Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Flowerdew Hundred

Flowerdew Hundred closed its doors to the public last month.

For 388 years, the Prince George County plantation was a home or museum. In 1978, a commemorative representation of Flowerdew Hundred’s 17th-century windmill was built. It was recently restored. Flowerdew Hundred, which was once the home of the Prince George County Heritage Fair, announced its closure over the summer. “It’s a tragic loss of a terribly important part of our history,” said Joe Leming, chairman of the Prince George County Board of Supervisors.We agree with that assessment. The past of the plantation is long and illustrious, but the future is unclear.The land that would become Flowerdew Hundred was claimed by the Virginia Company of London. In 1619, the Virginia Company ceded the initial 1,000 acres to Gov. George Yeardly. He named the land Flowerdew Hundred in honor of his wife Temperance Flowerdew. Flowerdew Hundred changed hands several times and the property shrank due to subdividing the land. By the 1850s, the original 1,000 acres of Flowerdew Hundred, plus an additional 400 acres, were reincorporated into Flowerdew Hundred. Around 1970, David Harrison III and his wife, Mary, purchased the property and, under their ownership, Flowerdew Hundred became the site of archeological digs and a history museum. Along with the windmill, several replicated structures are on the site, including a detached kitchen, and visitors could have viewed the spot where General Ulysses S. Grant’s pontoon crossing of the James River ended in 1864. In 2001, the Flowerdew Hundred Museum underwent upgrades and remodeling. The museum itself was located in a 19th-century school house that was built for the Wilcox family.During its time as a museum. Flowerdew Hundred amassed more than 200,000 artifacts, which include items from prehistoric eras. What will happen to the grounds and the museum is still unclear. Officials at Flowerdew have not disclosed any details as to why the museum has closed and what may happen in the future. As Flowerdew is privately owned, it is not accountable or answerable to public oversight. We understand that. And we sympathize with the Harrison family. The family poured untold hours and dollars into renovating the plantation, its museum and the property. And for that we all owe the family our thanks. But we have now lost a treasured piece of the region’s past and a piece of the area’s historic tourism effort. It would be nice if the public could at least get some kind of answer about what is to become of Flowerdew Hundred.


Anonymous said...

I want to know if you have new information on this historic piece of land. Will the museum be reopened and can I visit this site?

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