Sunday, June 29, 2014

Music at Arrowbrook Park: Black 47

On June 29, 2014, the summer concert series "Music at Arrowbrook Park" had its second concert for the 2014 season featuring Black 47. This band has been a long-time favorite of mine. Black 47 seems to be usually categorized as Irish rock, but truly, Black 47 has its own unique and distinct sound.

Black 47 celebrates its 25 years in 2014 and this will be their last year touring; they have played a lot of gigs over the years. Since I moved down to the D.C. area I haven't been able to see one of their shows in some time, so I was thrilled when I saw a show added in Herndon during their final tour. 

Black 47 plays in Herndon on June 28, 2014

Black 47 plays Northern Virginia

The band was terrific (as they always are!) and everyone looked to have a good time. 

After the concert lead singer/guitarist Larry Kirwan graciously signed autographs and took pictures with fans.

Arrowbrook's concerts take place on Saturday nights. There will be four more shows throughout July scheduled:

July 5: The Back Roads Band (Country)
July 12: The United States Army Blues (Jazz)
July 19: The United States Air Force “max impact”(Light classics/pop music)
July 26: Big Daddy Stallings & The Bluez Evolution Band (Blues & Soul)

The park suggests in the event of inclement weather calling 703-24-SHOW (7469) one hour before the show is scheduled. All shows run from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

Black 47 will also be back in the area sometime in October, this time playing in Vienna. Watch Black for more details.

Left to right: Fred Parcells, Geoffrey Blythe, Thomas Hamlin, Larry Kirwan, Joe Burcaw, Joseph Mulvanerty

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Things to see at the Fauquier History Museum (its more than just an old jail!)

The Fauquier History Museum in Fauquier County, Va. is an interesting place to tour. While one would expect to be touring an old jail building, upon arrival, I was delighted to find there was the jail, but there was also much more to see.

This Northern Virginia museum, located about 45 to 60 minutes west of the District, offers an interesting perspective on 19th century America in Fauquier County. Located in the historic district in Warrenton, not only can visitors tour an authentic jail (earlier blog post) that dates back to 1808, but inside several of the rooms in the former prison are numerous exhibits filled with artifacts in very organized displays.

What's remarkable about the museum are the contents contained within the rooms of this former prison. All related to Fauquier County history, it covers pre-Colonial right up to the time the prison closed. 

While there are a number of artifacts, a large number of the displays are related to the Civil War, which is not surprising being this region was a focal point of many major battles. There are also some other displays showcasing a variety of aspects of 19th century living, 1860s election information, World War I and World War II. 

There is even a fully-equipped and stocked 1920s dentist office, plus much, much more. For those history buffs that love detail, this museum has it.

If you're ever in this region and enjoy learning about America's past, I'd highly recommend making a stop at the Fauquier History Museum. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Tuesdays). The museum is also closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.   

I found this to be a neat find when searching for things to do one day and I do plan to return.

Friday, June 27, 2014

An inside look at a 19th century jail in Fauquier County, Va.

The Fauquier History Museum, in Warrenton, Va., is located west on I-66 about 45 minutes to an hour outside the District. The museum is perhaps one of the best preserved jails from an earlier era in this region.

Old Jail in Warrenton, Virginia

Old Jail, located in the historic district of Warrenton, Virginia (note name has changed since I took this image last year)
The Fauquier History Museum (formerly known as the Old Jail Museum) is comprised of two historical buildings that were part of a prison built in the early 19th century. The jail was established in 1808, and a secondary building was built behind the original structure in 1824. Over the years additional security doors and a maximum security "cage" were added just after the turn of the century. In total, the jail was operational for over 150 years, closing for good in 1966.

According to the museum, the prison originally had no jailer and prisoners were left alone and the sheriff would drop in with a daily meal (they hoped!)

When the second building was added, the 1808 building was converted into housing for the jailer and his family.

Upon arrival in the museum's entrance in the brick building built in 1808, you might never know you were standing in a former jail. The four-room building has been converted into museum rooms. There is also a kitchen, built in 1824, that still remains and is stocked with historical artifacts. However, when you walk out the first building and into the second, it is clear where you are as you enter the second building.

The building's kitchen, which was added in 1824.

Visitors can tour the exhibits and also get a good look at the structure of both the 1808 and 1824 buildings. While the secondary jail building also houses some museum displays, you definitely get a more of a "feel" of how it was during the days the structure housed prisoners.

One of the former cells located in the "new" jail, built in 1823.

Window from the old jail - notice the horizontal bars

Some walls of the old cells added in 1909 contain carvings, etchings and other notations. 
One room in particular is rather chilling with its metal cells, along with the carvings in its walls and peeling paint. This maximum security cell block contains a heavy-duty metal unit that was added to the room in 1909. Especially as you look outside the windows, which are double windows with several feet in between. In total, the exterior walls of the "new" jail building are 4-feet thick. 

 You can see the thickness of the walls between this double barred window

Sun streams through one of the cells

Originally scheduled to be demolished once operations ceased, the plans to flatten the building and turn it into a parking lot were changed. Instead, the Old Jail buildings were preserved and converted into a museum, according to a handout prepared by the Fauquier Historical Society.

The group has done a remarkable job in preserving this historical landmark. I'll be writing more about the museum's other (non-jail) related exhibits in the near future (update June 28 to add link to related post about the exhibits).

The museum is open daily, except Tuesdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located at 10 Ashby St. in Warrenton, Va. Admission is free for this self-guided tour, but donations are accepted. Also, which is new since the last time I visited, there are guided tours, see the Fauquier History Museum website for more details.

(Note: The museum is closed on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year's Day)