During Spring 2012, DHR and our marker sponsors dedicated 13 state historical markers.
DHR very much appreciates the special guests who spoke at the ceremonies, and we also thank our partners who sponsored markers, as well as those organizations that hosted dedication ceremonies, and those community members who attended the ceremonies.
Below is the "spring list" of new highway markers that have been dedicated and installed. The text of each marker is highligted in the grey box.
"Evergreen Cemetery": Dedicated March 28 in Richmond:
In 1891, Evergreen Cemetery was established as a preeminent resting place for many of Virginia's most influential African-American residents. These include Maggie L. Walker, president and founder of the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, and John Mitchell, Jr., champion of African-American rights and editor of the Richmond Planet newspaper. J.Henry Brown, a stonemason by trade, designed many of the tombstones erected here. By the early 1970s, the cemetery had fallen into disrepair. In 1975, volunteers from the Maggie L. Walker Historical Foundation led an effort to restore Evergreen to its original glory.
Marker sponsor: Maggie Walker Civic Society of Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School
"Charles Sidney Gilpin": Dedicated March 30 during a ceremony hosted by Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority:
Charles Sidney Gilpin
Charles Sidney Gilpin grew up here in Jackson Ward. He apprenticed in the Richmond Planet print shop before beginning his theater career and becoming one of the most highly regarded actors of the 1920s. Gilpin is best known for his title role in Eugene O’Neill’s Broadway play Emperor Jones, for which he won the Drama League Award and the Spingarn Medal, and was named Crisis magazine Man of the Year (1921). The Drama League declared Gilpin one of ten people who had done the most for American theater. Gilpin was also honored at the White House during President Warren G. Harding’s administration.
Marker sponsor: DHR
See more: Facebook
"USS Iowa": Dedicated April 19 at Norfolk Naval Station:
Commissioned in 1943, USS Iowa (BB-61) led the world's most powerful battleship class. In Oct. 1943, Iowa was modified at the Norfolk Navy Yard, adding the only bathtub on a battleship for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's trans-Atlantic voyage to meet with Allied leaders. Iowa fought in the Pacific and Korea, returned to Norfolk in 1952, and was mothballed in 1958. Recommissioned in 1984 and homeported at Norfolk, Iowa served in multiple operations during the Cold War. Turret Two exploded on 19 Apr. 1989, killing 47 crewmen. This point was dedicated to them on 19 Apr. 1990; Iowa was decommissioned in Oct. 1990.
Marker sponsor: Veterans Association of the
See more: WVEC
"Church Hill Tunnel": Erected April 20 in Richmond (no dedication ceremony):
Church Hill Tunnel
About 200 feet east is the western portal of the Church Hill Tunnel. On 11 Dec. 1873, Chesapeake and Ohio locomotive number 2 passed through the tunnel, marking the completion of one of the longest tunnels in the United States. The tunnel was being repaired on 2 Oct. 1925, when Chesapeake and Ohio locomotive number 231 entered the tunnel heading west, pulling ten flat cars. The train was near the western portal when suddenly 190 feet of the tunnel collapsed, trapping and killing railroad workers, some of whom remain entombed in the tunnel along with the train.
Marker sponsors: Jim Scott, Walter S. Griggs, and Louis Salomonsky
"Florence Jodzies": Dedicated April 24 in Fairfax County:
Florence Jodzies (1887-1969)
Here in 1934, at her home Harmony Farm, Florence Jodzies founded the Vale Home Demonstration Club, affiliated with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. An excellent speaker and writer, Jodzies campaigned for better living conditions in rural communities, including the need for improved roads, indoor plumbing, and access to recreational facilities. In 1936, as State Library Chairman of the Virginia Federation of Home Demonstration Clubs, she developed the Federation’s library project to bring books, magazines, and literature to rural Virginians. Designed to “bring improvement of mind and refreshment of soul” to members and their communities, by 1938 the project was adopted by clubs throughout Virginia.
Marker sponsor: Vale Club
See more: A slideshow about Vale Schoolhouse and Community Center and Florence Jodzies
"Convention Army-The Barracks": Dedicated May 5 in Albemarle County.
Convention Army-The Barracks
In Jan. 1779, during the American Revolution, 4,000 British troops and German mercenaries (commonly known as “Hessians”) captured following the Battle of Saratoga in New York arrived here after marching from Massachusetts. It was called the Convention Army after the instrument of its surrender. Most prisoners lived in primitive huts spread out over several hundred acres of the barracks camp, where they endured great hardships. Supplying and guarding the Convention Army taxed the resources of the community and militia. By Feb. 1781, the last of the prisoners had been relocated.
