CVHR Meeting (April 6, 2017): Waterworks: A History of the Local Water Supply, 1819–2017

March 17th, 2017

Steve Thompson and Dede Smith will chart Charlottesville’s almost 200-year-long struggle to develop and maintain a centralized water supply.  Steve will focus on water supply at the University of Virginia from its founding to its collaborative venture with the newly-incorporated City of Charlottesville in the 1880s, resulting in the first publicly-owned municipal waterworks.  Dede will chronicle the history of the municipal water system since the first Ragged Mountain Reservoir in 1885 and the role preservation has played in its growth and evolution.  Cinder Stanton will briefly outline the history of the reservoir property and its early owners.

Time and Location: 4 PM at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (JSAAHC), 233 Fourth St. NW, Charlottesville, VA.  There is plenty of parking.  The JSAAHC is on the second floor at the south end of the building.

 

CVHR Meeting (March 2, 2017): Discovering the Albemarle County Origins of the U.S.C.T.

February 18th, 2017

William Kurtz, digital historian at the Nau Center for Civil War History at UVA, brought us up-to-date on projects at the Center, with a special focus on its Black Virginians in Blue project.  He explained how—building on the work of Ervin Jordan—the project has found more than two hundred Union soldiers born in Albemarle County who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT) during the war.

For Will’s account of research methods used in the search and for Elizabeth Varon’s posts about the men, formerly enslaved in Albemarle County, who served in Missouri regiments, see http://naucenter.as.virginia.edu/blog-articles.

If you know of a USCT soldier who lived in Albemarle before the war, let Will know (wbk2e@virginia.edu).  For a description of the Nau Center’s digital projects, see http://naucenter.as.virginia.edu/digital-projects.

CVHR Meeting (Feb. 2, 2017): From Mary Booth to Virginia Christian: Child Incarceration and the Making of the New South 

February 18th, 2017

Catherine Jones, professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a 2016-2017 fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, is exploring the development of Virginia’s juvenile justice system in the four decades after the Civil War, when two thousand children under 18 were incarcerated in the Penitentiary.  While focusing on the 1882 case of Mary Booth, a fourteen-year-old African American sentenced to death for poisoning her employer, she illuminated conditions in the Penitentiary, the perils of convict leasing, attitudes to childhood and race, the fitful rise of penal reform, and the shifting relationship between punishment and protection.

Catherine is the author of Intimate Reconstructions: Children in Postemancipation Virginia (2015).

 

CVHR Meeting (Jan. 5, 2017): Two presentations on 18th century freedom suits and 20th century photography

December 14th, 2016

The Fragility of Freedom: Kinney Family Freedom Suits in Virginia and Missouri

Bob Vernon told the story of the Kinney family and their struggles for freedom over two centuries and two continents.  In an experiment on behalf of finding the best methods to put CVHR-type talks online, he devised a way to let us listen to rather than read relevant legal documents (the voice was a Siri female).  One especially colorful example of the persistent re-enslavement of free people of color was Thornton Kinney, whose travels took him to Missouri, Liberia, and a rowdy San Francisco.

Hopes and Dreams in the Albert Durant Photography Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Amy Speckart previewed a presentation she will give at the Virginia Forum in March on a collection of thousands of images by an African American photographer, acquired by Colonial Williamsburg in the 1990s.  Albert Durant (1920-1991) photographed everyday events in a segregated Williamsburg from the 1930s to the 1950s.  Amy explored his life, his photographs, and the implications of their acquisition by an institution with a history of exclusion.

 

CHVR Meeting (Dec. 1): Murder, Moonshine, and Misconceptions: The People of the Ragged Mountains

November 19th, 2016

Cinder Stanton shared some preliminary findings about the lives of the poor residents of the Ragged Mountains in the 19th and 20th centuries, in particular the eastern section along Route 29 South and the Charlottesville to Lynchburg railroad.  What were the people described by everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to a UVA committee a century later as “savage,” “primitive,” “degraded,” and “degenerate” really like?  Topics covered included historical (and stereotypical) descriptions of the population, the legend of their possible Hessian origin, the importance of the railroad, the missionary role of UVA and the Episcopal church, the eugenics movement, the scarcity of educational opportunites, sassafras mills, and stories of some individual residents.

