Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Department of Historic Resources
(www.dhr.virginia.gov)
For Immediate Release
December 29, 2016

Contact:
Randy Jones
Department of Historic Resources
540.578-3031 (cell)
Randy.Jones@dhr.virginia.gov.

SEVEN NEW STATE HISTORICAL HIGHWAY MARKERS APPROVED

--New markers cover topics in the counties of Brunswick and Madison; the towns of Ashland (Hanover Co.) and Orange (Orange Co.); and cities of Charlottesville, Martinsville, and Roanoke --

[The full text for each marker is reproduced at the end of this release.]

RICHMOND – The first public memorial in the U.S. honoring veterans of the Vietnam War, a 1909 Virginian Railway passenger depot in Roanoke, and a U.S. Army corporal awarded the Medal of Honor for “extraordinary heroism” during a U.S. cavalry fight with Apache Indians are among the topics featured on seven new historical highway markers recently approved by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR).

The “Dogwood Vietnam Memorial” marker recalls that this memorial was conceived “in late 1965 after news arrived of the first casualty of the Vietnam War” from the area of Albemarle County and Charlottesville, where the sign is slated to be erected in McIntire Park. “Consisting of a plaza with a plaque and flagpole, the memorial was dedicated” on April 20, 1966 and “is believed to be the nation’s first public Vietnam veterans’ memorial,” according to the approved marker text.

The Dogwood Vietnam Memorial, known as “the hill that heals,” was “renovated and expanded in 2014-2015,” the marker concludes.

In Roanoke the new historical marker “Virginian Railway Station” will rise to commemorate this renovated brick depot that was re-opened to the public last month, after a fire nearly destroyed it in 2001.

The station was a stop on the Virginian Railway’s 440-mile main line, completed in 1909 to transport coal from West Virginia to the Tidewater region of Virginia. “Standard Oil magnate Henry H. Rogers financed the $40 million project,” the sign will read. The rail line was “famous for its superior infrastructure and innovative equipment” and “built its most substantial brick passenger depot in 1909 to serve Roanoke,” according to the marker text.

The depot stopped passenger service in 1956 and became part of the Norfolk and Western Railway in 1959. It is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places.

The sign “Cpl. Clinton Greaves (1855-1906),” slated for Madison County, recalls this Medal of Honor recipient, who was born in the county, very likely into slavery.

Greaves enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1872 and served as a corporal in Co. C, 19th Cavalry. On January 24, 1877, Greaves was “part of a small detachment sent to persuade about 50 Apache Indians to return to a reservation,” the sign will state. “The Apaches surrounded the cavalrymen until, in hand-to-hand combat, Greaves created a gap through which his companions escaped,” the marker will read.

President Rutherford B. Hayes awarded Greaves the Medal of Honor in June 1879, and a U.S. military base in the Republic of Korea was later named Camp Greaves in his honor.

In the Town of Orange, the marker “Capt. Andrew Maples Jr., Tuskegee Airman” will be erected to recognize a veteran who also received military awards for valor.

Maples, who grew up in Orange, completed in 1941 the Civilian Pilot Training Program at Hampton Institute. “He graduated from the Advanced Flying School at the Tuskegee Army Air Field” in January 1943 and “was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, and deployed to Italy with the 301st Fighter Squadron” during World War II.

During a mission escorting bombers, Maples’ plane went down over the Adriatic Sea. After declaring him dead in June 1945, the Army awarded him the Purple Heart. Maples’ name also “appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial in Italy,” the marker text concludes.

Veterans of American wars will also be highlighted in an “Oakwood Cemetery” marker to be placed in Martinsville’s historic burial ground.

Dating back to 1883, Oakwood Cemetery is the final resting place of veterans of World Wars I and II; Revolutionary War officer and Henry County founder George Waller; and “about 80 Confederate soldiers,” and “at least one Union soldier.” The cemetery also includes graves of Congressmen, justices of the Virginia Supreme Court, and Sallie Cook Booker, “the third woman elected to the General Assembly of Virginia.”

Two other markers were approved by DHR’s Board of Historic Resources during its final quarterly meeting of 2016, convened on December 15 in Richmond.

The sign “Nellie Pratt Russell (1890-1979)” will be erected in Brunswick County. Russell was an educator who attended Howard University and “one of six incorporators of Alpha Kappa Alpha Society, the first Greek letter organization founded by African American women,” according to the forthcoming sign.

Russell earned a Master of Arts degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1931. “For about 50 years, she taught English at the Saint Paul Normal and Industrial School (later Saint Paul’s College),” the marker will state. Russell helped found a chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha at St. Paul’s and “led women’s organizations in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia,” the marker text concludes.

Located in Lawrenceville, St. Paul’s College closed in 2013.

A marker in the Town of Ashland, titled “School Transportation,” will highlight that public school boards in Virginia through the early 20th century and the era of school segregation provided busing for white students but frequently denied this service to African Americans. “Across Virginia in the 1930s, black community organizations raised funds for buses,” according to the approved marker text.

One Hanover County resident, Lucian Hunter, supported by the Chickahominy Baptist Association, acquired the county’s first school bus for black students around 1934 and Hunter’s three sons drove students to the all-black Hanover County Training School. After Hunter and others petitioned the county school board, it “voted in 1935 to contribute funds toward [bus] service” for African American students.

