Not too far from Fredericksburg is George Washington’s Birthplace National Monument. Having chased NP sites with cancellation stamps for the IBA National Park Tour, this site was always just a little out of the way to grab with routing efficiency in mind. Now that we are sightseeing versus certificate minded, we can wander off a more logical path and pick up these places. The house the GW was born in is no longer standing; however the foundation markings have been archeologically extracted. We were the only visitors at this time, so we had a nice sit down chat with the Ranger. With my ankle acting up, we even were driven up to the primary site and down to the Potomac River for a view. Quite a treat.
|Foundation Outline on GW House|
A couple of years ago, I picked up a National Wildlife Refuge Blue Goose Passport. Again not being IBA certificate driven I have worked these in to our trips. The Rappahannock River Valley refuge is not too far from GW and right in the path of our westerly trek. These refuges can really be off the beaten trail and travel on roads that warrant a bit more of cautious riding on the FJR, but the MINI, especially being ALL4 drive was “made for this type or riding”. Actually the roads here were quite tame, even with gravel in some places. They would have been easily traversed on the FJR, but it is the anticipation and planning the congers up the anxiety.
|Crimson-eyed Rose Mallow|
Menokin was the home of Francis Lightfoot Lee near Warsaw, VA. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The house was built around 1769 and was neighbors to John Tahoe who owned the large plantation Mount Airy. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971. What was so intriguing about this place from the trip planning stages was that it was in ruins and a canopy was built over the ruins.
Next stop was Mount Airy, however when we got to the entrance the sign that said PRIVATE, indicating sightseers were not really welcomed to enter the estate. We complied. So off to Sabine Hall it was. As we were driving I saw that I had noted that Sabine Hall was private, so we blew that one off as well.
Making our way west, we stopped in Hanover, VA to pick up the Hanover County Courthouse. Built in 1735 and still in use today. It looks pretty much like it did in the 1700’s. This is one of the first places Patrick Henry did his lawyering, advocating colonial rights over the King of England in the Parson’s Cause. The Courthouse is the 3rd oldest courthouse still in use in the US, today.
We headed south for Richmond area to visit the Cold Harbor Battlefield. This was an INK stop at the NP visitor center. Grant made the following quote "I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made. ... No advantage whatever was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained." Sounds like a description of Iraq and Pakistan.
As we turned out of the VC, I passed this rundown Store/Gas Station and made a U turn to go back and get it. The Coke sign on the overhang is vintage.
Up next was Petersburg, VA for the Exchange, NHL. This was intended to a place to buy and sell tobacco and cotton products. It was completed in 1841, and has served as a bank and the Petersburg Police Station. It remains pretty much like it was built and may be the last unaltered Merchant Exchange left in the US.
While this was not a targeted spot, I found the Petersburg Courthouse interesting enough to take a walk up to it.
Making a turn again to the west, Five Forks Battlefield is in Dinwiddie, VA. The actual site where the Landmark marker is located is simply an intersection of 5 roads and easily passed by. This locations is where Grant cut the disrupted the rail lines into Petersburg forcing the Confederacy to give up the town, which in turn weakened the defense of Richmond. Two weeks after the battle, the Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse.
We headed for Durham, NC where we had planned to stay for the night. Of course it was not just a drive to Durham, we had spots to visit. We passed this place and just had to go back and grab some pictures. Research showed I was not in the minority, since this is frequently photographed spot
First was the Bull Durham factory, which sits in front on the American Tobacco Company factory but are separate and distinct historical places. Bull Durham, aka, WT Blackwell Company factory was initially built in 1874, with subsequent additions. While the product, tobacco, made their mark on American society, it was the marketing of the brand that made this a Landmark. Thru ads in newspapers, billboards and testimonials from prominent folks, the plant became the world’s largest. Do you remember the picture of the cowboy with the pouch of tobacco in their shirt pockets with the string and tag hanging out? That was Bull Durham.
American Tobacco that sits behind Bull Durham was a competitor of BD. Their claim to fame was the invention of the mechanized cigarette rolling machine. ATC with the efficiency in producing cigarettes brought their competitors to their knees by constantly underpricing their product. As they fell to pricing pressure ATC were bought them up. ATC also absorbed the WT Blackwell Company. LS/MFT is a phrase that I remember and the brand that I started my smoking habit with, Lucky Strikes. In 1911 the Standard Oil Trust was ordered dissolved by the US government under the anti-monopoly regulations. On the same day American Tobacco Trust was ordered dissolved as well from an on-going investigation started in 1907 under the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Today Durham does not have any tobacco producing plants in the city. Both of the above sites have been developed into places for small businesses, condos and entertainment places like restaurants. CLICK HERE. On a side notes I gave up the sticks about 12 years ago.
Last stop for the night was the NC Mutual Life Co building which isn’t that far from BD and ATC. This company was formed in 1898 offering life insurance benefits to the Black community by Black businessmen. When we first came into Durham, we headed to the NC building first. Where I had the spot waymarked just didn’t match up with the picture of the building we had. We circled the block twice just to make sure and then headed to the Bull Durham factory. I saw the building we had a picture of and made my way to it. Out of the car, I was snapping off pictures as the sun dropped down on the horizon and darkness growing making hand held shots more difficult. Also caught a picture of the old Liggett Meyers factory. When I got home I found out the picture I had was not the NC Mutual landmark I was looking for, and the spot I had waymarked was spot on.
Last shot of the American Tobacco Company. Liked the moon in the shot, otherwise pretty blah