TagVirginia

Found 1938 Film Provides a Glimpse of the Newly Restored Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg is all about providing a glimpse back in time of life during the period of our country’s birth. An 81-year-old home movie film that was just discovered, it seems, provides us with a glimpse back of the early days of Colonial Williamsburg, as restored by Dr. William Goodwin, John D. Rockefeller, and company.

Filmed in 1938 and found in a storage locker just outside of Washington D.C., the black-and-white, 8mm film was acquired by Dallas Moore of the Forgotten Now Found website, along with a variety of other films from the same source.

The film was digitized and an edited version has just been released, showing scenes taken by someone visiting the historic city to attend a christening, taking shots of various locales including the Capitol, the Governor’s Palace, the Courthouse, the Magazine, and Bruton Parish Church. The restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, which began in the late 1920s, was still underway at the time this video was taken, the Governor’s Palace having been restored less than five years prior to its filming.

Such a glimpse of the early days of that which provides us a glimpse of the early days of our country is a rare and novel thing, indeed.

( This post has been updated to include the occasion of the video, a christening, as confirmed in the comments. )

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Remembering Fun Times at The Rink in York County

Newspaper ad for The Rink from July 1984 Daily PressSome of the first birthday parties with friends, held out at a venue, that I remember involved rollerskating at a proper local roller rink. I can recall the first, which was with a group of school friends over at the Plaza Roller Rink in Hampton, in the third grade, perhaps (1980 or so). I loved skating parties because I could go “look cool” out there in the swirly, dark rink with loud music and disco lights in full effect. There was also the arcade corner (the first place I ever played Tempest) which was great fun, and the concession stand with plenty of sodas and greasy junk-food. If I was feeling crazy enough, I’d order a “Suicide,” a drink where they mixed all…the sodas…together! It was madness and it was awesome.

I didn’t get to visit Plaza very often though, as we lived in York County and it was way over on the far side of Hampton. Before long, however, a closer alternative popped up near home that greatly increased the frequency with which I could go skate with my friends: The Rink on George Washington Memorial Highway in Grafton.

Newspaper clipping from March 10, 1983 Daily Press about The Rink opening

From Daily Press, Thursday, March 10, 1983

The Rink Family Skating Center was opened in early 1983 by Dr. Ralph R. Novoa at the site of his former Peninsula Bargain Mall, a 12,000-square-foot warehouse that never really caught on with locals and closed its doors in early 1982. The recreational establishment was managed by Karen and Dave Emerson and Carman Quinn, daughter of owner Novoa.

Picture of skate rental counter at The RinkThe Rink had a rental counter along the right wall and a snack bar and an arcade room in the back. There was a definite feeling that things were done somewhat on the cheap there; the video games were titles I’d never heard of (I’m pretty sure one of the games on hand was Eagle, which I never saw before or since), the purple-painted rink floor could’ve been a lot smoother, and various other little details like that could be noticed. It didn’t matter though — the place was enormous fun and it was close enough to home that I was able to visit quite frequently.

In May of 1985 my family and I moved from the Dandy neighborhood in York County to Kingspointe in Williamsburg, and I’m afraid I never made it back to The Rink after that. I have such great memories of hanging out with friends in that place, and of that time in my life in general, really. I would love to hear about any memories readers might have of their visits to The Rink in the comments section.

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“Beverley Hills — The Completely-Planned Residential Community”

Beverley Hills pamphlet coverIn March 2003, my wife and I moved to the Beverley Hills neighborhood in northwest Alexandria [map], leaving a townhome where we had lived since August ’98 in the Old Town area of Alexandria [map]. The house we moved into was built in 1939 as part of a later phase of the neighborhood, which was established a year or two prior.

Most of the homes in Beverley Hills (one of the planners was named Beverley) were of rather small and basic design, with expansions being added as new owners came and old owners went over the years. Our home saw five expansions between 1939 and today (thought it’s still of only moderate square footage).

Well, a few years ago one of our neighbors mentioned that she had located a 1930s brochure promoting the under-construction Beverley Hills neighborhood. Being one who is intrigued by the histories of things, I asked if I might scan the item to archive and share. The result is the PDF document you see here (click the photo to link over). The illustrations and the language within are certainly from a different time.

While the street my family and I live on cannot be seen in the included aerial photo — it hadn’t been laid yet — the area shown does happen to be the part of the neighborhood we first stumbled into and found so appealing in searching Alexandria for a larger home than our Old Town dwelling.

I was thrilled to find this little piece of history that hits so…close to home.

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Related update: Two torn newspaper comic strips from the 1930s found inside of our kitchen wall in Beverley Hills during a water repair back in 2012. I imagine these are a construction worker’s lunchtime reading, accidentally left behind and walled in.

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