Marker sponsor: Virginia Society of the Sons
of the American Revolution
See more: Daily Progress
"Chesterville Plantation" and "National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics": Both markers were dedicated May 8 at NASA-Langley Researh Center, Hampton:
One mile north is Chesterville, birthplace of George Wythe (1726-1806), a prominent Virginia attorney, judge, legislator and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Wythe inherited the family plantation in the 1750s and operated it until the 1790s. After Chesterville’s sale in 1802, the Hudgins and Winder families owned and farmed it until the 1930s. The house was destroyed by fire in 1911. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics purchased Chesterville in 1950. By the 1970s, archeological excavations had identified a stone foundation believed to be from the house where Wythe was born.
National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was established by Congress in 1915 to "supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight." NACA created the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory at nearby Langley Field in 1917. Overseen by Charles Lindbergh, the laboratory created and used specialized wind tunnels and facilities to research and accelerate aeronautic technologies during peacetime and wartime from the 1920s to the late 1950s. In 1958, NACA was superseded by the modern NASA and the laboratory was renamed the Langley Research Center.
Markers sponsor: NASA-LRC
See more: NASA-LRC
"Blockhouses Near Jamestown": Erected May 11 (no dedication ceremony) in James City County:
Blockhouses Near Jamestown
In the first few years of the English settlement at Jamestown, colonists built small, isolated, fortified structures—called blockhouses—around the perimeter of the main settlement to provide refuges, observation posts, and rallying points in the case of attack. On 29 Mar. 1610, Paspahegh Indians, who consistently resisted the English incursion into their territory, attacked the blockhouse near here, killing the soldiers stationed there. The attack was in retaliation for the Feb. killing of their leader Wowinchapuncke. On 20 May 1611, Sir Thomas Dale directed the raising of another blockhouse “on the north side of our back river to prevent the Indians from killing our cattle.”
Marker sponsor: James City County Historical Commission
"Henry Box Brown": Dedicated May 19, near Cuckoo in Louisa County, during a ceremony hosted by Louisa-Temple Lodge, #113:
Henry Box Brown
Born into slavery about 1815 at The Hermitage Plantation near here, Henry Brown was working in Richmond by 1830. Brown mailed himself to Philadelphia, and freedom, on 23 Mar. 1849 inside a three-foot-long box. Brown became a spokesperson for the abolitionist movement and symbol of the Underground Railroad. He published with Charles Stearns the Narrative of Henry Box Brown and exhibited a moving panorama, “The Mirror of Slavery.” Forced to leave the country in Oct. 1850 after the Fugitive Slave Act because of the threat of reenslavement, Brown moved to Great Britain where he toured as an entertainer. He returned to the United States in 1875 and died sometime after 1889.
Marker sponsors: Association for the Study of African-American Life and History and the Louisa County Historical Society
"War of 1812 Poisoning Inquiry at Yeocomico Church": Dedicated May 26, in Westmoreland County:
War of 1812 Poisoning Inquiry at Yeocomico Church
In Spring 1814, a 36th U.S. Infantry detachment camped here at the near ruinous Yeocomico Church to guard against British Potomac River raids. Soon after the British landed at nearby Nomini Ferry in July, they found poisoned wine at the Thompson house and accused the Virginia militia of uncivilized warfare. Militia Gen. John P. Hungerford held a court of inquiry here in the repaired church and found the accusations “utterly without foundation.” The British accepted the finding. In 1816, William L. Rogers, a 36th Regiment soldier, returned here from New Jersey, married Ann Murphy of Ayrfield, and coordinated the 1706 church’s restoration.
Marker sponsor: Cople Episcopal Parish
"Peabody High School": Dedicated May 26, in Petersburg:
Peabody High School (1870-1970)
Peabody High School, originally the Colored High School, was established in 1870 in the old First Baptist Church located on Harrison Street. The second school was built on Fillmore Street. The current site of the school is on Wesley Street. Peabody is one of the earliest publicly funded high schools for African Americans in Virginia. The city of Petersburg had begun to develop a public school system as early as 1868 and provided the funding needed to build city schools and pay teacher salaries. Alfred Pryor became the school's first African American principal in 1882.
Marker sponsor: Peabody High School Alumni Association
"Ebenezer Baptist Church": Dedicated May 27, Richmond:
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Free blacks and slaves living west of Second St. and north of Broad St. founded the Third African Baptist Church in 1857. In 1858, it was dedicated on this site as Ebenezer Baptist Church, with a white minister, the Rev. William T. Lindsay, as pastor, as required by law. On 21 May 1865, the Rev. Peter Randolph became the congregation’s first black pastor. The church made education one of its chief goals. It opened the first public school for black children in Richmond in 1866, organized Hartshorn Memorial College for black women in 1883, and helped found the Richmond Colored Young Men’s Christian Association in 1887.
Marker sponsor: Ebenezer Baptist Church
Posted: Aug. 9, 2012