Preservation Pioneer Ed McMahon Receives SVBF Preservation Award

For immediate release—September 18, 2012
Contact: Denman Zirkle/SVBF: 540-740-4545 office or 540-335-9322 cell 

Congressman Bob Goodlatte delivers keynote remarks at SVBF Annual Meeting

LURAY, Va.— With the overwhelming success of this year’s events to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign, the value of the Shenandoah Valley’s Civil War battlefields and historic sites – and the importance of preserving them for the benefit of future generations – has never been clearer.  At its annual meeting at the Luray Valley Museum on Saturday, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation spotlighted the vital areas that make up those preservation efforts – from battlefield preservation and management to interpretation, tourism and economic development – and the supporters and volunteers who make them possible.

As the centerpiece of the meeting, the Battlefields Foundation presented its 2012 Carrington Williams Preservation Award to preservationist Ed McMahon, who for more than 25 years has played an instrumental role in battlefield preservation in the Shenandoah Valley and across the country.  McMahon, who currently holds the Charles E. Fraser Chair on Sustainable Development at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C., spent 14 years as the Vice President and Director of Land Use Planning for The Conservation Fund, which created the Civil War Battlefield Campaign in 1990 and has played an instrumental role in battlefield preservation in the Shenandoah Valley and elsewhere.  Ed is also the co-founder and former President of Scenic America, as well as the author or co-author of 15 books, including Conservation Communities: Creating Value with Nature, Open Space and Agriculture, Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities, which provided guidance at a critical time on preserving vulnerable Civil War landscapes, and Better Models for Development in the Shenandoah Valley.

“Ed has worked tirelessly to support, inspire, and advocate for efforts to use land in ways that preserves natural beauty, culture and heritage, while enhancing the economic potential of a region,” said SVBF Executive Director W. Denman Zirkle.  “And there is no region where his influence, wisdom and guidance have had as great an impact for preservation of Civil War battlefields and historic landscapes as in the Shenandoah Valley.”

Carrington Williams, for whom the award is named, was the chairman of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District Commission, which wrote the District’s management plan.  And he was the founding chairman of the Commission’s successor, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, which is implementing the plan.  Mr. Williams passed away in 2002.

Keynote Remarks by Congressman Bob Goodlatte

U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte was the featured speaker at the meeting.  Congressman Goodlatte told the crowd that he has been a strong supporter of the Battlefields Foundation since he first entered Congress, working especially closely with Congressman Frank Wolf on behalf of the National Historic District and the SVBF’s work.

“The battles fought in the Shenandoah Valley 150 years ago hold an important place in our nation’s history,” Congressman Goodlatte said.  “It is exciting to see the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation continue to grow and expand their historical preservation efforts.  Not only are they dedicated to their battlefield protection mission, but they are also helping grow our local economy by promoting local businesses and tourism in the National Historic District.”

“It is gratifying to have a Congressman who has been with us since the founding of the National Historic District and understands our unique charter and challenges.  We appreciate his support and friendship over the years,” commented Zirkle.

Volunteer of the Year Award Presented to Jim and Lorraine White

The Battlefields Foundation also presented its Volunteer of the Year award to Jim and Lorraine White of Monterey.  As longtime members of the Highland Historical Society and Highland County Sesquicentennial Committee, and as people who care passionately about the preservation and interpretation of the Civil War history of Highland County, Jim and Lorraine have generously given their time and expertise to the SVBF and its work whenever and wherever it has been needed.  They have worked on interpretive and visitor planning, assisted with the interpretation of Civil War sites, conducted educational programs, shepherded field trips, and guided visitors in need.  They have assisted with the care and maintenance of battlefield sites through property management, clean-up efforts, and as on-site guardians.  They have been indispensable liaisons to the local community.  And they were instrumental in the development of the SVBF’s very first Civil War Orientation Center, which is co-located with the Highland County Museum in McDowell. During 2012, their support has been more vital than ever.  They worked with the SVBF during Park Day clean-up efforts, on new Virginia Civil War Trails signage, and on programs to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of McDowell.  In addition, they were at the center of the McDowell Battlefield Days program, from the earliest planning, through the exhaustive work, to the final clean-up.

