Fredericksburg (Va.)

J.S. Potter's Hazel Hill (1890-1899)

This article was first printed in the January, 1979 issue of the Fredericksburg Times magazine and appears here with the author's permission. Hazel Hill no longer stands.

The old Fredericksburg home, Hazel Hill, was built about 1793 by John Minor (1761-1816) at the time of his marriage (his second) to Lucy Landon Carter. It remained the Minor home until about 1855 after which its ownership passed through several hands including Montgomery Slaughter (Fredericksburg Mayor, 1860-1868) and Judge Henry Souther. It was the latter who, in the spring of 1890, sold Hazel Hill to the Honorable Joseph S. Potter.
Mr. Potter was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1866 to 1871 and the Senate from 1871 to 1874. He was appointed to a high government office in Germany where he served until April, 1890 at which time he moved to Fredericksburg. He was described as a man who could spread sunshine among people; who could make two blades of grass grow whe= re none had grown before!

Mary Ball Washington: "His Revered Mother"

Fredericksburg's Mary Ball Washington was an intrepid 18th-century woman who raised five children alone. The oldest became the first President of the United States.

Mary Washington's name and heritage are alive and well in the Fredericksburg area and beyond. Her home is at the corner of Lewis and Charles streets; the Mary Washington Monument is on Washington Avenue, which was originally Mary Washington Avenue.

The Heritage of Sophia Street

Archaeologist Roy Butler explores the historical significance of this early street, believed to have been named for Sophia Dorothea, sister of George II and mother of Frederick the Great of Prussia.

When we think of Fredericksburg history as it relates to Sophia Street, we immediately bring to mind a few specific remaining structures and sites as we see them today: The Toll House at the foot of Rocky Lane; the present Half Way house at Wolfe and Sophia Streets, once an early tavern. The Center for the Creative Arts, referred to as the Silversmith's House; and the Sandstone Warehouse at the bridge at Sophia and William Streets.

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.

Fighting for Civil Rights: A Battleground in the Old Dominion

From October through the end of December, 2006, the Fredericksburg Area Museum hosted a traveling exhibit, Civil Rights in Virginia.

Teachers were encouraged to bring middle and high school students to the museum to come face to face with this turbulent time in the state's history. An excellent exhibition curriculum guide, The Story of Virginia: Becoming Equal, is available for educators.

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.