Recently we toured Anne Spenser’s home and garden located at 1313 Pierce Street in Lynchburg. Our tour guide was Shaun Spencer-Hester, the granddaughter of Anne Spencer and daughter of Chauncey Spenser, one of the Tuskegee Airmen. Walking through the home was like stepping back in time. There were photos, letters scattered around the home. The “phone booth” in the home has names and phone numbers scribbled on the walls. The furnishings belonged to Anne and Edward and you got the sense that they would be coming back from the store any moment. There were invoices and cancelled checks sitting on the desk and Anne Spenser’s cookbook was on the kitchen table. You could tell that these were real people and this was their home. All too often house museums have been “sterilized” with the removal of many personal items, but not in this case. All too often it is easy to clean house and throw things away, fortunately the family keep all these treasures so that we can now enjoy those traces of the past. The attic hosts a train set and it is easy to visualize Anne’s grandchildren playing in the attic and listening to records on the old record player.
We heard stories of how Edward, Anne’s husband built the home and how he recycled many items by using them in the home. Edward was a parcel post carrier (mail man) who also raised chickens so it wasn’t unusual for him to deliver your mail as well as some freshly laid eggs. Edward was a man of many talents who not only built his home, but several others, built Anne’s private writing retreat, Edankraal , in the garden. The name Edankraal was derived from Edward, Anne and kraal, the Afrikaans word for corral or homeplace.
Anne Spencer (1882-1975) was an internationally acclaimed poet during the Harlem Renaissance period of the 1920’s and she continued her writings throughout her life. Because of the historical significance of her body of work, it was turned over to the University of Virginia to be catalogued and preserved for future generations. When Anne wasn’t writing, teaching, raising children you could often find her in her garden behind the house which served as a place of inspiration for her writings. Today many of Ann’s bulbs, peonies roses and shrubs still survive and offer visitors a burst of color when visiting the garden. Today,Lynchburg’s Hillside Garden Club has adopted the garden and is responsible for maintaining it.
The gardens are open to the public November-March , but the home is only open on special days or by appointment. This private museum is a must see. To schedule a tour please call the museum at 434-845-1313. Admission prices $5.00 for seniors and $10.00 for adults. Of course donations are always welcome. If you will be staying with us while in Lynchburg and are interested in touring this home (we highly recommend it) let us know when you make your reservation and we will call to set up your tour. Ideally, two weeks notice would be appreciated.
A poem by Anne Spencer about her garden:
This small garden is half my world
I am nothing to it-when all is said,
I plant the thorn and kiss the rose,
But they will grow when I am dead.
Estate and Consignments is always looking for a good home for one of their many treasures. Let’s face it, we are all going to die and when we do, what happens to all our stuff. When the children leave the nest and it is time to downsize we also have that same problem, what are we going to do with all the stuff that won’t fit into the new place. Estate and Consignments is one of two companies in downtown Lynchburg that purchases these estates and then they try to find kind loving homes for these items.
You need to frequent Estate and Consignments regularly since they bring in one or two estates each week so you will never know what you will find there from week to week. Prices are much lower that you would find if buying the stuff new and part of the fun is finding that treasure that you can’t live without. If you are looking for a junk shop this isn’t the place. Most items are in really great shape or gently worn. From time to time you will find antiques. There is usually a dozen sets of china and dining room suites as well as bedroom suites.
A number of our guests have visited Estate and Consignments and have walked away with some great pieces. If you happen to be visiting Lynchburg and are staying with us (The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast), we have been known to store some large pieces until transportation can be arranged. We happened to be there after the first of the year and fell in love with this antique sleigh (below), but unfortunately we don’t have a place to display it….Do you?
Estate and Consignments is located in a huge warehouse located at 139 12th Street in downtown Lynchburg between Main Street and Commerce Street. Their phone number is: (434) 528-3667. They are open seven days a week! Below is a photo of their warehouse (interior) and a couple of other pieces that caught my eye.
We will be featuring a different downtown merchant on our blog every 6-8 weeks so keep reading as we have some fantastic shops with more and more opening all the time. It is very exciting to be in Lynchburg as the downtown area is becoming a destination, much as it was from the 1800’s through the 1960’s.
The Lynchburg Museum is proud to announce the “Santa has come to town!”
The museum has recently acquired the mechanical Santa that once greeter shoppers to the downtown Leggett’s Department Store. The 5 foot tall Santa would watch over the shoppers from a display at the store’s entrance. The mechanized figure could turn and wave to the shoppers while his reindeer bobbed up and down as though in flight (quite a feat for store figures in the 50’s & 60’s.)
Santa can be viewed until January 31, 2014 at the Lynchburg Museum, in downtown Lynchburg, VA, at 901 Court Street. Museum hours are Monday – Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 12-4. Entrance fees run between $3.00-$6.00. Entrance fees are waived on First Fridays between 5:00-8:00 pm.
Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s retreat just outside Lynchburg, Virginia, will host a holiday open house on Sunday, December 15, 2013 between 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.
