Greene Supervisors Hear From Blue Ridge Heritage Project

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

Nearly ninety years after the Virginia state [not federal] (correction 6/17 nw) government utilized eminent domain to create the Shenandoah National Park, local efforts are  memorializing the men, women, children, churches, and businesses who were literally pushed off the mountain.

The Blue Ridge Heritage Project (BRHP) is a grassroots campaign to erect memorial stone chimneys in the eight counties surrounding the Shenandoah National Park to commemorate the sacrifices made by families forced to move from their homes when the park was created

Jim Lawson, co-chair of the local steering committee of the BRHP, addressed the Greene County Board of Supervisors at their June 14 meeting.

The Stanardsville Town Council already provided their support for the memorial. The presentation to the Supervisors tried to explain why the BRH wants to honor the people that were displaced and also want to educate the public of what took place.

The total Greene County displacement was made up of 56 families, 123 landowners, 4image schools, 4 churches and many businesses such as stores and mills. In addition, 6 individuals were granted lifetime rights due to their age. No one sold their property voluntarily in Greene. The symbol chosen for the exhibit is a chimney since that is the only part of any structure that still exists from that time.

The proposed plaque would list the names of the 56 families and would be placed at the county administrative building in Stanardsville. In addition, there would be kiosks in the county that would exhibit educational display panels. The cost the project to Greene County would be nothing – the BRH will finance the total cost of the project and currently has about 25% raised along with pledges already made. image

Lawson presented a petition with 250 signatures that have been gathered in the past two weeks to the Supervisors asking them for their support. Chairman Bill Martin asked what BRH would like the supervisors to do.

Lawson just asked that the county work with them to have the Planning Department identify a proper location for the plaque and the kiosks and finally asked that the Supervisors pass a resolution to approve the placing of the memorials at a future meeting.

No action was taken on this issue at the June 15 meeting.

Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.  The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.  To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org

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2 responses

  1. The use of eminent domain in creating Shenandoah National Park was a tragedy, but the government that perpetrated it was the state of Virginia, not the US government. There are several books and articles about the creation of Shenandoah that explain the efforts of Virginia businessmen to buy the land, disparage the residents, and convince the state to exercise eminent domain. Virginia then gifted the land to the US government with the promise that a national park would be created. I have no problem with the memorials proposed as long as they identify the perpetrators correctly.

  2. Appreciate the clarification, the information included about the federal government has been corrected and clarified. The error was mine alone and should not reflect on the author nor the Blue Ridge Heritage Project. — Neil Williamson Editor

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