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Historical Dinners Coming to Tanglewood Ordinary Restaurant

7 Mar

“An Evening With…” to Feature Virginia History

Tanglewood Tavern


 Richmond Discoveries and historic Tanglewood Ordinary Restaurant are teaming up to bring monthly living history dinner events to Goochland County.  Each event will feature a prominent figure from history and will provide an entertaining, enlightening and engaging evening.  Tanglewood’s famous southern comfort food, served true FamilyStyle, and its historic setting, will complement each special event.

 “An Evening With…” will kick off on Thursday, March 15, and will feature James Madison, portrayed by Historical Interpreter Charles Wissinger.  The event will showcase Madison’s life and stories and weave a living image of the role Madison played in shaping our state, and our nation.  Mr. Madison was a native Virginian who was known as the father of the Constitution and the author of the Bill of Rights.  A few years later Madison married Dolley Payne Todd, the perfect wife for the introverted Madison.  Mr Wissinger will bring these and other stories to life.

On April 19th, Ken Chandler will illuminate the life of a Civil War officer and his men through stories and music.  Richmond Discoveries most popular program, Mr. Chandler will paint a colorful picture of this historic time through flags, artifacts and musical instruments.

Each event will benefit a local community organization.  The March event will be held in support of Goochland Pet Lovers, an innovative public/private partnership with Goochland County that is developing a new state-of-the art adoption, care and education center with a commitment to involving the community in saving the lives of companion animals.

In April, the Goochland Historical Society will be the beneficiary of the event.  Celebrating 50 years in 2018, the Goochland Historical Society is a non-profit, educational organization created and operated for the presentation, preservation and protection of Goochland County heritage and tradition.

Tickets for the first event are on sale now and will be limited to 100 seats.  Seating will be at community tables, which will be filled on a first come-first served basis.  Each evening’s historical figure will dine with the first table to be filled.  The cost is $50 per ticket.  A cash bar for beer and wine will be available.  A link with further details and for purchasing tickets is on line at

Founded in 1985, RICHMOND DISCOVERIES is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Richmond’s unique historical and cultural heritage through educational tours and programs.

On the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register, TANGLEWOOD ORDINARY has been the home of Fine FamilyStyle dining with Virginia Southern comfort food since 1986.  One of the largest commercially used log structures in the country, Tanglewood has since ca. 1928 served as a tavern, dance hall and community gathering place, and now houses the area’s only true FamilyStyle dining restaurant.  Tanglewood Ordinary is located at 2210 River Road West, Maidens (VA Rt 6/Patterson Av), Virginia 23102, in Goochland County.

For additional dates and historical figures to be featured go to, or their respective Facebook pages.


The Jackson Blacksmith Shop

22 Feb

Jackson 1

The Jackson Blacksmith Shop was built in 1932 by George Wilson Jackson, Jr. with the help of his father and family to provide shelter for his blacksmithing trade. This is the last blacksmith shop still in working condition in Goochland. The shop is a 16’ X 24’ rectangular pole structure with an earthen foundation and boards attached vertically to make all four walls. The anvil is well over 130 years old and belonged to George Jackson’s maternal grandfather. The 172 pound anvil was once in Richmond and was in use when Richmond burned in 1865.

The first of the Jackson family’s blacksmith shops was built by Henry Jackson before the Civil War. Henry Jackson was born into slavery around 1830. He came to Goochland when he was sold to a county resident and opened a shop on what is now known as Whitehall Road. In 1880, he purchased land at the corner of Route 607 and U.S. 522 where he built another shop, about 400 yards east of the present shop. Henry Jackson’s shop lent its name to present day Jackson Shop Road.

Jackson 2

Henry trained his oldest son Wilson (born 1876) into the business. Wilson built a shop at what was then called Old Office, near the intersection of present day Fairground Road and Maidens Road. Wilson worked from both his father’s shop and his own shop until 1915 when he moved to a location near the current shop. Wilson Jackson’s son George was born in 1902 and trained under his grandfather and father to learn the blacksmith trade. In 1932, he built the still standing Jackson Blacksmith Shop.

Henry passed away in 1919 at around 89 years of age. Wilson worked at the trade until shortly before his death in 1956 at age 80. George worked in his shop until the 1970’s when the blacksmith trade fell out of use. He lived until 1998, long enough to see his shop listed on the National Register of Historic Place and the Virginia Landmarks Register.

