Y History Walk – “The State Farm”

15 Jul

On Sunday, July 12, the Historical Society in cooperation with the Goochland YMCA held a history walk at the site of the old James River Correctional Center, known to long time Goochlanders as the “State Farm”. Thirty walkers showed up in what turned out to be wonderful weather to tour some of the oldest buildings on the prison grounds and as a bonus, we got to take a trip to the old brick foundry.

The group in front of the brick foundry

The group in front of the brick foundry

After a welcome and introduction by Society President, Wayne Dementi, Warden Jeff Dillman and Assistant Warden Nikki Linamen took over the group. They told about the founding of the prison in Goochland and gave details about the different Wardens, Surgeons and activities from the earliest period through to the closure as a State Penitentiary.

Our tour leaders: Warden Jeff Dillman and Assistant Warden Nikki Linamen

Our tour leaders: Warden Jeff Dillman and Assistant Warden Nikki Linamen

Next, the group was led into the Chapel which was completed in 1914. The cruciform building is now a shell, but the slag glass windows and one stained glass window remain. This building and several others on the prison grounds are now used by the movie industry as sets standing in for various prisons around the country.

The cell block from inside the exercise yard

The cell block from inside the exercise yard

We were then led into the old cell block. This beautiful building with a clock tower conceals rows of bunk beds that were used into this century to house prisoners. Today, some of the beds are still in place for use by the movie industry while other portions have been cleaned out.

One of the cells in the segregation building

One of the cells in the segregation building

We also got a look at the former exercise yard which still has weight benches set up seemingly waiting to be used again by incarcerated persons. We also got a look at an older building just off the yard which is also still set up as a movie set.

Abandoned equipment still on the exercise yard

Abandoned equipment still on the exercise yard

As a special treat, the Warden and Assistant Warden led us down the hill to the site of the brick foundry. This site dates back to the founding of the prison and produced brick until the 1950’s. Some of the bricks produced went to the sidewalks and reconstruction at Colonial Williamsburg among other places. Three large kilns still stand with their arched roofs intact. It was quite a site and several in the crowd of walkers couldn’t resist going inside the large buildings where they were treated to the oculus in the top of the dome.

Inside of one of the brick kilns

Inside of one of the brick kilns

This was a wonderful adventure for all that attended. The Society would like to thank Warden Jeffrey Dillman and Assistant Warden Nikki Linamen for their research on the site and presentation to the attendees. They were excellent tour guides around a beautiful place with it’s interesting history.

Everyone enjoyed the old brick foundry

Everyone enjoyed the old brick foundry

Visit to Fluvanna

14 Jul

On June 23, 2015, Goochland Historical Society members Catherine Southworth, Christina Dunn, Ginny Olsen, and James Richmond made the trip west to visit one of our neighboring historical societies. The Fluvanna County Historical Society is located in Palmyra, Virginia and is housed in a wonderful old home named Maggie’s Place, next to the courthouse square.

Christina Dunn, Ginny Olsen, James Richmond, Catherine Southworth in front of the historic Fluvanna County Courthouse

Christina Dunn, Ginny Olsen, James Richmond, Catherine Southworth in front of the historic Fluvanna County Courthouse

Fluvanna Executive Director Tricha Johnson and past Director and current Board Member Judith Mickelson greeted the group and introductions were made. The group was then shown around the society headquarters and information was shared about membership and upcoming/past events and their successes. High on the list of things to see is the Jail museum and the group was not disappointed.

Fluvanna's Old Stone Jail Museum

Fluvanna’s Old Stone Jail Museum

Judith Mickelson treated the group to a tour Fluvanna’s historic Old Stone Jail Museum and gave background stories on several of the exhibits. She showed a wealth of knowledge that can only come from years of experience in her job as caretaker of Fluvanna’s rich history. Next she walked everyone around the Courthouse Square and into the historic Courthouse itself which has been beautifully restored.

Judith Mickelson, Ginny Olsen, Christina Dunn and Tricha Johnson relax in Maggie's Place after the tour.

