Down Memory Lane for Aug. 11

January 19, 1984

A tree root left Washington residents without water over part of the weekend. Bruce Critzer spotted water gushing out of the ground Saturday afternoon on Blue Ridge Avenue just past the Washington Cash Store and notified Ray Pullen, overseer of the town’s water system. “It was too late then to dig up the line and repair whatever was the trouble,” Mayor Newbill Miller reported, so Pullen monitored the reservoir and when the water level dropped to four feet at around 11 p.m. that night, he shut down the system.

Water was turned on again Sunday morning from 7 to 9:30 when repair work began. The problem lay with a large tree root that had grown between the 4-inch cast iron line and the ground and cracked the line, according to Miller. “There was nothing wrong with the pipe — no rust, no deterioration,” he said, adding that the crack occurred in the cast iron pipe, not the galvanized pipe that gives the town most if its problem with water system leaks. Workers were able to repair the crack with a sleeve by 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

The Rappahannock School Board has accepted the low bid from E. M. Martin Company of Charlottesville for partial re-roofing at the elementary school. The board received bids at a special January 3 meeting. E. M. Martin bid $19,257 while the other bidder, Texas Roofing Corporation of Clearbrook bid $20,257, according to assistant superintendent Tom Campbell.

Campbell says no starting date has been set, but that work is expected to begin over the gym and cafeteria portion of the building. The scope of the project may be expanded later, Campbell added. The completion date will be set when the contract is signed, he said. Board members Beverly Massie, Nancy Reeve and Paul Nichols were present. Randall Updike was absent and no replacement had been appointed to fill the vacancy created by Nelson Lane’s election to the board of supervisors.

At the recent Virginia State Appaloosa Horse Association awards banquet held near Richmond, two geldings owned by Bill and Mauri Payne, Rock Bottom Appaloosas, Amissville, came away with top honors in halter. Earning VSAHA High Point Aged Gelding for 1983 was the Paynes’ 10-year-old Fleet’s Far-Go. On the way to winning this award, he was first in his class and stood Grand Champion Gelding at the Virginia State Fair, Richmond, in  September.

March 14, 2001

As you traveled west from Sperryville on U.S. 211 going to Luray before the park was established, there were homes and businesses on each side of the road from Beach Spring Church to Turn Bridge. This is the first sharp turn to the left as you start up the mountain. This was known as Atkinstown.

You would never realize this had been an active community when you travel the road today, but if you look closely with the leaves off, you can see some remnants of homes and stone fences. There were two churches, Beech Spring, which is the Baptist Church outside the park and is still active today. The Dunkard Church was close to the road and was a small church that met the needs for those who lived close by.

This service station was owned by Mr. Homer Atkins at Turn Bridge. He sold Essoline gas as well as apples. It was said that beautiful flowers surrounded the place.
This service station was owned by Mr. Homer Atkins at Turn Bridge. He sold Essoline gas as well as apples. It was said that beautiful flowers surrounded the place. From the Rappahannock News

There were two service stations. Mr. Homer Atkins had one at Turn Bridge and sold Essoline gas as well as apples. His wife, Mrs. Lavana Cornell Atkins always had such beautiful flowers and some remember how pretty it was with plants all around.

The other station belonged to Mr. John R. Atkins along with a store. Mr. Jake Dodson and Mr. Penn Curtis also owned stores. They would have a keg of salty fish for sale, and to get the salt out of them, the ones that bought them would put them in a sack and place them in a running stream of water. They were just right for breakfast the next morning.

Col. John S. Mosby, leader of a legendary band of Confederate cavalry raiders, set up his headquarters at Woodville in November 1863, according to the wartime diary of a Union soldier who was captured by Mosby and brought to that nearby deserted village in Rappahannock County. The disclosure that Mosby operated out of Woodville at that time comes in a newly published book that details the amazing Civil War experiences of Private Robert Knox Sneden, a soldier in a New York regiment who served as a map maker in the Federal army. An accomplished draftsman and artist, Private Sneden kept an incredibly detailed record of his war service, both in the form of a memoir of some 5,000 handwritten pages and 500 vivid watercolor maps and drawings of battlefields, camps, war scenes and prisons.

After being stored away unseen for most of a century, this rich trove of Civil War history has been brought together in what some historians call one of the most important memoirs of the war ever produced. Illustrated by watercolors, the book, titled “Eye of the Storm: A Civil War Odyssey,” was edited by two Virginia Historical Society scholars and published late last year.