When you think of America you may think about Freedom, Democracy, Free Speech, Opportunity, Justice and all that makes this a great country. The American flag is the one symbol that represents not only who we are but what we are as a county.
Last week Kathy and I took a road trip to Charlottesville and visited the home of our 5th president, James Monroe (1817-1825). His home is known as Ash Lawn and is owned and maintained by The College of William and Mary, his alma mater. In many respects it is a simple home but worth visiting. One of the interesting facts I learned was President Monroe had legislation enacted that makes our flag look the way it does today.
The flag that flew over Fort McHenry in Baltimore in 1814 (pictured above) has 15 stars and 15 stripes. One star and one stripe for each state. President Monroe recognized that if we kept adding stripes for each state the flag would create design and proportion problems so in 1818 he signed an act declaring that henceforth our flag would have 13 stripes and a star for each state of the Union. Had he not signed this act by the time he left office in 1825 there were 24 states and one could only imagine the flag with 24 stripes.
When you see the American Flag today you have our 5th president to thank for the way it looks. Speaking of presidents, next Tuesday we, have the privilege of choosing our president for the next four years. Remember to get out and vote.
The sun was setting on Saturday, October 20, 2012 as several hundred zombies rose from the dead to walk along Main Street in downtown Lynchburg, VA. Almost as many spectators lined Main Street to see the zombies up close and personal, hear their moans, groans and screams and “enjoy” an unusual yearly event. Who knew so many zombies lived among us?
Some participants clearly spent hours or perhaps days, working on their costumes and planning, then applying their makeup. We saw traditional zombies, brides, headless zombies, zombies with missing (but carried) limbs, zombies with gashes and missing flesh….you name it. The “Best Child Zombie” was a boy with a cleaver embedded in his head. “Most Authentic Zombie” was Abraham Lincoln, risen from the dead, who was accompanied by his wife dressed as John Wilkes Booth.
The event had a philanthropic theme as well. Participants were asked to bring along a non-perishable food item or donate cash to the Lynchburg dog park. More than $200 was raised for the dog park and it is estimated that over 800 pounds of food was donated to Lynchburg’s food bank.
Next year plan on spending the Zombie Walk weekend at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast. Rise Saturday morning to our legendary breakfast, get yourself ready for the walk and then haunt Main Street with your fellow zombies.
Next week will be the Ghost walk down Main Street. If the zombies didn’t scare you then come downtown to hear stories of residents of years past that just don’t want to leave downtown. Who can blame them with as much revitalization that is happening!. The Ghost Walk is put on by the Lynchburg Historical Foundation and tickets can be purchased the night of the event at the Community Market at the corner of 12th and Main Streets. See you there!
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.
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