DHR News Clips, December 10

December 10, 2010

News from DHR:

Announcing a new DHR website feature: Lost in Virginia or Vanished? Help DHR locate historic resources for which we have documentation but no exact map location.  Please visit our new webpage feature and see if you recognize any of the highlighted sites. Help us confirm the status and location of a resource and you’ll help contribute to DHR’s ongoing efforts to document Virginia’s rich history.  (Since posting this feature earlier this week, several people have helped us locate and update featured sites in Accomack Co., Vinton, and Fredericksburg. ) We will be updating the page on a regular basis. So, check back often!

Western Region

Bush Mill, Scott Co.: Community works to preserve and restore mill: Both the Southwest Virginia Community Foundation and the Nickelsville Ruritan Club are contributing in-kind management, technical expertise, labor and equipment to the restoration process. “Our goal is to rehabilitate the mill, to make it functional,” said Bob Etherton, a member of the foundation member and the Ruritan Club. “It will serve the community as a tourist attraction and learning center for local students.” The present mill dates back to 1896 and is listed on the National Register.  Herald Courier

Stonewall Jackson House, Lexington: VMI board approves plan to acquire house: The Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors voted last week to proceed with the process that could lead to the transfer to VMI the assets and activities of the Stonewall Jackson Foundation. Under the transfer, the Jackson House Museum would be operated within the current VMI Museum Operation.  Rockbridge Weekly

Northern Region & Shenandoah Valley

Alexandria: Old Carver School gets stay of demolition: The building was constructed in 1944 as the Carver Nursery School, to care and educate children of black families during World War II. It was turned into an American Legion post, which served as a gathering place for the surrounding segregated African American community. The old legion building was listed by Preservation Virginia as one of the most endangered historic buildings in the commonwealth this year. Washington Post Related story: Washington Post

Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, King George Co.: Commandant’s House featured on holiday tour: It’s one of the grand homes for U.S. military officers, literally fit for an admiral. You wouldn’t know that chickens once roosted on the top floor. The still-splendid dwelling is just one of the attractions that will be open to visitors Saturday as part of the second annual Holiday House Walking Tour.  Free Lance-Star

Fredericksburg Renovated historic home featured on Candlelight Tour: The property has deep roots in the area, dating back to 1700s.  In 1884 the initial portion of the existing house was built as a basic Victorian “foursquare.”  In 1907 a new owner gave it the welcoming Colonial Revival facade and full-width front porch with Corinthian columns that endure today.  The house remained that way until it was sold to Benjamin Willis in 1919.  Free Lance-Star

Augusta Co.: JMU profs assist in documenting family cemetery: “We get a lot of calls about family cemetery plots,” said professor Carole Nash. “Usually there is not a lot of maintenance, and a lot of the information is lost. There are hundreds of cemeteries just like this one in Augusta County.”  Nash, along with geophysics professor Anna Courtier, have moved on from mapping to using ground- penetrating radar to try and determine the location and number of graves in the cemetery.  News Leader Related article & photos: News Virginian And more here: Breeze

Staunton, Sears Hill Bridge: Campaign for funds aims to save historic footbridge:  Donation jugs for spare change are popping up in stores, restaurants, and banks. A committee working to restore and replace the century old footbridge is placing the jugs across the city.  The cash will help pay for the restoration work. Committee members hope the community’s generosity can save taxpayer dollars. NBC-29 (video)

Capital & Central Region

Albemarle Co.: Lewis & Clark Discovery Center groundbreaking:  History was on the minds of many at Darden Towe Park when a crowd turned out for a groundbreaking for the $1.3 million Discovery Center. The afternoon’s activities also included a public hearing to collect input on the possible expansion of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail into parts of Virginia.  NBC-29 (video)

Charlottesville: Focus on “Massive Resistance”: Dozens of people got together at Charlottesville High School to remember the end of Massive Resistance, the movement that closed schools to resist desegregation in the 1950s. Charlottesville is one of three school districts in Virginia that closed schools in the 1950s, even after receiving court orders to integrate. NBC-29 (video)

Charlottesville, McIntire ParkCitizens seek improved mitigation to protect park from McIntire Road extension: An anti-Meadow Creek Parkway group is using two historic-resources agencies’ refusal to sign an agreement for Charlottesville’s piece of the project as a way to push for greater measures to protect McIntire Park once the road is built.  Daily Progress Also here: C’ville Weekly

Colonial Heights Baptist Church: Fight over planned demolition may go on: While City Council’s recent decision to demolish the church may be a solution to the courthouse problem, some are now concerned that the city is about to destroy one of the few historic landmarks left in Colonial Heights. And at least one leader in the effort to reuse the church says he’s willing to fight to prevent demolition. Progress-Index

Tidewater & Eastern Shore

Colonial Williamsburg: Receives two historic letters dating to 1608 and 1609: A new partnership with Preservation Virginia paid dividends for CW this week as crime novelist Patricia Cornwell donated two letters from King Philip III of Spain that reveal his fear that Jamestown would provide a base for pirates to prey on Spanish ships. The letters date from 1608 and 1609, and were written to Alonso Perez du Guzman, 7th Duke of Medina Sidonia. He had commanded the Spanish Armada in 1588.  Virginia Gazette

Aquaculture: State to create zones for raising shellfish: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission in January is expected to set aside about 1,000 acres of prime waters to create 15 aquaculture opportunity zones for growing oysters and clams on state-owned bottom. The zones would be divided into blocks of up to five acres in the lower Rappahannock River, tributaries of Mobjack Bay and around Tangier Island.  Free Lance-Star Related storyChesapeake Bay Journal

Submerged Cultural Site Protection NOAA asking states to identify potential sites: A new federal action plan to restore the Bay gives fresh focus to places of historic and cultural value, including those that rest on the Bay’s bottom. As a result, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants to see new protected areas in Chesapeake waters selected for their historic or cultural value rather than ecology.  Chesapeake Bay Journal

Hampton Roads: Governor’s budget to support OpSail: In 2012 OpSail will commemorate the War of 1812. Hampton Roads is one of only 5 U.S Ports to host the event, which will feature tall ships and naval vessels from around the world, generating worldwide recognition and visibility for the growing Port of Virginia.  GovMonitor

Archaeology at Kiskiak, Gloucester Co.: W&M students focus on site: The 2010 excavations uncovered deposits dating from the Late Archaic period, circa 3000 years ago, through early 17th-century materials contemporaneous with Jamestown.  Since the site has never been disturbed by mechanized plowing, its archaeology is remarkably intact. W & M

Portsmouth: WWII veteran recalls Pearl HarborVirginian-Pilot

Virginia

Wetlands: NRCS preservation funds available: Are you interested in restoring or enhancing wetlands? If so, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) may be able to help. The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) has over $1.1 million available to help landowners protect, restore and enhance wetlands. Applications will be ranked on a competitive basis. Sign-up is continuous, but the first ranking period will end January 14, 2011.  NRCS

Beyond Virginia

Tall Buildings, Short Architects: Why are so many great architects short of stature? Slate

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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