Following in our series of things to see and do at Lynchbrug, Virginia’s Old City Cemetery, this month we are featuring it’s Hearse House and Caretaker’s Museum.
The Hearse House and Caretakers Museum depicts the history of the burial and grave marking customs practiced in Lynchburg between 1866 until 1954. It also shows the story of the cemetery’s maintenance, or lack thereof, during it’s 210 year long existence.
Included in this museum is an original, turn-of-the-century hearse from the Diuguid Funeral Home. Diuguid has been in business in Lynchburg since 1817, and is considered Lynchburg’s oldest “institution.”. They are the second oldest funeral home in Virginia. This hearse would have been used to carry a casket to one of the private cemeteries in Lynchburg. Pulled by a team of horses, white horses pulled the hearse for children and black horses for adults.
A horse-drawn wagon, made by Thornhill Wagonworks, is also found here. It too was used as a hearse, along with being used by the cemetery’s groundskeepers to haul their equipment and workers.
When the cemetery opened in 1806 families took care of their own grave sites or plots. The cemetery hired it’s first official caretaker in 1866. He was paid $100 per year and was only responsible for the care of the Confederate Section. Originally, and until about 1954, the caretakers lived “on-sire” or on Taylor or Wise Streets. As time passed their duties were expanded to include: digging graves and the maintenance of the entire cemetery. As some of you know, the cemetery became over-grown and in much disrepair until about 1981 when the future of the cemetery was passed onto four women who renamed the association tending to the cemetery the Southern Memorial Association. They began the arduous task of clearing dead trees, brush and overgrown weeds and plants to discover unique gravestones, walls, paths and more. What you see today is testament to their hard work, that continues today, for over 20 years.
Take the time to linger at this museum and imagine life in Lynchburg in the mid- to late-1800’s. Next month we will feature the Mourning Museum, to tie into the history of burial and their customs.
The Old City Cemetery is located at 401 Taylor Street. The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk. The Cemetery Center is open Monday through Saturday between 10 until 3 and Sundays between 1 until 5, April through December.
El Jefe Taqueria Garaje has opened in downtown Lynchburg, VA. This eclectic tequila bar has a minimalistic menu that features 10 types of simple, fresh tacos made from either 6 or 10-inch corn tacos, house specials and quesadillas. The bar serves nine times more varieties of tequila than tacos, or 90 types, of tequila, priced between $5 to $11 per shot.
If you are unfamiliar with tequila the wait staff has been schooled in the different types of young and aged tequilas, such as blanco, anejo, joven and reposado.
Tequila is made from the Mexican agave plant, the Blue Weber. Blancos, or “whites,” are clear and relatively un-aged tequilas. Anejo is aged at least one year and is smoother and more complex. Joven, or “young” tequilas are mixed with colorants and flavorings. Reposado, or “restful” is aged between two to 11 months with flavors influenced by the wood barrels in which it was stored.
The bar is a narrow space that seats only about 38. Outside is a two-tiered patio that seats about 24. On warm spring and summer days the wait can be long. The outside patio overlooks the Bluffwalk and the James River.
In addition to the bar menu on Saturdays and Sundays, between 11 until 3 brunch is served. The brunch menu includes Sopapillas, Huevos Rancheros, Mexican Breakfast Frittata, pitchers of Margaritas, Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas.
Located at 1214 Commerce Street parking can usually be found on the street or in the nearby parking garage. El Jefe Taqueria Garaje, which roughly translates to “the boss of the food garage” is open Sunday through Thursday between 11 until 10 and Friday and Saturday between 11 until 1 am. They can be reached at 434.333.4317, if you have any questions.
If while staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast you would like a Mexican breakfast we can accommodate you. In the past we have served Huevos Rancheros, a Mexican Breakfast Frittata or a Chorizo Frittata, usually accompanied by avocado, salsa and beans. Call us at 434.846.1388 when making your reservation and request one of these special breakfast entrees.
The Renaissance Theatre, in downtown Lynchburg, VA, is presenting the hilarious, side-splitting musical comedy spoof of Gone With the Wind, entitled “I’ll Never Be Hungry Again.”
Named after Scarlett O’Hara’s famous declaration and line in the movie this play follows David, a black graduate student, who discovers Gone With the Wind is required reading for his Southern lit class at the University of Michigan. As many students do, David puts off reading the book until the night before a test only to realize the book has more than 1,000 pages! He attempts to speed read the book, but falls asleep where he finds himself on the plantation home of Starlett–not Scarlett–O’Hara, trapped as a character int he book he has come to despise.
The small black box atmosphere at Renaissance Theatre is the perfect backdrop for this musical. An extremely fast-paced production plus over-the-top costumes and exaggerated sound effects keeps the actors and audience enthralled and involved in the story line. Mike and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
This play will be performed on February 26, 27 and 28 plus March 3, 4 and 5, 2016 at Renaissance Theatre. Located at 1022 Commerce Street parking can usually be found on the street or in the parking lot just across from the theatre. Tickets can be purchased at etix.com or by calling 434.845.4427. But don’t delay, previous shows were all sellouts!
Staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast while to enjoy this delightful, yet thought provoking play, we will serve you a southern-style breakfast of Shrimp and Grits if you’d like. Just request this special breakfast entree’ when calling 434.846.1388 to book your reservation.
This month we are continuing our series of things to see and do in the Old City Cemetery, Lynchburg, VA.
