Many of our members know about the establishment of the Shenandoah National Park in the 1930s. They know because the story has been handed down in their families from generation to generation. The Park includes land in eight Virginia counties. One hundred and seventy-nine families were removed from their mountain homes in Greene County alone. The land, structures and orchards were carefully surveyed by the government and payment made to property owners. Some were resettled nearby, but few went willingly. Today, there are still traces of those homes within the Park. Stone walls, cemeteries, beds of flowers and occasionally, the stone chimney of a long-gone house, can still be seen.
The Blue Ridge Heritage Project was established to build a memorial in each of the counties, to commemorate those families and their sacrifice in making way for the Park we enjoy today. Each memorial will consist of a stone chimney representative of those lonely chimneys left behind in the mountains. On the chimney there will be a plaque with the surnames of the displaced families. The 10-member steering committee for Greene County has considered several locations for a memorial, and is working on memorial design, research of families, publicity and fundraising. Committee members have studied existing chimneys for relocation as part of the memorial and chosen a stone mason to do the work. In May, the Stanardsville Town Council endorsed the project, and the steering committee updated the Greene County Board of Supervisors on their progress. In July, a formal resolution was approved by the Board for permission to incorporate the memorial into a planned park next to the county office building in Stanardsville. The memorial will include an educational display of photographs and stories, to help future generations appreciate the people that once lived in what we now know as The Shenandoah National Park. You can see some wonderful photographs of former residents of the Mountains by visiting Facebook and looking for ‘Blue Ridge Heritage Project Greene County Memorial.’
Your Society has contributed to the memorial in Greene County, and three of our board members are on the steering committee. Our hope is that the public will also want to be a part of building the memorial because they want the people and the stories to be remembered. A Bluegrass music event is being planned as a fundraiser, with the Deane Family performing as a benefit show for the memorial project. The Society is collecting funds on behalf of the project. If you would like to contribute, and celebrate the lives of those families, please send a check payable to GCHS Memorial to us at PO Box 185, Stanardsville, VA. 22973. Please put “BRHP-Greene Memorial” on the memo line. At this time we are not accepting donations via PayPal.
William Monroe students made a brave showing at the National History Day Finals in June in College Park, Maryland. Of the thirteen students who competed at the state level in Petersburg at Virginia State University in April, Trevor Myers and the duo of Kerah Fisher and Emma Dean placed first, enough to take them to the finals. Although our students did not come away with any prizes this year, their projects went up against those from across the country, Department of Defense schools and US territories. Kerah and Emma presented their group performance about Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female US doctor, called ‘Who Said Women Can’t Be Doctors?’ Trevor’s entry was an individual website about the Spanish flu of 1918 called ‘The Wrath of the Spanish Lady: An Encounter with the Most Virulent Virus Known to Modern Man”. Bravo to all the students who put in all the work it takes to prepare their entries. The Greene County Historical Society was proud sponsor of this event and we look forward to next year’s showing, where the theme will be ‘Taking a Stand’.
Our buy-a-brick walkway from the street to the front door has had a huge response. Descendants of Greene from as far away as California have memorialized their ancestors with bricks – and there are spaces for many more named bricks. There are still bricks available for purchase and we encourage you to become a part of this permanent exhibit of tributes. Click on the link below to access a Buy-A-Brick order form.
In May we set aside a portion of Linwood Rhodes’s bequest in an Endowment Fund with CACF (Charlottesville Area Community Foundation). Not only is this money growing to become a major source of support for the operations of the Society, the Fund provides another way for our members and friends to contribute to the Society’s long-term financial health. Contributions can be made in a number of ways – by check to us at PO Box 185, Stanardsville VA 22973, with ‘Endowment Fund’ in the memo space; online to CACF ( CACF ), by indicating in the memo line that the donation is to go to Greene County Historical Society; or by check to CACF with Greene County Historical Society on the check. CACF’s website is listed on our Links page and the postal address is 114 4th Street SE, P.O. Box 1767 Charlottesville, VA 22902. As well as managing funds like ours, CACF also disperses its own grants, and we are delighted that it has just awarded a grant to *STAR* (Stanardsville Area Revitalization), to help with managing the second phase of the streetscape improvements (for which it is now engaged in raising the $90,000 needed as a match).
As we strive to illustrate the part played during the American Revolutionary War by patriots connected with what became Greene County, we are hampered by the lack of tangible exhibits. If you would like to donate Revolutionary War artifacts or documents that are connected to a Greene County family please contact us at 985-1834 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you order merchandise online you can use “Amazon Smile” for purchases. This program enables Amazon to donate a small monetary amount to the non-profit organization of the purchaser’s choice. The Greene County Historical Society is on their list! It is easy to sign up at Amazon Smile Choose the Greene County Historical Society from their list – then place your order. This procedure does not add any additional expense to your purchase. Amazon Smile is a simple way of lending some financial support to the Society and it will be greatly appreciated. If everyone does a little, a lot will be achieved.
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