonia that quarries and sells the famous stone.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Appomattox Co.Gains first VDOF conservation easement:  The Virginia Department of Forestry has secured its first conservation easement in the county– a 275-acre working forest easement owned by Joan Rockwell and Hugh Radcliffe.  The property, known as Rockcliffe Farm, borders the James River near the Beckham community.  DOF Press Release More here: The News & Advance

Powhatan Co.: Proposed State Police shooting range continues to draw fire: Gov. Bob McDonnell has directed his secretary of public safety and the superintendent of state police to look at all options regarding a controversial state police shooting range and training facility proposed for the county.  The planned range has drawn intense opposition from residents and county leaders, and the FBI has confirmed that it is pulling out of the project. It was supposed to contribute the bulk of the funding.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond: Developer Justin French: Agents raided the Shockoe Slip offices of embattled developer French. The FBI would not say what they were investigating but said the search warrant was sealed. However, two sources close to the investigation said French might have violated the rules that allow developers to obtain historic tax credits from the state and federal governments  RichmondBizSense.com Also here: Richmond Times-Dispatch Previous story (Aug. 1)Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond #2:  History and bar tour: “Whether you’re a dedicated drinker looking to expand your horizons or a history buff trying to let loose, select from these pairings of iconic Richmond historical sites and drinking establishments.” Richmond.com

Virginia Capitol: Green project launched:  Gov. Bob McDonnell broke ground last week on a set of construction projects that will “green” Virginia’s Capitol grounds and surrounding Richmond streets.  These projects that will retrofit the Capitol and make it one of the greenest in the nation. Several low impact development techniques will let storm water slowly infiltrate rather than flow over the ground and into the James River.  WHSV

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

WilliamsburgSite of first school in U.S. for African Americans?: Terry Meyers, an English professor with a penchant for local history, suggests that the College of William and Mary was instrumental in opening a school in 1760 — at the urging of Benjamin Franklin, no less — and so became the first college in America involved in the education of black students.  Washington Post

Williamsburg#2: Architectural historian Calder Loth on “The Block Modillion”:  “The block modillion is a little used classical detail but one meriting greater attention.  Hardly any architectural treatises or glossaries make note of it. . . .  One of America’s earliest uses of the block modillion is the exterior cornice of the 1748 Public Records office in Williamsburg, Virginia. . . .” Read his well-illustrated blog here:   Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America

James River Institute: Profile of the archaeology firm:  Long before Nick Luccketti and other archaeologists arrived at the corner of East Queens Way and Wine Street in Hampton last month, they knew that 18th-century dwellings once occupied part of the half-acre site.  Since the 1960s, state and federal efforts to protect culturally significant properties from development spurred demand for professional archaeologists like those at James River Institute.  Virginian-Pilot

Hampton Roads: 10 obscure, weird or plain interesting places:  Click a number on the map to begin reading the story behind the location.  Virginian-Pilot

Tidewater Oyster IndustrySuffers from BP spill:  While most attention from the oil spill centers on the gulf, there are businesses throughout the country that are feeling the weight of the spill. Virginia’s oyster industry has lost $11.6 million since April, according to a report from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.   Daily Press More here: Richmond Times-Dispatch

NorfolkEntrepreneurs offering historic tours:  Several local businesses have opened in recent years to capitalize on Norfolk’s rich 400-year history by adding some creativity to their guided tours, hoping it will allow tourists to discover the city in new ways.  Virginian Pilot

Southampton Co.Grant to develop Nat Turner tour:  A $420,000 federal grant, with a matching $105,000 from the Southampton County Historical Society, will be used to create a driving tour through the county, marking Turner’s path. There are plans for an “electronic map” at the Rebecca Vaughan House in Courtland. Vaughan’s house was the last place people were killed in 1831, and it will serve as the visitor s center for the tour.  Virginian-Pilot

Tiffany Lamps / Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk: Exhibit reveals work of Clara Driscoll, not Tiffany:  Driscoll was mentioned in 1894 as the head of the women’s glass-cutting department in the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Now experts label her the designer of treasured lamps on display in an internationally touring show of Tiffany glass at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, which has a world-renowned Tiffany collection.  The egotistical artist-designer Tiffany might be mortified that the world has learned that most of his signature lamps–much-copied icons of American decorative arts–were actually designed by Driscoll and her “Tiffany girls.”  Virginian-Pilot

