Local History + Community Service = Mountain View Learning

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Local History + Community Service = Mountain View Learning

A group of students stands with the Professor in front of his historic home in the Mt. Gilead section of the historic district of Centreville, VA

A group of students stands with the Professor in front of his historic home in the Mt. Gilead section of the historic district of Centreville, VA

A group of students stands with the Professor in front of his historic home in the Mt. Gilead section of the historic district of Centreville, VA

A group of students stands with the Professor in front of his historic home in the Mt. Gilead section of the historic district of Centreville, VA

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On Friday April 8th  a select group of students visited the Centreville Historic District and spoke with some very hospitable scholars of local history.  We appreciate the opportunity to learn and serve in the local community.  Here are some words from a few of the student participants.

I made some special arrangements to go on this trip and I am glad that I did.  One of the sites we visited was the 1930s era Sears catalogue house that belonged to the Spindle family.  At first I felt bad for this family because the house was so small but I learned that this was actually a good living situation for a Virginia family in the 1930s.  This house had modern features such a a washing machine, refrigerator, electric stove, plumbing, and central heating.  It also had a basement which seemed creepy but I am sure was useful. This experience helped me to appreciate the home I have today.  We learned a lot in a short time thanks to our guide Cheryl. – D

This 1930s era washing machine was state of the art luxury from Sears. It is the original preserved in the Spindle house today.

This 1930s era washing machine was state of the art luxury from Sears. It is the original preserved in the Spindle house today.

 

Walking through our hometown and seeing the past speak to us in the houses that still stand was enjoyable.  The bakery where I work used to be a hilltop camp of 40,000 Confederate soldiers in the winter of 1861-1862.  Learning by doing activities in the community is motivating.  It was nice to be able serve Prof. Mccord by helping him take care of the historic grounds at Mt. Gilead. – S

The original Braddock road started as a Native American trail and became a colonial road through the mountains of western Virginia.

The original Braddock road started as a Native American trail and became a colonial road through the mountains of western Virginia.

Professor Mccord is a true historian who lives in the past so that he can relate it to the present.  In the Jamesson house at Mt. Gilead stories continue to bring the past alive.  If you listen carefully you may hear the cries of Penelope Jamesson upstairs as she longs for the company of that handsome Union soldier who once paid regular visits to her tavern home. -T

Prof Mccord stands at the original from door to the front porch of the 18th century Jamesson House. The family enclosed this front porch to convert it to bedrooms for the children in the 19th century.

Prof Mccord stands at the original front door to the front porch of the 18th century Jamesson House. The family enclosed this front porch to convert it to bedrooms for the children in the 19th century.

When we walked through the earth fort and trenches it was amazing to see that they were still there from 150 years ago.  In some ways it was hard to believe because the grounds had changed since the time when they were built and townhouses were built all around what once was a fort.  The colonial Mountain road became the original Braddock road which still exists is some places.  It is interesting to think about the history of roads and how they change even as parts stay the same.  Interstate 66 changed the town of Centreville dramatically beginning in the 1950s as part of President Eisenhower’s interstate highway plan.  -K

The shadows of our group stand slanted on the sloped ground of earthen fortifications dug by Confederate troops in the winter of 1861-1862

The shadows of our group stand slanted on the sloped ground of earthen fortifications dug by Confederate troops in the winter of 1861-1862

This trip was fun because it was hands on and we were outside.  This is the best way to learn.  I can’t forget to sights and scenes of some of the old buildings.  When you you learn in this way with your senses you also apply your learning in your imagination. -G

As our guide Dr. Cheryl-Ann Repetti helps us imagine the past, a student sits atop one of the earthen trenches that acted as passageways to keep towns people safe during the Civil War.

As our guide Dr. Cheryl-Ann Repetti helps us imagine the past, a student sits atop one of the earthen trenches that acted as passageways to keep towns people safe during the Civil War.

Students enjoyed the opportunity for some outdoor service as they cleaned up the grounds of Mt. Gilead.

Students enjoyed the opportunity for some outdoor service as they cleaned up the grounds of Mt. Gilead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I walked into this house which was older than the US Constitution the ceilings were low and candles were lined along the wall.  It made me think about how people lived closer together.  The Mountain road used to go where the back door of the house is now.  What once was the front porch of the Tavern became an enclosed back bedroom for the Jamesson family.  The trenches helped me to imagine what it must have been like to live at Mt. Gilead during the Civil War.   -H

Inside the Mt. Gilead Jamesson House you could imagine what a world disconnected from electricity might have been like and you can almost here the footsteps of the past on the old original wooden floor boards.

Inside the Mt. Gilead Jamesson House you could imagine what a world disconnected from electricity might have been like and you can almost here the footsteps of the past on the old original wooden floor boards.

 

Our local history is fascinating in the sense of how well it is preserved.  We were able to run our fingers on the wood of Jamesson family initials and walk through the preserved house at Mt. Gilead because people like Prof. Mccord have been keeping its history alive.  What really intrigued me was the stories behind each house and the artifacts that we saw.  When you see a 1930s washing machine you can appreciate the changes it must have brought.  It was a direct comparison between then and now.  -KP

The Harrison House stands adjacent from the 18th century Newgate Tavern site on the historic route of Braddock road.

The Harrison House stands adjacent from the 18th century Newgate Tavern site on the historic route of Braddock road.

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The Newgate Tavern was the site of both rest and pain in the 18th century life of Virginians. George Washington and many others stopped here often for wine, food and rest while it was also a common site for the sale of convicts and slaves.