The Nelson County Historical Society and Oakland Museum

The Nelson County Historical Society and Oakland Museum The Nelson County Historical Society promotes education about the county’s history through operating OAKLAND Museum, holding programs and events, and publishing materials of historical interest.

The mission of Oakland is to promote greater awareness of the county's history and to educate adults and children about the connections between the county's history and that of the state of Virginia and the nation. Oakland is part of the Nelson County Historical Society.

Program on Nelson County Before and After Camille Set for April 7The Nelson County Historical Society will present a pro...
03/26/2019

Program on Nelson County Before and After Camille Set for April 7

The Nelson County Historical Society will present a program on "Nelson County Before and After Camille" at its annual meeting on Sunday, April 7 at 2 p.m. at the Nelson Center in Lovingston. The program is free and open to the public.

The program will feature two short video documentaries that show photos of two communities affected by the flood. Aerial photos taken in 1967 will be shown along side post-Camille 1969 aerials and on-the-ground photos taken in the first few days after the deluge. This "flyover-and-zoom-down" will focus on Tyro and Edes Hollow (Muddy Creek). The video project is ongoing and will include many other communities impacted by Camille as stories are researched to interpret these rare photographs. The videos will be available for viewing at Oakland Museum.

The program will be presented by Dick Whitehead, whose father Bill was sheriff of the county during the Camille emergency and recovery efforts. Jane Raup, whose father Cliff Wood led the local response to Camille, will staff a table with documents related to Camille in the Society's collections. Attendees can also order an upcoming book of photos of 18 areas of the county most affected by Camille’s floods and landslides the Society will publish in August.

A short business meeting to elect officers and new members of the Board of Directors of the Historical Society will be held as well.

Upcoming programs will cover the local response to the Camille emergency (April 28), the meteorological causes and geological impact of Camille (May 19), critical assistance from outside the county (June 23), and a memorial service for the victims of the flood (Aug. 18).

The Nelson Center is located on U.S. 29, Thomas Nelson Highway, just south of Lovingston. For further information call 434-263-8400.

On the night of Aug. 19-20, 1969, Hurricane Camille brought tremendous devastation to Nelson County in the form of flood...
03/17/2019

On the night of Aug. 19-20, 1969, Hurricane Camille brought tremendous devastation to Nelson County in the form of flooding and landslides that took the lives of 124 people.

To mark the 50th anniversary of this important event and its impact on the county, the Nelson County Historical Society will hold a series of programs, beginning on Sunday, April 7, at the Society's annual meeting. Beginning at 2 p.m. at the Nelson Center in Lovingston, a program on "Nelson County Pre- and Post-Camille" will feature a preview of a video documentary that will show aerial photos of communities affected by the flood taken in 1967, juxtaposed with aerial and on-the-ground photos taken just after the deluge. This preview "flyover-and-zoom-down" will focus on Tyro and Eades Hollow. When the video is complete, it will include many other communities impacted by Camille and will be available for viewing at Oakland Museum. The annual meeting preview will be narrated by Dick Whitehead, whose father Bill was sheriff of the county during the Camille emergency and recovery efforts. Also, Jane Raup, whose father Cliff Wood led the local response to Camille, will staff a table with documents related to Camille in the Society's collections.

The annual meeting will also include a short business meeting with a progress report on the Society's many projects and to elect new members of the Board of Directors and officers. Refreshments will also be available.

Upcoming events in the Society's commemoration of Camille include:

April 28 - The Local Response: A presentation and discussion of the leadership exhibited by local government officials and private citizens in the immediate wake of Camille to assess the magnitude of damage, begin organizing rescue and recovery efforts, and to communicate to the outside world the need for urgent and ongoing assistance. Scheduled for the Nelson Center at 2 p.m.

May 19 - The Meteorological Causes and Impact of Camille: Dr. Jeff Halverson, University of Maryland Baltimore County, will present his extensive analysis of the meteorological causes of Camille and the geological consequences of the storm. Scheduled for the Heritage Center (old middle school) on U.S. 29 south of Colleen at 2 p.m.

June 23 - Critical Assistance: Interviews with several Vietnam Veteran and commercial helicopter pilots on their experiences in the rescue and recovery efforts following Camille. A Vietnam-era helicopter will be on display as will other artifacts used during the Camille emergency. Scheduled for the Nelson Center at 2 p.m.

