Down Memory Lane for Sept. 25

April 4, 1974

The old school on Mt. Salem Avenue in Washington is being transformed into a residence “in the Southern tradition,” which, among other things, means installing a soaring portico with six 20-foot high pillars and an elaborate interior redecoration. Neighbors and former students won’t have to remain outside, wondering what happened to the blackboards where they first encountered the multiplication tables, or window skills where they carved their initials, for what they assumed was posterity. The new owners, John and Suzie Lipko, plan three housewarming parties, sometime around next Christmas — one for the workmen, one for anyone who went to school in the old building and another for guests “by invitation only.”

Peter Kramer, a Washington cabinetmaker and builder, presents a free woodworking demonstration and furniture exhibit from 10 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, at his shop in Washington. The craft program will feature Kramer and two of his cabinetmakers, Ben Giles and Joe Williams, in simultaneous demonstrations contrasting the use of antique tools with modern power equipment.

Cartoonist David Hoadley, who produces the weekly cartoon of Little Fox for the Rappahannock News, will have individual drawings of the characters from the the strip for sale at the Senior Class Flea Market on Saturday. The drawings are available framed or unframed.

Jan. 27, 1983

The new structure behind the post office, built by Dr. Werner Krebser, is the second stage of his plan for the site, which includes the remodeled Merrill’s Garage building currently housing the post office, as well as remodels to Natures Foods and Cafe and the Beauty Box. The new building will provide rental units within walking distance from shops, a need identified for the older citizens of the county and town.

A representative from the federal Environmental Protection Agency will be in Sperryville today, Jan. 27, to take an in-person look at the site where $1.4 million in EPA money is slated to be spent for construction of a sewer system. At the Rappahannock Water and Sewer Authority’s meeting last Monday night, Bob Dennis reported on an exchange of correspondence between EPA and the state Water Control Board which apparently prompted the visit. In a letter dated Dec. 15, Jim Kern of the EPA’s Philadelphia office, posed questions which arose after he reviewed the facilities plan for the long-delayed Sperryville project.

At the very beginning of education in Rappahannock County was the little schoolhouse at the very end of Gay Street in Washington, a two-room brick building beloved by students and townspeople, who affectionately called it “the Rabbit Gum” because of its resemblance to a rabbit box. This academy existed before public education as a private academy, and with the formal establishment of the public school system in 1871, it became Washington’s public school. In 1956, Louemma Moffett wrote a two-part series on the old academy for the Rappahannock News, basing some of her article about old times at the school on the memories of William E. Compton. Bob Pullen of Washington went to the Rabbit Gum from 1901 until 1905. Ruby Jenkins had him record a tape of his experiences there, which is now available at the Washington Museum. “We didn’t have to pay,” Pullen remembered. “But we did have to buy our own books. We bought them at Stuart’s Store in town.” Pullen couldn’t remember exactly, but Ruby thinks that the textbooks at the time were still McGuffey’s reader, Smith’s Grammar, Davis’s arithmetic and the Spencerian copy book.

Nov 11, 1992

The flea market at the Sperryville Emporium has closed for the season, and its fate next year is undecided. In previous years, the vendors have kept their tables up nearly to Thanksgiving, but not this year. The end came earlier than most had planned, following a nudge from John McCarthy, the county’s zoning administrator. He wrote to Maurice O’Bannon, owner and operator of the Emporium, in late October, informing O’Bannon that the existing use level on the Emporium’s lot did not meet the county’s zoning requirements.

A 12 year old boy was found uninjured late Monday morning near the base of Old Rag Mountain, almost two days after he became separated from his hiking companions near the top of the mountain. Donald Wentz of Partlow, Va., near Fredericksburg, was found walking along the Weakley Hollow fire road with an unidentified hiker by park ranger Robert Fleming. The ranger said the youth seemed so calm it took him a moment to realize he was the lost boy who more than 100 searchers, including five dog teams, were looking for.

A new restaurant has opened just west of Sperryville. J.D. and Debbi Hartman of Warrenton have found a new home for their catering business in the building formerly occupied by the Horseshoe Hills restaurant. The Hartmans have been operating a catering service in the area for five years, bringing their barbeque pit on a trailer to the party and cooking food on the spot. That business will continue, say the Hartmans, but they hope more people will come to know their special brand of barbecue at the restaurant about a mile and half west of Sperryville on U.S. 211.

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