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DHR Register Program Updates

October, 2020
In this issue:
*Results of Sept. DHR quarterly board meeting *Registers-Listed Places in the News *History News from Around Virginia *Grant & Training Opportunities
We hope this early October register program update finds you well.
--Lena McDonald, Historian, DHR Register Program.

*Consultants, CLG staff, university faculty, students, and anyone interested in Virginia's landmark register programs and history. (Please share this newsletter with others!)

Nominations Approved, Sept. 2020

Quarterly Joint Board Meeting

Due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, the Virginia Board of Historic Resources and State Review Board convened online on September 17, 2020. The following nominations and one Multiple Property Documentation Form were approved by the Boards:

Eastern Region
  1. Occupacia-Rappahannock Historic District, Essex County, DHR No. 028-5084
  2. Port Royal Historic District 2020 Boundary Increase, Town of Port Royal, Caroline County, DHR No. 284-0047
  3. Saluda Historic District, Middlesex County, DHR No. 059-5124
  4. Chase City Warehouse and Commercial Historic District, Town of Chase City, Mecklenburg County, DHR No. 186-5005
  5. Jackson P. Burley High School, City of Charlottesville, #104-5276-0064
  6. River View Farm, Albemarle County, DHR #284-0047
  7. Nottoway Tribe Multiple Property Documentation Form, multiple jurisdictions, DHR #087-5675
  8. Millie Woodson-Turner Home Site, Southampton County, DHR #087-5676
Northern Region
  1. Bois Dore, Fairfax County, DHR No. 029-6641
  2. George Washington High School, City of Alexandria, DHR No. 100-0160
  3. Glebe Apartments, Arlington County, DHR No. 000-9731
Western Region
  1. Bellevue, Craig County, DHR No. 022-0002
  2. Craig County Poor Farm, Craig County, DHR No. 022-5013
  3. Depot Square Historic District, Town of Abingdon, Washington County, DHR No. 140-0038
  4. Flat Creek Rural Historic District, Campbell County, DHR No. 015-5181
  5. Oak Cliff, Halifax County, DHR No. 041-5295
  6. Schoolfield Historic District, City of Danville, DHR No. 108-5065
  7. Southwest Historic District 2020 Boundary Increase, City of Roanoke, DHR No. 128-6472
Preliminary Information Forms: The following Preliminary Information Forms were approved by the State Review Board on September 17, 2020.

Western Region
  1. Amherst Baptist Church, Town of Amherst, Amherst County, DHR No. 163-0022, Criterion C and Criteria Consideration A
  2. Banister River Navigation Improvements Historic District, Halifax County, DHR No. 041-5311, Criteria A and C
  3. Glencoe, Botetourt County, DHR No. 111-0034, Criterion C
  4. James Street Holiness Church, City of Danville, DHR No. 108-6168, Criteria B and C and Criteria Consideration A
  5. Sharswood, Pittsylvania County, DHR No. 071-0033, Criteria A and C
  6. Stuart Downtown Historic District, Town of Stuart, Patrick County, DHR No. 307-5005, Criteria A and C
  7. Woodlawn, Amherst County, DHR No. 005-0165, Criterion C
Northern Region
  1. City of Fredericksburg Courthouse, City of Fredericksburg, DHR No. 111-0020, Criteria A and C
  2. Elkton Historic District, Rockingham County, DHR No. 216-5097, Criteria A and C
  3. Jennings House, Rockingham County, DHR No. 216-5007, Criterion C
  4. O’Leary’s Cabin, Rappahannock County, DHR No. 078-5198, Criterion C
Eastern Region
  1. Bragg House, City of Petersburg, DHR No. 123-0097-0286, Criterion C
  2. Jarratt House, City of Petersburg, DHR No. 123-0114-0002, Criteria A and C
  3. Seven Oaks, City of Newport News, DHR No. 121-5233, Criteria A and C
  4. Shockoe Hill Burying Ground Historic District, City of Richmond, DHR No. 127-7231, Criteria A, C, and D
Screenshot of video
DHR Releases New Instructional Video for Preparing a PIF
DHR has created a short video that provides guidance for property owners, consultants, local governments, and the general public on preparing a Preliminary Information Form (PIF). Each section of the PIF is briefly discussed so that applicants can better understand what information DHR seeks as part of the application process. If you want some tips or just to familiarize yourself with the form before beginning, the video is a great place to start. This is the first in what DHR plans as a series of guidance videos for anyone interested in accessing our various programs, including the Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places and the Historical Highway Marker program.

