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Times in Toano
The Newsletter of the Toano Historical Society
Spring 2020
COVID-19 Announcement: In spite of the extraordinary situation with the Coronavirus, we decided to move forward to publish our first THS newsletter and hope that it helps in some small way to strengthen the bond we have with each other. Please stay safe and resilient in this time of extreme care and social distancing.
Welcome to the Inaugural Edition of the THS Newsletter
A Letter from Jack Wray, THS President
I have often said that growing up in Toano was like a scene out of a Norman Rockwell painting. My family's small ranch house on School Lane afforded me the luxury of living close to stores, shops, automobile garages, diners and the fire station that were just a short walk to a fairly bustling main street. Ice cream cones, milk shakes, and Coca Colas were always conveniently attainable! Many of our neighbors were the proprietors that owned the businesses downtown.

I always felt safe and part of a larger community of caring people that watched over all us children. My mother wouldn't hesitate to send me out the door to borrow sugar, eggs or butter if we happened to be a little short.

Venturing a little further out on foot or on my bicycle I saw the beauty of the very best farmland in James City County. All of these memories combined with a community occupied by Godly, spirited and proud people best describes Toano, Virginia, a place I'm proud to be from.

I have been feeling a renewed sense of spirit and pride for our village, and it gives me great pleasure to introduce the first issue of the "Times in Toano"...the THS official quarterly Newsletter!

We will be reporting on the latest revitalization efforts, upcoming events, and sharing stories about our history, the people, the businesses, the historic buildings and homes of Toano.

I acknowledge that we all have been impacted by the unprecedented effects of the horrible COVID-19 virus. Many businesses and even our churches are temporarily closed. Our Toano Community needs to remain optimistic about the future, stay strong and overcome these challenges together. To all readers, we pray you and your families stay healthy and safe, and we look forward to celebrating with you soon!

Best wishes to all,
Jack Wray
Upcoming Events

THS Membership Interest Meeting
Thursday, May 7, 7:00 pm, Martin Store
Jack Wray will give a Toano revitalization update and provide details about how to become a member of the Toano Historical Society. Come hear about the exciting plans for our community!
Summer Music, Beer & Wine Festival Saturday, June 20
Watch for more information on this fun summer event!
Spring Celebration and Food Drive Cancelled
Out of concern for the health of our community members we have cancelled the Toano Spring Celebration and Food Drive, originally scheduled for April 11. We still encourage you to donate to the St. Olaf Food Pantry to help those in need.
Click here for a list of the most needed food shelf items.

Follow us on Facebook for all the latest updates
on THS news and events.
Community Spotlight
Historic Travers Home
The Historic Travers Home in Toano (formerly The Toano Gun Shop, at the corner of Church Lane and Rt. 60) was built by C.P. Slater in 1900. It was sold to the Travers family in 1943, and in 1949 they built an addition doubling the size. The Travers family members are very happy and excited that their homeplace will be saved and repurposed.
In a recent conversation with Jack Wray, five of the Travers sisters told Jack a little of the family history. There were six sisters in the family, and two of them were born in the house. They shared memories of their lives and upbringing in Toano. Their grandfather, a first-rate mechanic, operated a garage in front of the house for many years.
The Travers home will have its next life as The Virginia Bread Company which will be a bakery, coffee, and sandwich shop. The new store will keep the features that make this building special. For example, the old hardwood floor boards were 6” wide in the original 1900 home and 4” wide in the 1949 addition. Both eras will be preserved in the restoration of the house. In addition, artifacts found in and around the building will be displayed in the bakery. Watch for more details about this new business coming to town!
2019 Highlights
Demolition of Distressed Properties
In 2019, several buildings in the heart of historic Toano were removed to allow for creating the Toano Station project.

Click here to see more pictures and read the full article about the journey to the Toano Station concept.
1st Annual Toano Christmas Tree Lighting
Our first annual Christmas tree lighting event was a huge success! Over 1000 people attended and enjoyed carriage rides, visiting with Santa, delicious food from Two Drummers Smokehouse, and the lighting of the Toano Christmas Tree. THS thanks all the donors, planners, and volunteers who helped make this happen!
Chickahominy Haven
Citizens Association
Presents Donation to THS
As a part of the Christmas Tree Lighting event, representatives of the Chickahominy Haven Citizens Association presented a check for $455 to the Toano Historical Society. The funds were the proceeds from their Chili Cook-Off. Thank you CHCA for supporting the work of our organization!
Toano Historical Society Updates

James City County

During its meeting on February 11, 2020, the JCC Board of Supervisors heard a presentation on Toano's application to the Virginia Main Street Program. This program helps communities with the revitalization of their downtown commercial areas. The JCC Board voted unanimously to approve support for the application. You can read more about this meeting and the Virginia Main Street Program in this article from the WY Daily.

As of March 16, 2020, Toano is officially a DHCD Commercial District Affiliate. This is an important milestone, and we look forward to the resources available to us through this designation.

HGTV Application

In February, the Toano Historical Society submitted an application to the HGTV Hometown Takeover. Members of our community came together to express what this town means to them. Thanks to Brandon Share for creating the video that captured those sentiments. We all know that Toano is special, and this was our chance to share that news!
Toano Historical Society Board of Directors
President, Jack Wray
Secretary, Richard Krapf
Treasurer, Susan Kohlman
Historian, Fred Boelt
Website & Social Media Chair, John Drummond
Membership Chair, Samantha Share
Newsletter Editors, Tim and Patte Martin
Board Member At-large, Deidre McAuley Hayes