“Our Fathers’ Fight for Freedom” At Va. War Memorial Saturday

From the event page:

Part of the Virginia War Memorial’s 2018 Black History Month Series:

“If ordinary people are given proper training and opportunity they can do extraordinary things, regardless of race, creed, or color.” Those words were spoken by Mr. Howard Baugh (pictured), who flew 135 missions with the Tuskegee Airmen. During World War II, African-Americans fought fascism overseas and racism at home. These American heroes also included men like Mr. George Bland, who was serving aboard the USS West Virginia during the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor.

CBS6 Anchor Greg McQuade will lead the discussion as Captain Howard Baugh Jr. and Mr. Frank Bland share stories of their fathers and spread their legacies at the Virginia War Memorial on Saturday, February 17 at 2:00pm.

This event is FREE and open to the public, but registration is encouraged. Parking is free and will be available next door to the Virginia War Memorial at the VHDA.

Register here: http://vawarmemorial.org/event/our-fathers’-fight-freedom

“Hellfighters and Sons of Freedom” At The Virginia War Memorial Thursday

From the Virginia War Memorial website:

The 369th Infantry Regiment was the first African American regiment to serve with the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. Known for their toughness in battle, they were nicknamed the “Hell Fighters” by the German army because they never lost a man through capture, lost a trench or a foot of ground to the enemy.

Join the Virginia War Memorial Executive Director Clay Mountcastle, as we commemorate the start of both Black History Month and the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI. During his presentation, Clay will share the fascinating often untold, stories of these war heroes and many more, as he examines the larger role African-Americans played in The Great War.

Thursday from 5-7 pm, presentation starts at 6 pm. It’s free to attend but registration is strongly encouraged.

Belle Isle POW Graves

With the Artifacts Roadshow this weekend, perhaps this is a good time to share this fascinating blog post about using a high resolution Gardner image to find the actual names on a few of the tombstones of prisoners buried on Belle Isle during the Civil War.

From John Banks’ Civil War Blog:
Exploring photo of soldiers’ graves at Rebel prison in Richmond

On April 8, 1865, days after the fall of Richmond, Alexander Gardner captured scenes on Belle Isle, a 54-acre island in the James River opposite the former Confederate capital, where thousands of Union soldiers were imprisoned from 1862-65. Among the images Gardner shot was the poignant photograph at the top of this post of a graveyard for Union soldiers, many of whom died of disease, starvation or other inhumane treatment on the island that was home to nearly 10,000 prisoners of war at its maximum capacity. In the image, heaps of earth and crude, wooden headboards mark the final resting places of dozens of soldiers.

(Alexander Gardner/Library of Congress collection)

Holly Street Playground and Ravine

In response to recent concerns, it look like Holly Street Playground area will be receiving more attention. Incoming Oregon Hill Neigborhood Association (OHNA) President Todd Woodson has requested a structural assessment from the City on the embankment that supports the playground. He is interested in the possibility of making this area, which is sort of an extension of S. Cherry St, more of a public walking trail than just a utility alley. Other neighbors have suggestions that include repaving the basketball court and establishing a tool lending program. These ideas will probably be discussed at the upcoming OHNA meeting next Tuesday.

This is the 1867 Michie Map showing the ravine that was filled in to make Holly Street playground. Thanks to neighbor Charles Pool for this…

How to Research Your House’s History

The National Trust for Historic Preservation previously posted some tips to tackle your historic house’s history. This was a great introduction into what kind of things you should look for to get started—tax records, Sanborn maps, deeds, and titles. Now they have followed that up with a Part 2, that has some more details and thoughts on research.

And one additional thought- please share with OregonHill.net what you have learned. I am happy to post it on here.

Neighborhoods In Bloom Retrospective

From the Federal Reserve’s Community Development website:

The City of Richmond, Virginia’s Neighborhoods in Bloom (NiB) initiative invested federal grant funding in seven target neighborhoods from 1999 to 2004. The majority of the city’s federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) funding, as well as, significant amounts of capital improvement funds and other resources were spent in the strategically selected target neighborhoods. Through NiB, the city planned to concentrate public resources in these neighborhoods until they achieved the critical mass of public investment needed to stimulate self-sustaining, private-market activity.

Oregon Hill was one of the seven target neighborhoods. Click here for the part particular to Oregon Hill.

‘The Promised Land’ at Main Street RPL Tomorrow Night

Tomorrow night, downtown will be abuzz with First Friday/holiday celebrations. One event that might be of interest is a documentary screening at the Main Richmond Public Library at 6:30 pm, The Promise Land: The Story of Pocahontas Island. It tells the true story of one of if not the oldest free African American communities in the United States, as well as the life of the Island’s caretaker, Mr. Richard Stewart.

Pocahontas Island is down in Petersburg. It’s an interesting, historic enclave, something that Oregon Hill knows about. And some people may not know that Oregon Hill has a bit of ‘free African American’ history as well.