Down Memory Lane July 20

Jan. 7, 1998

In early December, after more than 30 years, Woodville Contract Postmaster Ruth Orange retired, closing the book on one of the oldest post offices in the country.

From September 1802, when founding Postmaster John Turner opened shop, to Orange’s appointment as Acting Postmaster in July 1965, the Woodville Post Office has been in continuous operation. Notices of its closure were recently mailed to local residents.

According to Orange, the Woodville office, which operated under contract with USPS since December 1967, served 40 families via General Delivery and maintained 125 post office boxes. Orange voluntarily terminated the contract due to increasing ill health.

Woodville and Castleton are only two of the latest casualties of government and corporate downsizing. The USPS continues to close smaller community post offices, consolidating service in regional offices equipped to handle huge volumes of mail at minimal cost.

The U.S. Postal Service is moving forward with plans to relocate the Amissville Post Office to a larger, more customer-friendly location. The present building on the corner of Route 642, Viewtown road, and U.S. 211 is too crowded and lacks sufficient parking, explained USPS spokesperson Helen Skillman. All 254 mailboxes are rented and the area is growing.

“The Postal Service’s goal is to provide the residents of Amissville and the community with a customer-convenient, efficient post office,” she said.

Developer Jim Epstein of Culpeper, who owns land at and is a driving force behind Clevenger’s Corner Development Partners, LLD, appears to be the frontrunner in the competition for the contract.

Epstein, one of four area bidders, offered to include the new post office facility in his plan for a neo traditional village at Clevenger’s Corner.

Sept. 26, 1974

“We’ve got a co-op that co-ops,” grinned Lucio Kilby, waving a hand that encompassed a beehive of activities at the apple packing shed at Sperryville. “All the other co-ops in Rappahannock didn’t co-op, and now we’re the only big operation left.

A large packing shed at Flint Hill, and another one on Route 211 near the high school, both have “For Sale” signs on them, but Kilby says the Sperryville operation has enough business to keep up to 20 people busy all through the winter.

“We’ll pack about 100,000 bushels this year, which is fair,” says Kilby, “ending next April or May. Then there’s machinery to tend to, and accounting and bookkeeping, and getting the place straightened out, and then we’ll start all over again next Aug. 15.”

The co-operative was first organized in 1936 and, as noted, is the only one still operating in Rappahannock. Herbert Foster and Sons have a small, individual packing operation for their own orchards near Flint Hill.

“Planning” and “master plans” inspired some harsh words last Wednesday night when Rappahannock’s supervisors rejected all work done so far by the planning commission toward drafting the county’s first comprehensive plan.

Specifically, the supervisors rejected a document called “Development of Rappahannock County Master Plan” prepared by the staff of Planning District Nine, at the request made by the planning commission — an appropriation for a series of maps reflecting an “environmental inventory and analysis” by the Piedmont Environmental Council of Warrenton.

Wednesday was the scheduled September meeting of the planning commission and it was supposed to have been a joint session with the supervisors. But none of the planners showed up, except for Fanning Baumgardner — who as zoning administrator serves as secretary to the commission — and Pete Luke, chairman of the supervisors, who also serves as the supervisor’s’ representative to the planning commission. Herbert Barksdale, the planners chairman, had called Luke earlier to say he was ill and wouldn’t be able to come.