For Immediate Release: 02/10/09
Park Service Announces Observance of the 82nd Anniversary of Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania NMP Founding
Valentine’s Day offers National Park Lovers a Chance to “Fall in Love with History”
(Fredericksburg, Va.) - The National Park Service, the Civil War Preservation Trust, and the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield will join forces to celebrate the 82nd birthday of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2009. The three organizations will collaborate to present a series of special programs and exhibits throughout the day.
The festivities will begin with a news conference on Thursday, February 12, at 10 a.m. in the old Fredericksburg City Council Chambers in old town hall (now the Fredericksburg Area Museum) on Princess Anne Street. Speaking at the news conference will be Spotsylvania County Board Chairman Hap Connors and Fredericksburg City Councilman Matt Kelly. National Park Service Superintendent Russ Smith will be on hand to greet visitors and supervise the cutting of a birthday cake to commemorate the 82nd anniversary of the park’s founding.
On Valentine’s Day, Saturday February 14, the festivities continue with three special programs at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library on Caroline Street, in downtown Fredericksburg. The programs will run from 10 a.m. until noon and will focus both on human interest and the founding of the park in 1927.
- Historian Donald Pfanz will present, “The Ties that Bind: Stories of Loves Found and Sustained Amidst War.” This program will recount the sometimes herculean, often touching efforts of men and women to build or maintain relationships—sometimes across enemy lines.
- Historian John Hennessy will present: “Ravaging the Heart: Stories of Loves Shattered by War.” This program will look at the huge emotional impact war had on loved ones and families—especially of those who lived or fought on the Fredericksburg area.
- Superintendent Russ Smith will present: “Farm Field to National Park: The Founding of Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania NMP.” This program will examine the efforts by the Fredericksburg area community to have the park created—a decades-long effort that finally succeeded in 1927.
Also on Valentine’s Day, From 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield will be hosting visitors at historic Ellwood, c1799 plantation house on the Wilderness Battlefield. “Evergreen Shade” will present music of the Civil War period, and volunteer interpreters will share quotes and stories about Ellwood, the Wilderness, the Battle, the Park, and soldiers’ connections to home—stories of Jackson, Warren, the Lacys and many others. Ellwood is located on Route 20 a half-mile west of its junction with Route 3.
The park will also have on display special exhibits on the founding of the park at both Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville Battlefield visitor centers. Included in these displays will be Valentine’s a birthday wishes for the park created by local school children.
All events are free.