Monday, January 31, 2011

King William County Courthouse

King William County Courthouse Marker OC-27King William County, VA

Marker No. OC-27

Marker Text: The King William County courthouse, erected early in the second quarter of the 18th century, is one of the older courthouses still in use in the United States. This T-shaped building was constructed of brick laid in Flemish bond, with an arcade imitating the first capital in Williamsburg. One of the best preserved of Virginia's colonial courthouse buildings, it features fine Georgian brickwork. About 1840 the courthouse was enlarged with a unique stile and a brick wall was erected to enclose the court green. Its rural historic setting is a rare survival.

KingWilliamCountyCourthouse MarkerLocation: On Route 1301 (Courthouse Road), just off Virginia Route 30 to the north, east of the intersection with Route 619 (Horse Landing Road) about 17 miles northwest of West Point, VA. Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2001.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Castleman's River Bridge (Formerly “Little Youghiogeny”)

CastlemansRiverBridgeMDGarrett County, MD

Marker Text: Erected 1813 by David Shriver, Jr., Sup't of the "Cumberland Road" (The National Road). This 80 foot span was the largest stone arch in America at the time. It was continuously used from 1813 to 1933.

Location: Marker is east of Grantsville, Maryland, in Garrett County. Marker is on Casselman Road near The National Pike (U.S. 40). Casselman Road was the original alignment of the National Road leading to the bridge. It stops at the east end of the bridge where the marker can be found. Erected by State Roads Commission. Marker has different text on each side, title and text for reverse side is as follows:  (There is an identical marker on the other end of the bridge.)

The Little Crossings”  (of the Little Youghiogeny River now Called Castleman's River)

TheLittleCrossingsMDMarker Text: The "Little Crossings" of the Little Youghiogeny River, now called Castleman's River). So called by George Washington when he crossed on June 19, 1755, with General Edward Braddock on the ill-fated expedition to Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh).

   During my travels I have come across bridges similar to this bridge and until I started to look for them did I realize how many of these old bridges exist throughout the U.S. Most of these bridges are no longer used and therefore are historic relics of our past that lie off the main roads many overgrown and forgotten near the newer bridges that replaced them. When the leaves are off the trees you can see this bridge from Interstate 68 when you drive on the east side of Grantsville, MD. I have seen it while traveling in the west bound lane of the interstate, of course, it is easily seen from Alternate U.S. Route 40.

Friday, January 28, 2011

St. John's Church

Marker OC18 - St. Johns ChurchKing William County, VA

Marker No. OC-18

Marker Text: This was the parish church of St. John's Parish, formed in 1680. It was built in 1734. Earlier churches stood at West Point and about one mile north of this site. Carter Braxton, Revolutionary Statesman, was a vestryman. Preserved by joint effort.

Location: On Virginia Route 30 (King William Road), 103 St. John's Church Lane, King William, VA, south of the King William Courthouse, 8.9 miles northwest of West Point, marker is in front of entrance to the church. Erected by the Virginia State Library in 1965.

Old St. Johns Church as it looks today  I find all the markers I come across interesting, but among some of my favorite are the markers related to churches. Particularly in Virginia, many of these churches date back to the Colonial period. I enjoy these markers, because the church building itself is often still standing, sharing with us a moment in history of our country. Among these many markers is one in King William County, VA, St. John's Church in the St. John’s Parish formed in 1680. In 1734 there were two original churches with one about a mile from this location and one located in the present Town of West Point. In that same year the two churches were consolidated in a new brick building, the subject of this marker.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pennsylvania Turnpike

PennsylvaniaTurnpikeBedford County, PA

Marker Text: This is one of the original service plazas for the nation's first long-distance superhighway. On October 1, 1940, the Turnpike opened, stretching 160 miles from Carlisle to Irwin. The Turnpike Commission had been created in 1937; construction utilized the old South Pennsylvania Railroad's right-of-way and tunnels. By 1957 the Turnpike spanned 360 miles across the State and extended 110 miles north to Scranton.

Location: On the South Midway Service Plaza (west bound lanes), just West of Turnpike Exit 11, Bedford. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1990.

