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June 2020 Issue
In this issue:
  • Closings and Openings
  • Loudoun County history and education resources online 
  • In Fond Memory:  Elaine Walker
  • History Featurette: "The Great Calico Raid"
  • How the Spanish Flu hit Brunswick in October 1918
  • Lovettsville's virtual Memorial Day
  • Civil War medal found for Lovettsviile's Luther Slater
  • Community Center update 
  • History Mystery: Can you identify this photo?
  • About us
  • Archive of back issues

Closings ...  and Openings

Under the provisions of Governor Northam's various Executive Orders, the Lovettsville Museum must be closed at least through June 10, and we also have had to cancel our April, May, and June lectures.  Our Lecture Series is recognized for the quality of the Q&A and audience discussion and interaction -- something that would be difficult, if not impossible, to replicate on Zoom or other conferencing platforms.

We will be cautious about resuming our lectures and other activities.  The lectures depend upon our ability to use the St. James Church and the Church Council's decisions in this matter.  We are also mindful that our audience is heavily weighted toward those in their 60s and older, whose vulnerability to the coronavirus is well-known.

We do hope that we will be able to resume somewhat normal activities sometime this summer.

Meanwhile, we will continue to bring you information about online history and educational opportunities, as we have done in our April and May Newsletters, as well as publish new historical information and research.

As soon as we can resume our lecture series and other activities, we will let you know.  In fact, we can hardly wait! But meanwhile, enjoy the variety of historical material in this newsletter, as well as some of the online resources and history videos we've listed below.

The Loudoun Heritage Consortium released the following on May 20:

Loudoun County Museums and Historic Sites Offer Educational Programs
during the Pandemic Shutdown

Tracy Gillespie, chair of the Loudoun Heritage Consortium
Normally at this time of year, museums and historic sites in Loudoun County would be busy with school field trips, visitors enjoying exhibits and festivals, and people taking tours of historic properties.  None of that is taking place this year as cultural sites, like most other businesses, have been shuttered since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  However, the closures have not prevented the organizations from staying connected to the community.  In fact, many sites have ramped up their virtual presence as a result of the shutdown and don’t plan to stop when the stay-at-home order is lifted.  Some of these sites offer downloadable education programs for use by teachers and parents.  Others offer informational content that can be incorporated into distance learning programs. Check their Facebook and Instagram pages as well as their web sites to learn more.
Aldie Mill Historic Park, a site within NoVA Parks, offers a virtual field trip of the mill.
The Black History Committee of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library provides educational material at A Glimpse into Loudoun County’s African American History.
The Clerk of Circuit Court Historic Records Room has indexes to and lists of information from its archives that date back to Loudoun County’s founding in 1757.
The George C. Marshall International Center has moved its very popular book club and foreign policy lunch discussions to zoom and is working to present new online content soon.
The Loudoun Freedom Center partners with schools and other organizations on field trips, such as the African American Burial Ground for the Enslaved at Belmont.
Loudoun County Public Library is providing free access to ebooks, eResources such as Ancestry, and varied programs for children and adults accessible from the online schedule at
The Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum launched its virtual museum with downloadable education programs about farming and farm life, Farmtastic Fun activities, and a blog.
The Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum’s web site contains newsletters, videos, and research about the history of Lovettsville and Loudoun County.
The Loudoun Museum’s web site contains information on many topics and much of its collection is available for viewing online. The Museum also hosts live events that can be viewed on their Facebook page.
Morven Park in Leesburg offers #HeretoHelp that features educational activities from their Center for Civics Impact, virtual tours of certain rooms in the mansion, and yoga in the park videos.
The Mosby Heritage Area Association launched their Remote Learning Resources program with a variety of ways to learn about the area’s history.
The Thomas Balch Library posts regularly to Facebook and Instagram with highlights from their extensive collection and “how to” videos about caring for your items at home.  Their web site contains links of help to researchers and to submit reference requests.
Oatlands Historic House and Gardens gives viewers the opportunity to learn about the property’s extensive history and view the magnificent gardens.
The Waterford Foundation’s web site features several topics about the rich history of the village and Loudoun County.
Loudoun County’s museums and historic sites have always been a rich educational resource for public and private schools and the general public.  Their dedication to the community hasn’t stopped even though physical visits have been curtailed.  View their web sites and social media pages to learn about the educational and fun activities that are available for downloading.  And don’t forget to visit in-person one day!