Judith Mickelson, Ginny Olsen, Christina Dunn and Tricha Johnson relax in Maggie’s Place after the tour.

After the tour, the group headed back to Maggie’s Place where Director Tricha Johnson graciously donated several books on Fluvanna history to the Goochland Historical Society library. The group could not have been treated in more warm and welcoming manner by the hosts. The Goochland County Historical Society would like to thank The Fluvanna County Historical Society for their time and knowledge in what we hope will be an ongoing partnership between our two organizations. This was planned to be the first of many trips to neighboring historical societies surrounding Goochland. The hoped for outcome of these visits will be the sharing of information as we are all try to do our part in preserving the rich history of this part of Virginia.

Rassawek Spring Jubilee 2015

12 Jun

Each year the Spring Jubilee at Rassawek seems to get bigger and better and 2015 was no exception.

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The weather cooperated to make for a wonderful weekend. The sun was shining brightly in the sky and there was just enough of a breeze to make it pleasant enough to walk around the acres that make up Rassawek. Due to the excellent weather, attendance was up and good will was flowing.

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Live music, wineries, classic cars, historic buildings, crafters, and artisans of all types were on hand to keep the multitudes entertained. An attendee could learn to make a violin or purchase a piece of art at several stops.

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This year they added a new feature as hunting dogs swam the lake after a raccoon or so they believed. The dogs were eager to catch the bait and seemed to really be enjoying the chase!

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People were moved about in many ways including horse drawn carriages and a steam engine. The best way, however, to see everything was simply to walk.

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The Historical Society manned the Saylor Cabin again this year. It seemed that we welcomed almost all attendees through the cabin. The fireplace and the upper floors were the biggest hits. It was a wonderful kick-off to summer for all who attended.

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Thank you to Cheryl Childress, Phyllis Silber and James Richmond for giving time to welcome visitors. The sights, sounds, smells, and goodwill make it all worth while.

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Villages of Goochland – Paintings Unveiled

3 Jun

Artist Patti Rosner delivering these remarks to the Board of Supervisors

Artist Patti Rosner delivering these remarks to the Board of Supervisors

It was the spring of 2013 that I announced a project concept to weave together ART, HISTORY and COMMUNITY SERVICE. I would paint one village scene from each of our five districts, to represent a walk through our village past from decades ago.

The project would need a home, and when I approached the Board of Supervisors and Rebecca Dickson, County Administrator, I was not sure, that sight unseen they would grant the space. My request was granted and I am honored that they had the faith in my project to give my paintings a permanent home in this administration building. I thank you for that!

Hadensville, Sandy Hook, and Courthouse Village paintings

Hadensville, Sandy Hook, and Courthouse Village paintings

Along with a home, the project needed a mission and funding. I proposed to do the work, create merchandise from digital images, and since this was a community endeavor, I pledged to give the profits back to the community, once all costs were recovered.

I dedicate this group of village paintings to the residents of Goochland County. While the paintings will be housed in the Administration building, these 6 original paintings have been gifted to and are now the property of the Goochland Historical Society. They will see that this collection will always be in the public view for all to enjoy.

Crozier, Oilville, and Sabot Villages

Crozier, Oilville, and Sabot Villages

I will continue to promote and sell the products through the rest of this fiscal year, for the benefactors of this project.

I would like to take a moment to express some appreciation. Thank you to all of the community organizations that allowed me to present and promote the project over the past two years.

Supervisors Robert Minnick, Susan Lascolette, and Ken Peterson looking at the unveiled paintings from their districts.

Supervisors Robert Minnick, Susan Lascolette, and Ken Peterson looking at the unveiled paintings from their districts.

Thank you to the residents that allowed me interviews to tell their personal stories. Their memories helped create the snapshot of people and places that have faded into the mist of time.

Thank you to the patrons that purchased the products to keep the project going from one painting to the next.

Phyllis Silber, Patti Rosner and Sally Graham.

Phyllis Silber, Patti Rosner and Sally Graham.

