Amphitheater Restoration

The amphitheater has been enriched with the history and culture here at the University of Mary Washington since it was first constructed in 1913. Under the watchful eye of faculty and students, the original amphitheater only consisted of a wooden structure as well as wooden benches. It wasn’t until the 1920s when the construction of a steel and concrete theatre, which was overseen by Fredericksburg City Manager Mr. L.J. Houston, was erected. In the years following, graduation commencement ceremonies and theatre productions took place at the amphitheater. The amphitheater was the fourth structure constructed at the college and was primarily used for entertainment purposes. The many additions were overseen by three university presidents, including; Edward H. Russell, Algernon B. Chandler Jr., and Morgan L. Combs. Throughout the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s, enrollment for the college was increasing, and since more people were attending the college, there needed to be an … [Read more...]

The 2016 Fall Newsletter Is Now Available!

Hello, Everyone! The University of Mary Washington Historic Preservation Department is pleased to announce that our Fall 2016 Newsletter has arrived!  If you’d like to sign up to receive a digital copy, please follow this link: Enjoy!    fall2016newsletter_nov30_final … [Read more...]

“University of Mary Washington Alumni go to Great Heights to Restore US Capitol Building”

Three University of Mary Washington’s, Department of Historic Preservation alumni, Jen Mason, Justine Bello, and Caitlin Smith spent the better part of the last three years helping with the incredible task of conserving the US Capitol building.  Employed by Conservation Solutions Inc., the three Mary Washington alums meticulously worked to clean the delicate stonework using lasers and applying chemical consolidates when necessary. During the initial phase this past summer, the alumni had the opportunity for some hands-on experience while preserving the exterior stone on the east and north elevations of the Senate wing of the building. The company’s role allowed them to work in both the initial preparation and final detailing phases to restore. They worked within time and environment/weather constraints to utilize specialized methodology. The group focused on twenty-two columns on the east elevation and ten columns on the north elevation. There were six levels of scaffolding … [Read more...]

Looking at Architectural Salvage from 401 Sophia Street

While difficult to witness, the demolition of buildings like 401 Sophia Street can provide for some unique opportunities. In particular such scenarios allow the historic preservationist the opportunity to examine architectural salvage, particularly structural members, that normally would be inaccessible without destructive analysis. Below are some images, with annotations, of the architectural salvage procured by the UMW Center for Historic Preservation from 401 Sophia Street. … [Read more...]

Preservation Easements 101

Jess R. Phelps is coming to the University of Mary Washington on January 28th to discuss his career in preservation easements. His legal background alongside his interest in historic preservation has led him to a career focused on easements. Preservation easements are restrictions put in place to protect and preserve historically, architecturally, or archaeologically significant structures. His lecture will be given in Combs Hall 237 from 5-6:30pm.    … [Read more...]

Alumna aids Fannie Roots’ historic cottage to open doors

Fannie Roots lived in a cottage on the corner of Washington Street and U.S. 17 in Falmouth for her entire life. The structure was almost demolished but protests led it to be preserved as one of the last examples of the "working man's home" from the late 19th century. The original structure was made of log beams and a fieldstone foundation. Roots used the wooden stove to provide most of the heating and cooking, but she did eventually install electric lights and a heating-oil tank. UMW graduate and site preservation manager at Gari Melchers’ Belmont, Beate Ankjær–Jensen, has been working to preserve the building and is trying to find out as much as possible about Roots' life as she can. Roots worked for Gari and Corinne Melchers as a gardener, was active in civil rights efforts, and attended almost every Board of Supervisors meeting. More here: … [Read more...]