Down Memory Lane for Jan. 28

Nov. 27, 1980

Washington Mill, located just east of Washington on the Rush River has been included in the Virginia Historic Landmarks register, the official list of properties worthy of preservation. The mill served as the town mill of Washington until the end of the 19th century. Built circa 1800 with subsequent additions in 1800 and 1860, the mill retains much of its antebellum machinery in good repair. It is believed to have served as a neutral bartering place between Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.

Following the Civil War the mill continued to operate into the 20th century, although there is no evidence that steam power was ever applied to operate its machinery. The mill provided the setting for a concert by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in 1950. Peter Kramer of Washington, Virginia, purchased the mill in 1979 and plans to restore it for commercial use.

The courtroom for last Thursday’s hearing on the disposition of the Wood estate looked like a bar association meeting as a gaggle of lawyers in somber shades of brown, charcoal gray and navy blue balanced legal pads on their knees, filling the first three rows of benches.

At issue in Thursday’s hearing was the division of more than $1.5 million, excluding real estate, left by Virginia Fletcher Wood of Sperryville. She and her husband, Robert Eugene Wood, died on Aug. 28, 1979, when flood waters swept them off the bridge at Fletcher’s Mill.

Eric Kvarnes practices a craft that has been passed down unchanged for 2000 years. In his Gid Brown Hollow studio, he blows and shapes molten glass into utilitarian pieces of art using methods that Old World masters have perfected over centuries.

Tables and shelves in the studio hold slender vases, delicate bowls, glasses and heavy paperweights with blue tears shining from their centers. Cardboard boxes full of the finest examples of Kvarnes’ work packed in newspaper wait to be displayed at craft showers.

A glass blower for seven years, Eric still considers himself a beginner. He exhibits only at small shows, explaining that he and his partner Nina Harris need to bring in some money right away but aren’t good enough yet for big, prestigious craft gatherings.

Dec. 8, 1988

The county’s food services contract with the Hampton Inn expires in April 1989, and since the restaurant’s new owner is not interested in supplying meals to prisoners three times a day, 365 days of the year, Rappahannock’s supervisors are looking again at a kitchen addition for the jail.

According to County Administrator John McCarthy, the Department of Corrections sees the option of using the school kitchens as a “temporary solution to a long-term problem.”

In a Nov. 10 letter, Department of Corrections inspector Lavinia Johnson pointed to problems with keeping food serving, storage and ordering separate as reason for rejecting this alternative, which has been offered in very general terms by Superintendent David Gangel and the School Board.

She questioned whether the school kitchen would be open in the evenings, on weekends and during summer vacation and holidays and asked how the meals would be transported from the school cafeteria to the jail.

In her letter to Durwood Hitt, supervisor for adult facilities, Ms. Johnson recommended that Rappahannock jail have its own in-house kitchen and that work toward this objective begin as soon as possible. She also noted that the State Department of Corrections had offered this same recommendation in May 1986.

Piedmont District representative Charles Estes left the board table at Monday night’s public hearing as his fellow supervisors approved a special exception permit allowing him to construct housing in Sperryville’s floodplain.

The special exception application, which came with a unanimous endorsement from the Planning Commission, was originally submitted with a request for a special use permit from the Board of Zoning Appeals for multi-family housing.

The BZA denied that permit at its November meeting, finding that Mr. Estes’s proposal to convert an existing building separate from any other structures on his one-acre commercial village lot into an apartment for his mother did not qualify as multi-family housing.

Who owns the Rappahannock County Library?

The Board of Trustees thinks it does, and its members have said that they plan to sell the old Presbyterian Church in Washington which now houses the library, to help pay for construction of a new building on two acres just beyond the town limits.

But Col. E. P. Luke, former chairman of the Rappahannock Board of Supervisors and a former member of the library board, told the supervisors on Monday that he always thought the county owned the building.

According to a deed dated April 25, 1960, the trustees of the County Free Library System of Rappahannock County purchased the Presbyterian Church lot for $2,600 and the trustees, “their successors and assigns,” hold title to the property.

July 31, 1996

The Board of Zoning appeals turned down an application for a special use permit to construct a new Amissville Post Office on a lot on Route 645 and then granted three variances from setback requirements at last Thursday’s meeting.

Appearing in favor of the new post office facility were Tim Tedrick, of DelMarva Construction, which had a contract to purchase a lot on the road, build a post office and lease it to the U.S. Postal Service and Gary Martin of the postal service.

Mr. Martin and the current post office is too small and unsafe. He said locating a new space for the Amissville Post Office is the “top priority in the Northern Virginia district.”

He said all the post office boxes at the current post office are leased and there is no room to add more. The new facility would have more post office boxes, a larger workroom for postal employees and a lobby open 24 hours a day.

Mrs. Coxe’s Tavern in Washington opened quietly and without fanfare at 11 a.m. on Monday.

Members of the town’s Architectural Review Board visited the site last Friday and gave their final approval of the building.

Lunch was served to a mostly local crowd; everyone seemed anxious to check out the new restaurant and sample the food. The owners of the tavern, Fran and Charlie Eldred, were obviously delighted to finally have their restaurant open, greeting their first customers by taking their photograph and then seating them in the main dining room.

The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community made only $484 putting on the Fourth of July celebration for the Town of Washington.

An important part of being able to produce this celebration was a fundraising garden party with entertainment by Lorraine Duisit and Tom Espinola hosted by Mayor Stewart Willis and his Eve at Mount Prospect in June.

RAAC members are concerned that if the organization continues to put on the town’s celebration, the year will come when bad weather reduces the income to below the level of the outgo.

The organization will ask the Town Council to protect it from loss in future years.