The staff of George Washington Birthplace National Monument is casting a wide net for all birthplace alumni to come and celebrate the dedication of the second walking bridge over Popes Creek. The dedication and reunion will be held at the park on Saturday, Nov. 10.
“We want to hear from all current and past employees, volunteers and park neighbors and their families,” said Superintendent Lucy Lawliss. “After a 60-year absence, we are starting to replace the bridge from the Memorial Area to the former tea room that we now call the Log House,” she added.
The celebration marks the end of a yearlong celebration of 280th anniversary of the birth of George Washington in 1732 and the 80th anniversary of George Washington Birthplace.
The former bridge was a short lived but important part of the of the 1930s commemoration of the birthplace of George Washington. Assaulted by numerous storms in the 1940s, it was removed in the 1950s. What was once a short stroll from the birthplace to the tea room/log house became a two-mile, round-trip drive without the experience of seeing the beautiful Dancing Marsh and the depths of Popes Creek.
Construction on the replacement bridge began in September, 2012. Work will also include the restoration of trails accessing the bridge. Part of the financing for the work is due to an essay contest award given by Sears/Craftsman to its Tappahannock store manager Kyle Hodges. Mr. Hodges generously designated George Washington Birthplace National Monument as a recipient of cash awarded for his winning essay. More funding for the project is through a partnership of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and its superintendent, Don Briggs. Construction is expected to end by December, and it may be finished in time for the event.
The reunion will be a daylong celebration on Nov. 10. Plans for the event are expected to include special talks and panel discussions. All alumni are encouraged to bring in old photographs, costumes and other memorabilia, and the park cultural resource staff will be on hand to photograph, scan and otherwise document these items.
Full meal service will be available for purchase. A full schedule of events for the day will be available at www.nps.gov/gewa, as it develops.
Past and present staff, volunteers, neighbors or members of the George Washington Birthplace National Association (or its antecedent the Wakefield Memorial Association) and their families are encouraged to contact the park to find out more details.