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Central Rappahannock
Heritage Center Newsletter
A place that loses its history loses it soul
Volume 7, Issue 2
February 2017
In This Issue

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Message From The Chairman

This month we will officially celebrate George Washington's birthday on Monday, February 20.  Not only is Washington important to our country as its first President, he and his family, particularly mother, Mary, and sister, Betty Lewis, have important ties to Fredericksburg and the region, as do the dwellings associated with them: Ferry Farm, Mary Washington House and Kenmore.
Washington's birthday falls on February 22 but it is observed as a federal holiday on the 3rd Monday of February, according to the US Code, Section 6103(a) of Title 5.  However, if one looks back to Washington's actual birth date, it is February 11, 1731.  During Washington's lifetime, Great Britain and America switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar to conform to what most of Europe had done in 1582.  Thus, because of this reform, people born before 1752 were told to add 11 days to their birth dates and, additionally, those born between January 1 and March 25 had to add one year to be in sync with the new calendar.  By the time Washington took office in 1789, he listed his birth date as February 22, 1732.
The US Code still lists George Washington's birthday as the legal public holiday.  When Congress introduced the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, to shift federal holidays to Mondays in order to create 3-day weekends for many workers, the idea to rename the holiday to President's Day, to additionally honor Abraham Lincoln's birthday of February 12, was discussed.  A provision was made to include Lincoln's birthday but the holiday was never officially renamed in the US Code.  The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was signed into law on June, 28, 1968, and went into effect on January 1, 1971.  It was a movement by the private sector and labor unions to strengthen retail sales that supported the use of the term President's Day.
Today, President's Day is viewed specifically as a way to honor Washington and Lincoln but can also be said to focus on the accomplishments of all US Presidents.  Let's not forget that two other former Presidents, William Henry Harrison and Ronald Reagan, were also February babies!

Meredith Beckett
CRHC Chairman  

Welcome New Members 
Mr. Archer DiPeppe 
Ms. Laura Kelsey 
Mr. Eric Mink 

CRHC memberships support the important work done by the Center.  The Center fills a unique role in the region, the preservation of our people's history, which we make available for research.  We are a 100% all volunteer, non-profit organization.

Please join us as part of the Heritage Center's preservation team!  As a CRHC member, you will be helping to preserve our priceless local history.  Click here to become a member today! 

Thank you for your support,

The Central Rappahannock Heritage Center

What's Next for Caroline Street
Caroline Street has seen many changes in nearly 300 years.  Named for Wilhelmina Charlotte Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1683 - 1737 ), wife of King Frederick II of Great Britain, the name was changed to Main and then back to Caroline in 1935.  It has always been a hub of activity. As Fredericksburg grew, more buildings in the mid blocks were used for commerce as well as residences.  The south and north ends remain residential.

The middle (blocks 500 through 1100) has shown the most change, reflecting the patterns of the residents.  At one time stores sold house wares, groceries, medicines, automotive products, clothing, jewelry and furniture.  Merchants often lived above or behind their stores.

The bombardment during the first Battle of Fredericksburg (December 1862) destroyed most of the 900 block.  The other blocks have structures that date from the late 1700s.
The structure at 801, dating from the 1800s, has been a post office and store.  In the early 1900s it was a gasoline station.  A photograph taken in the early 1900s shows a Texaco sign and a gas pump.  It then became Dugan's, a bar and restaurant (1921 - 1979), and Sammy T's, a restaurant opened in 1980 by Sam and Sibbie Emory.  Sam, a geography professor at the now University of Mary Washington, and his wife Sibbie featured vegan and vegetarian dishes.  It was also known for some of the best hamburgers in town.  The Emorys died several years ago and the cousins who inherited the business lived elsewhere.  A long-time manager operated the restaurant for several years, until the heirs decided to sell the building and business.  Recently 801 was sold and it was announced that the restaurant would be reopening in February.  Will it be like Sammy T's, or something entirely different?

Come to the Center and look at the historic maps, City directories, school yearbooks, club and business records, church histories, oral histories and photographs to learn more.
click on photo to enlarge
801 Caroline (most recently Sammy T's) circa 1900
Photo courtesy of HFFI

Beth Daly 
CRHC Member

Grant Money at Work  

The Virginia Heritage Fund grant money enabled us to buy this heavy-duty steel shelving to hold one of the Center's newest collections: bound volumes of Free Lance-Star newspapers dating from January 1933 through December 1969 (see photo). These volumes, on long-term loan to the Center, will be a valuable resource for researchers in future years. We are very grateful to The Community Foundation for approving this expenditure that supports the Center's mission of preserving and making available documentary evidence of the region's heritage.  

click on photo to enlarge

Barbara Barrett 
CRHC Member 

Newly Acquired Collections
Acquired collections for the month include: 
  • Booklet:  Dahlgren's Participation in the Development of Computer Technology
  • Central Rappahannock Regional Library Documents; Original United Daughters of the Confederacy applications; various battlefield brochures
  • Book:  Dear Old Ellwood; A Home in the Wilderness
  • Miscellaneous booklets, new clippings, and letters.
  • Gari Melcher's school newspapers, "Paintbrush", from January to April, 1956.
  • Dissertation in book format:  Economic Challenge And Mercantile Enterprise In A Southern Urban System, (A Case Study of Fredericksburg, VA, 1835-1880).
I can't emphasize enough the value of all the collections we accept.  They represent the entire spectrum of local history, even if they initially appear to be either "not that interesting", or maybe thought of as too "new".  Please remember, as cliché as it may sound, history is made every day! 

John Reifenberg
CRHC Collections Manager
Can you help identify these photos?
1940's Falmouth High School boys' basketball team from the Amy Johnson collection 
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Please contact Sharon Null at

1940's Falmout h High School girls' basketball team from the Amy Johnson collection

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Please contact Sharon Null at

The Circle Unbroken: Civil War Letters of the Knox Family of Fredericksburg

On sale now at the Heritage Center 
$29.70 for members 
$33.00 for non-members 
You can also purchase the book online from the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation
   (click on image to order online)