Sebrell, Southampton Co.: Public meeting scheduled for proposed historic district: A proposal to designate the Sebrell area as a historic district is moving forward with a public hearing to discuss the issue.  DHR will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11, in the board room of the county’s administration building at 26022 Administration Center Drive in Courtland.  Tidewater News

Suffolk, Nansemond Indian Tribe: Council ends talks to transfer land to tribe: The dream of having part of its ancestral land back is apparently dead for the Nansemond Indian Tribe.  City officials and an attorney for the tribe have confirmed a letter had been sent to the tribe that essentially ends talks on a transfer of land at Lone Star Lakes to the tribal association.  Suffolk News-Herald

Preservation Planning for Campuses, Complexes, and Installations, Hampton: September 28-29:  The workshop is being hosted in cooperation with Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority, DHR, and the U.S. Army, Fort Monroe. The advance registration rate is available through August 17.  The workshop will focus on understanding how buildings and landscapes contribute to the institutional identity of campuses, complexes, and installations.  More info an agenda here:  www.npi.org.

Roanoke & Southwest

Smyth Co., African American HistoryImportant document preserved:  The Library of Virginia has conserved a document found in the Smyth County courthouse that could prove invaluable to students of local African-American genealogies and other historians. Titled “The Register of Colored Persons of Smyth County, Virginia, cohabitating together as Husband and Wife on 27th February 1866,” and hand-penned in ink long-since oxidized but still legible, the document “is the first legal recognition of slaves’ marriages and the first legal recognition of their lives,” said Circuit Court Clerk John Graham.  SWVA.com

Poplar Forest, Bedford Co.:  Archaeology focuses on Jefferson’s historic landscape design:  This summer, activity and focus at the site has shifted to an exterior project led by Jack Gary, director of archaeology and landscapes at the third president’s Forest plantation.  The goal is to locate and eventually re-establish Jefferson’s landscaping and other outdoor features that have disappeared during the past 200 years.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginia’s Coal Heritage Trail: Supporters push for a national byway designation: The Coal Heritage Trail is already designated as a state scenic highway in Virginia. It winds more than 325 miles through the beautiful mountains of Southwest Virginia, including seven counties and one city. Beyond providing a welcomed tourism boost to the coalfield counties of Southwest Virginia, a national byway designation would also help promote additional economic development and historical preservation in the region. Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Virginia Tech: Landmark tree downed:  The sycamore on the hill was cut down piece by piece. Some say the tree was on the Henderson Lawn when VT was founded in 1872.  WSLS10.com

Explore Park, Roanoke & Bedford CountiesNew plans proposed:  After a Florida developer’s $200 million vision for a resort at Virginia’s Explore Park faded away this year due to lack of finances, a “Plan B” to bring new life to the site is taking shape.  The Virginia Recreational Facilities Authority, the board that governs the 1,100-acre park, was presented a preliminary plan from a consortium of stakeholders last month.  News Advance

Abingdon, Washington Co.: Sec. Domenech visits town:  Strolling the Barter Green and touring the Muster Ground recently, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech said Abingdon sets an example on preserving history.  “The folks at DHR [Department of Historic Resources in Richmond] have just talked about the amount of tax incentives here and how wisely the town has been able to seek out and use state support and federal support and private foundation support,” Domenech said. “It’s a great model for the rest of the state.”  Bristol Herald News

Abingdon, Washington Co.Recently-arrived resident leads local history tours: Carl Mallory has been researching Abingdon’s history for the past four years, ever since he bought a home on Main Street.  Now Mallory, a self-proclaimed history buff, conducts historical walking-tours of downtown Abingdon for the Virginia Highlands Festival.  One Sunday, while many people were buying new crafts and other goods along Remsburg Drive, Mallory explained the rich history of the 270-year-old town.  Bristol Herald

Washington Co.: BOS creates conservation program: The Washington County Board of Supervisors decided this past week to create a Purchase of Development Rights program for the county, which would allow landowners to sell the right to develop their property, keeping it rural in perpetuity.  Bristol Herald

Chatham, Pittsylvania Co.: VT group offers plan for visual enhancements: The Community Design Assistance Center, an outreach of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, has completed a report that recommends visual improvements to the town’s entrances, medians, and downtown area, along with recommendations on a trail, model ordinances and grants.  Star-Tribune

