History Blog

07/06/2016 - 1:31pm
Sign for Spotswood's Furnace

From the Central Rappahannock Regional Library

A Different Story: A Black History of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania, Virginia by Ruth Coder Fitzgerald.
These chapters are of particular interest: Chapter 2, Occupations and Owners (Antebellum period) and Chapter 13, Occupations (post-Civil War).
 
Economic Challenge and Mercantile Enterprise in a Southern Urban System: A Case Study of Fredericksburg, Virginia, 1835-1880 by Keith Edward Littlefield.
A doctoral dissertation written under the auspices of the University of Maryland, Graduate Studies in Geography. 380 pages.
 
Fifty Years of Service in the Printing Business, 1894-1944: Fiftieth Anniversary, May 10th, 1944 by Robert A. Kishpaugh.
Mr. Kishpaugh noted important local dates in the city's history in his 31-page book.
 
Four Mayors of Fredericksburg: An Oral History collected by Archer Williams.
Mayors Cowan, Rowe, Cann, and Davies recall the events of their administrations in 20th-century Fredericksburg.
 
Spotswood's Iron by Ralph C. Meima.
Alexander Spotswood's blast furnace was an important early step for industrialization in the Virginia Colony.
 
Fredericksburg Business Directories
The library has the 1852 directory (photocopies) and the 1888-89 directory (combined with Alexandria). The 1892, 1910 (copied), and 1921 directories are also available. CRRL has a run of directories from 1938 to the present with the exceptions of 1957, 1960, 1963, and 1988 which are missing.
 
The Fredericksburg Fire of 1807 by Edward Alvey, Jr.
The 1807 fire destroyed six city blocks, including 45 homes, plus warehouses and stores.
 
The Fredericksburg Times.
This local magazine often featured articles by local historians. A separate index is available.
 
The Fredericksburg Wood Working Plant by Peter Pockriss.
Built in 1896 and shut down in 1904, the wood working plant produced milled lumber and house trim for orders that were shipped as far as New York City and Boston. It was adjacent to the old Bridgewater Mills, near Amaret Street.
 
The Free Lance-Star Historical and Industrial Number: Portraying the Glorious Past and Future Possibilities of Fredericksburg, Virginia (1907) edited and compiled by Albert E. Walker.
This intriguing glimpse into Fredericksburg's industrial past is complete with photos. An index, compiled by Robert Hodge, is available separately.
 
Historic Fredericksburg by Oscar H. Darter.
A 55-page account, written in the 1950s, by a local historian and college professor. Each year, the University of Mary Washington's history department gives a scholarship in honor of Dr. Darter’s memory.
 
History of Fredericksburg, Virginia by Alvin T. Embrey.
A history written in the 1930s that includes biographical notes.
 
The History of the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia by S.J. Quinn.
This lengthy 1908 history is often affectionately referred to as "Quinn." Also available online.
 
The Journal of Fredericksburg History.
Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc.'s annual, illustrated, and scholarly volume.
 
Oral History Index, 1997-1999 indexed by Ruth Coder Fitzgerald.
An index to Historic Fredericksburg Foundation's oral history project. Click here for a listing of titles.
 
Reference Materials for Historic Preservation 463 Laboratory in Museum Design and interpretation compiled by John N. Pearce, Tad Czyzewski and Kathy J. Beard.
Contents:
The Industries of Fredericksburg, c1720-1996
Fredericksburg Business Data
City/Battlefield Industrial Park (Fredericksburg Industrial Park)
Fredericksburg Businesses: Major Employers
Fredericksburg: All Businesses, by Street
Documents relating to the creation of an exhibit with the working title, "Industrial Fredericksburg," at the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center
Major headings from A History of Technology, Volumes III, IV, and V, and from Technology and Society in Twentieth Century America
06/12/2015 - 2:51pm
CRRL & Civil War Sesquicentennial

The CRRL is proud to partner with area historians, museums, tourism agencies, organizations, churches, and scholars to provide programs and information that can promote understanding of the events that exploded here in the 1860s and their far-reaching impact.

Over the last four years the community has been invited to commemorate—through lectures, re-enactments, exhibits, film screenings, and musical performances—the extraordinary fact that we were a war zone from 1861-1865.

