In 2006, the General Assembly passed legislation mandating that the Department of Historic Resources draft two biennial reports, with the option that they might be combined, on the stewardship of state-owned historic properties. Consistent with prior reports, the 2019 report (link below) combines–
The report is supplemented with guidance and reference materials located on our State Stewardship web page. This year’s illustrated report highlights the restoration of the Virginia War Memorial Carillon in Richmond as well as the status of cemeteries on state-owned lands.
Have you visited our VLR Online, a searchable listing of places on the Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places? We’ve been perfecting the VLR Online with small adjustments here and there for nearly a year. It merits re-introduction for Preservation Month. Visit the homepage or pick from one of the links below . . .
Topics covered by eight recently approved and forthcoming historical highway markers include the era of James River bateaumen; two Lee County natives who were expert at code-breaking and encryption during World War II and the Cold War; and a Newport News apprentice training school for the shipbuilding trades.
The marker “James River Bateaumen” will rise in Richmond and recollect the era from the 1770s through the mid-1800s when bateaux plied the James River transporting goods between the capital and points west. The era of bateaumen on the river waned after 1840, when the James River and Kanawha Canal was completed to Lynchburg. “Crews of three men, often free or enslaved African Americans, performed the difficult and sometimes dangerous work of poling and steering the long, narrow boats,” the marker will read. Bateaux carrying tobacco, grains, iron ore, coal, and other commodities to Richmond helped to make the city an industrial and commercial hub.
Seven sites — located in Lee, Mecklenburg, and Rockingham counties, and Alexandria, Portsmouth, and Richmond — have been approved for listing on the Virginia Landmarks Register.
Of the sites listed by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources during its spring quarterly meeting on April 17, two arose where flowing waters could power mills—on the Meherrin River in Southside Virginia’s Mecklenburg County, and a creek in the Shenandoah Valley’s Rockingham County.
In present-day South Hill, the Whittle’s Mill Dam deflected strong currents from the Meherrin River to operate grain and saw mills. The mill complex, constructed around 1756, was part of a large homestead owned by Colonel William Davies and Fortescue Whittle, prominent colonial-era men. Portions of this earliest section of the dam are still visible on the river.
A sandglass, more commonly referred to as an hour glass, was an important tool used in 18th-century sailing, the era of the Betsy, a ship scuttled in the York River by the British at Yorktown in 1781. These timepieces were calibrated for specific increments of time and would have been used for everything from keeping track of work shifts to timing distance measurements. The precise measurement of time allowed sailors to calculate distances and speed so that they could track their location.
From the Betsy shipwreck, we have evidence of at least two different sandglasses, each telling a different story.