Archive | September, 2011

The Case of Wine: Barboursville Vineyards

28 Sep

That’s right, I’m back to the bottle.

Our featured object today is a wine bottle from Barboursville Vineyards, 1979.

Barboursville Cabernet Sauvingnon Wine Bottle, 1979

Label Detail, Barboursville Wine Bottle, 1979

Barboursville is one of the most richly filled historical properties in the Monticello region.  Though the vineyard and winery are far more recent additions- they were established in 1976- the property has a history that dates back to the early nineteenth century.

Barboursville Ruins

The property was originally owned by James Barbour, a lawyer, politician, and the first Governor of Virginia to reside in the Governor’s mansion.  But the mansion he is better known for here in Charlottesville is the Barboursville residence- now Barboursville ruins- built by Thomas Jefferson in 1814-1822.

Barboursville Ruins today

As the story goes, an aging Mr. Jefferson constructed the property over the course of eight years.  It was one of only three residential properties he designed, and reflects the characteristic Jeffersonian style we see around UVA Grounds and Monticello today.  His design incorporated an octagon room, a dome (never constructed), and even serpentine walls in the garden.

Sadly, we can no longer fully enjoy the architecture, as the house caught fire on Christmas Eve 1884, allegedly starting from live candles on an overly dry Christmas tree.  All that remains of the house are the ruins seen above, but if you make the trip to Barboursville, you can still walk around and explore the property and nearby Barbour family cemetery.

And of course, be sure to stop in to the winery to enjoy a tour by their fabulous guides, and sip or twelve of their delicious wines!


Today in Rip Payne

28 Sep

Monticello Kiwanis Club

On September 28, 1989, a 72-year old Rip Payne photographed the officers of the Monticello Kiwanis Club.

As you scroll through, consider this: Why is all the lettering backwards?

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A: Because these images were scanned from negatives, so the images are complete inverses of what they would be in print form.

Today In Rip Payne

27 Sep

Expanding Martha Jefferson Hospital

On this day in 1973, Rip Payne photographed the recently begun construction to expand the Locust Avenue campus of Martha Jefferson Hospital.  Martha Jefferson Hospital was founded in 1903 by eight local physicians, and has grown tremendously over the past century.  Just a few short weeks ago, the hospital moved from their original location on Locust Avenue (as seen below) to their new location in Pantops.

Construction at Martha Jefferson Hospital, September 27, 1973, RP 6401

Overhead view of construction work at hospital, September 27, 1973, RP 6391

View of construction and neighborhood behind the hospital, September 27, 1973, RP 6393

Workers at Martha Jefferson construction site, September 27, 1973, RP 6396

Workers at Martha Jefferson construction site, September 27, 1973, RP 6400

View of construction with existing hospital, September 27, 1973, RP 6388

The Case of Wine: Oakencroft Vineyards

26 Sep

This past spring, ACHS hosted a fantastic traveling exhibit from the Library of Virginia entitled Virginia Women in History.  In case you missed it, here’s a brief recap.  The exhibit is an annually recurring  show, with new women featured each year.  For 2011, eight women were chosen from various time periods throughout Virginia history to represent the achievements and courage of this commonly under-appreciated group of Virginians.

One of the amazing eight women LVA featured for 2011 was none other than Charlottesville’s own Felicia Rogan, whose winery –Oakencroft Vineyards– is the subject of today’s post.

A Vignette

As one of the students from the Village School who participated in an interactive tour of the Virginia Women in History exhibit put it,

Well, Ms. Rogan might be the most popular woman here, because she makes wine, and wine makes people happy!

Of course, being ten, this was quickly followed up with,

Right?  At least it makes my mom happy!

And that, dear friends, is what makes my job so endearing.

In all seriousness, though, I’d say that she was completely right.  Felicia Rogan might not be the first person you think of when you think women’s history, but she sure did do something great for Charlottesville that we can all appreciate.

Bottle, Oakencroft Chardonnay

Label, Oakencroft Chardonnay

Obviously someone already did, since this is one of the few wine bottles we have that is empty.