Visitors to this octagonal house will see the house as it might have been decorated for Jefferson’s holiday guests. Evergreen, holly and mountain laurel garlands will grace the railings and banisters, mantels and picture frames. Rosemary and lavender will scent the rooms. The natural materials used as the decorations are all found on the grounds, just as they would have been in Jefferson’s day. The boxwoods shown in the above photo were removed about 3 months ago so that the front of the property can be restored to the way it looked in Jefferson’s time.
In addition to touring the home there will be early 19th century dance presentations by the Regency of Virginia, traditional candle-making demonstrations and the preparation of traditional recipes on an open kitchen hearth.
Admission to the open house is free with a donation of a nonperishable food item for Lynchburg’s Daily Bread of the Bedford Humane Society. A special discount, 20%, will be offered on items sold in the gift shop throughout the month of December.
Here’s a fact that many people don’t know: The Watts family built what is now The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lynchburg, Virginia. Descendants of R. T. Watts were the last private owners of Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest. If you are traveling to the area to see Poplar Forest and need a place to stay you can make reservations at their original home, now a bed and breakfast.
Once again this year downtown Lynchburg, Virginia’s Community Market (one of the oldest, continuously operating markets in the country) is presenting it’s annual Mistletoe Market.
Saturday December 7th, 14th and 21st between the hours of 7:00 am until 3:00 pm the Community Market will be filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and holiday greenery, unique, handcrafted gifts, food and beverage tastings, family activities, carriage rides through downtown (starting at 10:00 am, $2.00 per person,) Santa and Mrs. Claus and the Grinch will be stopping by.
Get a head start on your holiday shopping by supporting your local businesses, vendors, crafters, farmers and others who greatly appreciate your support all year long. We’ll see you there!
Kathy and I want to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and hope that next year will be a great year for you. Of course if your travels bring you to Lynchburg give us a call, we would love for you to enjoy The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast as your home away from home.
It’s only fitting to write about Monument Terrace on Veteran’ Day. Everyday, Monument Terrace pays tribute to those Lynchburg residents who gave their lives defending our freedoms. Today, November 11th, Veterans Day there will be a ceremony at the foot of Monument Terrace allowing us reflect on the freedoms we enjoy and the costs of those freedoms.
There wasn’t always a Monument Terrace; originally it was a dirt path that connected Court House Hill (site of the original court house, now the Lynchburg Museum) to what is now 9th Street. In 1882 August Forsberg designed stone steps, a plaza and a fountain to be placed at the base (now Church and 9th Street). In 1883 five volunteer fireman lost their lives and statue of a fireman was placed on top of a fountain with water pouring from the nozzle of his hose. That statue stood there until 1924.
Today’s Monument Terrace was completed in 1925 and it was intended to be a monument to those who fought and lost their lives in the first World War (1917-1918). Since then other monuments have been constructed to honor those local heroes from other wars. There are 132 steps taking you from Church Street to Court Street. Along the way there are 10 landings and 11 markers and monuments along the terrace. Eight of the markers are devoted to military service and three commemorate civic milestones. Today there are monuments to honor those who lost their lives in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Additionally there is a POW-MIA Monument and a Purple Heart Monument.
In addition to these monuments, every Friday since 2001 from noon-1:00 a group of citizens gather at the foot of Monument Terrace to demonstrate openly their support for the men and women who serve the United States in its military services.
In the event you are unable to visit Monument Terrace I have posted a few photos below of some of the monuments.
I started with the Vietnam Memorial because I wanted to honor those troops who were not well respected when they returned from the war.
The Korean War is the forgotten war. Lynchburg like lots of towns and cities across this nation lost troops in this far off place.
It was only after we had World War II that this memorial was called a memorial to those who died in World War I. Let’s hope we never see another World War! This monument is at the foot of Monument Terrace at the intersection of 9th Street and Church Street.
A tribute to “The Greatest Generation.” Unfortunately the memorial had to be on two different walls due to the high number of causalities. The National D-Day Memorial is just 20 minutes west of Lynchburg and is also a must see to those who fought on the Beaches of Normandy towards the end of World War II.
Unfortunately, The Spanish American War is just a foot note in many history books. Monument Terrace pays tribute to those Americans that fought in this war.
For those of you who haven’t visited the Lynchburg area, we are only 20 minutes from Appomattox Courthouse where the country was reunited almost 149 years ago. It is worth the trip to visit this national park.
The origin of the Purple Heart Medal dates back to the American Revolution. The medal that is used today is given to those wounded or killed in time of war and was established in 1932. Unfortunately, it is estimated that more than 1.7 million medals have been given out since 1932.
This monument is to honor those that were held as a Prisoner of War (POW) or those that never returned from the war, Missing in Action (MIA).
I hope that all of us takes a moment to remember our Armed Forces, both current and past. Veteran’s Day is more than just a day off or a time to go shopping at the mall. If you have a reason to visit Central Virginia, I would hope you carve out time to visit Monument Terrace, The Old City Cemetery, The National D-Day Memorial, Appomattox Courthouse and the Museum of the Confederacy. There are many other interesting places to visit and things to do, but on this Veteran’s Day lets focus on these venues. Today at 10:30am there will be a ceremony at the base of Monument Terrace. Church Street will be closed during the event.
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