August 18 - Commemoration Ceremony: A memorial event recognizing the lives lost on Aug. 19-20, 1969, due to Hurricane Camille through music and photographs. Scheduled for Nelson County High School on U.S. 29 south of Lovingston at 2 p.m.

All of the above programs are free of charge and open to the public.

12/08/2018

Oakland Museum will close for the winter after Saturday, Dec. 8. It will re-open in March. Over the winter months there will be someone at the museum on Wednesday’s from 1 pm to 4 pm to help people with researching family histories and other topics of interest. The gift shop with books and maps concerning Nelson will be open at those times.

The Historical Society has contracted to paint the exterior of the museum and some interior rooms over the winter and spring, so some spaces will be unavailable until completion of the painting project.

The Society is planning a series of programs for 2019 to mark the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Camille. The first of these programs will be held on Sunday, April 7 at the Nelson Center on “Nelson Before Camille,” featuring an animated “flyover” of the county showing pre- and post-Camille aerial photos and a discussion of the communities affected by Camille prior to that event. This program is in conjunction with the Society’s annual membership meeting and is open to the public.

Watch this page for announcements of the topics and dates of other programs.

10/29/2018

SAVE THE DATE!
Sunday, November 18, 2018 2 p.m.
History of the James River and Kanawha Canal
Chief Justice John Marshall’s 1812 expedition
Nelson Memorial Library
8521 Thomas Nelson Highway
Lovingston, VA 22949
Led by Society board member Allen Hale and Roger Nelson, president of the Virginia Canals and Navigation Society, the program will feature a short video of a re-enactment of the Marshall expedition followed by a discussion of the history of the James and the Kanawha Canal by Hale and Nelson.

Chief Justice Marshall, Andrew Alexander, and a crew of boatmen traveled up the James River and the Kanawha Canal to promote Piedmont Virginia’s economic development into a thriving agricultural region in 1812.

Hale will speak on Chief Justice Marshall and discuss his role with regards to internal improvements in Virginia and as leader of the Commission appointed by the General Assembly to explore the James River to its headwaters, cross over the Alleghenies to the Greenbrier, and thence down the New River to the Great Kanawha.

In the video, Andrew Shaw and his six-man crew from Lynchburg set out to re-trace the expedition in a flat bottomed boat, called a batteau. They worked together to build the 43-foot wooden boat that carried them up nearly 360 miles of waterway. They traveled up the James River from Richmond, through the Allegheny Mountains, and downriver to the Great Falls of the Kanawha in West Virginia.

They were backed by a National Geographic Young Explorer’s Grant, which Shaw said allowed them to retrace Chief Justice Marshall’s 1812 expedition– a little-known river survey that proved essential to Virginia’s economic growth.

Nelson has said the survey was done in support of George Washington’s plan for westward expansion. “That was his vision, to build this canal system that linked the Eastern Seaboard with the Mississippi River Valley. He could envision the riches that lay out there.”

Marshall and his crew of 22 commissioners journeyed up the James River and through the mountains to see if this canal system could actually be completed. They made their month-long voyage with a boat designed just for the task. Poling the batteau up and down the river, the crew essentially transformed the Piedmont from a rough frontier to a thriving agricultural region.

Hale and Nelson will talk about the history of the James River and Kanawha Canal and what remains to be seen of the Canal in Nelson County.

10/08/2018

The Nelson County Historical Society will present a program on World War I by Thomas Page Nelson Jr., a descendant of the fourth Governor of Virginia for whom the county is named, on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. at the Nelson Memorial Library in Lovingston.

Nelson’s recently published book “The History of the 318 Field Hospital”(2017) tells the story of the experiences of the soldiers as they journey across the Atlantic and into France where they saw the rigors of a horrific scene from their field hospital. Biographical sketches of each soldier and firsthand accounts are included in the book and will be incorporated into his PowerPoint presentation

Tom Nelson is the fourth great- grandson of Thomas Nelson, Jr. signer of the Declaration of Independence, Governor of Virginia after Thomas Jefferson, and Brigadier General of the Virginia Militia defeating Cornwallis at Yorktown. Nelson County was named for Governor Nelson when it was established in 1807.