The Facts

From the Library of Virginia exhibit brochure.








Before starting her business in Charlottesville, Felicia Rogan was a writer.  After moving to Virginia in 1977, Rogan became inspired to begin winemaking.  She established her beloved Oakencroft in 1983 by converting her husband’s Virginia cattle farm into a vineyard, after befriending noted viticulturalist Lucy Morton.  Choosing her former gardener, Deborah Welsh, as her winemaker, the all-female venture was only the sixth winery open in Virginia at the time.  Today, over 135 wineries dot the countryside throughout Virginia, chiefly concentrated in Northern Virginia and the Monticello region.  Rogan’s career came to an end in late 2008 when she retired and sold her winery, but her influence remains in the continued propagation of wine-making in our area.

The Case of Wine: Monticello Wine Company

23 Sep

Its currently 8:30 am, and I say its time for some wine!

No, I’m not a lush, it’s just today’s topic.

Although as I learned yesterday, its “OK” to drink before noon- as long as its not tequila- just ask Patti.

Unfortunately, I’m fairly certain that none of us would want to drink the wine I’m presenting to you today, so lets just enjoy their stories and their artful label decorations instead.

Monticello Wine Company

If you’ve ever driven an extremely backwards way into downtown, you’ve seen the historical marker for the Monticello Wine Company (across McIntire Road from the baseball field & recycling center).  The marker, and a collection of bottles  are all that currently remain of the Monticello Wine Company.  The building burned in a fire in 1937, but if you take a walk through the neighborhood, you will notice street names like “Wine Street” and “Wine Cellar Court” which clearly hearken back to the former winery.

Extra V. Claret, Monticello Wine Company.

Label, Extra V. Claret, Monticello Wine Company.

Extra Virginia Claret was Monticello’s most popular wine, even winning an international award in 1873 at the Vienna Exposition .  It was produced with Norton grapes, as are several well known Monticello region wines today.

Fine Old Port Type, Monticello Wine Company.

Label, Fine Old Port Type, Monticello Wine Company.

Spoiler Alert!

Join me on Monday for a continuation of this series, featuring some recent history, a clever woman, and of course, more wine!

Another Charlottesville Wedding

9 Sep

Both sadly for you and happily for me, I’m out of the office on Friday to attend my college roommate’s wedding.  Meaning, no funtastic Friday blog for you, but I get to have a great day celebrating my good friend and her husband-to-be.  In light of my wedding excursion, I’m offering you a very short blog with a lot of fun images to explore.

These images are part of our Russell “Rip” Payne Collection.  Rip Payne was a photographer in the Charlottesville from the 1940s to 1970s, and his enormously large collection of images was generously donated to the Society several years back.  We are still in the process of accessioning images, with the help of tireless volunteers like Anna (the best sister in the world!):

Anyways, at various points in his career, Rip Payne focused on different scenes like crime scene photography, school yearbook photos, family reunions, civic events, and WEDDINGS.  So, without further adieu, please enjoy this glimpse into the Charlottesville wedding of yesteryear…

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The Neighborhood that Disappeared

2 Sep

Today’s featured collection, unlike some in the past, poses no mystery.  It represents, in large part, the thriving African American community of Vinegar Hill.  More notably, it displays the community before it was swept bare by Charlottesville’s infamous urban renewal project in the mid-1960s.  A great deal of time has been spent in the past decades chastising the pain that was caused by this episode in our history.  While this is wholly warranted, what is truly unique (and what I lovelovelove) about the objects in this collection is the manner in which they breathe life into that argument.  The color paintings portray positive, populated streets that starkly contrast the more typical black & white aerial photographs of the area.  Instead of a broad association, these paintings by D. Collins take that camera and zoom into an individual block, business, or person.   And while those large-scale photos serve an important political purpose, these paintings are personally meaningful.   When I think of Vinegar Hill now, I think of more than just large-scale destruction- I think of the individual loss.

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For a good history of Vinegar Hill, visit the Institute for the Advancement of Technology in the Humanities (UVA).

Collins did a similarly fantastic job featuring other African American communities in Charlottesville, so look for more to come!