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This sizzling summer seems a fitting season to recall the almost forgotten story of John Lee Pratt and the Frigidaire, one of the first "mechanical" refrigerators.
In 1919 Mr. Pratt, a King George County boy who would become a multi-millionaire and owner of Chatham Manor, was a General Motors engineer.
That same year GM had produced the Frigidaire, one of the first mechanical refrigerators for home use. They were called "mechanical" because some were powered by electricity, others by gas.
Four Mayors of Fredericksburg: An Oral History by Archer Williams.
Former mayors Charles Cowan, Josiah Rowe, Edward Cann, and Lawrence Davies give their impressions of the city's growth under their administrations, from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Andrea Davis Pinkney's (September 25, 1963 -- ) books are full of the rhythms of the African-American community. Stroll down memory lane with Scat Cat Monroe as he follows the rise of Ella Fitzgerald from the small-town girl who liked to sing and dance on street corners to wowing the crowd at the Apollo Theatre when she was only seventeen, dressed in work boots and hand-me-downs.
From the Central Rappahanock Regional Library
Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life by Tom Lewis.
The monumental story of the largest engineered structure ever built -- the American interstate highway system -- is told in dramatic text and pictures. This is the companion volume to the PBS documentary series of the same name.
Getting There: The Epic Struggle Between Road and Rail in the American Century by Stephen P. Goddard.
A well-done bit of social history, with its focus on the triumph of the road builders.
By Janet Payne
Janet Payne is the retired fine arts coordinator of the Stafford (VA) County Public Schools.
This article originally appeared in the International Review of African American Art, volume 16, number 1, and is reproduced here with the permission of this publication.
When Mary Downing Hahn writes a book, she works along steadily until that magic moment when the characters develop their own voices. Whether it's a mean-mouthed boy who is hiding family secrets or a girl who is terrified of the ghostly presence haunting her small step-sister, this author's characters tell their own stories both believably and intriguingly.
Carolyn Owens (Reeder) knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was 12 years old. A book lover herself, she taught a nearly 9-year-old boy how to read because he had never learned in school. She grew up to teach 4th, 5th, and 6th grades, eventually going full circle and becoming a reading specialist for primary grades. She was born and grew up in Washington , D.C.
A daughter of union organizers, Mary grew up in Greenwich Village and while only a teenager sang backup for the legendary Pete Seeger. Today, her clear, warm vocals on songs written by Seeger and Bob Dylan remind us of the softer aspects of 1960s social struggle. "If I Had a Hammer," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and "Blowin' in the Wind" are still favorites for youth groups.
With Google's now infamous detailed photos, it's rather easy to see how a town is laid out today. But what about 50, 100, or 150 years ago? Where are the maps that show how the towns and counties grew through the years? One excellent source of information, the Sanborn fire insurance maps, is available online to our patrons at no charge.