In Fond Memory: Elaine Walker

The passing of former Lovettsville Mayor Elaine Walker, on May 31, marks the end of an era.  Her decades-long commitment to public service,  her devotion to the Lovettsville community, and her love of our community’s history, define Elaine as someone the likes of whom we will never see again.

Elaine is survived by her daughters Debbie, Linda, and Carol, and her grandson Brandon. Elaine Doris Painter was born on May 8, 1938, in Lovettsville, to William and Helen Painter. She was a graduate of Loudoun County High School. On May 2, 1959, Elaine married Clifton 'Cliff' Thomas Walker (1922-2017), and, of course, they resided in Lovettsville, where Cliff was also involved in a variety of local activities. Among other things, Cliff served on the Lovettsville Town Council in the 1970s

Elaine lived all her life in Loudoun County. After raising her family, she worked for fourteen years for Loudoun County Public Schools. She retired in 1990 and became Mayor of Lovettsville that year, after having served on the Town Council for ten years. She retired as Mayor in June, 2012. Following her retirement, she continued to attend Town Council meetings, and she served as a Director or Trustee of the Lovettsville Alumni Association, the Lovettsville Historical Society, and the Lovettsville Union Cemetery Company. She contributed her knowledge and insight into every activity in which she was involved.

Then-Congressman Frank Wolf officially recognized Elaine on June 27, 2012, with remarks entered into the Congressional Record, honoring her service as Mayor of Lovettsville for nearly 22 years. Rep. Wolf noted some of Elaine's accomplishments during her tenure as Mayor, including acquiring land for a 92-acre Community Park, helping develop the Lovettsville bike and pedestrian path, and making the town's Veterans Memorial a reality. Of course, these were only a few of her many accomplishments. Rep. Wolf noted: "I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Elaine for many years. She has been an outstanding Mayor and her leadership and steady hand will be missed."

Elaine certainly put the "love" into Lovettsville. It will be difficult for all who worked with and loved Elaine to not think of her when doing anything related to this town. Throughout her tenure as Mayor, Elaine mentored many individuals. She somehow recognized qualities in people and gently nudged them, with a gentle smile, in the right direction. She always believed the best of people. She had countless friends, and never missed an opportunity to give a friend a hug and speak with them. 

Lovettsville's signature event, the Lovettsville Oktoberfest, would not have been possible without Elaine Walker's wholehearted enthusiasm and support, says Lovettsville Historical Society Secretary Mike Zapf, who worked with Elaine on Oktoberfest over the years.  From the first faltering attempts in 1976 on the Bicentennial of the American Revolution, through the Tricentennial of the First German Immigration in 1983, and every Oktoberfest since until 2019, Elaine was at the forefront in planning, expanding, and promoting this community celebration of the German Settlement's heritage.  Zapf notes that she always insisted that it should be a little bit of Germany and a lot of Virginia, an opportunity for families and friends to be together, free of charge, with crafts, music, dancing, lots of refreshments, and entertainment for young and old.

Lovettsville Alumni Association leaders in 2018 (from left):  Pam Potts, Donald Fletcher, Judy Fox, Elaine Walker, Belle Ware, Fred George, and Allen Baker, Jr.

“Lovettsville lost a leading lady in shaping how the town looks today,” said Lovettsville Historical Society president – and lifelong resident –  Fred George III. “Her heart was in her town…. Under her leadership, Lovettsville has grown, but not out of proportion.” 

“When people complain about the ‘Squirkle,’ I tell them what I know, and that is that Elaine knew that when the town built out on the north and west sides, people needed a safe way to cross Route 287,” George continued. “She had the vision and she was correct. People can safely cross 287.”

Ed Spannaus, vice-president of the Historical Society, stated: “Elaine was the embodiment of ‘Old Lovettsville,’ yet she always sought to bridge the gap between ‘Old Lovettsville’ and ‘New Lovettsville.’

“Even though she was in and out of the hospital and rehab in recent years,” Spannaus pointed out, “whenever she was home, she always wanted to have Historical Society and Union Cemetery board meetings at her house, so that she could stay involved.”

