On Friday Oct. 18, RHS will be hosting an Open House at Campbell House from 2:00-4:30PM as part of the Lewis and Clark ceremonies to be held in Courthouse Square (2 S. Main) at 4:30 PM. Guests can enjoy homemade period baked goods from the “Lewis and Clark Cookbook,” browse and purchase RHS maps and publications (including the newly reprinted paperback of our legacy county history, Remarkable Rockbridge), and sample a range of student short stories whose creative perspectives imagine the “Untold Stories of Lewis and Clark.” Dr. James Armstead will also welcome visitors by re-enacting the character of York – William Clark’s slave who famously joined in the 1803-6 Corps of Discovery – lending his own historical expertise, and his bucksins, to enliven the occasion.
The ceremonies at Courthouse Square will commemorate the Dec. 1809 journey of William Clark through Lexington en route to report to Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, shortly after Meriwether Lewis’ unfortunate death. At the conclusion of the ceremony, two ceremonial markers will be unveiled: a historic plaque right across Main Street noting the site of the former Eagle/Shields’ Tavern where Clark, according to his diary, breakfasted for $1.25; and a N.O.A.A. disk installed in the ground next to the Main Street sidewalk, whose common design newly recognizes Lexington as part of the National Lewis and Clark Historic Trail, and its particular place in the Eastern Legacy Trail marking the explorers’ final stretches home after the easterly returns to St. Louis.
Participants will include representatives of the Lewis and Clark Trust, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and governmental officials from the City of Lexington, Rockbridge County, and the United States Senate. VMI Color Guard and Musicians, and area Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will assist with ceremonies that will also recognize a group of Lylburn Downing Middle School students for their Lewis and Clark themed short stories.
The program’s featured speakers are Peyton C. (Bud) Clark, a 5th generation descendant of William Clark, and Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs: chairman of the national Lewis and Clark, Inc.; noted writer and preservationist; and daughter of the late Stephen Ambrose (author of the best-selling history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West).
The Open House at 2 p.m. will continue to feature the RHS’ 2013 Annual Exhibit, “Main Street Lexington, 1867.” Based on period photographs and careful examination of surviving buildings, Col. Ed Dooley has used Google Earth software to digitally reconstruct the streetscape of Lexington’s downtown corridor. This inventive ‘ramble’ takes you to within but a few decades after Clark’s visit, and sets the visible stage for the developments of our own contemporary Main Street. You will also have the chance to contribute to that historic legacy by learning more about the newly launched project to install into the Main Street sidewalk pavers that commemorate other significant figures in Lexington and Rockbridge history. To learn more about nominating candidates, or sponsoring particular pavers for “The Righteous and Rascals of Rockbridge Trail: Walk in the Footprints of History,” go to http://rrrockbridge.org/.