This past Saturday Lynchburg, Virginia’s Pierce Street Historic District (located in the 1300 & 1400 blocks) celebrated the addition of two state historical markers, the people who resided here that influenced Lynchburg and beyond, the music of years gone by and food and drink as enjoyed by both past and present residents with a festival enjoyed by locals and visitors.
Only two blocks long, Pierece Street Historic District is the smallest of Lynchburg’s seven historic districts. It is the only historic district made more notable due to the people who lived here rather than the architecture of the buildings.
Settled in the 1850’s the area was the site of the Confederate Camp Davis, which served as a military hospital and gathering point for recruits from Virginina. During Reconstruction, the abandoned barracks were converted into housing for Federal soilders, a freedman’s school and a black Methodist Church. The area became part of Lynchburg in 1870.
The markers dedicated honor Walter Johnson and Professor Frank Twigg. Johnson’s marker commemorates his efforts to desegregate the game of tennis in the United States. Johnson trained Wimbledon champions Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe. Twigg’s marker commemorates this Virginia educator who was born in 1850 “into slavery in Richmond.” He worked as a teacher and pricipal for 22 years in Lynchurg’s public school system, and later served as president of colleges in Virginia, Maryland & North Carolina.
Look for a future post about Annes Spencer’s House and Garden, also located in the Pierce Street Historic District. On your next visit to the Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast take time to visit this tiny, but very interesting, historic district.
The James River Batteau Festival, in its 27th year, launched this past Saturday from Percival’s Island in downtown Lynchburg, VA. A fleet of nineteen boats pushed off from the banks of the river amidst cannon blasts, cheering and applause.
The festival is an 8-day, 120 mile trip down the James River from Lynchburg to Richmond. The launch from Lynchburg celebrates the unique history of these flat-bottomed boats, invented in Amherst, which once carried goods and passengers in the early 8th century. With a draw of only about 6-8-inches these boats carried several thousand pounds of tobacco or other goods on the shallow James River. The batteau carried goods until about 1840 when improvements along the river made navigation by larger vessels possible.
For the first time in 5 years this year’s festival included traditional crafters and artisans, historical games, activities and exhibits, storytelling, live music, a bass fishing tournament, a canoe and kayak race and a Monacan Youth Powwow Dance. Due to the resounding success of this year’s festival, be on the lookout for the announcement, next year, for the launch date in June 2013.
Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777. John Adams introduced the following resolution before the Continental Congress, meeting at Philadelphia, PA: “Resolved, that the flag of the thirteen United States shall have thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
In 1914, President Woodrow Wison declared June 14 “Flag Day.” In 1949 Congress passed legislation asking President Harry S. Truman to issue an annual proclamation calling for the observance of the hoilday.
The week of June 14 is designated as “National Flag Week.” During National Flag Week, the president will issue a proclamation urging all U.S. citizens to fly the American flag for the duration of that week. The flag should also be displayed on all government buildings.
At The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, in Lynchburg, VA, we fly two flags from our front porch. One is the flag of fifty stars and stripes. The other is a flag of thirty-eight stars and stripes, representing the states of the union in 1878 when our house was completed. The Watts family would have flown such a flag.
Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, although many towns and cities throughout the United States celebrate this day with parades, speeches and other forms of patriotic expression. Perhaps the oldest continuing Flag Day parade is at Fairfield, Washington. Beginning in 1909 or 1910, Fairfield has held a parade every year since, with the possible exception of 1918, and celebrated the “Centennial” parade in 2010.
We look forward to observing flags being flown throughout Lynchburg and Central Virginia.
In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson dubbed June 14 “Flag Day.” In 1949 Congress passed legislation asking the president to issue an annual proclamation calling for the observance of the holiday.
On Saturday, June 2nd, the Hill City Classic Derby took place at Falwell Aviation. 22 drivers competed in the double elimination competition, ten in stock and 12 in superstock. The double elimination format meant that some of the drivers raced down the hill as many as six times.
Since there aren’t any engines in soapbox derby the difference between stock and uper stock is the size of the driver. Stock cars accommodate drivers in the 10-13 age range. In superstock the cockpit is larger to accommodate drivers aged 13-17.
The drivers must make their cars, using a hard plastic kit that weighs about 60 pounds. According to two of the drivers, the hardest part of building the car is getting the steering cables installed correctly. Most of the drivers had assistance from a helpful adult.
In the 1950’s and 60’s the Derby was a fixture in downtown Lynchburg, the course taking advantage of various hilly streets. This year, Falwell Aviation was chosen as the sight of the derby due to the layout of the land and the slope of the runway. Without an engine, gravity plays a vital role in the running of the race. The track was about 100 yards (the length of a football field) and the drivers reached a speed in excess of 30 miles per hour.
The stock and superstock winners, Fulton Fitzgerald and Nathan Hansen, respectively, will travel to Akron, Ohio to compete in the National Soap Box Derby on July 21st. The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast wishes the best of luck to Lynchburg’s representatives!
The derby was such a success the organizers plan to offer the event again next year.
Once a year we celebrate Memorial Day. To some it represents a three day weekend, to others it means sales at the store and to others it represents the unofficial start of summer. To the vast majority of Americans it is a time to reflect on who we are as Americans. Our way of life, the freedoms we enjoy, the opportunities each of us has wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for those brave men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us and our way of life. Freedom isn’t free and our cemeteries are full of the graves of those who gave their lives to protect us. Many of us took the time this weekend to place flowers or flags on the headstones of our fallen heroes. In Lynchburg, there was a service on Sunday in the Confederate section of the cemetery and afterwards flowers were placed on the graves of the soldiers.
Please don’t wait until Veterans Day or next Memorial Day to thank a veteran as many of them need our help now. If you are an employer consider hiring a vet. If you know of a family that has someone serving overseas and you can help with their yard work, house cleaning or even babysitting. When you see a veteran thank them for their service. These little acts of kindness will go a long way and will be appreciated. Finally, if you are in downtown Lynchburg on Fridays from noon to 1:00 pm at the foot of Monument Terrace honk to show support of our troops or better yet, get out and talk to the veterans that gather each Friday.
We all have a lot to be thankful for so let’s not forget to thank them more than once or twice a year.
The Museum of the Confederacy Appomattox is now open!
Visitors to the museum start and end their tour in the main exhibit area with the museums crown jewel: the sword worn by Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the Army of Northen Virginia’s ceremonial surrender on April 12, 1865.
Touring the museum will take about two hours. During this time you will experience exhibits that include: the story of secession and the beginning of the Civil War, Confederate flags, soilders of the war, slavery and the important part it played in the Civil War, war correspondence, five important battle campaigns, the Appomattox surrender and Reconstruction and life after the war. You will not want to miss the Wall of Faces, an interactive feature, that shows pictures of people who lived during the Civil War-era and includes biographies about them.
Located at 159 Horseshoe Road, Appomattox, VA the museum is open daily between 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission fees apply.
You will want to combine your visit to the museum with a visit to Appomattox Courthouse National Park, located just a few miles away.
The state flag of each state that belonged to the Confederacy fly at the entrance of the museum as well as the American flag which represents the re-unification of the North and South.
Located about a 25-minute drive to Appomattox, The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lynchburg, VA is a great spot to stay while exploring the area and it’s Civil War sites, museums and points of interest. Call 434.846.1388 to make your reservation or visit our web site at www.TheCarriageHouseInnBandB.com.
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