Register-Listed Places in the News

Scrabble School.
Scrabble School Receives Virginia Humanities Grant Rappahannock County’s Scrabble School has received a $10,000 grant in support of ongoing efforts in sharing history about the county’s Rosenwald Schools. The grant will enable Scrabble School Foundation to continue to tell the stories of Rosenwald Schools in Rappahannock and collect oral histories from alumni and to build on previous work and expand its net beyond Scrabble School to include three other Rosenwald Schools in the county—in Washington, Flint Hill and Amissville. A film project also is under development, “Stories Worth Telling: the Rosenwald Schools in Rappahannock County.”
Douglas School (Wikipedia).
Winchester’s Douglas School Approved for Renovations
Located on North Kent Street in Winchester, the Douglas School has been approved as a new location for Winchester School Board administrative offices. The School Board and City Council have agreed to undertake a $10.3 million renovation project. Douglas School opened in 1927 to educate Black students from the City of Winchester and Frederick and Shenandoah counties. It later served as an intermediate school, an elementary school and a community learning center.
University of Virginia Unveils New App for Virtual Tour and Considers Adding a Native American Cultural Center
The University of Virginia has released a new, free app that provides a virtual, self-guided tour introducing the history of enslaved African Americans at UVa. The app, Walking Tours of Grounds, which can be downloaded via the Apple App Store or Google Play, makes it possible for anyone with a cell phone or tablet to see not only some physical remnants and old documents, but also the most recent ways UVa is showcasing this integral, albeit difficult, part of its history. It expands upon a printed brochure of a self-guided walking tour for visitors that the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University published four years ago. The tour app brings together information about people who worked at UVa and significant places – some that are still standing, some that were hidden and then found accidentally, and some that have left little trace, but emerge from documents and drawings.

The University also is considering proposals to remove the George Rogers Clark statue on campus and replace it with a new Native American cultural center. Currently, UVa does not offer a formal course of studies on Native American history and culture, which is recommended to be established by UVa’s Racial Equity Task Force. Erected in 1921, the Clark statue dates to a time that Virginia had embraced eugenics, enshrined Jim Crow segregation in state law, and was in the process of debating racial integrity and purity laws.
Fort Belvoir 0dialbetter-1
The dials of SM-1 have been at zero since 1973. (WTOP)
Fort Belvoir’s Historic Nuclear Power Plant to be Dismantled
Located in Fairfax County, Fort Belvoir is a historic Army installation with a historic district listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register. One important historic resource, however, has received relatively little attention over the years. In 1957, Fort Belvoir became home to the first nuclear power reactor in the United States and served as a training facility for Department of Defense personnel. At the time, military officials used the plant as a potential prototype for mobile power-generating facilities. After the plant closed in 1973, most of the radioactive materials were removed while radioactive equipment and components of the reactor were sealed within a concrete and steel, lead-lined containment vessel. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to start dismantling more of the plant in early 20201.
Current First Baptist Church, Williamsburg.
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Begins New Archaeology Project with First Baptist Church
First Baptist Church in Williamsburg is nationally important as home to the country’s oldest and continuously active black congregation, a religious community that has endured for more than 250 years. Colonial Williamsburg archaeologists, under the guidance of First Baptist Church, began field investigations in early September to find the earliest structure within the city limits where the congregation met.
"The week of Sept. 21, Colonial Williamsburg archaeologists uncovered foundations of some of the original church structures that date back to the 19th century — and they’re in good condition, too," reports the the Virginia Gazette. This initiative will enable Colonial Williamsburg to expand its Black-interpretive programming. The team also will explore how the congregation used the structure and seek to identify any burial sites present so they can be protected and memorialized. The first phase of the public excavation, which will last approximately seven weeks, is fully funded through donor support.
Robert Russa Moton Museum
Proposed Expansion of Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Includes Virginia’s Moton Museum
On September 17, 2020, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced federal legislation to expand the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site to create a series of National Park Service Affiliated Areas, which will connect five historic sites representing litigants in the 1954 landmark Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Although Brown v. Board is most often associated with Kansas, this collection of historic schools from communities in Delaware, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and South Carolina tell a more complete story about the landmark case and the ongoing struggle for educational equity. The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is working with local partners to join the stories of these places with those already being told at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas. The initiative will create broader opportunities for public education and interpretation while allowing these properties to maintain their current uses as schools, community centers, and offices. The National Trust offered webinar about the initiative on September 30.

