Williamsburg speaks eloquently of the past's daily life


January 16, 1994|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Contributing Writer

Colonial Williamsburg is presenting its 10-week Winter Discovery Series. Daily sessions, from Tuesday to Saturday, include lectures, programs and behind-the-scenes tours relating to a different theme each week.

This week's focus will be Williamsburg's past: "From Lafayette's Ride to Clinton's Jog: Williamsburg After the Revolution."

"Bestowing a Good Shape" explores Colonial fashion Jan. 25-29 with presentations on tailoring and 18th-century clothing collections and reproductions. Participants will see Colonial Williamsburg's Costume Design Center, the weaver's shop, textile collections and the conservation laboratories.

Scholars, craftsmen and performers share information on Williamsburg's black history in the program "Ain't I Your Equal? African-American Life and Struggle in 18th Century Williamsburg," scheduled for Feb. 1-5.

Leisure pursuits of the Colonial era are investigated Feb. 8-12. "A Delightful Recreation: Music, Dance and Theater in 18th Century Virginia" explores European influences on home and public entertainment in the Colonies.

TC Other programs include: "Preservation on the Home Front: Keeping and Caring for Your Prized Possessions," Feb. 15-19; "Exploring the Arts and Mysteries of Traditional Trades," Feb. 22-26; "According to the Ladies: Five Women of Carter's Grove," March 1-5. Behind-the-scenes tours visit unseen spaces in 18th-century buildings March 8-12, and a presentation on the 18th-century frontier focuses on explorers, hunting and trapping, mapping and trade with American Indians, March 15-19.

Admission is by Colonial Williamsburg ticket or Good Neighbor Card. Participation in some programs is limited. For information, call (804) 220-7662 or write: P.O. Box 1776, Williamsburg, Va. 23187-1776.

Happy birthdays

Birthday celebrations will be held this week for three famous Virginians born in the month of January. Robert E. Lee was born Jan. 19; his father, "Light Horse Harry" Lee, on Jan. 29, and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson on Jan. 21.

The public will be welcomed free of charge at Stratford Hall Plantation, birthplace of Robert E. Lee, on his birthday. The 20-room mansion, in Westmoreland County, Va., will be open for tour from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and complimentary refreshments will be served. A one-day exhibit, "Lee Family Artwork," will be on view in the library, and the dining room will serve lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Built in 1725 by Lee's great-grandfather, Stratford Hall overlooks the Potomac River on Virginia's Northern Neck. It is just off Route 214, 20 miles east of Route 3 and U.S. 301. Call (804) 493-8038.

Another birthday celebration is scheduled on Wednesday at Arlington House, where Lee lived with his family from 1831 to 1861. During the open house from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., guests can listen to songs that were familiar to Lee and can sample period foods. Admission is free.

Arlington House is located in Arlington National Cemetery, and parking is available at the visitor center. From there it's a short walk up the hill, or a tour bus to the mansion is available. Call (703) 557-0613.

In Lexington, Va., a city that was important in the lives of both R. E. Lee and Jackson, a three-day celebration is planned from Wednesday to Friday. Both men lived, worked and were buried in Lexington. On Wednesday a Founder's Day Convocation is scheduled at Lee Chapel, Washington and Lee University. A slide lecture, "Lee Chapel: Shrine of the South," will be given at 4:30 p.m. in the university library's Northern Auditorium. The next day a birthday party will be held in honor of both men at the Lexington Visitor Center, 102 E. Washington St. The party begins at 4 p.m. All events are free.

Friday is Stonewall Jackson's day. His home at 8 E. Washington St. (the only home he ever owned) will be open to the public free of charge. There will be tours and complimentary birthday cake from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cadets at Virginia Military Institute -- where Jackson taught -- will honor the general with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Jackson statue in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery on Main Street at noon. All of the activities are free. Call (703) 463-3777.

Alexandria, Va., will hold a birthday celebration next Sunday for Robert E. Lee and his father, Light Horse Harry Lee, at two of the Lee homes -- the Boyhood Home, 607 Oronoco St., and the Lee-Fendall House, across the street at 614 Oronoco St. The Lee-Fendall House is the largest of the many Lee homes in Alexandria. Philip Fendall bought the land from Light Horse Harry, who was a frequent guest of the Fendalls. The house commanded a position on the northwest corner of town, which became known as Lee corner. At that time Alexandria was a busy seaport, the seventh largest in the United States, and a social center.

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