 

 

CVHR Meeting (Nov. 3): Using GIS and Mapping to Explore Albemarle County History

October 27th, 2016

Erik Irtenkauf, professional GIS analyst and history enthusiast, showed us the exciting results of using a Geographical Data System (GIS) and web mapping to enhance our understanding of local history.  He displayed his interactive maps of historic sites in Albemarle County and of migration routes taken by families leaving the county (using, for starters, the lists of emigrants in Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901).  Erik’s “story map” of the history of Hollymead and Forest Lakes combines a trove of documentary information with a rich assortment of maps and images.

If you missed the program, you can go to: http://www.albemarlehistorymapping.com

 

CVHR Meeting (Oct. 6): Charlottesville’s Rose Hill: A Discussion of Recent Research

September 30th, 2016

With maps and historic photographs, Steve Thompson helped us to understand the transformation of Rose Hill from an antebellum plantation to one of Charlottesville’s first subdivisions in 1890.  Rose Hill’s story includes the rise and fall of schools and industrial enterprises, Charlottesville’s changing racial demographics, and a number of interesting personalities. private

See Steve’s essay on Rose Hill, as well as colorful paintings of buildings of Rose Hill and other parts of town, in the new publication of Chroma Projects, Repository of Missing Places: Richard Crozier’s Paintings of Lost and Found Charlottesville.

CVHR Meeting (Sep. 1): What’s Going On Out There?

August 28th, 2016

A lively and well-attended meeting at which we heard about three local projects involving local history.

Paul Cantrell told us about the Blue Ridge Heritage Project, a grassroots effort to honor the families displaced for the creation of Shenandoah National Park (SNP); Paul chairs the Albemarle chapter.  On November 5, a chimney rebuilt with stones from Blackwell’s Hollow and bearing a plaque with names of the displaced families will be dedicated at Byrom Park, which is adjacent to the SNP.  Phil James, author of Secrets of the Blue Ridge, is leading the search to identify the family names.  If you know of any families, particularly non-landowners, who were relocated during the creation of the SNP, do let Paul know (albemarleblueridgeheritage@gmail.com).  See also www.blueridgeheritageproject.com/albemarle/ and search “Blue Ridge Heritage Project” on Facebook.

Edwina St. Rose and Bernadette Whitsett-Hammond spoke about the work of the Preservers of the Daughters of Zion Cemetery and showed us some of the biographical information they have been posting on their Facebook page (in the Facebook.com search box just start writing “preservers” and it will come right up).  Established in 1873, the cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010 and lately received funding from the city of Charlottesville for repairs and improvements.  You can help to identify some of the approximately 300 people buried there.  For a list of known names write cstanton1811@gmail.com.

Jeff Werner from the Piedmont Environmental Council told us of his hope that some forgotten history will be included in the county’s plans for the area around the new grade-separated intersection at Rio Road and Route 29.  We can help by providing information to stimulate recognition and interpretation of local history and preservation of significant sites.  Jeff mentioned the late 19th and early 20th century Woodburn Road/Cartersburg community as of particular interest.  Jeff’s email is jwerner@pecva.org.

 

CVHR Meeting (August): No August meeting

August 28th, 2016

CVHR Meeting (July 7): Summer Insights

August 28th, 2016

This meeting was lightly attended, but we had a good discussion, mostly about the CVHR web presence and how to improve it.  We need a “vision” for the website (and thus an estimate of cost) before we can seek funding sources.  In the meantime, some of us are working on ways to bring the website up to date in the short term.  All ideas are welcome.