February 28, 2023

Jennie Dean and the Manassas Industrial School

Though little known outside of Manassas, Jennie Serepta Dean was a significant figure in the field of education during the waning years of the nineteenth century. Born enslaved in 1848 in Prince William County, Dean received only a basic education in the years following the Civil War. Unable to attend school on a regular basis, she took a job in Washington, D.C. as a paid domestic servant in order to earn money to help her family. During these years, Dean also founded several churches, including one in Prince William County.

Seeing many young African-Americans struggle with low paying jobs and little opportunity for advancement, Dean resolved to build a school to teach not only the basics in education but also skilled trades. For three years she labored to bring attention and funding to her cause. Dean's efforts were realized when the Manassas Industrial School for Colored Youth opened in 1893.

Read the rest on Historical Marker Database.

Model of Campus

Foundations are Preserved.

February 27, 2023

Murals at the YMCA in Waynesboro

My older daughter took these pictures in Waynesboro Virginia. The murals were created for the town's Street Art Festival in 2020.

The first one is "Father and Child" by artist Nils Westergard. This one was recently restored because it had been vandalized.

 The second mural is on the side of the building. It is by artist Julia Chon. It is called “The Lovers” and features two cranes and lotus flowers.

Sharing with Monday Murals 

February 26, 2023

Lucasville School

Prince William County, VA

The school house served African-American students from 1885 to 1926. I stopped by to photograph it last week when I was in Manassas for a dental appointment. I did not get to see the inside though.

The school has been moved twice since it closed. Eventually, it was restored and preserved.

See the entire text on HMDB

"By 1883, Prince William County operated eight public schools for African-American children. That year, the Lucas community successfully petitioned the Manassas District School Board for an elementary school. Lucasville School was designated as #8 and operated in rented space until ca. 1886, when the new one-room school opened on a site one-half mile from this location.”

See the entire text on HMDB

"Prince William County established its first public school for white children in 1869. The Brown School (1870) in Manassas was the second county public school and the first of many schools for African-American children. Prince William County schools were integrated in 1966."

February 25, 2023

Everyday Creatures and Created Pictures

We had a very light snow this morning. You can see a few flakes on Charlie’s back. Warm weather is supposed to return tomorrow.

The willow trees are starting to green up. I couldn't tell what kind of birds were in this one.

Charlie is doing better in the car, not as nervous as before. I credit some of this to cheeseburger bribes and some of it to medication that he is taking for anxiety. Unfortunately, he hates taking medication and refuses to eat anything that might possibly contain a pill. I'm concerned that my concealing pills inside treats has given him a suspicion of all food, because he doesn't trust treats now, and sometimes skips eating a meal.

I continue to experiment with software-generated images. They call this artificial intelligence, but the intelligence part seems to be pretty inconsistent. The cat picture resulted from my asking for an owl and cat in a green boat. Remember the children’s rhyme?

I’ve also created a number of pictures using AI of beagles. I found that I get better images if I ask for beagle puppies, instead of just beagles.

See More Collages/Mosaics

February 24, 2023

High Water, High Wires

Woodstock, VA

One afternoon I headed for the state park and found the low-water bridge looked like it was close to being flooded. I knew that Lupton Road would have been closed if the river was precariously high so I wasn’t afraid to cross it, but I only stayed there long enough to turn around and head back up the hill to town. 

Note the debris on the upriver side. That’s mostly branches that floated down the river and got caught on the bridge. Sometimes entire trees get uprooted by the high water and wind up trapped by bridges. The Shenandoah River still has a surprising number of these low bridges.

The second picture was taken on the other side of Woodstock, from a gas station near the interstate highway. 

February 23, 2023

Recent Skies, Early Flowers

An early morning sky shows some rain clouds.

We've had some rain this week, and still no snow. Today the temperature was downright balmy.

I've noticed some flowers blooming, which is unusual for February here. These pansies were probably planted recently. I actually have some daffodils blooming in my yard.

On Tuesday evening, I rolled out the trashcan and was pleased to see a crescent moon with Jupiter and Venus above it. I took the picture with my cell phone and it overexposed a bit, losing the moon‘s crescent appearance in the process.

Yesterday I picked up Charlie from doggy daycare and saw that the sky was turning pink. So instead of coming straight home, I pulled onto a side road where I knew I could get a shot of the sunset.

February 22, 2023

Who's Competing for Bird Seed

The house finch isn't too sure he wants to share.

When the competition is as big as a squirrel or mourning dove, there isn't much a finch can do about it! 

February 21, 2023

Corhaven Graveyard

This small cemetery is located along Quicksburg Road in Shenandoah County. Once known as Sam Moore's Slave Cemetery, it lay forgotten and overgrown until recent years. Researchers located it in 1984, but not much happened until a nonprofit purchased the land as part of a spiritual retreat. About nine years ago, an effort was organized to restore the cemetery. Volunteers, students, and members of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners got busy clearing out brush, and were supported by various organizations.

I decided to go find it in order to do a Tuesday Treasures post during Black History Month. I found the parking lot and a picnic shelter next to a house near Quicksburg. A sign explained that the graveyard was past the barn.

This graveyard holds the final remains of enslaved persons associated with a nearby plantation. It is sad to think that people were held in bondage here until the Civil War. It is moving that the community came together to honor those people.

For those who are wondering, today's African-American population in Shenandoah County is small (2.33% per 2020 census).

February 20, 2023

Los Toltecos

My daughter told me about the Mexican restaurant in Strasburg a year ago, and showed me pictures of the murals. I made a mental note to go there, but then it closed. Later it opened with a new name and menu. it wasn't until I ran out of pictures for Monday Murals that I remembered to check it out.

The proprietor was happy to let me take some pictures. He was proud of the new decorative tables. The fancy chairs were there before.

The exterior of this restaurant is very plain, so you would never guess that the inside is full of art.

Mosaic Monday

I told my host that the sacrifice scene would ruin my appetite. I’ve heard that the Aztecs did such things but it’s pretty disturbing.

I’d rather look at birds and swans.

February 19, 2023

Gravel at the Gundalow

The Friends Of Seven Bends State Park sponsored a work session last weekend. Park staff and volunteers spread gravel around the gundalow in the children's play area.

This scaled-down gundalow represents the flat-bottomed barges that once carried goods to market down the North Fork of the Shenandoah. The name, derived from gondola, was also used for barges in New England but those had sails and a different design.

The gundalows on the Shenandoah typically had flat ends because they only traveled downriver. Once they reached their destination, the lumber was sold for building materials. The crew then headed back on foot. There are buildings in Front Royal and Harpers Ferry that contain boards from gundalows.

Through My Lens