Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dream Vacation

Regarding that sobering speech by David McCullough I referenced a couple of days ago, Jenny writes in with the find:

I think this is the CSPAN video of David McCullough you couldn't find. It last aired about a week ago. Powerful stuff from a favorite historian who knows the costs we pay for ignorance.

You can also view the video in 2 segments here.

Thanks for the good work.

Those are the correct links to that remarkable speech, thanks Jenny.

That second link directs to a site associated with the occasion of the McCullough's speech back in April, the official opening of the "Journey Through Hallowed Ground." Organized by the National Park Service, it is a tour through 65 of the historic sites of Northern Virginia's Piedmont region. A summary for those, like me, previously unfamiliar with this intense concentration of American history:

The Northern Virginia Piedmont region is a scenic and historically rich landscape that has "soaked up more of the blood, sweat, and tears of American history than any other part of the country," according to the late historian C. Vann Woodward. "It has bred more founding fathers, inspired more soaring hopes and ideals and witnessed more triumphs, failures, victories, and lost causes than any other place in the country."

Meandering through more than 75 miles and nine counties of Virginia hillside, U.S. Route 15 and State Route 20 form the spine of the Piedmont. This National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary explores 65 historic places that evoke in vivid detail the soldiers, statesmen, farmers, and slaves who fought, toiled, and governed in the Virginia Piedmont.

Here is a listing of all sites features on the Journey. Really an astonishing and enticing collection of museums, battlefields, and landmarks associated with the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and other events of historical importance. Featured are three Presidential estates, many other private residences notable persons, schools, churches, courthouses, and historic districts that were the settings for many critical events for the country.

It all looks to be fun and educational for the entire family. There are a few sites that will be of particular interest to dear ol' Dad. Historic bars and taverns. Including:

The Red Fox Inn -

Where everyone is greeted with a chorus of "You big dummy!"

Actually, it has nothing to do with that old guy from Sanford and Son, it predates him by a century or two:

The Red Fox Inn was a meeting spot for Confederate Colonel John Mosby and his Rangers. A century later, President Kennedy's press secretary, Pierre Salinger, held press conferences at the Red Fox in the Jeb Stuart room. Rawleigh Chinn, who originally owned the land on which Middleburg developed, reputedly built a tavern near this intersection in 1728.

Madden's Tavern -

No, it's not a football video game themed sports bar at the Mall of America. It's much, much more:

This simple log structure is a rare relic of pre-Civil War black entrepreneurship in rural Virginia. Completed about 1840, the tavern was built by, owned, and operated by Willis Madden (1800-1879) a free black, and was likely the only tavern in the region with a proprietor of Madden's race. Virginia free blacks were able to earn and keep wages and to own and operate a business, but were forbidden to vote, bear arms, testify against a white person, or be educated. Madden built the tavern on property purchased in 1835 on the Old Fredericksburg Road.

Boswell's Tavern -

A landmark for travelers since Nicholas Johnson built its earliest section c.1735, this weatherboarded structure on the edge of the Green Springs Historic District is one of the state's time-honored rural taverns. It was purchased in 1761 by Johnson's brother-in-law, John Boswell, who served as proprietor until his death in 1788. A number of political figures, including Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and James Madison frequented the tavern. It served as a headquarters for the Marquis de Lafayette in 1781.

Can you imagine the pride any American would have in grabbing a seat at the bar, having a few dozen belts, and falling off the same barstool as Patrick Henry?

(hic) Give me Leinenkugel's or give me death! (CRASH!)

Caution, some of these "taverns" on the tour now appear to be private residences rather than active public houses for alcohol. But I bet if you asked the owners real nice for something to drink, they'd give you something for the effort.

Either way, the "Journey Through Hallowed Ground" and now enters my top 10 future vacations list (and the tour of Joe Biden's Boyhood Home gets bumped back to 2019).

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