Virginia History

The Rappahannock Region's Architecture: Part 2: Forgotten Cottages

Old postcard view of the Mary Washington HouseThe big brick mansions such as Kenmore, Gunston Hall, and Carter's Grove grab the attention of most tourists to the Old Dominion but equally historic if considerably less lauded are the clapboard, plaster, and brick cottages that were homes and gathering places for ever

The Rappahannock Region's Forgotten Architecture: Part 1: The Old Brick Mansions

KenmoreStratford HallBerkley Plantation—these and many other substantial brick residences were designed to last and impress. The style was called Georgian, in honor of the English kings of the period. Later similar houses built after the American Revolution would be patriotically dubbed Federal. This article briefly looks at some common characteristics of the houses' exteriors.

Treading, Molding, and Firing

"The Queene of Pomonky"

XII. That each Indian King, and Queen have equall power to govern their owne people and none to have greater power then other, except the Queen of Pomunky to whom severall scattered Indians doe now againe owne their antient Subjection, and are agreed to come in and plant themselves under power and government, whoe with her are alsoe hereby included into this present League and treatie of peace, & are to keep, and observe the same towards the said Queen in all things as her Subjects, as well as towards the English.

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.

Virginia Haunts

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.

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.