Friday, March 11, 2005
Restorers need more cash to fix Civil War farmhouse
Tom Angleberger's What's On Your Mind
Q: What is the status of the restoration of Civil War Gen. Jubal Early's house?
-Tony St. Clair, Roanoke
A: A lot of work has been done and a lot more is needed, according to Gerald Via, president of Jubal A. Early Preservation Trust.
The farmhouse, which is on a dirt road off the Jubal Early Highway (Virginia 116) in Franklin County's Red Valley, was part of the Early family's 4,000-acre spread, where corn, wheat and tobacco were grown.
Nine years ago, when the trust started the $1 million capital campaign, the house was in an "extremely poor state of repair," Via said.
The interior is still unrestored, but about 90 percent of the exterior work is complete, he said. This has included repairing the foundation, the slate roof and the siding and replacing the front porch. They've also installed new plumbing, heating and septic systems.
So far the project has cost $160,000.
It has not been easy raising money to restore a Confederate general's house, Via said.
Most donations have come from individuals. Corporate donations and government grants have been much more difficult to come by.
It's just not a politically correct project, he said, but it should be.
"Jubal Early was an interesting character," he said, describing a man who tried to keep Virginia from seceding. After Fort Sumter and President Lincoln's call for troops to put down the rebellion, Early changed his mind, said Via, and then fought in every major battle in Northern Virginia.
After the war, as president of the Southern Historical Society, he helped shape history's image of Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Nevertheless, Early was a controversial figure who nourished the "Lost Cause" of the Confederacy and continued to defend slavery as a "civilizing influence" on the former slaves, even years after the war.
Early is buried in Lynchburg, just beyond right field of Calvin Falwell Field at Lynchburg City Stadium, where the Lynchburg Hillcats host minor league ball games.
Via and his group (online at www.jubalearly.org) are hoping to erect interpretive signs and begin holding events at the Franklin County site later this year.
Used pill bottles
Last week's column about the difficulty of recycling pill bottles generated good suggestions from readers about ways to avoid throwing the bottles in the trash.
Carrie Elmore of Craig County suggests asking your local pharmacy if it will take the empty pill bottles back.
B.R. Culbertson of Blacksburg saves up the bottles to send to an international aid organization, Mercy Ships International. The address is:
Attn: Mark Wright
15862 Hwy 110 North Lindale, TX 75771.
(Note: They ask that you peel off the labels.)
Other readers keep their bottles.
They have "a hundred and one uses within the house," said Chuck Fogus of Roanoke. They're great for keeping little things, like loose screws.
Cathy Bohan, also of Roanoke, told me that the pill bottles are so useful for coin collecting that she has actually gone out and purchased them. They are just the right size for collecting state quarters, she said.
Meanwhile, my column left Rosie Pratt of Salem wanting more information. If one can't recycle plastic No. 5, she asked, what numbers can be recycled?
Salem collects types 1 and 2, as does Roanoke. Since recycling rules can vary from place to place, readers in other areas may want to check with their local government.
Readers, I've been getting some great questions from you recently and I really appreciate it. However, I beg you, take a little pity on me. When you leave a message for me, please speak your name clearly and then spell it. Yes, I really can find a way to misspell "Jon Smyth" if you don't spell it for me. And whether you phone or e-mail (777-6476; email@example.com), remember to tell me which community you live in.