Historic preservation does not happen without vision, dedication and hard work. In Stafford, a county whose history stretches back to 1664, many people are committed to keeping that history alive. The Stafford County Historical Commission names awardees of its annual Historic Preservation Awards every May during Historic Preservation Month. This year’s group includes an artist, a group of citizen volunteers, a business, a foundation and a governmental entity, who helped tell the stories of Stafford’s Olympic athletes, the African-American community, Armed Forces and Stafford’s most famous resident, George Washington. They accepted their awards at a presentation at the May 15, 2018, meeting of the Stafford Board of Supervisors, following a reception in the winners’ honor.
“Historic preservation plays an important role in our community by preserving our cultural heritage,” said Anita Dodd, Chairman of the Stafford County Historical Commission. “It is important to celebrate that heritage and the contributions made by those dedicated to its preservation.”
The Historical Commission established the Historical Preservation Awards in 2005 to recognize individuals, groups, organizations and businesses for their contributions to the preservation of Stafford County’s history. The winners for 2017 are listed below.
The Stafford Armed Services Memorial Commission and Working Group
Members of the Armed Services Memorial Commission are Lt. Gen. Ron Christmas, USMC-Ret., Supervisor Gary Snellings, Hartwood District, and Supervisor Mark Dudenhefer, Garrisonville District. The Working Group is made up of the late Jim Brown, Daniel Chichester, John Cox, Elizabeth Davis, Susan Duckworth, Susan Henderson, former Sheriff Charlie Jett, Mark Osborn, Billy Shelton, Ed Wallis and Frank White. This group of citizen volunteers collaborated on the project to build the $835,000 Stafford Armed Services Memorial, which opened in July of 2017. The memorial is located on the Stafford Government Center campus and honors those who have served, are serving and their families. Bricks in the memorial, purchased by the public, honor the memories of loved ones. Markers commemorate our country’s participation in conflicts going back to the Revolutionary War.
Silk-Sviland is a local artist who has created beautiful historic murals or “history walls” at Stafford High School, the Rowser Building and the Jeff Rouse Swim and Sport Center. Silk-Sviland was commissioned to create the walls and performed the historic research and design to tell Stafford’s story best. The history wall at Stafford High School is a visual timeline across multiple decades, providing a contest that cross-references local events with national events. The historical wall at the Rowser Building depicted Stafford’s rich African-American history and debuted during Stafford’s 350th Anniversary Celebration in 2014. The Rowser Building itself is a historic building, which was once Stafford’s only school for African-American children. The mural at the Rouse Center is a roll call of Stafford’s most celebrated athletes – those who have gone to the Olympics.
Nash Stafford LLC and Newland Communities at Embrey Mill
Larry Carruthers accepted the award on behalf of Nash Stafford LLC and Newland Communities for their work in the preservation of Knight House, located within the Embrey Mill housing development. The Knight House is an example of a 19th to early 20th century Stafford County farmhouse. The house was preserved according to the U.S. Department of Interior standards, with original elements retained whenever possible. These types of humble buildings are the kinds that disappear as Stafford grows. Newland Communities did an excellent job of showcasing how Stafford’s landscape is changing by preserving this home and by providing extensive interpretive signage detailing its history.
Marine Corps Base Quantico, Range Management Branch
Jay Woodfin and the Range Management Branch at Quantico worked with Stafford County’s Cemetery Committee for two years to locate cemeteries that are within the portion of the base that was once a part of Stafford, Prince William and Fauquier counties. Information about the cemeteries has been scarce and hard to gather over the years. Woodfin and his team located the cemetery and flagged paths to help the Cemetery Committee find and document the historic cemeteries.
The George Washington Foundation
Bill Garner, Director of the George Washington Foundation, was on hand to accept the award for the Foundation’s work in building an interpretive replica of George Washington’s boyhood home at Ferry Farm. The home burned in 1740, and its location was unknown. The site, as well as the home’s original configuration, was determined through archaeological efforts. The Foundation researched architectural traditions and building techniques of the 18th century and brought in special artisans, masons, timber framers and carpenters to construct the house on its original foundation. This replica is an interactive and hands-on experience for visitors to Ferry Farm. Reproduction furnishings are used in the house to allow guests to sit on the furniture and handle the same types of objects the Washington family used. The reproduction of the house as it appeared during George Washington’s childhood is an incredible addition to Stafford’s historical offerings.