Nelson is retired with 32 years of service in Civil Service, Department of Defense. He is active in many civic and lineage organizations. He enjoys portraying Governor Thomas Nelson, Jr. at the Yorktown Tea party play and several other venues. He and his wife, Poppet, live in Roseland, Nelson County.

“The History of the 318 Field Hospital” will be available for purchase following the presentation. Cash or check only.

09/21/2018
NEW!  Online pre-publication orders for "Commemorating Camille" now available. So are sponsorships of the book of photos...
09/17/2018
Nelson County Historical Society and Oakland Museum

NEW! Online pre-publication orders for "Commemorating Camille" now available. So are sponsorships of the book of photos of Camille's impact on the county in 1969 and an enhanced Camille exhibit at Oakland Museum.

"In Memory of the Victims of Camille" sponsorships can be made online. Go to www.nelsonhistorical.org. On opening splash page, under the photogrqph, click on online. Pay through PayPal.

​​​​​​​​"In Memory of the Victims of Camille" sponsorships will support publication of "Commemorating Camille" and enhancements to the Camille Exhibit at Oakland. All sponsors will receive a copy of "Commemorating Camille" and acknowledgement in the book. Silver, Gold, and Platinum sponsors will be recognized on a plaque in or near the Camille exhibit.

Bronze -$100 Silver- $250 Gold- $500 Platinum- $1000

​Orders and sponsorships can be made online or by mailing a check to:
Nelson County Historical Society
Camille Commemoration
P.O. Box 474
Lovingston, VA 22949

The Historical Society online store now has "Commemorating Camille" listed. There are instructions for those wishing to have the book shipped on how to place an order by mail.

​"Commemorating Camille" -Prepublication Sale. Book will be published in August 2019.

A new book of photos and text on the impact of Hurricane Camille on Nelson County's land and people in 1969.

Features more than 150 photographs in color and black and white, many rarely seen before.

Explanations of the weather phenomenon that caused Camille to dump more than 27 inches of rain on Nelson in six dreadful hours. How the event caused flooding and landslides that took the lives of 124 people. Includes a list of who were lost.

Anticipated availability 19 August 2019.

To have an order shipped to your address:go to www.nelsonhistorical.org

Send check or money order identifying number of books, number of softcover and/or hardcover books, and complete mailing/shipping address to

Nelson County Historical Society
Commemorating Camille Orders
P.O. Box 474
Lovingston, VA 22949

​$34- Hardcover/ $27 Softcover. Tax included.

Also at Oakland Museum: Note cards with historical photos of Nelson County.

Informaiton on the Nelson County Historical Society and Oakland Museum's events and holdings including the impact of Hurricane Camille on August 19, 1969.

The Nelson County Historical Society will present a program on World War I by Thomas Page Nelson Jr., a descendant of th...
08/27/2018

The Nelson County Historical Society will present a program on World War I by Thomas Page Nelson Jr., a descendant of the fourth Governor of Virginia for whom the county is named, on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. at the Nelson Memorial Library in Lovingston.

Nelson’s recently published book “The History of the 318 Field Hospital”(2017) tells the story of the experiences of the soldiers as they journey across the Atlantic and into France where they saw the rigors of a horrific scene from their field hospital. Biographical sketches of each soldier and firsthand accounts are included in the book and will be incorporated into his PowerPoint presentation

Tom Nelson is the fourth great- grandson of Thomas Nelson, Jr. signer of the Declaration of Independence, Governor of Virginia after Thomas Jefferson, and Brigadier General of the Virginia Militia defeating Cornwallis at Yorktown. Nelson County was named for Governor Nelson when it was established in 1807.

Nelson is retired with 32 years of service in Civil Service, Department of Defense. He is active in many civic and lineage organizations. He enjoys portraying Governor Thomas Nelson, Jr. at the Yorktown Tea party play and several other venues. He and his wife, Poppet, live in Roseland, Nelson County.

“The History of the 318 Field Hospital” will be available for purchase following the presentation. Cash or check only.

CAMILLE SCANNING DAY - SATURDAY, AUG. 25, 10 AM - 4PM. OAKLAND MUSEUM. 5325 THOMAS NELSON HIGHWAY, 3 MILES SOUTH OF LOVI...
08/20/2018

CAMILLE SCANNING DAY - SATURDAY, AUG. 25, 10 AM - 4PM. OAKLAND MUSEUM. 5325 THOMAS NELSON HIGHWAY, 3 MILES SOUTH OF LOVINGSTON.
Bring your photos of Hurricane Camille in Nelson County in 1969 to be scanned for our extensive collection and possible use in an upcoming book "Commemorating Camille." Come to be interviewed about your Camille experience on video.

