Loosing our historical sites in Chesterfield County...

By Jackie Tomlin

Originally part of Henrico County, Chesterfield was established in 1749. The Chesterfield County courthouse
area was the training center for our soldiers of the Revolutionary War.

Chesterfield County has issued a 1.6 million dollar budget cut from Parks and Recreation. Mike Golden,
Director of Chesterfield Parks and Recreation has proposed a budget cut to The Board of Supervisors, to
include closing our historical sites. This would take effect this year at the end of their fiscal year of June 30th,

Volunteers, with a handful of paid employees, run the Chesterfield County Historical Society. Those employees
will be unemployed after June 30th.  Many of them have worked there for several years. According to Diane
Dallmeyer, Director of Chesterfield Historical Society, “They are not shutting down the historical society, but
closing the buildings and tours in which we operate, it goes much deeper.”

Castlewood Plantation, built in 1817, home of The Historical Society, Magnolia Grange, and The Chesterfield
Museum are among the locations scheduled to close. These building alone contain numerous antiques in which
they are proposing to store with mothballs.

The Historical Society runs countless school tours throughout the year, programs, and speakers. They also
cater to home school programs and The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. All of this will be shut down.

On a grander scale this will affect Eppington Plantation and the tours of the Midlothian Coal Mines. (There are
many out there that do not even realize that the Midlothian Coal Mines, are the first coal mines in the United
States) to name a few. The Rockwood Park Nature Center will close; senior and adult programs and all
outdoor programs will be cut.

From Diane Dellmeyer, “Next year is the 150th Commemoration of the Civil War.” “Chesterfield County has
26 Civil War sites, how will we promote it if we are not here?”

This brings upon us another question as to what does Chesterfield County have to offer in tourism? When
Magnolia Grange closes, so will the gift shop. Chesterfield has no welcome center, no gift shop and no
programs to offer. What will be the draw to Chesterfield County for tourism?

Another group has offered proposals to open its historical sites to the Paranormal Community. Will Chesterfield
County entertain the idea of the spirited history?

What can you do? Let the Board of Supervisors know that it is important to you. Contact them directly. (http:
//www.chesterfield.gov/content2.aspx?id=7721) Make a donation to Chesterfield County Historical Society.
They are 501C3, tax deductible and go directly to The Historical Society and not Chesterfield County. (http:

Chesterfield County apparently does not show a great deal of interest in our history. Ironically, local businesses
go through strict stipulations set by Chesterfield County to maintain the “historic look” of the Magnolia Grange
area. So is it fair to close Magnolia Grange?

This is my history, your history, your children’s history and your grandchildren’s history. You CAN make a

© 2010-2019 Jackie Tomlin..  Examiner.com.  February 2010
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