If the legislation passes, the Robert Russa Moton High School (today’s Moton Museum in Farmville) would be among the newly designated affiliate sites. In Farmville in 1951, 16-year-old Barbara Rose Johns led a student walkout at Russa Moton High School to protest the Black school’s conditions, where overcrowding was forcing some students to attend class in tarpaper shacks. The student walkout prompted the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to file Davis v. Prince Edward County, one of the key cases that became a part of the broader Brown v. Board Supreme Court case that outlawed race-based school segregation nationwide. In September, the Moton Museum celebrated the life and legacy of Rev. L. Francis Griffin, pastor of First Baptist Church in the Farmville Historic District. The museum featured several interviews with varying topics, including L. Francis “Skip” Griffin Jr., Rev. Dr. Kitty Smith, Senior Pastor Oak Grove Baptist Church- Racial Reconciliation & Intersectionality in the Ministry; and Rev. Ben Campbell, Pastoral Associate St. Paul’s Episcopal Church - Community Development, Education, and Faith. Content can be found on the organization’s website and YouTube pages.
118-0225-0077_Walter Johnson House_2013_Facade_VLR_online
Johnson House in Lynchburg.
Walter Johnson House Renovation Proposal
Located in Lynchburg, the Walter Johnson House and Tennis Court is now the subject of a renovation proposal that would return the building to active use and highlight its significance in the history of tennis. Dr. Walter Johnson, a surgeon, served on the city’s Interracial Commission and broke the racial barrier at Lynchburg General Hospital as the first African American to earn staff privileges. Recognizing that young African Americans were not exposed to tennis at an early age, he recruited players throughout the country to his summer tennis camps held at his home and tennis court. As founder of the Junior Development Program of the American Tennis Association, Johnson sponsored young players in tournaments along the east coast. Among his proteges were Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, the first black female and male to win Wimbledon championships.
Since the Whirlwind Johnson Foundation was formed in 2015, the tennis court has been restored and now is used by the Lynchburg Parks and Recreation Department for free youth tennis programming. Fundraising and advocacy efforts now have turned to Dr. Johnson’s house, which is in need of repairs and renovations so that it can become a museum and tennis camp.

News in Virginia

Erbach Mill-rear
Stone-Keller Mill in village of Fisher’s Hill, part of the battlefield in Shenandoah County.
DHR Announces 2020 Virginia Battlefield Preservation Grants to Protect 610 Acres
Grants from this year’s Virginia Battlefield Preservation Fund will protect more than 610 acres including acreage associated with the Revolutionary War, in addition to Civil War battlefields and the actions of United States Colored Troops.
The targeted tracts are in the counties of Henrico, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Warren, and York, and the City of Chesapeake, and are associated with six Civil War battlefields — Cedar Creek, Deep Bottom, Fisher’s Hill, Port Republic, Williamsburg, and New Market Heights — and the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Great Bridge. More info here.
picking crabs LOC
Workers preparing crabs for one of the many seafood markets in the Chesapeake Bay area, circa 1905. (Library of Congress)
Groundbreaking Partnership to Document
African American Historic Sites in
Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Virginia's Department of Historic Resources is starting a project to map the historical sites and landscapes of African Americans along the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in Virginia who were part of the region’s “watermen” culture. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the NPS Chesapeake Bay office are supporting the project, which also involves Maryland and Pennsylvania as well. Dubbed the "Chesapeake Mapping Initiative," the project aims “to identify sites and
landscapes significant to African American history and to gather baseline GIS data on these historic places,” writes Kendra Parzen of the National Trust. Eventually, the data collected by each state’s unique pilot project “will be available through state-level Cultural Resource Information Systems and the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership’s Chesapeake Conservation Atlas to inform land use and planning decisions,” according to Parzen.
Recognition of Rassawek, Historical Capital of the Monacan Indian Nation
Rassawek is located at the fork of the Rivanna and James rivers in Fluvanna County and was the historical capital of the Monacan Indian Nation, the town to which all others in the Monacan Confederacy paid tribute. Today the confluence of the rivers, known as Point of Fork, contains at least six National Register-eligible archaeological sites and the final resting places of Monacan ancestors. “Our capital city was a contemporary of Jamestown, but much larger and more complex, and it lasted as a community far longer,” said Tribal Chief Kenneth Branham. “It is for us a sacred place of great cultural significance, and it is for all Americans a place of historical importance.” The massive community included bark-covered houses, a large chief’s house, workshops, religious buildings, and agricultural fields. Researchers verified Rassawek’s location in the 1880s, the 1930s, and the 1980s. It is considered to be the Monacan equivalent of Werowocomoco, the Powhatan capital now planned to be a national park.

