The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Civil War history rolling into state park
KEN Benson, the
Westmoreland State Park, said some people might not understand why a draw like the Civil War 150 History Mobile would be stopping at the rural park next week.
But he said it’s important to remember that during the holiday stretch of July 3–5, when the traveling Civil War exhibit will be there, more than a thousand visitors will be in the park, either coming in for a day or staying in the cabins and campgrounds.
“Add in local people who will come out for the chance to see this special traveling Civil War exhibit, and you’ve got a big audience for it here next week,” he said.
The history mobile is an expandable 53-foot trailer containing hands-on components covering many aspects of Virginia’s Civil War history.
The mobile history exhibit, being provided as part of the Civil War sesquicentennial, covers the war from the viewpoints of soldiers, civilians and slaves.
Through its displays and interactive exhibits, visitors can read letters between soldiers and their families, hear conversations from those hoping to flee to freedom, watch a film about Virginia’s decision to secede and learn about the war’s effects.
Also included in the exhibit: a living history campsite, live Civil War era music, storytelling and guest speakers.
Heather Ball, a Westmoreland County teacher working at the park through the AmeriCorps program this summer, is helping to spread the word about the exhibit.
She’s taken care to get word out to those with an interest in history, members of historical societies, teachers and others.
“There seems to be a good bit of interest,” she said, noting that many are excited an exhibit of this caliber will be here, not somewhere they’d have to drive far to see.
The exhibit will be at the park’s visitors center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 3 and 4 and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 5. There is no admission fee for the mobile. The park charges a $4 per day parking fee.
Several Virginia state parks will host the mobile through 2015. It will be on tour in Northern Virginia this fall with a stop at Leesylvania State Park in Prince William County starting Oct. 4.
For more information about the stop in Westmoreland, call 804/493-8821 or go online to dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/wes.shtml
LEE DRIVE RESPONSES
I got a range of responses from my recent column on the addition of pea gravel to Lee Drive in the Fredericksburg battlefield.
Some folks were angry that the park had done it, saying it was a waste of money that made the 10-mile road less of a pleasant place for cyclists to ride.
Some suggested the amount of money used to put in pea gravel might have paid for a separate bike lane; others said having officers write tickets would be a better solution.
But other readers defended the park, noting that it’s there to interpret history, not to give walkers, runners and bikers a place to exercise.
The thing I noticed in both the letters I got and others that came as letters to the editor: a real distaste for what one writer called “silky shirts and tight Spandex pants.”
Here’s my take on that: I don’t wear a silky jersey, largely because I don’t think I’m that good a cyclist.
I do wear the tight, stretchy bike shorts.
Not because they’re tight—goodness no, tight’s no longer my friend—but because they have padding in the bottoms that keep my behind from hurting.
As I said, I’m built for comfort, not for speed.
Nothing’s further from comfort than a really bad butt blister.
Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415