The Virginia highway marker program, which began in 1927 with installation of the first historical markers along U.S. Rte. 1, is considered the oldest such program in the nation. Currently there are more than 2,500 official state markers, most of which are maintained by Virginia Department of Transportation, except in those localities outside of VDOT’s authority.

The manufacturing cost of each new highway marker is covered by its sponsor.

More information about the Historical Highway Marker Program is available on the website of the Department of Historic Resources at http://www.dhr.virginia.gov.

Full Text of Markers:

(Please note that some texts may be slightly modified before the manufacture and installation of the signs. Also locations proposed for each sign must be approved in consultation with VDOT or public works in jurisdictions outside VDOT authority.)

Capt. Andrew Maples Jr., Tuskegee Airman
Andrew Maples grew up in Orange and completed the Civilian Pilot Training Program at Hampton Institute in 1941. He graduated from the Advanced Flying School at the Tuskegee Army Air Field on 14 Jan. 1943, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, and deployed to Italy with the 301st Fighter Squadron. On 26 June 1944, Maples’s plane went down over the Adriatic Sea during a bomber escort mission. While officially missing in action, he was promoted to captain and awarded the Air Medal. The Army declared him dead in June 1945 and posthumously awarded him the Purple Heart. His name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial in Italy.

Sponsor: Ms. Doris Maples Walker
Locality: Town of Orange
Proposed Location: W. Church St. and S. Madison Rd. (US 15) Sponsor Contact: Jane Ware

Cpl. Clinton Greaves (1855-1906)
Clinton Greaves (or Graves), Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Madison County, very likely into slavery. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1872 and served as a corporal in Co. C, 9th Cavalry. On 24 Jan. 1877 in the Florida Mountains of New Mexico, he was part of a small detachment sent to persuade about 50 Apache Indians to return to a reservation. The Apaches surrounded the cavalrymen until, in hand-to-hand combat, Greaves created a gap through which his companions escaped. On 26 June 1879, Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes awarded him the Medal of Honor for “extraordinary heroism.” A U.S. military base in the Republic of Korea was later named Camp Greaves in his honor.

Sponsor: Madison American Legion Post 157
Locality: Madison County
Proposed Location: 1 Main St., Madison

Nellie Pratt Russell (1890-1979) 
Nellie Pratt Russell, educator, attended Howard University and was one of six incorporators of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the first Greek letter organization founded by African American women. The sorority, established in 1908, was incorporated in Jan. 1913, preserving its traditions and securing its right to charter new chapters. In 1931 Russell earned a Master of Arts degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. For about 50 years, she taught English at the Saint Paul Normal and Industrial School (later Saint Paul’s College), where she helped found Gamma Lambda Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Russell led women’s organizations in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia.

Sponsor: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Locality: Brunswick County
Proposed Location: 18021 Christanna Highway (Route 46)

School Transportation
Virginia public school boards began providing transportation to white students early in the 20th century but frequently denied this service to African Americans. Black children often had to walk miles to school, leading to nonattendance. Across Virginia in the 1930s, black community organizations raised funds for buses. Lucian Hunter, supported by the Chickahominy Baptist Association, acquired Hanover County’s first school bus for African Americans ca. 1934. His sons Clarence, Earl, and Chester drove students to the Hanover County Training School. Petitioned by Hunter and others, the school board voted in 1935 to contribute funds toward this service. County schools were desegregated in 1969.

Sponsor: Hunter Family
Locality: Ashland
Proposed Location: Route 1 just north of Route 54

Dogwood Vietnam Memorial 
The Dogwood Vietnam Memorial, a project of the Charlottesville Dogwood Festival, Inc., was conceived late in 1965 after news arrived of the first casualty of the Vietnam War from this area. Consisting of a plaza with a plaque and flagpole, the memorial was dedicated on 20 Apr. 1966 and is believed to be the nation’s first public Vietnam veterans’ memorial. The site honors all who served the United States during the war, especially those from Charlottesville and Albemarle County who gave their lives. The memorial, known as “the hill that heals,” was renovated and expanded in 2014-2015.

Sponsor: The Dogwood Vietnam Memorial Foundation, Inc.
Locality: Charlottesville
Proposed Location: McIntire Park

Oakwood Cemetery
The Town of Martinsville chartered Oakwood Cemetery in 1883 and deeded it to the Martinsville Cemetery Association in 1887. Buried here are about 80 Confederate soldiers, at least one Union soldier, and veterans of World Wars I and II. Also interred here are George Waller, Revolutionary War officer and a founder of Henry County; John R. Brown, member of the U.S. House of Representatives; Thomas G. Burch, member of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate; Sallie Cook Booker, the third woman elected to the General Assembly of Virginia; and Stafford G. Whittle and his son, Kennon C. Whittle, both justices of the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Sponsor: Oakwood Cemetery
Locality: Martinsville
Proposed Location: 107 Cemetery Street

Virginian Railway Station 
The Virginian Railway’s 440-mile main line was completed in 1909 to transport coal from West Virginia to Tidewater. Standard Oil magnate Henry H. Rogers financed the $40 million project with William N. Page as his agent. The Virginian, famous for its superior infrastructure and innovative equipment, built its most substantial brick passenger depot in 1909 to serve Roanoke. Passenger service ended in 1956, and the Virginian merged with its longtime rival, the Norfolk and Western Railway, in 1959. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the depot is one of the few surviving structures of Roanoke’s “other railroad.”

Sponsor: City of Roanoke Public Works
Locality: Roanoke City
Proposed Location: 1402 Jefferson Street SE

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