  Last October was the 70th Anniversary of the opening of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and since I am originally from Pennsylvania the ongoing joke was that the turnpike might be 70 years old but it is still under construction. I remember traveling on the turnpike in the 1960's during family vacations and as a kid the road was both fascinating and boring. The scenery from the road was not particularly exciting until you got to a tunnel and these were probably the first and only tunnels I can remember going through as a kid. I remember many trips stopping at the service plazas where this marker is located on either the east or west bound lanes. (There is a similar marker at the east bound service plaza.) While travel on the turnpike was not exciting for kids on vacation, the highways was important to the development and history of Pennsylvania and automobiles.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

James A. Garfield

James A. Garfield, Pikeville, KYPike County, KY
(Marker Number: 52)

Marker Text: Here Col. Garfield was commissioned Brigadier General in the Union Army. The man who later became President was sworn in as General by Squire Charles of Pike County, January 1862.

Location: In the Pikeville City Park in Pikeville, KY, on Route U.S. 119 and 460, Huffman Avenue. Erected by the Kentucky Department of Highways.

  Following the end of the American Civil War, many of the officers on both sides ran for public office being elected to Congress, Governors and/or U.S. President. One individual who served in public office both before, during and after the civil war was James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the U.S. Garfield is probably remembered by most as the second president to be assassinated while serving as President. At the time James A. Garfield was promoted to Brigadier General in January 1862, he was 30 years old, making him the Union Army's youngest General, which this marker observes.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mercer County

MercerCountyPAMercer, Pennsylvania

Marker Text: Formed March 12, 1800 from Allegheny County. The U.S. census reported 3228 residents in 1800. Named for General Hugh Mercer, Revolutionary hero killed at Battle of Princeton, 1777. Early iron and coal center. Mercer, the county seat, was incorporated 1814.

Location: On the northside of the Mercer County Courthouse, at Courthouse Square, Mercer, PA.  Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1981.

GeneralHughMercerPAGeneral Hugh Mercer – PLAQUE

Marker Text: In memory of General Hugh Mercer. Born in Scotland, Colonel on General Forbes Expedition against Fort Duquesne 1758, Commander at Fort Pitt 1759, Colonel 3rd Virginia Regiment 1776, Brigadier General Continental army 1776, killed in the Battle of Princeton 1777

This tablet placed by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission and the Pennsylvania Daughters of the American Revolution to honor the soldier for who Mercer County is name. 1917.

“I am willing to serve my adopted country
in any capacity she may need me.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Greenbrier Ghost

Greenbrier Ghost WV MarkerGreenbrier County, WV

Marker Text: Interred in nearby cemetery is Zona Heaster Shue. Her death in 1897 was presumed natural until her spirit appeared to her mother to describe how she was killed by her husband Edward. Autopsy on the exhumed body verified the apparition's account. Edward, found guilty of murder, was sentenced to the state prison. Only known case in which testimony from ghost helped convict a murderer.

Location: On U.S. Route 60 (eastbound) at junction with Interstate 64, exit 156 just outside Sam Black Church.  Erected by the West Virginia Department of Culture and History in 1981.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meadow Farm – Birthplace of Secretariat

ND10 Meadow Farm Birthplace of SecretariatCaroline County, VA

Marker No. ND-10

Marker Text: This famous horsebreeding farm was established in 1936 by Christopher T. Chenery and continued under the management of his daughter, Helen "Penny" Chenery until 1979. Secretariat (1970-1989), also known as "Big Red," was born and trained here. A bright chestnut stallion with a white star and narrow stripe, he was a horse of uncommon excellence as he proved when he captured the Triple Crown in 1973. His win at the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths won him the love and admiration of the nation. Other notable Thoroughbreds such as Riva Ridge, Hill Prince and First Landing also were raised at Meadow Farm.

Location: On Dawn Boulevard (Virginia Route 30) at Route 652, 1.8 miles east of Interstate 95 and 0.4 miles east of Caroline/Hanover County line. Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 1990.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mark Twain Study

Elmira, New YorkMark Twain Study Marker

Marker Text: Built on East Hill 1874, given to Elmira College in 1952. He wrote “Tom Sawyer” other novels in the study when summering in Elmira.

Erected by the State Education Department in 1956.

Location: On the campus of Elmira College on North Main Street at the intersection with West 7th Street in Front of the Study.