Jackson 3

George Jackson setting a shoe at his shop

To read more about The Jackson Blacksmith Shop: read volume 30 of the Goochland County Historical Society’s magazine. Visit the official online site of the Jackson Blacksmith Shop.

Mount Bernard

1 Dec


Mount Bernard is a brick residence that was built circa 1850. The house is believed to have been built on the foundation of an 18th century dwelling. The home has been altered and enlarged several times. Most notably, in the 1920’s the façade of the home was changed to Classical Revival which was then in vogue. More additions were done in the 1940’s to the sides and rear of the home which turned the original T-shaped plan into a rectangle. Behind the home the terraced lawn descends towards the river.


The first known owner of the tract was Phillip Lightfoot. He acquired the land before Goochland became a county and in the beginning the property was known as Lightfoot’s Beaverdam Plantation. In 1782, Lightfoot’s heirs sold the 700 acre property to Dr. William Pasteur. In 1805, the property was sold again, this time to Granville Smith under its new name, Kameschatka. The property then changed hands again, this time to Edward Garland. While Garland was owner, the original house burned, it is this foundation that is believed to be under the present day structure. In 1848, the home was once again sold, this time to Mathew M. Payne. In 1858, the home changed hands again, this time under the name of Mount Bernard, to Richard G Morriss.

Mount Bernard drawing

Drawing of Mount Bernard by a daughter of Major William N. Barret. Courtesy of Virginia State Library.

More owners would call Mount Bernard their home until 1925 when it became the property of Piedmont Securities and was by that time 1,559 acres. R.W. Woodruff, the owner of Coca-Cola, was on the board of Piedmont Securities and it is in this way that he took control of Mount Bernard. During his time there, he enlarged the house, changed the façade to Classical Revival, added barns and landscaped the house to fit his style of living.


In 1948, Mount Bernard changed hands again, this time to another businessman, T. Brady Saunders. Saunders at the time was running Miller Manufacturing and Liphart Steel Company. He owned Mount Bernard for 20 years during which he began to break up the acreage. In 1963, Saunders gave 200 acres to the Boy Scouts for what became known as Camp T. Brady Saunders. In 1978, the house and a portion of the acreage was sold to Carmody Associates and finally in 1985, Dr. Donald P and Maria Becker purchased the home.


The antebellum home is surrounded by contributing buildings such as a secondary residence, ice house and cool chamber, main barn/stable, slave quarters/kitchen, corn crib, two stables, equipment shelter and a well house. This grouping of house and buildings was enough to earn the property inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

It’s a fact: Lafayette’s Stop Remembered

30 Jun
Powells Tavern0001 adj watermark

Powell’s Tavern in the 1970’s undergoing restoration.

In 1824, the Marquis de Lafayette was on his way from Richmond to Albemarle County to see is old friend Mr. Thomas Jefferson.

Lafayette’s first stop after leaving Richmond on the River Road (same route you know today) was a lunch stop at Powell’s Tavern located near the eastern line of Goochland (opposite James River Estates). The tavern was first a single clapboard structure constructed about 1770 and still standing. Business prospered and the increase meant expansion for the tavern. A front or second structure was constructed of brick, circa 1820. A narrow passage between the two buildings allowed the carriage to let passengers out under roof – a real first class idea! The distinguished visitor enjoyed a two hour stop over with a “cold collation” served to his party.

At Goochland Courthouse a large crowd awaited his arrival with banners of welcome and a final tribute to the General who saved the young America and gave us freedom and liberty.

There were three levels of public accommodation in those days: ordinaries, taverns, and inns, the latter being the best. The ordinary provided ordinary food for the traveler and waters for horses. Taverns provided food and some bed space. Inns provided food and overnight rooms but one usually shared a room with other tourists. The next tavern up the River Road was George’s Tavern located at the junction of Cartersville Road. The River Road was a winding, steep ups and downs, mud road which followed the river to Scottsville.

(The above is from the “It’s a fact” column that the Goochland County Historical Society contributed to the The Goochland Gazette on October 15, 1987.)

Powell’s Tavern was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Amazing things are happening in Goochland!

13 Aug
D. Brad Hatch and Jennifer McDonough

D. Brad Hatch and Jennifer McDonough

200-year-old bricks found at the center of the Courthouse columns! Footing for a 20-30 foot high brick wall that surrounded the stone jail was uncovered! Recently, archaeologists D. Brad Hatch and Jennifer McDonough from Dovetail Cultural Resource Group came to the Courthouse Green at the behest of the Historical Society to search for the footings of the wall long thought to have existed around the jail.

