Don’t forget that the Menokin Photography contest is now underway. Even an overcast day can result in gorgeous pictures. These were all taken right here at the Visitor’s Center.
Menokin Board of Trustees member James Zehmer hard at work repairing historic chimneys at UVA.
Native American Settlement
Before the Menokin plantation was ever developed, this area along Cat Point Creek (also called Rappahannock Creek) was home to the Rappahannock Indian Tribe. In 1608, Capt. John Smith recorded 14 Rappahannock towns on the north side of the River and its tributaries. The general plantation site was referred to as “Menokin” by the Rappahannock, which likely translates to “He gives it to me” in the tribe’s Algonquian-based language. Francis Lightfoot Lee kept the name for his home. For more information on the Rappahannock Tribe, visit http://www.rappahannocktribe.org.
John Smith was one of the foremost leaders of early Jamestown. He’d had an interesting life before that, one which influenced the direction of this country and (as I seem to be constantly promising) which will be explored later in this blog. He was a controversial but effective leader in the settlement’s first years, and when health problems and an injury prompted his return to England in 1609, he spent his time working for the colony from there, promoting it and encouraging people to move there.
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Robert “Councillor” Carter III – The Great Emancipator
Often referred to as “the first emancipator,” Robert Carter III of Nomini Hall in Virginia’s Northern Neck was an American plantation owner, founding father and onetime British government official. He also owned a large number of slaves as part of his vast estate.
Carter’s personal convictions and relationship with these enslaved families led to their manumission in a 1791 deed of gift. Nearly 500 slaves were freed, making Carter’s act of liberation the largest in the history of American slavery before the Emancipation Proclamation.
After the death of his wife, Frances Ann Tasker Carter, in 1787, Carter embraced the Swedenborgian faith. He instituted a program of gradual manumission of all slaves attached to his estate by filing a “Deed of Gift” filed with the county of Westmoreland in 1791. He designed the program to be gradual to reduce the resistance of white neighbors.
Frequently, Carter rented land to recently freed slaves, sometimes evicting previous white tenants in the process. In all, about 452 slaves from his Nomini Hall plantation and large home in Westmoreland County, Virginia were granted their freedom.
The architecture firm of Machado and Silvetti – team leader for the Menokin Project – came in fourth place with this submission for the 2016 Olympic Port.
They are always Gold with us.
See more at Arch Daily.
Machado and Silvetti Associates shared with us their entry for the Olympic Port Competition that came in fourth place. This project proposal for the 2016 Olympic Media Village in Rio de Janeiro includes housing for 11,000 people, retail and office space, a 5-star hotel and a convention center. To accommodate post-Olympic marketing of the buildings the entire residential and office program has the capacity to be transformed from a hotel setting with individually accessed bedrooms and private baths to two- and three-bedroom apartments and leasable tenant space.
This quote from The Actual Proposal struck a chord with me. It seems to aptly illustrate the lifestyle of the Northern Neck – that of the Lees and Tayloes, and even of the residents today.
In the daze of overwhelming mobility perhaps architects should wonder: what’s wrong with standing still? Poet, essayist, and farmer, Wendell E. Berry, shares a similar sentiment in remembering his grandfather:
“My grandfather, on the contrary, and despite his life’s persistent theme of hardship, took a great and present delight in the modest good that was at hand: in his place and his affection for it, in its pastures, animals, and crops, in favourable weather.
He did not participate in the least in what we call “mobility.” He died, after eighty-two years, in the same spot he was born in. He was probably in his sixties when he made the one longish trip of his life. He went with my father southward across Kentucky and into Tennessee. On their return, my father asked him what he thought of their journey. He replied: “Well, sir, I’ve looked with all the eyes I’ve got, and I wouldn’t trade the field behind my barn for every inch I’ve seen.”
In such modest joy in a modest holding is the promise of a stable, democratic society, a promise not to be found in “mobility”: our forlorn modern progress toward something indefinitely, and often unrealizably, better. A principled dissatisfaction with whatever one has promises nothing or worse.”
In general, I’m going to try to keep this a casual blog that focuses on topics relevant to the blog’s name with additional items of interest on museums, my travels, and maybe even a book review if I happen to love the book. Occasionally however, it does not hurt to divert for a day to look at the lighter side of these topics. Today is one of those days, and I hope that it causes a discussion among those who read this blog.
You may have seen this already, but I only came across this yesterday on Facebook. It was posted by Adirondack Architectural Heritage and created by Lucinda Philumalee and Nicholas Redding. I find it quite amusing, but what do you think? Can you come up with other examples? Even if you are not a historic preservationist, and I know that not all of you are, does this fall…
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