 

02/06/2015 - 9:49am
For Virginia and for Independence: Twenty-eight Revolutionary War Soldiers From the Old Dominion by Harry M. Ward

Virginia’s Civil War history sometimes overshadows her Revolutionary past.  In For Virginia and Independence, Dr. Ward shares fascinating, adventurous stories of soldiers, some local, whose deeds should be remembered. There’s Peter Francisco, the strongman immigrant soldier; Jack Jouett, Virginia’s Paul Revere; Anna Maria Lane, who dressed as a man and followed her husband into battle; and 25 more. 

02/05/2015 - 11:11am

The year 2002 celebrated the 250th anniversary of the foundation of "George Washington's Mother Lodge." According to the authors of The History of Freemasonry in Virginia, "Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 stands out as one of the brightest Lodges in the early history of Freemasonry in Virginia." Since 1752 it has maintained a continuous Masonic presence in Fredericksburg. Many of the town's prominent citizens have been members, and many of its prominent buildings have Masonic cornerstones.

01/27/2015 - 10:09am
Gladys Poles Todd, Courtesy of the Free Lance-Star

Gladys Poles Todd, long-time Fredericksburg resident, died recently at the age of 101, having witnessed and been a part of the city’s changeover from its days of segregation. She lived to see schools and lunch counters integrated, and she was an important force behind making that happen. Among her many works, Mrs. Todd organized sit-ins, led voter registration drives, and supervised night study programs.

Her obituary gives a goodly number of details from her long and generous life, but you may also wish to read more about her in Fitzgerald’s A Different Story: A Black History of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania.

In 1997, she and other local leaders in the Civil Rights era got together for a forum at the library to discuss those difficult days. Fortunately, the program, Civil Rights: Fredericksburg’s Story, was recorded in DVD format and can be checked out.

Besides a historic legacy to be shared by the community, Mrs. Todd also left a personal record of her life. Her oral history, part of HFFI’s Pieces of Our Past series, is available to read in the Virginiana Room of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

Photo courtesy of The Free Lance-Star
01/29/2015 - 3:18pm

"Fredericksburg; may it increase and its commerce flourish." --Toast by George Washington, 1784

Fredericksburg-area residents and visitors have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Washington and Lincoln. Both presidents were entertained lavishly across the river at Chatham estate, but under very different circumstances.

To Washington, this small town of Fredericksburg was his childhood home, populated by many friends and relatives. His sojourns here are noted in his diary with a pleasant familiarity. Lincoln's view of Fredericksburg could hardly be of greater contrast, for Fredericksburg was a Union-occupied town, and although the president was certainly welcomed by his own men, he was not welcomed by Confederate townspeople. In the chill of that December, Fredericksburg would become the site of one of the Union's worst defeats.

05/22/2014 - 10:12am
White Oak Primitive Baptist Church

The simple house of worship on White Oak Road, across from the White Oak Civil War Museum, has its historic roots in the separation of church and state and was a hub of Union Army activity in the winter of 1862-63.

04/22/2014 - 2:35pm
Discover the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House

In the spring of 1864—150 years ago—the toil, sacrifice, and destruction of three years of Civil War merged into a swelling Union tide whose advance seemed inexorable, even if its success and destination remained in doubt. The Civil War became a whirlwind, rushing southward through Virginia and the Confederacy. Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg joined the lengthening list of the nation’s bloody battlefields.  That divided nation and the world watched intently, for that spring and summer the final course of the war would be set.

 

03/31/2014 - 2:41pm
Civil War Sites in Stafford County

Stafford County has a rich Civil War history including a naval battle, cavalry skirmishes, and Union encampments. Many of these Civil War sites can still be visited today.

02/19/2014 - 9:10pm
Samuel Pierpont Langley

1903 was a banner year for aircraft development, and Stafford County was on the bleeding edge of it. On December 17, Orville and Wilbur Wright had the first successful manned flight of a mechanical, heavier-than-air machine at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. But two months before that, on October 7, Samuel Pierpont Langley—with the blessings of Smithsonian—launched his design at Widewater in Stafford County. The only problem was, the well-funded flight crashed, dooming Langley’s dreams of being first in flight.

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