VA Historical Markers – Let’s Find all 2200 of Them!

Discussion in 'Southeast, The Lair of the Dragon - The Blue Ridge' started by bbooker, May 18, 2010.

  1. bbooker

    bbooker Been here awhile

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    By now I’m sure you’ve seen the WV Historical Marker thread. It’s been pretty popular, so I figured, why let the WV folks have all the fun? So now it’s our turn! Announcing the latest excuse to cast your responsibilities aside and go for a ride…

    VA Historical Markers – Let’s Find all 2200 of Them!

    Here is a brief background of the Historical Marker Program as noted on their website:

    <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Virginia</st1:place></st1:state>'s historical marker program is one of the oldest such programs in the nation. It began in 1927 when the first highway markers were erected along <st1:country-region w:st="on">U.S.</st1:country-region> 1 between <st1:city w:st="on">Richmond</st1:city> and <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:state w:st="on">Mount Vernon</st1:state></st1:place>. The program has remained extremely popular ever since. By 1934, for instance, roughly 1,200 markers had been installed along state roadways and, significantly during this time, pull-off areas were created so motorists could actually stop to read the texts at their leisure. <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Virginia</st1:place></st1:state>'s marker program has served as a model for many other states. Moreover, for 80 years now, the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Commonwealth</st1:placetype> of <st1:placename w:st="on">Virginia</st1:placename></st1:place> has continually erected new markers, except for a brief period of cessation during World War II. <o:p></o:p>

    The purpose of this quest is for us to gather photos and a brief footnote on all of the markers. There should be about 2200+ of them out there. Note that the exact count is not easily determined because the state is fairly slow in adding entries into their database to reflect newly-erected markers. For example, the Ira Noel Gabrielson marker has been in place for about 2 years and it’s still not in the state’s database.

    Guidelines:

    1) Only photos of the rectangular metal signs with the state insignia on the top. You know the ones I’m talking about. (See example below) Please, no funny/cute signs or ads.

    2) For each sign, please post at least 2 photos: 1) a close-up photo of the sign, sized large enough to read the sign. (If the sign's back is different than the front, post a pic of both.) 2) A wider shot of the sign showing the area around the sign and your bike. (After all, that’s why we’re here, right?) Also, if the marker describes a thing, give us a picture of the thing, whether it be a building, a river, or a battlefield. Even if the thing is a couple of miles away. (After all, you're out to ride anyway, right?)

    Feel free to include a couple of other photos that go along with the sign’s topic. Three to five photos should generally be the limit, unless there are multiple parts of the attraction.

    3) The location of the sign, especially if for some reason it’s not located where the state’s records indicate.

    4) If you like, give us a write-up on the sign, whether it’s additional historical info on the topic or a personal reflection. However, let’s avoid controversial or inflammatory discussions.

    5) No file photos. After all, this is an excuse to get out and ride!

    Announcements:

    6/5/11: I have added data to the spreadsheet that should enable you to create a POI file for uploading into your GPS. See this post for details.

    5/8/11:
    I'm back. Thanks E0D3MC for taking over while I was away.

    8/15/10
    : E0D3MC has volunteered to take over spreadsheet updates for a while. See you after football season.

    6/24/10: The link to the spreadsheet is working again.

    6/23/10:
    I just uploaded the latest version of the spreadsheet to gdocs but when I click on the link below to open it, I get a 404 error. I will try again later to see if the problem goes away or I can upload again.

    6/23/10:
    I haven't heard anything more from the State about them giving me data for the gmap. At this point, it's dead.:cry

    6/9/10: We're off to a great start! However, maybe we should slow down a little and provide more pics/info for each marker.The markers aren't going anywhere. See post # 287 (page 20) for more details.

    6/4/10:
    Check out the new and improved Spreadsheet! :clapThe state sent me a list of all of the markers and I have updated it to reflect our visits. In addition to the list, there's now a Numbers tab which documents how many markers each inmate has visited.

    Alas, the list the state sent me excludes some of the markers we've visited, and more surprisingly, excludes some markers on their own Website.

    Also, I just learned from my POC at the State that their Website hasn't been updated in a couple of years. Thus, there are markers in the new spreadsheet that don't appear on the State's Website.