Pittsylvania Co.NRC names uranium study committee: The National Research Council has named a 13-member provisional committee for a scientific study of uranium mining in Virginia. Virginia Uranium announced plans three years ago to explore mining uranium at Coles Hill, about six miles northeast of Chatham.  Discovered in the early 1980s, the uranium deposit is one of the largest in the U.S. and is worth an estimated $7 billion.  Star-Tribune

Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville: Technology costs may increase nearly 66 % this fiscal year: Joe Keiper, executive director at VMNH, said he recently received a memo that the museum will have to pay the entire cost of services it gets from the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. Martinsville Bulletin

NOVA & Shenandoah Valley

City of Fairfax: Historic photographs of Fairfax county available online:  A new partnership between the Virginia Room at the City of Fairfax Regional Library and the Library of Virginia has resulted in a total of 574 historic photos recently added to the Library of Virginia’s online photo database. This allows people to pore over photos showing the county’s agrarian past, the important role it played during the Civil War and the rapid changes over the past few decades.  Connection Newspapers

Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park: USA Travel Guide highlights park: The W&OD RPR exists to preserve the path originally cut for the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, which served the short line from Alexandria to Bluemont as late as 1968. While almost all remnants of the actual rail lines are gone today, the rail bed has been repaved in asphalt and has blossomed into a truly remarkable historic recreation trail. Today you can follow all 44.8 miles from just outside Alexandria to the town of Purcellville.  USA Travel Guide

Mount VernonOne family’s reunion: One of the oldest and largest black families in America, the Quanders celebrated a part of their 85th reunion this year at Mount Vernon, the Virginia home of George Washington, where some of the family’s ancestors were once held as slaves.  NPR

Loudoun Co., Mountain Gap FarmPlaced under conservation easement: Sandy Lerner, owner of Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, has placed the 350-acre Mountain Gap Farm south of Leesburg near Oatlands Plantation under protective conservation easement with the county. The farm dates back to 1741.  The property contains a 19th century archaeological site, house and six ancillary structures.  Leesburg Today

Montpelier, Orange Co.Archaeology focuses on African American history:  Archaeologists are unearthing the undisturbed remains of slave dwellings.  The actual dwellings of house, stable, garden and field slaves were abandoned abruptly in about 1840. But the sites on which they had stood were never dug up again, leaving a trove for researchers.  “We’ve just got an incredible playground for aarchaeologists to work in,” said Matthew Reeves, director of archaeology at Montpelier.  The Daily Progress

Montpelier #2: Students participate in archaeology field school:  James Madison University students were among college students from all over the country who, in separate month-long sessions, got to live at the historic home of the nation’s fourth president. Their charge: spending long days doing excavations to find and understand the layout of the lost Madison Stable Quarter, made up of the stables, a blacksmith’s shop and slave quarters.  The student work fits in with a three-year effort to investigate the life and quarters of slaves who toiled at Montpelier during Madison’s time.  Free Lance-Star

Brandy Station Battlefield, Culpeper Co.: Two new easements preserve additional land:  The two conservation easements on the sprawling battleground–site of the world’s largest cavalry engagement–add 782 acres to the 1,000 acres preserved there since 1987.  The 349-acre northern tract, which includes nearly a mile of Hazel River frontage, is where Union Brig. Gen. John Buford’s cavalry fought Confederate troopers led by W.H.F. “Rooney” Lee, Robert E. Lee’s middle son.  Its easement was donated by Beauregard Farms LP.  The southern tract, comprising 433 acres southwest of Culpeper Regional Airport, includes land where Union Col. Thomas Devin’s Federal cavalry repeatedly clashed with Confederates led by Gen. Wade Hampton. Free Lance-Star

Brandy Station #2: Editorial praises easements: “IMAGINE: It could have been a 3.4-million-square-foot development of condominiums, a multiplex theater, a water park, an equestrian center, a hotel and asphalt, lots of asphalt. Instead, thanks to some generous landowners, 443 acres in Culpeper County, part of the Brandy Station battlefield, has been preserved.”  Free Lance-Star

