Down Memory Lane for Oct. 12

Jan. 13, 1999

The new chief executive officer for Rappahannock National Bank, Michael T. Leake, is 16 years removed from his days as Rappahannock High School’s star basketball player, yet he radiates youthful energy.

“I guess you can see the excitement in my face,” he said, when interviewed during his second week on the job.


The man is bursting with enthusiasm for his new job, which is this: to be in charge of the old Rappahannock National Bank under a new, better-funded umbrella.

Last year RNB was bought by Union Bankshares of Bowling Green, Va.

This means that for the first time since its founding in 1902 RNB is not locally owned.

“I would never have taken this position if I didn’t think there was tremendous opportunity,” he said.

When Union Bankshares first appeared in Rappahannock, Leake was happily working at The Fauquier Bank in Warrenton as assistant vice-president of the commercial banking division.

“I always wanted to come home and be in this area,” said Leake. “I don’t know why anyone would want to live anywhere else.”

Helen Dixon’s farm, Dixie Meadows in Viewtown, calls to mind an exotic Noah’s ark.

Her collection includes water buffalo, dromedaries, Red Brahmin and Simmental cattle, Nilgai antelopes, waterbuck, Anatolian shepherds, Miki dogs, goats, donkeys and 38-inch miniature cattle called Dexters.

She has peacocks, turkeys, geese, ducks, as well as the small birds attracted to her feeders.

There’s even an animal whose name isn’t in the dictionary — a zonkey, created by crossing a zebra and a donkey. Like popular images of Noah’s ark, most of Dixon’s animals are gentle, tamed by her animal-raising methods.

The camels, zebras, antelopes and water bucks are bottle fed when young. The water buffalo, cattle, donkeys and zonkeys are halter-broken at an early age. “Not an animal on the place isn’t halter-broken,” she says.

Even the ducks and geese are hand-raised, waddling fearlessly toward visitors.

Feb. 7, 1980

The ski area in Harris Hollow is no longer for sale. According to Eric Adamson, Front Royal attorney and partner in the operation, the Rappahannock slopes will open in December 1980 — “November, if there’s snow” — as a private club.

In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Adamson said that 1,400 memberships will be sold at $295 for the first in a family, $275 for the second and $225 for the third.

“Skiing has become no fun around here because of the crowds,” Adamson said. He estimated the number of skiers in the Washington D.C. area at over 100,000.

“About one out of every ten belongs to a ski club and there are ten clubs. The Washington Ski Club itself has 5,800 members,” he said.

On Saturday, Sunday and holidays, the ski area will be restricted to club members and their guests. On weekdays and evenings, however the Harris Hollow slopes will be open to the general public.

In September 1976. C. L. Goode applied to the Rappahannock County Planning Commission for approval of a 15-lot, five acre development located just outside Flint Hill.

Three and a half years later, on January 24, 1980, Circuit Court Judge Carlton Penn of Leesburg signed an order that removed the final roadblock to Goode’s revised development plan.

Goode’s subdivision application was turned down by Rappahannock’s zoning administrator, planning commission and board of supervisors in 1977, 1978 and 1979, primarily on grounds that each lot in the development did not contain five acres under 14 per cent slope as required by county ordinances.

Goode appealed the denials to circuit court but repeatedly asked for continuances in the case. To date, the county’s legal bill, including fees for an expert planning consultant, total $8,634.