    The latest on the Map: I'm working with the state to get their map data so I can hopefully solve the map problem. Until I do so, I'm not going to update the map any further.

    6/2/10: It looks like the map is only displaying 1000 of the HMs. This appears to be due to a technical limitation. If anyone has any ideas on a work-around, PM me. There are certainly some options such as splitting things up into multiple maps. I will explore these options.

    5/24/10: I added to the guidelines, the following line: (If the sign's back is different than the front, post a pic of both.) This will be especially true of Z-series signs, which are located at county borders. Each side of the sign describes a different county. We'd like to see both sides!


    Resources:


    The ADV Rider VA Historical Markers Spreadsheet
    This is an Excel file that we will use to track which markers have been visited and by who. Use the filter buttons at the top of each column to filter on such things as County, Visitor, etc. You can also sort the list as you see fit.

    In addition to the list, there's now a Numbers tab which documents how many markers each inmate has visited. (Let the competition begin.:evil)

    I will do my best to keep the Map & Spreadsheet up-to-date. However, when in doubt, check the most recent posts in the thread to ensure you’re not bruced.

    The state’s Virginia Historical Highway Markers website. Here you can search for the Markers by Zip code, County, City, etc. The search results include a Google Map showing the location of the markers. However, note that the Website hasn't been updated in a couple of years and thus is incomplete.

    The book: A Guidebook to <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Virginia</st1:place></st1:state>’s Historical Markers: Third Edition

    Acknowledgements :

    Thanks to the following inmates for help in getting this going:

    Pnoman – The originator of the WV HM thread. Thanks for the advice and spreadsheet.
    mnd – Gave me a lot of help putting together the gmap by working some voodoo on the state’s database and educating me on some of the finer points of google maps.
    vatrader01 – Has pledged his support to help keep this lengthy project going.
    #1
  2. bbooker

    bbooker Been here awhile

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    I'll get things started with the first one...

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    This is a relatively new marker (erected in 2009) at the corner of Hunter Mill Rd & Hunter Station Rd in between Oakton & Reston (Fairfax County). You'll also see from the pictures that the W & OD Trail passes through here.

    This marker is not currently in the state's database.

    The W & OD Trail is a rail-trail built on the former Washington & Old Dominion railroad right-of-way. The railroad pre-dates the Civil War and was known then as the Alexandria, Loudon, and Hampshire Railroad. This railroad was the Union's primary means in Northern Virginia for transporting troops & supplies westwards to engage the Confederate Army. For this reason, on June 10, 1861, Confederate General Robert E. Lee ordered the destruction of the tracks.

    Further, Hunter Mill Road, which runs south to north through this location, was the main road running north from Fairfax Courthouse, an important depot for the Confederates early in the war and the Union later on. Thus, this crossroads was an important one during the Civil War.

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    Looking east on the W & OD trail (former railroad line).

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    Looking west at the intersection of Hunter Mill Rd & Hunter Station Rd.

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    Looking south on Hunter Mill Rd.
    #2
  3. niceviewbehindbars

    niceviewbehindbars out enjoying the vu

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    Excellent! I was thinking the other day that this would be really neat to do in VA. :ricky :pynd
    #3
  4. pnoman

    pnoman Just Average

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    bbooker,

    Best wishes on your new project. My wife asked me some time back what I was going to do when we're done with the WV Markers. :huh Gee, now I know. :D Guess I'll be making some trips "across the border".

    Again, good luck, and I'm looking forward to following this one.

    pnoman
    #4
  5. bbooker

    bbooker Been here awhile

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    Ok, another one in my neighborhood...

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    This is a relatively new marker (erected in 2007) on Hunter Mill Rd at the Oakton Library. Dr. Gabrielson's former home is about 2 miles from the marker, at the corner of Hunters Valley Rd and Leeds Rd.

    This marker is not currently in the state's database.

    An interesting Washington Post article written by the woman who applied to the state to erect the marker and raised the funds can be found here.

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    His property has been converted to Gabrielson Gardens Park, a small county park. (The home, however, is private.)

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    Dr. Gabrielson's former home.

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    The pond he built, down the hill from his home. (The pond is part of the Park.)
    #5
  6. bbooker

    bbooker Been here awhile

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    Yup! Go out and grab some!


