Working on photos for the book. Picking out ones that have something unique about them, and not necessarily content wise.
This marker, at the end of South Lee, is the only one of its kind in Old Town and Parker-Gray. From a distance, it looks like a state highyway marker. I'm not sure why this is the only one, perhaps the cost.
Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Hamilton -
the Founding Fathers - may be long gone, but their writings are alive and well
at the National Archives. And now,
through an agreement with the University of Virginia, many of their historical
documents are available on-line.
The database is searchable and the documents are annotated. So far, there are 175,000 documents.
I searched Alexandria and got over
3,700 hits. One of the
oldest is from October 1753.
Washington passed through Alexandria for supplies, on his way deliver a
letter to Jacques le Gardeur, the Commandant of the French Forces. Virginia Governor Robert
Dinwiddie demanded the French vacate that part of Ohio.
Anyway, if someone finds that key
to the parallel universe for document readers, let us know. And thank you National Archives!
Haven’t had time for much reading this year, but with
my manuscript now getting the lay out treatment, the reading lamp is back
What great timing too. George Packer’s “The Unwinding, An Inner History of
the New America” has raced up Amazon’s charts to number two and number three in
20th Century U.S. History.
After a preview on-line, I hurried over to Clarendon
last night and bought it at Barnes and Noble. Devoured Chapter 1. Packer is Steinbeck meets Burns. His first study is Dean Price who
grew up in Madison, North Carolina.
The family farmed tobacco. For me, this hit the bulls-eye of childhood
memory. Madison is a short
drive up Highway 220 from Greensboro. I never picked the sticky weed but my Dad sure
did. Fifty cents a day, I
remember him telling me.
Packer writes about Cone, the mill where many worked. I never worked there, but every
time I go down to Greensboro, I pass by where Cone used to be on the western
part of the city near I-85.
Greensboro had its hey-days when I was growing up
there in the 60s and 70s. People
had good paying jobs. High Point
Road was always full of cars, youngsters cruising and folks going out to eat at places like Libby Hill, Nick's Hot Dogs, Jack's Steak House or Stameys. The Coliseum
attracted all the great rock groups like Led Zeppelin and The Who. The ACC Men’s Tournament was
played there every March, as well as the 1974 Final Four. The GGO brought in the golfers, the
Greensboro Generals won Eastern Hockey League championships and fought the rival Checkers on a Saturday
night. The city
garnered All-American City credentials. Greensboro was king.
Gotta’ get back to the bus. Packer had me from the
No one can say when the unwinding began – when the
coil that held Americans together in its secure and sometime stifling grip
first gave way. Like any great
change, the unwinding began at countless times, in countless ways – and at some
moment the country, always the same country, crosses a line of history and
became irretrievably different.
summer of 2010, when I was looking for historical markers, I came across one
for the Robert Portner Brewhouse on the 600 block of North St. Asaph Street,
across from Trader Joe’s. As the marker notes, the building, now upscale apartments, was
built in 1912 as a bottling plant by the Robert Portner Brewing Company.
Portner emigrated from Rhaden, Prussia
in 1853, and found his way to Alexandria. Around 1861, he and some partners established a
grocery store (“Portner and Recker”) at the southeast corner of King and St.
also sold beer there, brought in from other sources. After the Civil War was over, Portner began to
dabble further into the beer and beer-making business. He put in some underground cellars on
Washington Street between Pendleton and Wythe, and eventually built his brewery
there. The plant spread
across both sides of N. St. Asaph and became the largest brewery
in the South. At one point,
production was 60,000 barrels a year (Tivoli Passage is named after the brand name that Portner
gave to his beer).
I’m excited once again, and I know beer lovers in these parts will be too, to
learn that Catherine and Margaret Portner, great-great granddaughters of
Portner, will open up “Portner Brewhouse,” a new brewery in Old Town.
Virginia magazine and American Food Roots have articles. Plans include a restaurant, Craft Beer Test Kitchen, and
eight beers on tap which will replicate those of Portner.
is the target. One source
said the location is “mere blocks” from the original site.
Shortest Dynasty, 1837-1947, The Story of Robert Portner.” By Michael Gaines
That was the motto of my basic training squadron. Scott Surovell, State Delegate who
represents the 44th District of Virginia, is leading the effort to
make Route 1 a better place to live and work.
You can follow him at his blog, Dixie Pig (yep, a nod
to the ol’ NC-style ‘cue restaurant in Groveton). Scott’s latest news is the funding for the U.S. 1
Multimodal Transportation Study he helped obtain. As he notes,
This study will analyze and
recommend the appropriate mode of transit from I-495 to the Occoquan along U.S.
The project began in May and will
take about a year. It
is known as a “centerline” study and must be done before any action can take
Virginia’s Department of Rail and
Public Transportation provides information.
Scott has an excellent primer on
the topic of Route 1 at his official website. If you wonder why improvements to Route 1 have
taken so long, read this.
Verifying this morning at the Alexandria African American
Heritage Park. This is
one of my favorite places.
It combines history and art with a natural setting. The walk winds around a
wetlands portion, a calming soulscape, if you will.
Jerome Meadows did a stunning job with the
art. I suppose the markers are not
technically historical markers, but they incorporate detaled information from
Alexandria’s black history.