Category Archives: History

Divining Paul Goodloe McIntire’s Intent

Rachana Dixit had a commendable story in the Daily Progress a couple of weeks ago that I was remiss in not mentioning at the time, “What did McIntire really want?” There have been a lot of efforts to divine the intent of Paul Goodloe McIntire in donating land and money to establish McIntire Park, but Dixit pulled the deed for a chunk of the land and checked it out. It says:

Said property shall be held and used in perpetuity by the said City for a public park and play ground for the white people of the City of Charlottesville but the authorities of the said City shall at all times have the right and power to control, regulate and restrict the use of said property.

“White people”? Awk-ward. That makes it a bit tough to adhere to McIntire’s (apparent) intent. That particular parcel of land is at the Rugby interchange. (The land that makes up the park is a patchwork of land acquired at different times.) One of the parcels where the parkway is going was condemned by Council “for use by white people as a park and playground.” Park opponents tell Dixit that McIntire surely didn’t have different intents for different chunks of the park—that in specifying that the land was to be “held and used in perpetuity…for a public park” he meant the whole shebang, and not a particular few acres. The city, obviously, disagrees.

“The Charlottesville Bicentennial Ballad”

Fun fact: Art Garfunkel backed the recording of a song commemorating Charlottesville in 1976. But how did that come to be?

First you have to know that Art Garfunkel lived in Cobham back in the 70s. Paul Simon’s musical partner had been hounded out of his prior home by the media, and had moved to Albemarle for some privacy. The estate of Beau Val was his new home—now Keswick Vineyards—and it worked out, in that the media left him alone.

The second thing to know is that 1976—the bicentennial—was a Big Deal in Charlottesville. That’s when the Rotunda was restored to Jefferson’s design from Stanford White’s redesign, Queen Elizabeth visited (for whom half of the municipal band accidentally played the national anthem, rather than “God Save the Queen”), and President Gerald Ford was the speaker at Monticello’s citizenship ceremony on Independence Day. History was in the air.

Album Cover

Local sign painter and banjo player Arthur Stubbs had written a song about Charlottesville that he wanted to record. Garfunkel—through what connection, I have no idea—served as the silent backer for the production, which was done at Carl Handy’s Monticello Records. The resulting record was “The Charlottesville Bicentennial Ballad,” the cover of which portrayed a soldier in a tri-corner hat, playing the banjo, standing in front of Monticello. Handy’s nephew, David, related this story on an Art Garfunkel fan website last year, where he explained that he’s been unable to find any evidence that anybody else has a copy of this record (though surely somebody must), and provided an accompanying letter from Garfunkel to Stubbs expressing his enthusiasm for the resulting recording.

Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that Garfunkel’s enthusiasm was matched by sales—years of pawing through the bins at Spencer’s, Plan 9, and Distraxshuns never turned up this little gem. So I don’t have an MP3 to present here, although I am hoping that a reader will be familiar with this—perhaps somebody old enough to have done the same pawing at Back Alley Disc or Band Box.

Holsinger’s Photos of Charlottesville

Black and white photo of a parade through downtown Charlottesville

The above is a photo of a parade through downtown held in 1917, featuring the Monticello Guard, taken by Rufus Holsinger. UVa’s Special Collections Library has 9,500 photos taken by Holsinger in the first decades of the last century, mostly portraits, but many depicting the goings-on around town during his time. Just under 3,000 of these photos are available on the website, including 800 of Charlottesville and 1,100 of UVa. Most of the Charlottesville ones from the the nineteen-teens.

Some of my favorites are Albemarle Grocery Co. (the pink warehouse), Brown Milling Company, (Beck Cohen), Chancellor’s Drug Store (Qdoba), the Charlottesville Dam, downtown, the Gleason Hotel, McGuffey under construction, Midway (West Main and Ridge/McIntire), a drawing of the National Bank (Wachovia), the post office (the JMRL central branch), the Southern Railroad Depot (Union Station), Temple Beth Israel, Timberlake Drugs, Monticello mountain as viewed from Pantops, and a Charlottesville & Albemarle Railway Company trolley car.

If you’re at all interested in local history, you’d best plan to set aside an hour or two to troll through this list. I’d love to see somebody do a then-and-now series of pairings of some of these images. Maybe one day UVa will provide coordinates and direction data for each of these photos. It would be great to map these.