Down Memory Lane for March 9

Feb. 24, 1983

The sign, white and weather worn, hangs suspended between two poles to the right of the road as you turn into Sperryville off 211: “Hotel Lee Highway.” Present owner Bill Loomis designed, built and raised the sign in 1978 shortly after purchasing the building it advertises, a white two-story structure on Main Street across from the Sperryville Church of God of Prophecy.

“I brought this hotel from two fellas — Myron Palmer and Andrew Kozic. It was known before they had it and still is, legally, as Hotel Lee Highway,” commented owner Loomis recently.

Though he kept the name and even built the sign for it, Loomis’s hotel isn’t a hotel now but an apartment building with five residents. Through research Loomis has managed to piece together a timeline of the building’s 163 year history which began in 1820 with its completion.

“When I bought this place, it was a mess, especially the downstairs and the basement,” commented Loomis. “My wife and I were looking for income property where he could live. It was a lot of work — welding, painting, carpentry — but I’ve been doing that stuff all my life. I used to teach classes in agriculture and shop in Warrenton.

Thomas B. Massie, Captain of Company B (Washington Greys) in the 7th Virginia Regiment, kept a detailed account book for his men in the Civil War, listings amounts owed to them and amounts deducted from their pay for chewing tobacco, butter and cash advances.

Captain Massie was the grandfather of Thomas Lee Massie, who found the well-preserved book among his possessions. Roberta Spalding of Flint Hill graciously lent the book to the Rappahannock News for this article. Mrs. Spalding wasn’t sure how Thomas Bernard and another county figure, Thomas Benjamin Massie, were related, but she said that they called each other “Cousin Tom.”

It appears, however, that if a soldier lost a cap, a rifle or a pair of shoes, the purchase price was charged against his wages. Lieutenant John M. Hopper, for example, was charged $2.00 for a cap and $3.00 for a pair of boots.

Nov. 19, 1997

Jennifer Greene recently opened the Odyssey Collection along “Artists’ Row” in Washington and she is struggling to maintain its pristine image as a gallery rather than a shop. Museum quality antiquities need to be displayed in an uncluttered space, she said.

Many of the items in her shop are exquisite, like the hand carved wooden masks from Bali with ornate batiking (for $38), and the late 18th century Chinese cloisonne ox and cart (for $16,000).

Greene, 48, opened the original Odyssey Collection two years ago at the Mountainside Market in Sperryville and it offers a variety of lower priced items as well as the more expensive pieces.

Divorced five years ago, she worked for 18 years with her husband, an archeologist, anthropologist and museum curator. Each year they traveled 15,000 miles in three months to visit dealers, art collectors and Indian reservations around the United States, carting along their daughter, Jessica, from the young age of two.

Washington Lodge No. 78 A. F. & A. M. recently awarded their community Builders Award for 1997 to Rev. Phillip W. Bailey, pastor of Washington Baptist church.

This award is given to recognize and to show appreciation to a non-Mason for outstanding contributions to the community. In the short time since his arrival, he has originated and supported many new programs reaching out to the community, advancing youth and senior citizen activities, coordinating construction and repair projects for the needy, as well as organizing discussion meetings to better understand other religions and fraternal organizations.

Besides these contributions he has provided new vitality and creative leadership to the Washington Baptist Church.