One issue which was especially close to Elaine Walker’s heart in her last years, was the fight to save the old Community Center building, which was originally the Lovettsville School. In 2012, she publicly proposed that the new Community Center should be built across the street on the Community Park site – and of course she was uniquely situated to make that recommendation, having spearheaded the “Pennies for the Park” drive which raised the funds by which the Town purchased its share of the Park site. 

Up to the end, Elaine felt very strongly about stopping the demolition of the Community Center building with its historic classrooms, and to have the County construct the new building across the street.  The Lovettsville Historical Society believes that a fitting memorial would be to carry out her wishes, and then to name the new building in the Park the “Elaine Walker Community Center.”
History Featurette:

Secrets of Catoctin Mountain:

"The Great Calico Raid"


James Rada was scheduled to be our speaker for the May 17 presentation in our monthly Lecture Series -- which is now on hold due to the Coronavirus shutdown of public events.  We asked Mr. Rada if he would submit something we could publish in our newsletter, and he kindly provided us with a chapter from his book Secrets of Catoctin Mountain: Little known stories and hidden history in Frederick and Loudoun Counties, published in 2017.  Here is the chapter:

Read "The Great Calico Raid"

The Brunswick History Commission believes that this photo was taken at the B&O hospital next to the YMCA during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. It was noted on the back that this group of doctors and nurses was the “Influenza Staff.” Dr. Levin West and Dr. Harry Slicer Hedges are seated to the left, respectively, on the front row. Lena Sigafoose Troxell is standing with the black band on her hat to the right.
Read how the Spanish Flu hit Brunswick in 1918
Top Left: Flags in, at Lovettsville Union Cemetery. Top Right: Town Square with flag at half-mast.
Lower Left:   Placing flags on graves of veterans at New Jerusalem Cemetery were: Carson Shackelford, Alec Bauer, Emma Hartman, and Luella Shackelford.  Lower Right:  Some of the volunteers consult after putting flags in at Union Cemetery. Pictured are Cemetery Superintendent Harold Gladstone, Catherine Keller, Austin Fontaine, Mayor Nate Fontaine, and Cemetery president Jerry Keller.

Memorial Day 2020: 

Lovettsville patriotism in the time of coronavirus

The Town of Lovettsville's annual Memorial Day ceremony was a "virtual" one this year, with each segment videotaped separately, and then combined into a seamless presentation presided over by Mayor Nate Fontaine.  The Lovettsville Historical Society was proud to be a participant, along with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the American Legion post, the Elementary School, elected officials, and the Town's LOVE America Committee.

A video of the complete ceremony is here, with a complete list of participants.  The keynote address, by the Lovettsville Historical Society's Edward Spannaus, is here.

And, thanks to the assistance of Mayor Nate Fontaine, Lizzie Fontaine, and members of American Legion Post #1836, a record number of volunteers turned out on Friday, May 24, to join the trustees of Lovettsville Union Cemetery in placing flags on the graves of over 300 military veterans.    A group of young people again helped put flags out at our oldest cemeteries -- New Jerusalem Lutheran and the old Reformed cemeteries.  Volunteers from Mount Olivet United Methodist Church placed flags in their cemetery on Mountain Road, west of town.
Watch Lovettsville's Memorial Day Ceremony
Read the Keynote Address
Photos courtesy of  Roy Mills

Civil War medal
of Lovettsville's Luther Slater found

A collector recently contacted us to say that he had come into possession of a Civil War medal once issued to 1st Lt. Luther Slater of the Independent Loudoun Rangers. However, in this case the Loudoun Rangers were no longer so “independent,” since the medal in question is an Honorable Discharge Medal issued by West Virginia.

Even though the founder of the Loudoun Rangers, Sam Means of Waterford, was directly commissioned by U.S. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to raise an independent company of cavalry, the “independent” status of the Loudoun Rangers was not well-received by the regular Army command, and the Rangers were formally placed under the authority of West Virginia, which regarded them as detached Company F of the 3rd West Virginia Cavalry.  All officers except Means were supposed to be mustered by West Virginia.

This caused no end of confusion in later years when Slater and others sought to apply for military pensions.   Slater, for example, had to go through an “office muster” in 1883, and the War Department issued him a “Certificate in Lieu of Discharge,” describing Slater as “Formerly a 1st Lt. in Co. A, 3rd Regiment of W. Va. Cav.”  In fact, Slater had been discharged due to gunshot wounds by the Middle Department of the 8th Army Corps on February 19, 1863, not by West Virginia, which did not officially become a state until June 1863.

