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
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, 4 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.
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