Preservation Virginia featured Rassawek earlier this year on its statewide Virginia's Most Endangered Historic Places list. The James River Water Authority, a joint venture of Louisa and Fluvanna Counties, proposes to build a pump station at Rassawek to deliver water to support development at Zion Crossroads, a nearby area under development. Though the Monacan Indian Nation has proposed alternative locations, JRWA contends the Rassawek site is more economical. In September, the National Trust for Historic Preservation included Rassawek on its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, an annual list that sheds light on important examples of our nation’s heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. More than 300 places have been listed in the past 33 years, and in that time, fewer than 5 percent of listed sites have been lost.
Buck and Bell
Vestige of Eugenics Era in Virginia Closes
In April 2020, the final resident was relocated from the Central Virginia Training Center, which is closing as part of a government settlement to transition residents to community-based settings. Located in Amherst County near Lynchburg, the center was Virginia's oldest residential institution for those with mental disabilities. It was also at the heart of a dark chapter in Virginia history.
During the early 20th century, eugenics was a widely promoted pseudo-scientific theory that argued for human and social improvements through genetics. Techniques included forced sterilizations of people believed to be unfit to reproduce. Charlottesville native Carrie Buck was among the young people sterilized without their consent. A legal case, Buck v. Bell, filed on her behalf but also without her consent, went to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Virginia’s law allowing forced sterilization was upheld. The precedent was never overturned, although Virginia repealed its sterilization law in 1974.
Colonial Williamsburg Reopens with Major New Additions
Despite the covid-19 pandemic, Colonial Williamsburg has completed a major new, multimillion dollar series of additions that includes a 65,000 square foot wing, larger entrance area, and 25 percent more gallery space. All were designed by New York-based firm Samuel Anderson and Associates. One of the first exhibitions to be mounted is “Early American Faces,” which mines the museums’ vast trove of holdings to reflect the personal and collective stories of “enslaved, free, white, Black, and American Indian” peoples during the Colonial era. A new state-of-the-art archaeology lab and a reconstructed market house also have been completed. The extensive projects were helmed by Ronald L. Hurst, the vice president for collections, conservation, and museums and The Carlisle H. Humelsine Chief Curator at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

These Things Can be Done
New Film About the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Virginia
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of ratification of the 19th amendment to the Constitution, the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, Virginia Public Media and Boedeker Films partnered to create a film, “These Things Can Be Done: Women’s Suffrage in Virginia.” The film looks at the Virginia suffragists who fought for this right (although Virginia was not among the first states to ratify the amendment). It also addresses the racism and omission African Americans experienced from the movement and the lack of records indicating minority involvement. However, Maggie L. Walker and Ora Brown Stokes, two African American women from the Richmond area, saw disenfranchisement in their community and took measures to make voting easier.
Henrico County’s Woodland Cemetery a Step Closer to Preservation
With an estimated 30,000 graves across its 29 acres, Woodland Cemetery was established in 1916 for the interment of Black residents during the Jim Crow era of segregation. The cemetery is the final resting place for such prominent individuals as tennis champion and civil rights activist Arthur Ashe Jr. and the Rev. John Jasper, founder of Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond. In August, Henrico County agreed to provide $25,000 toward the cemetery’s preservation. The cemetery has been acquired by Evergreen Restoration Foundation, which is developing a plan for its restoration and perpetual maintenance.
mapping va slave dwellings
Short Film About Virginia’s Slave Dwellings Receives Regional Emmy
A short film, Mapping Virginia’s Slave Dwellings, has been awarded a National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter Emmy Award in the category “Historical / Cultural: Program Feature.” The six-minute film, released by Google Earth Outreach in June 2019, documents efforts by Virginia Humanities and Saving Slave Houses to preserve the history of Virginia’s slave dwellings using Google Street View technology. Nineteen slave dwellings across the state have been documented and are available as virtual tours through Google Maps and in Virginia Humanities’ Encyclopedia Virginia at EncyclopediaVirginia.org/vr.
Library of Virginia Volunteer Project Researches Virginia Newspaper Coverage of the Holocaust
Early in 2020, the Library of Virginia (LVA) began planning a series of “research sprints” with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) for their History Unfolded project, which is organized around specific events that were likely to be covered in American newspapers. Volunteers search newspapers for articles related to these events and upload them to the site. USHMM staff review each submission. By identifying Holocaust-related articles in Virginia newspapers, everyone can better understand what the average Virginian could have known during World War II. Like other LVA crowdsourcing initiatives, such as Making History: Transcribe and From the Page, History Unfolded engages the public to make historical resources more findable and usable.