Roy Mills, the collector who discovered the medal, has been researching Slater’s military service, as have we, and this led him to contact Edward Spannaus of the Lovettsville Historical Society, who has done extensive research on Slater.  But, as we all have learned, no matter how much you think you know about a historical subject, there is always more to be discovered.
Read more about Lt. Luther Slater
History Mystery
Can you identify this Lovettsville store, believed to be in the mid-1930s? If you think you know who -- or where -- this is, submit your answer to, with the caption "History Mystery."
Lovettsville Community Center update:

Phase 1 of Lovettsville Community Center construction has been completed, the County announced on June 4, consisting of geothermal wells and a new parking lot. (Shown is the temporary access road to the new overflow parking lot.)  All the work done so far could still be used if the old building is preserved, and a new Community Center built across the street in the Lovettsville Community Park site. 

The following letter was sent to the Board of Supervisors by the Executive Committee of the Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition:

May 1, 2020
The Honorable Phyllis Randall
Chair, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors
1 Harrison Street SE
Leesburg, VA  20177-7000

Dear Chair Randall and Members of the Board of Supervisors:

Re: Preservation of the Historic Lovettsville Community Center

The Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition, a group of 51 non-partisan, non-profit organizations concerned with historic preservation and the environment, at our Meeting on April 28, 2020 discussed the preservation of the historic Lovettsville Community Center from demolition.  The members present authorized the Executive Committee of the Coalition to write you in support of not demolishing the Center.

You are now familiar with the issues based on previously submitted information from the Heritage Commission and the Lovettsville Historical Society, so we will not repeat them here.

It was under your leadership that the Board of Supervisors reversed the County decision to locate the new Aldie Fire House in the middle of that Historic Village.  The result of that decision has won the praise of the entire preservation community and indeed an excellent replacement site was found.

This leadership is needed now to preserve this historic Community Center so that it can continued to be used by the citizens of Lovettsville.  The people of the Town have proposed an alternate site for the new Community Center across the street on land already owned by the County.

The Loudoun 2019 Plan and the Heritage Preservation Plan call for the adaptive reuse of historic structures.  The importance of these places is much better understood today than in 2014 when the original decision to demolish was taken. 

We ask you to review the original decision and stop the demolition as currently planned.

Signed: Executive Committee of the Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition

Al Van Huyck, Chair, Gem Bingol, Mitch Diamond, Owen Snyder, Maura Walsh-Copeland, Jennifer Moore, and Michael Myers
Read more about the Lovettsville Community Center
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Membership Information
About Us
Our Mission:
The mission of the Lovettsville Historical Society is to foster a sense of place and community by preserving, protecting, and educating about the history and heritage of Lovettsville and the  German Settlement.  

   We achieve this by:
    1.  Operating, maintaining, and expanding the Lovettsville Museum in order to acquire, display, and preserve artifacts, documents, and records which relate to our local history;
    2.  Maintaining and operating a physical and online research library for use by historians, genealogists, and the public;
    3.  Educating the public about Lovettsville area history through programs, printed and online resource materials, and events.
*   *   *   *   *

The success of our mission relies heavily upon our membership, which provides the needed resources and also committed volunteers who share our passion for local history. Please encourage your friends, family, and others to join the Lovettsville Historical Society (LHS), or renew their annual membership, to ensure our continued success in preserving and promoting our local heritage.

There are many opportunities for members and others to participate in supporting the Lovettsville Historical Society and also meet others who share in our passion for preserving and promoting our local history. This includes volunteering to help with the museum, fundraising, organizing events, website and social media, and publicizing our activities.  We enjoy hosting special presentations for groups such as Scouts, school classes and tourists. Lastly, the donations of local historical artifacts such as family documents and pictures (or digital scans thereof), ensure that we can continue our efforts to expand our presentation of local genealogical information.

The Lovettsville Historical Society, Inc. is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code.  Contributions and membership dues are tax deductible under Internal Revenue Code Section 170.  The Society has been deemed to be exempt from registration under the Commonwealth of Virginia's charitable solicitation law.
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Lovettsville: The German Settlement is available for sale at the Lovettsville Museum.
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