History

Malvern Hill Farm under contract


A historic Eastern Henrico farm – the site of a bloody Civil War battle in 1862 – will be preserved in its entirety, thanks to the Capital Region Land Conservancy.

The CRLC has agreed to purchase Malvern Hill Farm (which is about 875 acres in size and straddles Eastern Henrico and Charles City County) for its appraised value of $6.56 million. The sellers are by descendants of William Heighler Ferguson Sr., who originally purchased Malvern Hill Farm in 1939.

“In one transaction CRLC is taking a giant step in protecting the natural and historic land and water resources of our region,” said Parker C. Agelasto, executive director of Capital Region Land Conservancy.

Historic Sandston site commemorated


The Sandston Founders' Club dedicated a historical marker Nov. 8 at 11 West Williamsburg Road. In the early 1930s, the building served as the community's drug store and post office. Pictured above (from left) are members of the Founders' Club Bobby Alexander, Bruce Waldrop, Jane Conner, Randy Vass, June Baldwin, Alice Baldwin, Ada May Chinn and Wayne Varner.

Lost in time

On the site that one day will tell the history of Henrico County under a single roof, a small wooden hut serves as an unofficial welcome center for guests.

“And over there is the restroom,” says Henry Nelson, chuckling as he points to a single portable toilet across the parking lot.

Nelson, clad in a signature black cowboy hat and black leather jacket, surveys the landscape on an overcast morning here, at Four Mile Creek Park in Varina, with eyes that can see into the future, thanks to a vision of the past.

For 40 years, Nelson has led the push for Henrico County to fund and build a history center – a facility that would recount the county’s 405-year story to citizens and tourists alike.

Additional land at 2 Civil War battlefields in Henrico to be preserved


More land at two Civil War battlefields in Henrico County will be preserved, thanks to federal funding awarded to Virginia through the Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants.

The two Henrico sites – 4.92 acres at Deep Bottom Battlefield II and 1.68 acres at Glendale Battlefield – are among nine Civil War sites statewide that will be preserved as part of the $2.7 million in grant money, which Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced March 3.

Grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund were awarded by the National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program to seven states. Virginia was awarded the most money for the most projects, which will be completed in partnership with the Civil War Trust and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.

Commemorating the end of Civil War and slavery


It was the night they drove old Dixie down, and the American Civil War came to a close.

After four years of bloody fighting, the war that had torn apart the United States and Virginia finally reached its conclusion in the commonwealth. In one of the most eventful and fateful months in American history, April 1865 would see the fall of Richmond to Union troops, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the end of the Confederacy, the Civil War and slavery.

Now, 150 years later, the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War is reaching its own closing days in Richmond and across the state. Virginians are once more reflecting on the end of the war and how it shaped the state’s history and culture even to this day.

Shots from the past


More than 1,000 reenactors – and thousands more spectators – filled Runnymede in Varina today for the first day of a two-day commemoration of the Battle of New Market Heights, which took place Sept. 29-30, 1864.

The battle was a significant one because it marked the first time black soldiers had been empowered by the Union to play a significant role, and they responded by helping deliver a victory. Fourteen of the 18 Medals of Honor awarded to black soldiers during the war were given for efforts at New Market Heights.

The battle was another nail in the coffin of the Confederacy, which would surrender the following April to end the war.

Unexploded Civil War artillery shell discovered at Fort Harrison

Staff members at Richmond National Battlefield Park discovered an unexploded artillery shell within the moat of a Confederate fortification known as Fort Gilmer in the park’s Fort Harrison Battlefield unit Sept. 22. The site was being cleared in preparation for an interpretive tour of Fort Gilmer scheduled for the 150th anniversary of the fighting there, which will be held Sept. 29.

The park’s resource protection rangers responded and with the assistance of the park historian, determined that it was a live cannonball with an intact fuse. Park officials contacted the Henrico Police Bomb Disposal Team, which responded. A 500-foot safety perimeter was established and the shell was safely removed and destroyed at the county’s firing range.

Newly discovered Civil War photos show Henrico battlefield


Henrico County’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle of New Market Heights will take place on a grand scale later this month, but the public gained new insight into local battle sites last week.

Newly discovered historic photos showing troops at Fort Harrison and Petersburg were unveiled publicly for the first time by the National Park Service Sept. 13 at the Henrico Theatre in Highland Springs.

NPS ranger and historian Mike Gorman presented an overview of the Richmond-Petersburg campaign using the photographs, taken in 1864 and 1865.

Battle of New Market Heights reenactment set for Sept. 27-28


Henrico County will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of New Market Heights — a battle significant for the role played by African-American soldiers serving in the U.S. Colored Troops — with reenactments and living history exhibits Sept. 27-28. Descendants of some of the soldiers will be recognized as part of the activities.

The event will be held at the Runnymede property adjacent to the Malvern Hill site of the Richmond National Battlefield Park, 8750 Willis Church Road, located between Darbytown Road and Route 5/New Market Road. Gates open at 9 a.m.

Admission and parking are free. Handicapped parking will be available at the site. Other visitors will be directed to off-site parking and then shuttled to the event.

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Lavender Fields Herb Farm, 11300 Winfrey Rd. in Glen Allen, will offer “Fresh Herbal Wreath,” the farm’s most popular class, at 10 a.m. Learn easy design techniques along with care tips to get the most out of your wreath. Glean useful information as you peruse the gardens to cut additional material to make your wreath pop. Cost is $30. To register, call 262-7167 or visit http://www.lavenderfieldsfarm.com. Full text

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