Friday, August 3, 2007

Happy Birthday Barksdale! - Part IV

History is a funny thing. Often recorded history turns out to have been recorded wrong. Such was the case with Hanover Tavern. Here are three more accounts of Tavern “history” as it was recorded in 1953. The first account is from the Richmond News Leader; the second account is from the A. P. Wire Service, and the third account is from the plaque that was hanging on the side of the Tavern when Pete, Muriel and the others purchased it. To the best of my knowledge, this is the history that Muriel and Nancy believed until their deaths. In Part V, I’ll go over what parts of the history are true and what parts are false, based on scholarly research conducted in recent years by the Hanover Tavern Foundation, current owners of the Tavern (and our landlords).

From the Richmond News Leader, exactly as it appeared on August 14, 1953 …

Group Buys Hanover Tavern for Playhouse

Hanover Tavern, believed to antedate the courthouse built here in 1735, eventually may become a Summer theater.

Six new owners currently restoring the 29-room building for use as a residence have announced plans for converting the large dance floor and dining room into the Barksdale Memorial Theater.

Five of the partners, who recently bought the property from Jourdan Woolfolk, met as speech and drama students at Wayne University in Detroit, Mich. They are Mr. and Mrs. David Kilgore, Tom Carlin, Stewart Falconer and Miss Muriel McAuley. Miss Patricia Sharp, the sixth partner, was graduated from the University of Florida.

Living quarters of the building known locally as Patrick Henry’s Tavern, will be used as separate apartment units.

Under the plan, there would be a central kitchen, a formal sitting room, a dining room and very informal living rooms, the owners said. Work already has started on the kitchen.

Goats are to be used to clear the adjoining land, later to be used as parking space, they said.

Interested in preserving the building’s history, the partners have announced their intentions of collecting pertinent legends and written material. Their renovations are to be made with a view toward restoring the rooms to a semblance of their original design.

Should tentative plans be carried through, the tavern also might be used later as a shrine for historical data. Kilgore soon will hang a South Carolina battle flag believed lost on a Civil War battlefield in the tavern.

Mrs. Kilgore, chief cook for the group, holds a teaching certificate in Virginia. Her husband holds an M. A. from the University of Florida. Both once managed a Summer stock theater in St. Clair, Mich.

Falconer, who worked in New York City for a while as stage manager for the play, “The Circle in the Square,” and Carlin now are employed by a television station.

Miss McAuley modeled for two years before joining the group.

Ultimate plans call for the Barksdale Memorial Theatre to accept young people as apprentice students.

From the A. P. Wire Service, August, 1953 …

Six young summer stock veterans say they are planning to turn the Hanover Tavern, a 230 year-old landmark, into an around the stage theater. The new owners, who bought the Patrick Henry landmark this week, say they also will offer a dramatics school with college credits at their theater.

From the large plaque that was hanging on an exterior wall of the Tavern at the time of purchase …

Old Historic Hanover Tavern
Build About 1723

This stage coach tavern was once the home of Patrick Henry

In an altercation John Chiswell, member of the House of Burgesses, 1745, killed Robt Routledge in the bar-room

In 1781, Lord Cornwallis made it his headquarters
--Bruce Miller

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