The Station House Museum is the Stapleton Station. Stapleton Station was the C&O Station at Stapleton, Amherst County, Virginia, from 1898 until 1937. It was located at mile post 130.8, near Galt’s Mill, fifteen miles east of Lynchburg. It is the only remaining C&O “Standard Station” of its size and style. Between 1999-2001 the badly deteriorated station was dismantled board by board and reconstructed in the Old City Cemetery to interpret the importance of railroads in the history of Lynchburg.
The Station is divided into three sections: the Passenger Room, the Station Agent Office and the Baggage Room. The interior furnishings and instruments reflect the World War I era.
The Passenger Room. The small, rural C&O Station didn’t offer much comfort to travelers waiting for their train. It contained a bench, water cooler and signboard showing arrival and departure times. It served as the community center for the people living near Stapleton, where they shared local and family news, conversation and fellowship. During WW I the station was the only means of contact between the families and their boys fighting in Europe. As trains carried the boys off to war it brought most of them home.
The Station Agent Office. The Station Agent, or Tickemaster, operated the station. The station’s bay window faced the railroad tracks, enabling the station agent to watch for trains coming from or going to Lynchburg. On the desk sits a teletype on a three-armed resonator, along with a scissors-style telephone. This station agent also represented Western Union Telegram Service and Adams Express baggage service from this office.
The Baggage Room. The freight and baggage room received and shipped the necessities of life and death for the residents of Stapleton, VA. Baggage, livestock, household and farm purchases were dispensed through this room. The Railway Postal Clerk, who handled mail and postal baggage while the train was in route, worked from this room.
By 1860 three major railroad lines terminated in Lynchburg, VA: Virginia & Tennessee Railroad (1852), Southside Railroad (1854), and Orange & Alexandria Railroad (1860). The three railways helped to make Lynchburg a regional hub of industry and tobacco commerce, and one of the wealthiest cities per capita in the United States. During the Civil War, they made Lynchburg the second largest hospital center in Virginia.
Old City Cemetery is open daily between dawn and dusk. It is located at 401 Taylor Street, Lynchburg, VA. 434.847.1465 for more information. All museums, buildings and exhibits are accessed through large picture windows and audio taped descriptions of the museums or buildings. Varoius tours and special events take place in the Cemetery each year. A calendar of events can be found at www.gravegarden.org.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is a painting by Eyre Crowe, a British artist, called “Slaves Waiting for Sale, Richmond, Virginia,” painted in 1861, it depicts the moments just before a slave auction is held in Richmond in 1861. Crowe’s three paintings (reproduced on panels for the traveling exhibit) show different aspects of the domestic slave trade that began in the early 1800’s. “After the Sale: Slaves Going South” (1865) documents what came next for the slaves.
The first African slaves came to Virginia in 1619, when the tobacco industry was booming. By the 1800’s Virginia wasn’t growing as much tobacco leaving more slaves than work. Some slave owners began selling their slaves (about 600,000–the largest forced migration in U.S. history) to those in the Deep South (“sold South”) where the slaves would help meet the demand for cotton labor. Richmond became a “slave-collecting and re-sale center,” the largest slave-trading center in the Upper South. It is estimated that in 1857 the slave trade in Richmond was $4 million dollars (more than $440 million today.) The slaves sold were transported by ship, rail or overland in groups that often numbered over 300 people. The end of the journey was often New Orleans, the largest slave-trading city in the U.S.
In addition to the panels the exhibit showcases slave history items from the Lynchburg Museum collection–the deeds of manumission from John Lynch giving his slaves their freedom in 1782, items found during archaeological digs where the homes of Thomas Jefferson’s slaves at Poplar Forest were located, and a letter from a slave to Elijah Fletcher, father of Indiana Fletcher who founded Sweet Briar College.
You can view this exhibit at the Lynchburg Museum, 901 Court Street, until March 6, 2016. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday between 10 until 4 and Sunday between noon until 4. Admission to the Museum is free.
An African American genealogy workshop and lecture will be held at the Community Room of the Lynchburg Public Library on February 19 at 2 pm. This workshop and lecture are being sponsored by the Legacy Museum of African American History.
The Lynchburg Museum is a short distance (walking distance) to The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.
The Lynchburg Museum currently has an exhibit displaying 20 quilts made between 1802 and 2010.
Quilting in America started as a necessity. Quilts were used as bed coverings or hung over doors or windows to keep the cold out. Early quilts were usually either plain or whole quilts (three pieces of solid materials quilted together like a sandwich) or patchwork quilts (using various scraps of fabric). Applique quilts became popular in the mid-1800’s as the availability of more materials allowed “show” quilts to be sewn, not just “utility” quilts. Quilt making became an expression of artistry and skill. Grandmothers and mothers made applique quilts for their children or grand children. These were often passed down from one generation to the next.
Quilting bees were an important social activity, as women and girls came together to work on a collective quilt or an individual one. While quilting they shared stories of their lives and taught essential skills to the girls.
The quilts on display are a combination of historic and modern pieces. The 1869 crib quilt is of particular note.
The Lynchburg Museum is located at 901 Court Street. It is open Monday-Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 12-4. Their phone number is 434.455.6226. The museum is free to all visitors.
The 1855 Greek revival Court House is one of Lynchburg, Virginia’s most recognizable buildings. It features a prominent temple façade supported by four massive Doric columns. The building remained in continuous use as a court house between May 1865 until December 1974. It opened as the Lynchburg Museum in 1977.
The guest rooms in the mansion, at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, are all covered with quilts. Kathy’s mother made the quilts we use today. When you are staying with us be sure to ask to see all of the quilts, we are very proud of them.
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