“Jim and Lorraine represent the highest ideals of volunteers, partners, and ambassadors in the National Historic District,” said Zirkle.  “Their dedication to preserving and remembering the Civil War history of the Shenandoah Valley, and to supporting the National Historic District, is simply indispensable.”

Chairman’s Award Presented to Nicholas Picerno

The Chairman’s Award recognizes service by a Foundation trustee that is far above and beyond the call of duty.  For 2012, Foundation Chairman James Roderick O. Graves presented the award to Nicholas P. Picerno.  Picerno, the Chief of Police at Bridgewater College, is a former chairman of the SVBF (returning as a trustee in 2013) who has been instrumental in the Foundation’s recent preservation work, as well as a driving force behind protection work at Cedar Creek and the restoration and interpretation project at Third Winchester battlefield.

“No other figure in the Foundation’s recent history has done as much to guide the Foundation toward financial stability while defining the work to be done in restoring the battlefields under our ownership,” commented Chairman Graves.

Historical Remarks and Battlefield Tour

During the meeting, historian Art Candenquist gave a talk about the role of the Page Valley during the Civil War, from 1862, when Stonewall Jackson used the Valley as a route to surprise Federal troops at the Battle of Front Royal, to 1864, when the Burning brought new heartbreak and tragedy to the Valley.  Earlier in the day, Candenquist led a special tour of the Milford battlefield in Overall, the site of critical actions during Sheridan’s Shenandoah Campaign in 1864.

New Trustees and Officers Announced 

In an earlier business meeting, the Foundation elected new trustees and officers.  New trustees include Childs Burden of Middleburg, president of the Mosby Heritage Area Association; Sen. Creigh Deeds of Hot Springs; Michael Garber of Harrisonburg; Nicholas Picerno, Chief of Police of Bridgewater College; and Miles Carrington Williams of Englewood, New Jersey, son of the SVBF’s founding chairman, Carrington Williams.  Their terms on the board will begin January 1, 2013.

“We are honored that these individuals have agreed to join our board,” said Graves.  “The Foundation and the District will benefit from their time, talents, and leadership.”

The Foundation’s officers in 2012 will be James Roderick O. Graves, Chairman; Allen Louderback, Vice Chairman; Brian Plum, Treasurer; and Robert T. Mitchell, Jr., Secretary.

Transitioning off the board at the end of December will be W.C. “Bill” Bedall, Charles S. DeHaven, Jr., Beverley H Fleming, W. Clay Hamilton, and Beverly J. Sherwood. 

“These exceptional individuals made an enormous contribution to our work,” said Zirkle.  “We have been fortunate in their service, and we will be forever grateful. And even as they leave the board, we know that they will continue to be part of our work – as members, supporters, and advocates for battlefield preservation.”

Valley Campaign Film

During the board meeting, the SVBF also previewed a short film on Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign that is currently in development.  Produced by Two Rivers Multimedia, the film is designed to tell the story of the campaign in an engaging, illuminating fashion, pulling the casual viewer in to the story while also being versatile enough to use as an educational tool.  The film will be completed and premiered at sites around the Valley later this fall, and then be hosted on the ShenandoahAtWar website; DVDs of the film will be made available free to schools, and offered for sale on the SVBF’s online store.

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As authorized by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation serves as the non-profit manager of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District, partnering with local, regional, and national organizations and governments to preserve the Valley’s battlefields and interpret and promote the region’s Civil War story. 

Created by Congress in 1996, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District encompasses Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren counties in Virginia and the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, and Winchester.  The legislation authorizes federal funding for the protection of ten battlefields in the District: Second Winchester, Third Winchester, Second Kernstown, Cedar Creek, Fisher’s Hill, Tom’s Brook, New Market, Cross Keys, Port Republic, and McDowell.

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ON THE WEB:

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District:
www.ShenandoahAtWar.org

National Park Service 1992 study of the Shenandoah Valley’s Civil War battlefields:
www.cr.nps.gov/hps/abpp/shenandoah/svs0-1.html