    Thanks! With 2200+ markers, I guess us Virginians can share a few with you out-of-state guys.:lol3
    #6
  7. Guy Young

    Guy Young Long timer

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    I'd been thinking the same thing, but just no time to put it into play. It would have been really cool if bbooker's initial marker shot was the very first one erected. But, there I go thinking again............ :lol3
    #7
  8. pnoman

    pnoman Just Average

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    Maybe you guys can save that one as the "crown jewel" photo for your first get-together sometime down the road. We did that with the Charleston WV Capitol marker - saved it for last August's 1st get-together group photo.

    Just a thought. :D
    #8
  9. screamin injin

    screamin injin FUBAR

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    Good job putting this together. I'll have to be on the lookout in my area, the map doesn't show any, but I've seen a few.
    #9
  10. niceviewbehindbars

    niceviewbehindbars out enjoying the vu

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    I noticed that too. :huh
    #10
  11. RocketMan

    RocketMan Out Rocketing

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    I was wondering about this myself, very kool you've put it together!:clap
    Now more reasons to ride (as if I needed any with da new bikes!). I think I'll have to roll down Rt. 1 being its at my front step. plenty of markers along that to start with.

    RM
    #11
  12. pnoman

    pnoman Just Average

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    My first VA Marker! :D Does this make me a Charter Member if it's on Page 1 of the thread? :lol3

    Seriously, this was a great excuse to skip work today and ride! Looks like rain this weekend, so today was the day to head to VA to see what I could find to add to this new thread. They didn't even stop me at the border for ID. Nice 350-mile loop - covered most of Bath and Highland Counties. Some GREAT roads!

    Located on Rt 39 about 5 miles east of the WV/VA border, about 12-15 miles west of Warm Springs. Nice quiet town with no information available on Google. Not much to write about on my 1st post. Sorry.



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    Historical Marker located on Rt 39 in the town of Mountain Grove.



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    Same Marker - Side #2 (taken at an angle because I wasn't in the mood to straddle a barb-wire fence. :eek1



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    View westbound on Rt 39. Marker is visible to the left.



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    View eastbound on Rt 39. Marker is hard to see on the right side - at an angle about 20 feet from the highway.




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    View down the side street thru Mountain Grove (looking south)

    That was fun. More coming as soon as I have time to resize, name, and upload. Got about 12 more.
    #12
  13. intothenew

    intothenew Briar Patch Navigator

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    Martha, paging Martha to the white courtesy phone.
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  14. outwiththeold

    outwiththeold Adventurer

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    Yes Dear?:deal
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  15. pnoman

    pnoman Just Average

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    Another quaint small town tucked in the mountains of western Virginia. Again, nothing on Google except ads. Sorry.

    Friendly town - talked to a guy outside the post office for awhile. He has an old Gold Wing his dad gave him.

    Pronounced "bah-KO-vah" (emphasis on middle syllable). Name comes from Bath County VA.



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    Historical Marker located in the shrubs in front of the Bacova Post Office. The town is located south of Rt 39 about a mile on State Rt 687, about 5 miles west of Warm Springs and Rt 220.


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    Same marker - Side #2.



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    Welcome to Bacova - entering northbound on the south side of town.



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    The Bacova Post Office.



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    Entering Bacova southbound from Rt 39. The marker is hidden in the small shrubs/tree to the right. You can see why I missed it the first time through town. :D It's much easier to spot coming back from the other direction.
    #15
  16. niceviewbehindbars

    niceviewbehindbars out enjoying the vu

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    Campaign of 1781

    King William County
    RT 30 - few miles north of West Point

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    #16
  17. niceviewbehindbars

    niceviewbehindbars out enjoying the vu

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    Uttamusack

    King William County
    RT 30 - few miles north of West Point

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    #17
  18. bbooker

    bbooker Been here awhile

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    Off to a great start! Keep it up everyone!:clap
    #18
  19. skirt full of hell

    skirt full of hell Adventurer

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    AWESOME!!! Thanks for starting this! I just finished up a year long Virginia History Scrapbook project with my daughter. I know where quite a few of these are in Hampton Roads! I LOVE IT! Virginia History is the best!
    #19
  20. niceviewbehindbars

    niceviewbehindbars out enjoying the vu

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    W19 - Forge Bridge
    W20 - Providence Forge

    Rt 60 - New Kent County

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    #20