Various items found during excavation

Various items found during excavation

The first hole tried showed evidence of the long missing wall and immediately, the archaeologists started bringing things up that had been covered for a century or more. Nail, bits of pottery and ceramic, pieces of glass, chunks of brick and a 1905 Indian head penny.

1905 Indian head penny

1905 Indian head penny

The dig continued as the searchers tried spot after spot searching for more evidence of footings. Starting from the first hole, the pair moved outward, away from the jail and then across the jail yard looking for more evidence. Finally, with a little help from some ground penetrating radar equipment, the remains of the former wall were found in a large enough quantity to establish the size and length. Goochland’s nineteenth century jail wall had been proved to have existed!

The proof of the former wall.

The proof of the former wall.

Most of what is left in the ground is the rubble that was left when the wall was pushed down a century ago. Pieces of brick and cement remain as a testament to the walls that once surrounded jails in Virginia in the 1800’s. Once these structures were deemed no longer of use, most were taken down. The bricks were often used in other structures and what was left was pushed down and covered over as is the case in Goochland. This is just the first step in the upcoming restoration of the Old Stone Jail.

Courthouse column

Courthouse column

A few days after the excavation, workmen came to patch and paint the columns on the front of the historic Courthouse. During the patching, the bricks that make up the interior of the columns were briefly exposed. The is possibly the first time these bricks have seen the light of day in almost 200 years! What will turn up next?

Contributed by James Richmond of the Goochland County Historical Society

2014 Holiday Meeting

31 Dec

On Sunday, December 7, 2014, the Goochland County Historical Society held its annual Holiday meeting at historic Ben Dover in Manakin-Sabot.

Ben Dover

Ben Dover

The 1853 house was a big draw for the approximately 100 people who attended. Owner Louisa Preston gave us a quick history of the house and grounds and then the meeting moved on to Society business. President Wayne Dementi proposed the 2015 Board. Christina Dunn and Peter Gretz were then named and approved as the two newest Board members.

Delicious treats!

Delicious treats!

Lord Cornwallis (Bruce Venter) was our speaker for the day. His entertaining and informative performance kept everyone’s attention.

Lord Cornwallis (Bruce Venter)

Lord Cornwallis (Bruce Venter)

A big thank you goes out to the Preston family for making Ben Dover available for our meeting. Thanks very much to Louise Thompson for making sure the spread of treats was laid out for everyone to enjoy. Thank you to outgoing Board members Temple Bayliss, Bruce Venter, Sam Smith and Richard Carchman for your service to the Society. Also, thank you to our members for your support in 2014. Here’s to hoping that 2015 will be even better!

Fall Meeting – Hatfields, McCoys and Elk Hill

23 Oct

On September 28, the Goochland County Historical Society held its Fall Meeting at historic Elk Hill. The main house at Elk Hill was built between 1835 and 1839 by Randolph Harrison, Jr. and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today the property is part of Elk Hill Farm, a facility that supports troubled young people and their parents through a residential program that teaches academic, vocational, life and behavioral skills.

Elk Hill

Elk Hill

Our venue for the day was the beautiful Chapel that is surrounded by 100 year old trees. With sun shining through the stained glass windows, Michael Farley, Elk Hill CFO, gave a brief overview of Elk Hill and its mission. Then GCHS Vice-President Bruce Venter welcomed our guest speaker, Dean King, who spoke the adventures he had while researching his book, The Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys, The True Story (2013). Mr. King showed a slideshow of photographs of some of the people he interviewed and some of the locations where the feud occurred. Even though shot at and warned to stay away, he eventually gained the confidence of the citizens of the places he visited. His dedication led to the publication of the book as well as a reality series based on the book for the History Channel. We were even fortunate enough to have a direct descendant of one of the Hatfields in the audience for the presentation.

The Singleton Chapel, Elk Hill

The Singleton Chapel, Elk Hill

Afterwards, Elk Hill provided wonderful refreshments for the attendees and Mr. King graciously signed books. We would like to thank Dean King for a wonderful presentation. We would also like to thank Elk Hill representatives David Wyman (CEO), Michael Farley (CFO) and Ann Criswell (Director of Development) for taking care of us.

Dean King signing copies of The Feud

Dean King signing copies of The Feud

For additional information on Elk Hill, visit

To learn more about Dean King, visit