Thanks to Sally Graham and Adair Roper with Goochland Family Services and their staff of volunteers whose work for our neighbors less fortunate, operates with no federal funding, relying on the community for support. This concept embraces the history and stories told to me as I researched how folks lived and worked in our community years ago. It is nice to know this spirit lives on.

Thanks to Phyllis Silber and the talented folks she attracts to serve the community to preserve our history. She and the staff showed how much they love history by obliging me as I tried to track down every small detail to tell the stories I would paint.

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Thanks to my family for indulging my passion for this project! My studio looks like “Pig Pen” has taken up residence, our guest bedroom has become warehouse for merchandise, and our dining room a frame a matting station!

My daughter and son-in-law, Kari and Amin Reyess, owners of Courthouse Pizza and Market, have always supported the community with donations and they have graciously supported this project allowing the full purchase price to go back to the project and the community.

Thanks to everyone on any level that has supported this project.

Patti Rosner

A Nation Remembers Appomattox

15 Apr

 

Goochland Courthouse Green with the Civil War monument in the foreground.

Goochland Courthouse Green with the Civil War monument in the foreground.

 

On Thursday, April 9, 2015, people across the country came together for a bell ringing ceremony to commemorate the end of the American Civil War. 150 years ago, Gen. Grant and Gen. Lee ended their meeting in Appomattox marking the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, the site of the McLean house and the meeting between the two Generals, was the location of the first bell to ring on the 9th.

Rev. Lauren Lobenhofer

Rev. Lauren Lobenhofer

At 3:15, bells across the land began ringing and continued to do so for four minutes, one minute for each year of the war. This event brings a symbolic end to the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Civil War. The gathering in Goochland was held on the steps of the historic Court house. Society President Wayne Dementi welcomed all who attended and then introduced Rev. Lauren Lobenhofer, pastor of Gum Spring United Methodist Church who provided a prayer for the occasion.

(Kneeling, l to r) Jacob Massey, J.T. Massey (Standing l to r) Sophia Pryor, Dr. James Bowles, Isabelle Duke, Ned Creasey, E. Steve Fleming.

(Kneeling, l to r) Jacob Massey, J.T. Massey (Standing l to r) Sophia Pryor, Dr. James Bowles, Isabelle Duke, Ned Creasey, E. Steve Fleming.

The ringers then stepped up and began tolling the bell. One of the ringers, Isabelle Duke, had a great-grandfather who was among the men from the Army of Northern Virginia who was at Appomattox for the final meeting between Grant and Lee. She remembered stories from her childhood that he would tell about the meeting and the fact that he walked home afterwards. Proof that 150 years is not as long ago as it seems.

Dr. Bruce Venter

Dr. Bruce Venter

Once the ringing ended, Dr. Bruce Venter read from several eye witness accounts to the event. He concluded by talking about the more than 750,000 lives lost during the 4 years of the conflict and the fact that Lincoln’s assassination occurred just a week after the meeting. It was a somber ending for the solemn event.

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The Historical Society would like to thank everyone who participated in this commemoration.

Y History Walkers

3 Apr

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The Goochland County Historical Society has partnered with the Goochland Family YMCA to offer the upcoming Y History Walkers Series. The tours will be open to everyone and are free of charge. The first tour will be on April 26, 2015 at Tucker Park at Maidens Crossing at 3:00 pm. Please register at the Goochland Family YMCA membership desk or by calling Member Services at 804-556-9887.

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Bells Across The Land

26 Mar

bell ring 3April 9, 2015 on the Courthouse Green   3 pm

In conjunction with a major event at Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, the Goochland County Historical Society will join in a national commemoration to mark the beginning of the end of the American Civil War. The bells will ring first at Appomattox at 3:00 p.m. on April 9, 2015. The ringing will coincide with the moment the historic meeting between Grant and Lee ended. The Goochland event will begin on the Courthouse Green in Goochland at 3:00 p.m. After an invocation the Courthouse bell will be rung at precisely 3:15 p.m. for four minutes, each minute symbolic of a year of war. The public is invited.

To find out more about Bells Across The Land, visit the National Park Service Website by clicking here.

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