Memorial Day has a long history, reaching back to the end of the Civil War. On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered his army, and soldiers of the North and South went home to their families, their ranks thinned by the war's bloodshed. Thousands upon thousands of the men who went to battle never returned. At home, their families grieved for the fathers and brothers lost to them and looked for a way to memorialize their sacrifices.
Since the body of water known as the Rappahannock River separated two important areas of commerce and trade, it had, of course, to be crossed constantly. The Indians had their canoes and the early settlers had their boats and ferries. The first bridge was built about 1800 and was referred to as Scott's Bridge.
Every year, the Memorials Advisory Commission recommends to the City Council the names of up to five citizens deceased for at least five years who have made outstanding contributions to the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Commission relies upon public nominations to determine which individuals to place on the Wall of Honor. Files of information on the honorees are available in the Central Rappahannock Regional Library's Virginiana Room.
Alum Spring Park is a 34-acre woodland retreat off Greenbriar Drive with a playground and hiking trails. Its sandstone cliff, also known as the Alum Spring Rock, is 400 feet long and 40 feet high.
The library's Virginiana Room and other historic research centers, sites, and organizations need volunteers. Come to the Fredericksburg Area Museum's 2009 Volunteer Job Fair on Monday, April 6, to learn more about volunteer opportunities in history and other fields such as health and human services, education, environment, and the arts. For more information on opportunities to volunteer your time to help with preserving the past, check out our article, Helping with History.
At times, a sense of things past seems to envelop tourists and residents who stroll quietly along Fredericksburg streets at twilight or drive through a countryside still scarred by the battles of the Civil War. Some swear that more than a general sense of the history of the place overwhelms them. At twilight, at midnight, or even at high noon, specters and shades of those whose place this was may return to their homes and habits to pray, to flirt, to dine, and to stroll, to fire their rifles and march in formation, or lie wounded in hospital beds, wearing uniforms of gray or blue.
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!
This article was first printed in the November 1988 issue of the Fredericksburg Times magazine and appears here with the author's permission.
Wanted: local leaders in education, medicine, civil rights, government, good works, patriotism, historic preservation, and other fields.