At the Lovettsville Historical Society’s Annual Membership Meeting, the featured speaker was Bruce Patterson, known locally as “the Phone Wizard” who talked about the history of the telephone. Patterson illustrated his talk with a table full of antique and historic telephones, as well as photos of his impressive collection displayed on his website, phonewizard.com.
LHS President Fred Lee George III opened the meeting by entertaining the audience with stories of old Lovettsville. After this, he acknowledged the receipt of a check from Dr. Donald Cooper in the amount of $10,000 in support of the Museum Expansion Fund. This brings the Expansion Fund to approximately $140,000 – almost halfway to our goal of $300,000. The expansion project, which is still in the concept review stage, entails adding an extension to the current museum building.
Programs Director Rich Gillespie reviewed the educational programs, field trips, and seminars that the Society sponsored during 2023; they included Monday evening tours and explorations of sights within the German Settlement landscape, and a symposium on “Slavery in Northern Loudoun County” featuring Eirik Harteis presenting his extensive research, followed with a panel discussion by local experts and scholars. This year will see an increasing emphasis on programs commemorating the coming 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution. (The LHS is a participating member of the Loudoun 250 Committee.)
Mike Zapf reported on some recent donations to the Lovettsville Museum, including Lovettsville-related materials from Julie Maynard of the now-closed Brunswick Citizen newspaper. Zapf also discussed the present shortage of display space, which the planned expansion of the Museum is intended to alleviate.
Regarding the Mount Sinai Cemetery restoration project, Ed Spannaus reported that the initiative brought before the Board of Supervisors by Chair Phyllis Randall and Supervisor Caleb Kershner in November 2021, now seems dead in the water. The initiative was to ask County Staff “to explore options for the purchase and/or protection” of the historical African-American cemetery. Apparently County agencies have determined there is nothing they can do. Spannaus said the LHS and the Family & Friends of Mt. Sinai Cemetery will now explore other options to protect and restore this cemetery where many dozens of citizens were buried between the 1880’s and the 1950s.
Lori Kimball informed the Board and membership that the Loudoun County government is accepting nominations for its new Heritage Registration Program. The program developed by the County Heritage Commission and administered by the Department of Planning and Zoning will recognize heritage resources that are significant to the county. Potential sites include historic structures, public and private residences, farms, churches, schools, archeological sites, outstanding geological formations, heritage corridors, significant trees, cultural landscapes, battlefields, cemeteries, and historic districts. The program guidelines and a link to the nomination form can be accessed at loudoun.gov/heritageregister.
The final item of business was the election of the Board of Directors for 2024. The membership unanimously voted to retain the incumbent Board of Directors (Fred Lee George III, Edward Spannaus, Harry Bruce Funk, Richard Gillespie, Lori Kimball, David Kirk, and Michael Zapf), and to add new members Charles Hansen, Clare Matheny, and Todd Treichel.