Rockbridge History Bee Buzzes

Saturday, Dec.3, 10:00 AM  – Anderson Hall, Kendal at Lexington

After all organizational buzz and build, the Rockbridge History Bee takes flight, on Saturday Dec.3, 10:00 AM, at Kendal’s Anderson Hall.  Building on their voluntary preparation this summer and fall, 20 area high school students have registered to show their command of local history, above and beyond their school curricula in Virginia, United States, and World History.
Rockbridge County High School, Parry McCluer High School and homeschooled students will individually compete in a unique history contest designed by the Rockbridge Historical Society.  Structured like a traditional ‘spelling bee’ format, participants will answer a series of progressively more difficult multiple choice questions, all drawn from RHS’ landmark County History, written by Dr. Charles Bodie, Remarkable Rockbridge.  Top cash awards of $1500, $750, and $500 have clearly helped to drive students’ interest, study, and spirit, as have the valued encouragements and support of school faculty, librarians, and administrators.
This new investment in Rockbridge education is made possible through generous sponsorships from CornerStone Bank, Historic Lexington Foundation, Rockbridge Area Genealogical Society, Rockbridge County Public Schools Foundation, Sunrise Rotary Club, and the Washington and Lee Community Grants Program.  RHS Board Members and Volunteers have been vital in preparing and sorting questions, with other community leaders, and local- and state-elected officials, sharing their time to support the enterprise.
Community members of all ages are encouraged to come measure their own knowledge of Rockbridge History as audience members – quietly, with those prizes on the line! – while the next generation of Rockbridge citizens demonstrate their own preparation and curiosity.  For a few sample questions:
1.  In 1739, who received from King George II a land grant of 92,100 acres, the core of which would become Rockbridge County?
A. Sir John McDowell    B. Governor Gooch    C. Benjamin Borden   D. None of the above
2. According to the 1860 census in Rockbridge County, what percentage of the population were slaves?
A. 12%   B. 23%   C.  37%   D. 52%
3. Who served as an artillery general under Robert E. Lee and as Rector at the Episcopal church that would eventually bear Lee’s name?
A. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson     B. William N. Pendleton    C. George Washington Custis Lee   D. George C. Marshall 
4. The Reconstruction Era of the 1870s best refers to the
A. Reinforcement of Federal Government in Southern States   B. Virginia’s state-level initiatives to re-structure the post-War economy    C. Local Rockbridge efforts to rebuild destroyed churches and schools   D. Investments in the Valley Turnpike
5. The Maury River was previously known as ____________?
A. The Valley River   B. The North River   C. The River Jordan    D. The South River
BONUS (… for very careful readers): Who is the author of Remarkable Rockbridge?
A. Charles Dickens   B. Charles Manson   C. Charles Bodie   D. Charles Chaplin

For more information, or to make a contribution supporting this inaugural effort

contact rochist@hotmail.com or call 540.464.1058.



“Beyond the Boom”: Histories of Buena Vista

Francis Lynn, in conversation with Horace Douty

Sunday, Dec.11, 2:00 PM

American Legion Hall, 1953 Magnolia Avenue, Buena Vista


Followed by a Holiday Reception with seasonal displays, Buena Vista artifacts, and handcrafted ornaments featuring Buena Vista churches.
Free and open to the public, RHS’ final program for the year – preceded by a brief Annual Membership meeting – will return attentions to the history of the Buena Vista community. Over the past century and a half, Buena Vista has seen many forms, from the early settlements of Green Forest, to an industrial powerhouse at the turn of the 20th century, to its evolution after “The Boom” into a commercial and geographical crossroads, distinguished by the legacy of its educational institutions.
Featured presenter, Francis W. Lynn, is a native of Buena Vista, and well known in the community as an influential educator and historian. Mr. Lynn will share in conversational exchanges and questions from Dr. Horace Douty, Pastor of Oxford Presbyterian Church, who will share some of his own reflections on Buena Vista, drawn from his book of essays that canvas Rockbridge history in “History Lessons from a County Church” (2008).
As Lynn notes, “I’m frequently asked to talk about the history of Buena Vista, which most often translates into: “Talk about The Boom.” Much has been written about those three years in the 1890s, while little has been asked about its other 130+ years. With Horace Douty as Moderator, and the input of audience participation, I’m hopeful this program will provide some pre-history to the Boom’s crucial kickstart. But what transpired after “The Bust” continues to best characterize the true character of Buena Vista’s people.”
With the support of a slide show featuring historic photographs and a range of the City’s cultural institutions, Lynn’s remarks will progress through his favored, proud refrain: “Buena is a place where people Pray Hard, Study Hard, Work Hard, and Play Hard.”
Born and reared in Buena Vista, Francis Lynn is a 1946 graduate of Parry McCluer High School, and 1950 graduate of Washington and Lee University. He then served in the United States Air Force from 1950-1954, before teaching for 10 years at his high school alma mater, followed by nearly 25 years as an instructional supervisor for Prince William County Public Schools. In 1989, he joined the Buena Vista History committee to prepare for the City’s 1992 Centennial. With the encouragement of the Committee, and his wife, he began researching and writing the volume that would be published as “Buena Vista: The Bud Not Yet Blossomed”; the book’s proceeds were instrumental in funding the memorable and meaningful centennial celebrations.
That experience continues to fuel his passion for local history, as does his service as historian for the Paxton House Historical Society, since 1997. In a reflection that may speak to many RHS supporters, he Lynn relayed in advance of this program: “My required high school and college History courses had never inspired me (with English and Foreign Languages more to my liking). But in delving into local history, I began to discover a lot about my community, my family, and myself. If I were younger, I would start a crusade to make local history a Virginia graduation requirement!”



2016 Annual Fund Drive

The Rockbridge Historical Society, one of the oldest and largest county societies in Virginia, has launched its 2016 Annual Fund drive. To review the appeal, click here.