Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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First 2011 ‘History at Sunset’ tour tonight in Fredericksburg

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

If you’ve been on a summertime “History at Sunset” walking tour in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, you know how special they are.

If you haven’t, you should try one.

The free tours, which last about 90 minutes, take place on Friday evenings during the summer and cover specialized topics that aren’t part of the park’s usual ranger-led tours.

The first one of this season is tonight, and features two of the park’s finest historians, John Hennessy and Donald Pfanz.

Their tour, titled “Fredericksburg 1861–Movers and Shakers and Institutions of Import,” will introduce you to the town’s top figures and entities as Virginia headed into the abyss of the Civil War.

Meet the National Park Service interpreters in Market Square behind old Town Hall at William and Princess Anne Streets–diagonally across the intersection from Hyperion  Espresso.

“We will look at the people and places that made Fredericksburg the community it was in 1861, from the obvious to the obscure–their homes, their places of work, and the institutions they served,” Hennessy, the park’s chief historian, said.

“My hope is that visitors will leave with a vivid understanding of

just how immense a risk the people of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the

South took in 1861–setting in motion a whirlwind that would come back upon Fredericksburg to a greater degree than almost anyplace in the South.”

Free Lance-Star photo: NPS historian and author Frank A. O’Reilly gives a “Sunset” tour some years ago.