Down Memory Lane for May 4

Nov. 24, 1983

Edward Bailey, who built the Rappahannock County Time Capsule on the grounds of the county library, cut and fitted the marble capstone for the monument this Monday.

The Capsule Committee met Saturday night to wrap up final plans for collecting and preserving the numerous letters, reports, documents, pictures and other materials for storage in the pyramid vault for the next 100 years. This information was prepared by school children, officials, clubs and organizations, individuals and churches and deals with life and conditions in Rappahannock in 1983.

The purpose of the time capsule is four fold: to preserve something of this time period for future generations; to provide a focus on the present; to communicate with the great and great-great grandchildren of people living today; to provide an opportunity to assess current times and conditions.

An 1880s Tanner and Delaney steam engine believed to have been used for the manufacture of mountain moonshine at Chester Gap is now nestled snugly at Berryville museum.

The story of this engine as related by Leslie E. Good, president of the Shenandoah Valley Steam and Gas Engine Association, appeared in the summer issue of “The Iron Men Album Magazine.” Subscriber Willie Gentry shared the story with the Rappahannock News.

The engine was discovered about 400 yards downstream from Indian Run Spring near Chester Gap, on land now owned by the Shenandoah National Park. Natives told Good that the engine and a mill that had been in the area were operated by Holmes Edward Boyd of Berryville. Boyd bought the land in 1901 from the George Compton estate.

In its early days the engine ran a lumber mill. It fell into its illegal activity probably during Prohibition — when Chester Gap oldtimers would pass the word that “a mad dog had been seen in the mountain” each time the brew was ready. Finally, the engine was abandoned in the woods after the advent of more powerful diesel engines. A tree grew around its engine, axle, and firebox. Its back wheels fell into the creek.

Gentry says old engines are frequently found in woodlands by hunters or game wardens — and what was considered trash in other days is a real find today.

Sept. 20, 1995

Petitions are being sought to charge a 12 year old boy at RCES with possession of a firearm on school property, according to Sheriff John Henry Woodward.

According to a letter sent home to parents of RCES students Monday, and signed by Dr. Gangel and Principal Raye Tupper, the boy, a sixth-grader, was found to have a BB pistol in his book bag last Thursday. The letter said that another student alerted officials of the pistol, and that the pistol was neither taken out of the book bag nor used to threaten anyone.

According to Sheriff Woodward, it is school policy to call the Sheriff’s Office whenever they find weapons or drugs, and it is up to the school whether to file charges.

Washington Town Council unanimously approved the Pemco light fixture for town streets at last Wednesday’s meeting, but not before getting a chuckle out of member Steve Critzer’s suggestion, “I’d like to see us study these lights for a couple more years.”

The discussion started several years ago when Potomac Edison notified the town and county it would no longer provide parts for the existing incandescent street lights. The power company put up a sodium vapor fixture described as a “cobra arm” on a pole in front of the courthouse and let the town and county know it wished to replace the town’s street lights with that model.

The town formed a lighting committee, Charles Eldred looked at the collection of streetlights in town and found four that were similar and of a design quite common in small towns when electric street lighting was first introduced. Furthermore, reproductions of those lights were being produced, and they could accommodate a color corrected bulb that provides light similar in color but brighter than the incandescent bulbs.

Mr. Eldred said refractors could be put in the fixtures that would force the light into an oval in the street and away from windows.