From the Normal to Bizarre

Farmville Travel Blog

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Lancaster Hall

Friday was a beautiful day. Sunny and warm, but not hot. Perfect for tours and travel!

 

Julia drove the three of us over to the Longwood University campus at 10:00 a.m. The program began with a talk by about the university’s undergraduate programs, followed by a tour of the campus. Longwood is now a general public university, but was founded in 1839 as a college for women. It became a state teacher’s college in 1884 and was called the State Normal School. ("Normal School" was the usual name for teacher-training colleges in the 19th century.

Ruffner Hall rotunda
) The name Longwood was later taken from the name of the 18th century plantation house that now serves as the university president’s home. The campus is a mix of buildings dating to 1839 together with a newly completed Science Building, a new Fitness Center, and a Communications/Theatre Arts building under construction. Our tour guide around campus, a former Longwood student herself, was very enthusiatic in her description of the campus and its traditions.

 

After the tour, we went to lunch at a Ruby Tuesday's.

Rotunda Interior
Then it was time to delve into history!

Not far from here is the R.R. Moton High School historic site. The high school, once on the edge of the town, was the school for African-American students in the time of segregated schools. In 1951, the students staged a demonstration to protest the overcrowded and substandard conditions at the high school. The resulting lawsuit was incorporated into the landmark Brown v. Board of Education anti-segregation case.

Back in town is the Norfolk & Western Railway station, built in 1902, and now a community center and town meeting place. Of course, I had to get photos of this structure.

Up the street from the station, one finds the historical marker for Bizarre. (The state historical marker, dating from 1929, is a vintage item itself!) The marker tells of the existence of this curiously named estate and of the Randolph family that owned it.

The Colonnade
But, it doesn’t tell of the early American scandal that took place in 1792. Ann Cary, a relative of the Randolph and Jefferson families, had come to live at Bizarre with her sister and brother-in-law, Richard Randolph, a few years earlier. Rumors spread that Ann and Richard were having an affair, seemingly confirmed by her pregnancy. Richard stood trial for murdering the child, but was acquitted for lack of evidence. (Ann later stated she miscarried.) Richard died under mysterious circumstances in 1796 and Ann lived at the house with her sister, under a strained relationship, until 1805. Bizarre burned in 1813. (Ann later married Gouverneur Morris of New York, a member of the Continental Congress and figure in the Revolution.)

It was now mid-afternoon and time to begin our trip home. On the way back to US Highway 360 was the turnoff for Sailor's Creek Battlefied State Park. We stopped here to view this Civil War battlefield and learn of events that led to Appomattox.

azsalsa says:
I just always love a good scandal!
Posted on: Mar 02, 2009
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Lancaster Hall
Lancaster Hall
Ruffner Hall rotunda
Ruffner Hall rotunda
Rotunda Interior
Rotunda Interior
The Colonnade
The Colonnade
Two-Headed Rubber Duck sculpture
Two-Headed Rubber Duck sculpture
Johns Episcopal Church (1881), Hig…
Johns Episcopal Church (1881), Hi…
Working on those road trip skills
Working on those road trip skills
Moton High School historical site
Moton High School historical site
N&W Railway Station (1902)
N&W Railway Station (1902)
N&W Railway Station (1902)
N&W Railway Station (1902)
Bizarre Plantation historical mark…
Bizarre Plantation historical mar…
Prince Edward County historical ma…
Prince Edward County historical m…
Farmville Sights & Attractions review
Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historical State Park
Sailor's Creek (or Sayler's Creek) Battlefield is not one of the well-known Civil War sites. But, it is the site of the last major battle of the Civil… read entire review
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photo by: Andy99