Robert Hodge

Market-House/Town Hall

Beginning a three-month tour of the Southern states in April of 1791, President George Washington came, unannounced, to Fredericksburg from Mt. Vernon.

Without delay, all forces were organized and an elegant dinner was prepared at Fredericksburg's Market-House/Town Hall to honor the hometown boy. The principal inhabitants of the corporation amassed at the brick building at the west side of Caroline Street, just below Market Alley.

William Forrest Halsey: Silent Scenarist of Fredericksburg

Forrest Halsey (who did not utilize the "William" assigned by his parents at his birth in New Jersey on the ninth of November, 1878) was a grandson of John and Martha Whittemore, onetime residents of Fredericksburg's imposing Hanover Street mansion, Federal Hill.

Well-known both in Fredericksburg and in international literary circles during the two decades of 1910-1930, he is to most--like his silent movies--a nearly forgotten shadow.

Park Skating Rink

In Fredericksburg, the block on Prince Edward Street south of Hurkamp Park, between George and Hanover streets, is today occupied by large brick mansions.

In 1909, the lot, owned by Judge A.T. Embrey, was vacant until May. A month before, Messrs. Rudasille and Johnson, experienced in the establishment of skating rinks, were in Fredericksburg making preparations for one here.

The Fredericksburg Sassafras Distillery

SASSAFRAS VARIFOLIUM is an old species, fossil forms being found in the one-hundred-million-year-old rocks of the Cretaceous period in both North America and Eurasia. Since the ice ages, it has continued to live only in a small section of Asia and in North America from Maine to Florida and westward to the beginning of the prairies. Today it is most commonly found at the wood's edge along roadsides and fence rows as a tree growing between fifteen and fifty feet.

The Story of the Rappahannock Canal

In June 1816, the Virginia Herald announced a meeting to be held to formulate plans for making the Rappahannock River commercially navigable above the fall line rapids at Fredericksburg.

Casino Island Park

In the summer of 1910, hundreds of electric lights shed their radiance on the Rappahannock River for the opening of Casino Island Park.

The Fredericksburg Silk Mill

In August of 1889, C. W. Wilder of New York and George F. Wheeler of Baltimore were introduced by J. R. Clarke of Baltimore, owner of the Fredericksburg Water Power Company, to the Corporation Council of Fredericksburg.

In return for the donation of an acre of land and exemption from city taxes for a period of ten years, the men agreed to construct and put into operation within six months a silk factory that would employ up to 200 girls and women from age 15 upward. It was also understood that they would enlarge the works when the opportunity demanded.

Hunter's Island Vineyard

In 1883 Charles E. Hunter, an industrious Fredericksburg foundryman, purchased what was then known as Beck's Island just below the dam in the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg.

Fredericksburg Monster(s): One or More?

In July, 1872 it was reported an enormous serpent, supposed to be a python, anaconda or boa constrictor, escaped from a traveling menagerie. Its body was said to be the thickness of a lamp post, and it had been seen in the meadow below the papermill (today's water treatment plant). It had also been seen in the trees overhanging the water at Beck's Island, and "we may soon expect to hear of the disappearance of the boys who go bathing" there.

Gaslight! The Story of the Fredericksburg Gas Company

Hurrah for the Gas!
Brilliant, Beautiful Light!

--Fredericksburg News

On May 24, 1852, the General Assembly of Virginia passed an act incorporating the Fredericksburg Gas Company. This act authorized William Hargrave White to sell stock at $50 per share to raise not less than $15,000 nor more than $100,000 to be used for the purchase of up to three acres of land for the construction and operation of a works to manufacture, from bituminous coal, gas to be distributed and used for private illumination.