Eleven new highway markers that point out
events, people and places significant to Virginia’s history will
soon join more than 2,000 roadside narratives already in place.
The markers recognize:
– Amaza Lee Meredith, a Lynchburg native who was one of the
nation’s few black female architects. Meredith, who died in 1984,
founded the fine arts department at Virginia State University and
designed many houses.
– Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1371, which was staffed
with black workers. They built more than 20 miles of trails and did
other work at First Landing State Park, under the New Deal’s CCC
program. The marker will be erected in the Virginia Beach park.
– Studley Beacon, which dates to the days when flashing airway
beacons guided pilots on airmail routes. The Studley Beacon,
erected in 1927 in the crossroads community of Studley in Hanover
County, was one of 50 in Virginia on the Atlanta-New York Civil
Airways Corridor. The beacon was dismantled in the mid-20th
– Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a Dinwiddie County native who was
enslaved in Virginia and North Carolina before she bought her
freedom in 1855 and relocated to Washington. There she became the
seamstress, personal maid, and confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln,
President Abraham Lincoln’s wife.
– The Hampton Indian Program, which began at Hampton Institute
in 1878, with U.S. government-recruited American Indian students,
who were admitted to the program in an attempt to “civilize”
them. About 1,388 students participated in the program, which ended
in 1923, according to the state Department of Historic Resources.
– Peace Meeting Poisoning, which recalls the 1623 meeting
between English soldiers from Jamestown and Indian leaders, who
were returning English prisoners taken during fighting in 1622.
“At the meeting, the English called for a toast to seal the
agreement, gave the Indians poisoned wine, and then fired upon
them, felling as many as 150, including the chief of the
Kiskiack,” according to a Department of Historic Resources
– Zenda and Long’s Chapel, a black community in Rockingham
County and a chapel built in 1870 by formerly enslaved people.
Zenda grew to 17 households of 80 people by 1900, providing a place
where “blacks freely exercised new rights to worship, marriage,
education, property, and burial in a marked gravesite.”
– NASA Wallops Flight Facility, one of the oldest launch sites
in the world, built to conduct aeronautical research using
rocket-propelled vehicles. The first rocket, the Tiamat, was
launched there on July 4, 1945. The center is located in Accomack
– St. Joseph Catholic Church, the first known congregation
organized for black Roman Catholics in Virginia. The Richmond
church and a school, were closed in 1969.
– Sappony Baptist Church, an 18th-century church where half of
congregants were enslaved people. The church was also the site of a
Civil War battle in 1864 and served as a hospital during the
skirmish, which left cannonball holes in the front of the church.
It is located in Stony Creek in Sussex County.
– Sir William Berkeley, who was Virginia’s governor when it
changed from a colonial outpost to a center of agriculture and
commerce. Berkeley established the bicameral General Assembly. The
marker will be erected near the location of Berkeley’s Green Spring
estate in James City County.
The Historic Resources Board of the Department of Historic
Resources approved the 11 markers during its quarterly board
meeting in late March.
The Virginia Department of Transportation installs and maintains
most of the 2,000-plus official state markers.