Wilderness Battlefield, Orange Co.:  Group to protect more land: The Central Virginia Battlefield Trust will purchase a tract of land adjacent to the Wilderness Battlefield near Rts. 3 and 20. The group moved on the land purchase when the Wilderness Walmart dispute heated up.  “It’s an extremely important piece of property, especially because of it’s close proximity to the new Walmart,”  said a CVBT representative. Orange Co. Review

Staunton: Facebook page features history:  The “I Grew Up in Staunton, Virginia” page is a unique fusion of technology and history that provides a forum for memories, photos, reminiscences and links to articles about Staunton.  The page has posts about everything from businesses that no longer exist, teachers who made a difference, schoolhouse behavior that netted detention hall, news—even descriptions of “characters” who used to populate downtown.   News Leader

Staunton #2Historic pedestrian bridge to be preserved:  A last-minute deal has saved a century-old Staunton bridge from demolition. The city’s Historic Preservation Commission has approved a plan to temporarily take down the Sears Hill pedestrian bridge and let restoration begin.  NBC29.com

Waynesboro, Augusta Co.: New state historical marker dedicated:  About 60 people gathered for the unveiling, including city officials, longtime residents of ‘The Hill’ and many who graduated from the community’s historic all-black Rosenwald School.  The sign honors the the Port Republic Road Historic District, which is one of the city’s oldest intact neighborhoods, said Calder Loth, an architectural historian with DHR.  The neighborhood’s oldest home dates to 1818. By 1867, there were 23 black families in the area.  The News Virginian Also covered here: News Leader

Waynesboro #2 Officials promote Main Street grant program: Downtown merchants last year maxed out a Waynesboro fund that offsets building renovation costs, but money is left untapped some years, so officials are ramping up promotion of the program. The grant program matches business owner investments of up to $5,000 for simple facade improvements such as new signage, awnings and paint, and more extensive reconstruction efforts such as swapping out bricks or restoring historic stonework.  News Virginian

Chapman/Beverley Mill, Prince William Co.:  Dedication event scheduled: The Turn The Mill Around Campaign proudly invites the public to attend the dedication for Chapman/Beverley Mill’s Prince William County Civil War Trails sign on Sunday, August 15, at 11 a.m. at Chapman/Beverley Mill in Thoroughfare Gap in Broad Run. After wards, guests may attend the “John Chapman’s Civil War Nightmare” and partake of refreshments. More info here: www.chapmansmill.org.

Beyond Virginia

New York CityNY Times webpage highlights recent archaeology:  Since the late 1970s, hundreds of archaeological digs around the city have uncovered thousands of artifacts and structures — each of which have helped to shape our understanding of New York’s history. The NY Times editors asked 12 local archaeologists to share their most memorable discoveries.  NY Times

Train Depots: Preservationists on track to save depots: Preservationists weave a bit of time travel and local pride to restore old train stations across the USA. Many are being saved from demolition and finding new uses as museums and businesses. The depots also are reclaiming their roles as community gathering places, says Jerry Hardwich, a spokesman for the National Railway Historical Society.  USA Today

Maryland: Shipwreck could be associated with War of 1812: The sailing ship could be the USS Scorpion, part of a fleet known as the Chesapeake Flotilla that was designed to navigate the shallow waters of the Patuxent River and harass the British, whose Royal Navy at the time was terrorizing towns from Havre de Grace to Norfolk. Researchers hope to find more definitive proof when they map the ship’s dimension  Washington Post

New York City: World Trade Tower-site ship: The ship, discovered in New York on July 12 when its ribs were spotted poking out of the muck as workers were excavating the World Trade Center site, has been shipped to Maryland’s state archaeological conservation laboratory, which specializes in such work.  Washington Post

Timbuctoo, New JerseyArchaeologists’ research of lost African American community part of larger trend: Tmibuctoo was founded by freed blacks and escaped slaves in the 1820s. Archaeological excavation of African American communities such as Timbuctoo is booming across the country, spurred by an increasing number of prominent black academics and politicians and a proliferation of museums dedicated to African American history, whose curators are eager to display the artifacts. Washington Post


DHR News Clips, Week of July 16, 2010

July 18, 2010

News from DHR:

National Register of Historic Places: New listings in Virginia:  Hockley, Gloucester Co.;  “The Work of Marshall Swain Wells, Architect” (Multiple Property Document), Albemarle and other counties;  St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Norfolk.