07/19/2018

Hurricane Camille Photos and Stories Sought for Book and Collection

With the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Camille approaching next year, the Nelson County Historical Society is seeking photographs of the calamitous event for possible inclusion in a new book, “Commemorating Camille.” Any photos scanned will also be added to the Society’s digital archive. The Society is also interested in stories to add to its collection of taped interviews.

The Society will hold photograph scanning days at Oakland Museum on Saturday, Aug. 18 and Saturday, Aug. 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stories about Camille will also be recorded.

Nelson residents and anyone else who lived through Camille are asked to bring any photos taken after Camille to be scanned those days. You may make an appointment for a particular scanning or interview time by calling 434-263-8400. Your call will be returned.

The Society is planning a series of events in 2019 about Camille, culminating with a memorial service on Aug. 18. The Society is in the process of collecting photos of victims of the flood to be shown during the memorial service.

Other planned events include a March, 2019, program on Nelson’s communities before Camille. Photos of those communities before Camille are also welcome.

The local response to Camille is scheduled in April, the meteorological causes and geological impact of Camille in May, and critical outside assistance in the rescue and recovery effort in June.

All photos and interviews on Camille will be stored at Oakland on the Camille Resource Center computer and catalogued in the Society’s permanent collection. A selection of photographs, many in color, will be published in August, 2019, with discounted pre-publication sales beginning in August of this year.

Oakland Museum is located at 5365 Thomas Nelson Highway (U.S. 29) across from Tye River Elementary School. The museum is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

The Nelson County Historical Society is sponsoring an opportunity for local residents to bring their World War I and/or ...
07/19/2018
Virginia WWI and WWII Commission

The Nelson County Historical Society is sponsoring an opportunity for local residents to bring their World War I and/or World War II items to Oakland Museum to be documented by the Profile of Honor personnel in partnership with the Library of Virginia. This scanning day is set for Saturday, Aug. 4 from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m.
This event is in cooperation with the Virginia WW I/WW II Commission www.virginiawwiandwwii.org and Virginia Tourism Corporation. Personnel from the Profile of Honor staff will be on site to do the scanning. Possible items to be scanned include discharge papers, letters, a blue star flag, pictures, and portraits, etc. The focus is World War I and II and only items from those time periods will be scanned.
Anyone may bring items between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. All items will be returned the day of the scanning. You do not need to make an appointment but it would be helpful if you would contact the Society by phone or email, if you are interested in participating.

If you know of people who have items that could be scanned, please encourage them to participate. Anyone in the local area may bring items and scanning is not restricted to just Society members.
Oakland Museum 434-263-8400—leave a message. Oakland is located at 5365 Thomas Nelson Highway, three miles south of Lovingston, across from Tye River Elementary School. For more information contact: Nelson County Historical Society [email protected] or 434-263-8400.
Please help us preserve this important era in American history.

The Virginia WWI and WWII Commission was created by the Virginia General Assembly to carry out programs marking the 100th anniversary of WWI and 75th of WWII.

Address

5365 Thomas Nelson Highway (Route 29)
Arrington, VA
22922

General information

Please visit us when we reopen in the Spring. Admission: Adults and teenagers: $5.00 / Children under 12: free Special tours: We welcome group tours! In the past, we have hosted groups from historical societies from other areas, retirement communities, and schools. Call 434-277-5526 to arrange a tour. For more information about tours for school classes, see http://oakland-museum.org/schools.htm. Museum shop: Our small museum shop offers a variety of items relating to the history of Nelson County. See http://oakland-museum.org/shop.htm for a list of some of the items. Accessibility: For handicapped parking, enter the driveway to the left of the museum (not the main parking lot). Please note that only the first floor of the museum is wheelchair accessible. Currently, this floor contains the tavern room and an exhibit on the history of public schools in Nelson, as well as a screen for viewing some oral histories and slide shows relating to the Rural Electrification and Camille exhibits on the second floor. Eventually, all videos and other digital presentations relating to those exhibits will be available on the first floor.

Opening Hours

Wednesday 13:01 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(434) 263-8400

Website

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