LVA offers numerous other opportunities to engage with history through online media. An instructional genealogy series and 5 videos from the Brown Teacher Institute are available on the library’s You Tube channel, while Tuesdays at the Library offers short Facebook Live videos. Through its Google Arts and Culture webpage, LVA has created 21 online exhibits with more than 820 digitized historic items. For anyone who loves the great outdoors, the Pinterest collection Pleasure in the Garden shines a spotlight on gardens, nurseries, and seed companies across Virginia. For more information, contact the Library of Virginia Community Outreach Specialist Ashley Ramey at ashley.ramey@lva.virginia.gov or (804) 692-3001.
Virginia Students Gaining Access to Classes on Black History
On August 27, Governor Ralph Northam announced a new high school elective course on African American history from precolonial Africa through today. the Virginia Department of Education to collaborate with Virtual Virginia, WHRO Public Media, and committees of history teachers, historians, and history professors last year to develop the new history course. Members of Northam’s Commission on African-American History Education in the Commonwealth provided comments and guidance during the development process. To date, 16 school divisions in Virginia are offering the course. Meanwhile, this fall, Virginia State University began offering a class on the history of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The class covers a range of historical and cultural subjects including the schools’ origins; political activism; roles in creating the black middle and upper class; sports, music, campus life; contributions to America; roles in African decolonization; notable alumni; and past, present, and future challenges.

Grant Opportunities

Institute of Museum and Library Services Grants
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is now accepting applications for six grant programs open to museums across the U.S. The programs are Museums for America, Inspire! Grants for Small Museums, Museums Empowered, National Leadership Grants for Museums, Museum Grants for African American History and Culture, and Native American/ Native Hawaiian Museum Services. Applications for all six programs are due on November 16, 2020. Prospective grant applicants are invited to view a webinar on how to choose the appropriate funding opportunity, as well as to learn more about specific programs. Visit the IMLS website for a listing of upcoming and on-demand webinars.
Molecular image of coronavirus
COVID-19 Recovery Grants from the Commonwealth
The Rebuild VA Grant Fund is a program to help small businesses and non-profits whose normal operations have been disrupted by COVID-19, including restaurants, brick and mortar retail, exercise and fitness facilities, personal care and personal grooming services, entertainment and public amusement establishments, and campgrounds. Expanded business sectors now eligible to apply, include small hotels and bed and breakfast lodging facilities along with the film industry companies supporting production in the Commonwealth. Businesses and non-profits that are approved for a Rebuild VA grant may receive up to 3 times their average monthly eligible expenses up to a maximum of $10,000

Training Opportunities

Managing Historic Landscapes and Gardens
The Institute for Classical Architecture has made available a two-part series on managing historic landscapes and gardens. Taught by DHR’s Senior Architectural Historian Calder Loth, the course uses well-known historic places as case studies to explore varying mindsets toward the relationship between traditional architecture and landscape. Before-and-after views illustrate how numerous historic gardens and landscapes have received critical evaluation and treatment. The class stresses the importance of control in creating and maintaining appropriate historic effects. Many of the approaches discussed can apply to contemporary projects.
National Preservation Institute Preservation Profiles and Courses
The National Preservation Institute (NPI) has made available an assortment of new online materials relevant to historic preservation. New Preservation Profiles include interviews with Laura Trieschmann, Vermont’s State Historic Preservation Officer, Eric Hemenway, who discusses preservation issues and Native American history, Marsh Davis of Indiana Landmarks about preserving community history, and Tanya Deckla Cobb, an expert on conflict management and mediation. Preservation Profiles are accessible at no charge. Online courses, available for a fee, include Cultural Landscapes, Historic Wood Windows, and a collection of courses about using GIS in historic preservation projects.
Annual Repatriation Conference
The Association on American Indian Affairs is hosting the 6th Annual Repatriation Conference on October 26-28, 2020. Repatriation is the return of Native American Ancestors and their burial items, as well as the return of tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The Association's Annual Conferences are intended for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Nations, museums, institutions, government agencies, academics, attorneys, collectors, artists, cultural preservationists and others engaged or interested in the repatriation of culture.