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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Times-Dispatch: Highway threatens Manassas batttlefield

The late Annie Snyder of Pageland Farm in western Prince William County was a fierce and wily advocate for protecting the Manassas battlefields.

Overnight, Katherine Calos of the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:

The land where reenactors will stage the 150th anniversary battle of First Manassas Saturday and Sunday is slated for a major highway project that could destroy its historic ambiance, conservation and historic organizations warned today.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation joined the Southern Environmental Law Center, Coalition for Smarter Growth and National Parks Conservation Association to urge Virginia to stop a highway that they consider unnecessary and destructive to Manassas National Battlefield Park.

The proposed Tri-County Parkway would extend Prince William Parkway (Route 234) to Washington Dulles International Airport along the western boundary of the Manassas Battlefield. It could become part of an Outer Beltway around the Washington metropolitan area.

The 150th anniversary reenactment will be on Pageland Farm across from the Brawner Farm section of the battlefield park, where the fighting of the Second Battle of Manassas was concentrated in 1862.

The late Annie Snyder, who owned the farm, had fought for years to protect Manassas battlefield from a mall and other inappropriate development, said Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Smarter Growth group.

He said he’s concerned that the Commonwealth Transportation Board in February included the Manassas project in a Corridor of Statewide Significance resolution.

Board member Gary Garczynski said that his intent was to add “a North-South connection from [Interstate] 95 or [Virginia Route] 234 Extended up to . . . Route 50 to join what is called the Dulles Loop that gives access to Dulles Airport to more people from the south.”

“There are certain sad ironies,” Schwartz said, “the fact that in the Sesquicentennial we’re having this reenactment where the highway would be built, having it on Annie Snyder’s farm and she’s done so much to save Manassas from threats such as Disney and (developer) Til Hazel’s mall. . . .

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