Statewide Virginia:

Minds Wide Open: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts: Virginia’s First Ladies to honored with portraits: First lady Maureen McDonnell has announced her plan to commission portraits of every living first lady for the mansion’s 200th anniversary in 2013.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Historic Virginia: Buildings and Architecture:  Flickr group has wonderful selection of photographs, ever growing.  Flickr

NoVa & Shenandoah Valley:

Culpeper Co., John Preston “Pete” HillNegro League Hall of Famer:  John Preston “Pete” Hill, born Oct. 12, 1882, was an outfielder and manager in baseball’s Negro Leagues from 1899 to 1925. Hill played for the Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants, Chicago American Giants, Detroit Stars, Milwaukee Bears, and Baltimore Black Sox. He died in Buffalo on Dec. 19, 1951.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.   But his plaque lists his name as “Joseph” and his birthplace is recorded as Pittsburgh, Pa.  Research shows Hill was actually born in Culpeper County, and his family is determined to get that hall of fame entry corrected.   Star-Exponent More here: Star-Exponent

Salubria, Culpeper Co.:  Germanna Foundation researchers pry loose secrets:  Salubria is the 18th-century Georgian-style house built by the widow of colonies founder Alexander Spotswood and her second husband. The popular wisdom had been that Montpelier–the home James Madison built in 1764–influenced the design of Salubria. But the scientific dating process for Salubria’s lumber “places it before wood used in Montpelier.”  Free Lance-Star Also here: Star-Exponent

Battlefield Grants: NPS awards 3 to Virginia:  The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation won $61,500 to “create a new battlefield preservation and planning website … in preparation for the Civil War Sesquicentennial.”  Shenandoah Valley Network was given $21,500 to “secure improved local zoning and planning in two Shenandoah Valley counties.”  Stafford County was selected to receive $77,700 to help recognize one of the first naval engagements of the Civil War, the Battle of Aquia Creek.  InsideNoVa.com

Strasburg, Shenandoah Co.: A block of historic town goes up for auction: The roadside attractions of Leo M. Bernstein, the late Washington financier with a fondness for the history and kitsch of the Shenandoah, go on the auction block July 22, two years after he died at age 93. It’s the rare auction that puts a key part of a town’s identity up for sale, but it’s equally rare that an entire side of a city block goes up for bid — almost all of it with no reserve minimum price. Washington Post

Orange Co., Leland-Madison Park: Columnist: Park’s significance: “It was during the later years of his stay in Virginia that Elder John Leland and James Madison met (near the location of the Leland-Madison Park). In 1788, with the final state endorsements of the Constitution being sought, Madison asked Leland to endorse the Constitution for Virginia. Leland promised his support with one condition: Madison must develop an amendment in the Constitution to assure religious liberty.”  Star-Exponent

“Wilderness” Walmart, Orange Co.: Next court date Aug. 13: Attorneys are due back in court next month in the battle over a Walmart Supercenter proposed near an endangered Civil War battlefield in northern Virginia. A trial date was expected to be scheduled at a hearing July 13 in Orange Circuit Court, but lingering issues delayed that decision until an Aug. 13 hearing.  Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

Rockingham Co.: Remembering War of 1812:  Members of the recently chartered Shenandoah Valley Chapter National Society of the United States Daughters of 1812 are seeking to make sure those who fought in that conflict, as well as others, are remembered.  As the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812 approaches, Shenandoah Chapter members plan to mark as many grave sites of veterans of that conflict as possible between Winchester and Roanoke. Washington Examiner

Mary Washington University, Fredericksburg: Master Plan announced: The proposed plan calls for Ball, Virginia and Willard halls, which are described as “jewels” of the campus, to be among the first eight residence halls to be renovated. Bushnell, Jefferson and Marshall halls, however, would be torn down and replaced.  Free Lance-Star

Woodford, Spotsylvania Co.: Historic Beazley’s Store auctioned:  The old general store at the corner of U.S. 1 and Arcadia Road sold for $122,000 at auction. The building has become a curiosity of a bygone era. The store closed in 2003 after its proprietor, Arthur Lee Beazley Jr. died at 62. The store had been in the Beazley family since 1929.  Free Lance-Star

