Down Memory Lane for Dec. 10

Aug. 21, 1980

“To keep this post office open one additional hour a day would be most generous. What you are asking for is going far beyond what we can offer — beyond our guidelines for running this type of business.”

More than 75 persons crowded into the Sunday School room of the Woodville Baptist Church to meet with Thomas Leavey, sectional center manager in Charlottesville, and William Hunt, who is director of customer services there.

Unlike other post offices in Rappahannock County, Woodville is a contract office. That is, Mrs. Ruth Orange, the postmaster, contracts yearly with the post office to provide the service. This year the Post Office is paying her $3,286, according to Hunt. Out of that she must pay the rent on the building and also pay for the utilities. What is left over is her salary.

When the office hours were cut back, Woodville citizens screamed. Letters were written. Petitions were signed. Leavey reacted by conducting a survey of the use made of the Woodville Post Office. Leavey and Hunt came up from Charlottesville to discuss that survey, made by Sperryville postmaster Mrs. Aline Johnson, with Woodville residents.

“Based on stamp revenue and post office usage, this office should be open only about 20 hours a week. At present this office is open 21 hours a week,” Hunt said.

“We feel the hours currently allocated to Woodville are sufficient,” Leavey added.

Despite charges of secret backroom dealing, the Washington town council members voted unanimously at last Wednesday’s meeting to trade the Gay Street fire hall owned by the town for the old Methodist church further down the block. According to Washington Mayor Newbill Miller, the swap was worked out last month in executive session with Washington attorneys Peter Luke and Sharon Genebach Luke, contract owners of the church.

May 26, 1988

Eugene Tucker began working on clocks almost by accident. Retired from the telephone company, he was refinishing furniture for local residents.

Ten years after Flossie Williamson asked him if he could perhaps get her old clock working again as well as refinishing its case, what began as a hobby has become a passion.

He fixed Mrs. Williamson’s clock, but not too long after she asked him to come back to her house “and do something about that clock.” Unaccustomed to the ticking and the chimes, it was keeping her awake and night, Mr. Tucker explained.

The Tuckers’ house perches on the side of Fodderstack Mountain, and its floor-to-ceiling glass panes offer a spectacular view west to the Blue Ridge for the mantel clocks which sit on window shelves in Mr. Tucker’s workshop, their faces turned to the spring morning.

“The theory behind zoning is that somewhere the lines have got to be drawn . . . Rappahannock County drew the line at five lots and at 1962,” said Mike Massie, the Board of Supervisors’ representative to the Planning Commission, as he explained to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Raynor why family subdivisions was rejected.

The Raynors were before the commission last Wednesday with a request to subdivide three two-acre lots from a 29 acre parcel on Rt. 611 in Jackson District. Mr. Raynor said he been informed by zoning administrator John McCarthy that a special exception permit was required because the original piece of land to which his property belonged had already been divided five times since 1962.

“We didn’t know that. We thought we could divide it five times for family subdivisions,” he said, referring to the county’s allowance for five family subdivisions, with a minimum lot size of two acres apiece, by right from lots of record as of 1962.

Aug. 2, 1995

Cliff Miller Jr.’s family have been landowners in Sperryville since 1827, and he now has a vision for the future of Sperryville by using some of that land.

The Miller family, consisting of Cliff Jr., his parents, and his sister, Lizora Yonce, own 850 acres on both sides of U.S. 211. Mr. Miller has been working on preliminary plans, with the aid of Dick McNear, to possibly develop somewhere between 7 and 100 acres on the south side of U.S. 211, the same side of the road as the Emporium and the Miller Homeplace.

The plans would have to be approved by the county Board of Supervisors, though, before anything could be implemented.

“We are not developers; we are concerned landowners. This is not a development; it is a long-range conceptual plan. We wanted to get the best help we could get and hired Dick McNear. I asked Dick to look at our land, look at the needs of the county and how we could help meet those need,” he added.

Dick McNear was Fauquier County’s director of planning and zoning for 20 years and has lived in Rappahannock full-time since 1980, and off and on since 1960. He is now retired, but teaches comprehensive planning and implementation at the University of Virginia and is on the board of the Piedmont Environmental Council.

John and Denise Pearson have purchased The Flint Hill Public House, and will continue to operate the restaurant and inn with an added emphasis on conference and meeting facilities.

The couple have worked as chefs at The Flint Hill Public House since the fall of 1994, so when former owners Conrad and Robin Koneczny approached them about buying the business, they welcomed the opportunity. John formerly worked for Sutton Place Gourmet, and Denise recently graduated from the professional cooking and pastry programs at L’Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda.

The Flint Hill Public House has two guest rooms appointed with antiques, sharing a common sitting room and service kitchen. Conference and meeting facilities for up to 16 include telefax, copier, projection screen, blackboard and podium.