Down Memory Lane for Sept. 3

Jan. 27, 1977

The old adages “quality costs” and “you get what you pay for” aren’t always true. At country Cupboards in Washington, Virginia, Gene Lyman and Bob Haase are producing hand-crafted, high-quality cabinets and cupboards for the same price or less than similar, mass-produced assembly-line products.

“We can produce an average kitchen for less than Sears,” said Haase, adding that the partners had discovered their prices were not only competitive with the major chains but “more than competitive.”

Country Cupboards is one of Little Washington’s newer businesses. Gene Lyman came to the county from Alexandria to do carpentry for Peter Kramer and, after working there, found that his interests lay in furniture making, not carpentry. When Kramer’s business went bankrupt, Lyman had to decide between “going to the city to get work or starting my own.” He began Country Cupboards in January 1974.

Under the auspices of the Virginia Division of Forestry, a school for instruction on forest fire control was held in Flint Hill on January 23. Fire departments from Rappahannock and Madison were eligible for participation. Firemen received instruction on various tactics for combating forest fires and demonstrations of machines used in this work. Instructors from the Division of Forestry included Lytt Wood, Mark Klopp, Joe Jones, Ian Morrison, Tippy Jenkins and Tom Edison.

At a January 19 public hearing, the Rappahannock Planning Commission presented a proposed rezoning for Amissville. Only a handful of Amissville residents attended the meeting, and fewer still made any comments on the plan. Most of the discussion centered around the advisability of including the trailer court in the change from A-1 to RB-1.

New planning commission member Newbill Miller suggested that the commission take more time for study and legal advice before zoning the trailer court RB-1. He questioned whether including the court in Amissville’s RB-1 district would automatically allow trailer courts in the county’s other RB-1 zones. He also asked whether new courts would have to conform to the standards of the Amissville court, if it were included in the proposed change.

Chairman Herbert Barksdale noted that trailer courts currently have to have a use permit in an A-1 zone.

June 6, 1985

When Lyle Atkins was 10 years old, he thought that he could sell apples if he sat beside the dirt road that connected Luray to Rappahannock. “I used to bring a bushel of apples and make a day out of selling them for 25 cents a piece,” Lyle said. “I just thought I could sell them, so I started, and it went on from there.”

What it went on to was a fruit stand that has been operating for 50 years. “Mine was about the first stand on the highway,” Lyle said. “I used to not be able to keep the stuff I had for sale.”

Lyle has seen a lot of changes in the years he has spent at the stand. Route 211 is paved now, and “there’s a stand along the road for every car,” Lyle said. He thinks that Route 66 has also taken some of the traffic away that would have gone by his stand on Route 211 before.

In 1979 Paul and Joan St. Clair bought the Old Lake Motel in Washington and converted it into the Black Kettle Motel and Restaurant. Their main interest was in starting a restaurant, since the entire family is interested in food preparation. More specifically, though, Paul loves to cook and has had a lifelong ambition to become a chef.

Paul’s goal has been reached, because his family has appointed him head chef of the Black Kettle. His wife, Joan, says he has an artistic interest in cooking, adding that “he hates to compromise; he gets the best quality of everything.”

Prior to opening the Black Kettle, Paul had little formal experience as a chef. He owes much of what he knows to a man name Gene Crittenden, formerly the head chef of what used to be the Travelers’ Inn in Calverton, Virginia.

“He was the best chef I ever knew,” says Paul. “He told me, ‘You’ll never get rich in this business but you’ll never go hungry either.’”

Reading from a prepared statement during a public hearing at the supervisors’ regular meeting on June 3, Robert Eastham of Flint Hill announced the formation of a new political party in Rappahannock County. “It will probably be called The Rappahannock County Taxpayers Party,” Eastham’s statement reads.

The purpose of the party will be to protect the interests of the taxpayers of Rappahannock County, who fund “the cost of both the basic and essential public services in this county as well as the irresponsible schemes of those to whom money seems to mean nothing as long as it is someone else’s money,” according to Eastham’s statement.

Feb. 8, 1995

A break-in occurred at Baldwin’s Store in Washington very early Monday morning.

Store owner Paul Baldwin said, “they must have had a truck.”

“They made a good haul,” according to Capt. Jeff Brown of the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office. Missing from the store were cash, alcoholic beverages, cartons of cigarettes and food. The store was entered from a door to the storeroom. The screen on the outside door was cut, and two locks on a heavy wooden door were forced. It was determined that the break-in took place sometime after 1 a.m.

Capt. Brown dusted for fingerprints on Monday morning, and said that possible leads are being followed. Other physical evidence has also been obtained.

Williams Grocery in Chester Gap is a welcome sight to many hikers of the Appalachian Trail.

“We’re on the map,” said Marilyn Williams, who owns and runs the store, along with her husband, Buck. She said that summer and fall are when most of the hikers stop by their store, and one of them told her that the store was on his hiking map.

The couple has been running the store for nearly five years.

Mr. Williams is a native of Chester Gap. He and his wife returned to the area in 1990 after retiring from their jobs in Northern Virginia. Mr. Williams worked in the insurance business, and Mrs. Williams was employed with a market research firm.

They built a new house and took over the store from Bradley Williams, who is Mr. William’s’ second cousin. Bradley Williams still helps out in the store on Saturdays.

The store is the only one in Chester Gap, and, with the sometimes extreme weather in Chester Gap, it is very important to the community there.

Like many country stores, it serves as a meeting place for many, some who come in the evening and sit around the stove and discuss the day’s activities.

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