Roslyn: Previously undocumented Charlie Chaplin film to be shown: The movie will be shown before an audience for the first time since its original release in 1914, at the Slapsticon Festival.  The film, “A Thief Catcher,” is a 10-minute comedy discovered last autumn.”I stopped, got up, rewound the projector, watched it again, watched it again, watched it again and it finally sank in that I had found a completely previously undocumented, unknown Charlie Chaplin film appearance,” said Paul Gierucki.  Chaplin makes a three-minute cameo as a policeman in the film. SkyNews HD

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

William & MaryWMCAR discovers two small, unmarked graves on campus:  Dating to sometime prior to the mid-19th century, the graves contain tiny bone fragments that have been incorporated into the soil matrix. They were discovered July 13 by the William & Mary Center for Archaeological Research (WMCAR).  W & M News

Virginia Beach: Will preserve Lynnhaven River open space: The city, in partnership with several conservation groups, plans to buy 122 acres of environmentally sensitive land off Shore Drive that had been marked for a housing development.  The purchase would guarantee that the last major tract of undeveloped land along the Lynnhaven River, which boasts oyster beds, wetlands and a maritime forest, is preserved.  Virginian-Pilot

Portsmouth: Historic church in disrepair and apparently abandoned: The 110-year-old church remains vacant and work has stopped. The church’s building permits expired months ago. Code violations have racked up. And construction crews and the former owner of the building have filed liens and lawsuits, claiming they haven’t been paid.  Virginian-Pilot

Assateague Lighthouse: Undergoing renovations:  After ownership of the 100-plus-years building passed from the U.S. Coast Guard to the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004, a $1.5 million, multi-phase restoration project began. The lower gallery deck has already been replaced, allowing visitors to walk on the deck — approximately 130 feet in the air — for the first time. Fund raising is underway for remaining phases of renovation.  DelmarvaNow

Roanoke & Southwest

Danville, Pittsylvania Co.: Proposal to balance historic preservation concerns at mega industrial park site:  About 70 dilapidated buildings, including old log barns, houses and outbuildings and at least one old slave cemetery can be found in the site Danville and Pittsylvania County officials hope to transform into a major industrial center.  Preservation Virginia and the Danville and Pittsylvania historical societies propose six items to include in the covenants for the park to protect the site’s natural beauty and historic resources.   GoDanRiver.com

Danville: One-time hospital in critical condition:  Built by the Ladies’ Benevolent Association in 1903, the 23,000-square-foot structure was a hospital for about 20 years, according to local historian Gary Grant. It served as an apartment building from the 1920s until a fire in 1996. This month, the city will tear down the now-dilapidated Georgian Revival building.  Preservation Magazine Online

Lexington, Rockbridge Co.: Fire destroys Southern Inn Restaurant: The Lexington landmark went up in flames around 1:30 a.m. Buildings next door were damaged by smoke and water.  The buildings go back to the 1820s.  WDBJ

Beyond Virginia:

World Trade Center Site, NYC: 18th-century ship uncovered:  A 30-foot length of a wood-hulled vessel has been discovered about 20 to 30 feet below street level. The area under excavation had not been dug out for the original trade center. The vessel, presumably dating from the mid- to late 1700s, was evidently undisturbed more than 200 years.  A 1797 map shows that the excavation site is close to where Lindsey’s Wharf and Lake’s Wharf once projected into the Hudson.  NY Times AP YouTube Video

Vernon Baker: Last living black veteran awarded Medal of Honor for valor in World War II:  Baker received his award 52 years after he wiped out four German machine-gun nests on a hilltop in northern Italy. He died at his home near St. Maries, Idaho. He was 90. On April 5, 1945, Lt. Baker was leading 25 black infantrymen through a maze of German bunkers and machine gun nests near Viareggio, Italy, a coastal town north of Pisa. About 5 a.m., they reached the south side of a ravine, 250 yards from Castle Aghinolfi, a German stronghold they hoped to capture. . .  NY Times

Leonardo da Vinci’s “Virgin of the Rocks”Restoration reveals new details: The 18-month conservation project involved removing much of some badly degraded varnish that was applied to the painting in the late 1940s, enabling experts to take a much closer look at the picture’s brush strokes and styles. The cleaning revealed the painting’s full tonal range, especially in the darker areas, and resulted in a clearer sense of how the artist intended for space to recede through the rocky landscape. It also affirmed that Leonardo likely painted the entire picture himself. Washington Post