The Village of Waterford, Virginia
   A National Historic Landmark

photos of Waterford VA Our annual fair is over 50 years old Waterford gardening activities and natural resources What we do on July 4th Waterford's history About our town
about the village
Visiting historic Waterford
How to get to Waterford
History of Waterford
About the fair including photos
Village and historical maps
articles and news
Information for residents
site index
about the Foundation
about the WCA
1PLs - Personal loan from 1000 to 35000 dollars

Go to the Foundation web site Foundation events About the citizens' association About the citizens' association Join the WCA web pages for members only
General articles
home page
joe keating

Articles by Joe Keating

A Week Between Late and Early [Squirrels and such]
December 26, 2001

Here we are again in that in between week where it is to late to do anything about last year, and to early to do anything about next year.
It is a week like squirrels in the attic which we hear stirring about as we write. They have been silently busy storing walnuts and things all fall. Now that it has gotten cold they are busy rearranging things and consuming their larder. Any attempts to close up the openings would result in new ones being gnawed either from the outside in to get at the stored food or from the inside out to get out to get more food during warmer periods.

There is not a house in Waterford that could deny access or egress to a couple of squirrels willing to spend a few hours gnawing. So it's too late do anything about the squirrels this year and too early to shut them out so they can't store nuts in the attic next year. It is also too early to nail rat traps baited with peanut butter to the trees to catch the squirrels. All those nuts left in the attic would attract mice.

We have counted on the cats, Rupaul (he is a transvestite) and Lula (she is the victim of an alteration gone bad) to keep the outside critters out. So far this winter they have only brought in one mouse. You have to check them at the door. When you don't let them in they will eat only the top half of the mouse and leave the bottom half next to the door. Every two or three days Tuffy, who is not our cat, will come by and finish off the rest.

By the way, all of Waterford's cats have an M between their eyes that stands for manger. It means that they are descended directly from the cat that was present at the first Nativity, not the one that has been blocking traffic on Route 7.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year.

Not Yet Gone With the Windows Top of page
December 12, 2001

This week the Griffith/Gover House became a historic first in Waterford by becoming the first house with a facade glazed with restoration glass. This glass adds to the mix of glasses visible in Waterford. You can walk through a history of glass use by examining individual panes around the village. There is now the reproduction glass visible at the Griffith/Gover House that is a type of cylinder glass now being made mostly in Germany.

Most of Waterford's antique windows have a mix of old cylinder with the modern float glass. The older cylinder glass was used from the 1840s. There is no point in saying when it stopped being used as many of us are continuing to use it today.

Once in a while you can find the much older crown glass in a few panes, but this is getting very rare. There are probably not over a dozen crown glass panes in the entire village. A very large piece of crown glass was in the door of the Samuel Means House until a newspaper was delivered through it in the late 1970s.

There is some plate glass in the Corner Store and the Waterford Market. The difference between plate and float is that plate is poured on a steel plate, and then polished to flatness, and float is poured on a molten tin bath to be smooth and flat. Some houses have beveled glass in doors or in windows around the entrance.

This mix of glass in contributes a lot to the way we see Waterford. From inside the houses the light throws patterns on the walls. Looking out through old glass you can see waviness in everything. From outside the light reflects off the different types of glass and gives a sparkle to every old house not seen in other places.

The idea that old glass flows and this has an effect in the glass thickness has been debunked. The glass would have to stay in place a million years for this flow to be a factor in the way it looks. The waviness is caused by the imperfections and variations in methods of manufacture rather than the flow of a super-cooled liquid

There is a story about the people who restored an old house in Waterford and had new windows put in to fix the waviness.

Someone should get a grant to study the windows of Waterford, especially the ante-bellum ones, before they are gone with the wind.

Falling stars miss Waterford Top of page
November 28, 2001

At 4 am. Sunday morning Miss Gertrude Wetstein's worst student from her 7th grade general science class got his entire household up to stand in the back yard to watch the Leonid meteor shower.
In three minutes the worst student had more than doubled the amount of meteors he had seen since being in her class 52 years ago. This includes one meteor he heard in 1956. Gertie did not teach to the Standards of Learning.

Tuesday Christmas trees appeared at Clarke's Gap and Route 9 next to the Waterford gas station at Jim Riley's ,so it must be getting near Christmas.

This weekend is the Waterford Christmas Open House 1-5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. This features Kathy Elias, Karen Burton, Kathy Riedel, Antonia Walker, Ekster Antiques, Peaceable Kingdom and Diane Arney. The houses that will be open are Mill Run House at 15679 Factory St., Merchant House at 15539 2nd St., Graham House at 40175 Main St., Camelot School at 40145 Main St., and Isaac Steer House at 40142 Main St. Ornaments, hand painted furniture, contemporary hand painted silk scarves and pillows, original artwork, antique jewelry, Mediterranean pottery and other unique gift items will be available.

Also the Taylorstown Store in Taylorstown will be open this weekend for Christmas sales.

Muggles reading or seeing Harry Potter may like to know that in a bit of unfinished Halloween business the Massachusetts State Legislature passed a bill that pardoned JoEllen Keating's 11th great grand mother Susanna Martin who was unjustly executed as a witch 309 years ago

Death in a very small village Top of page
November 14, 2001

Richard Henry Dana, later a seaman's rights advocate and maritime lawyer went to sea in the 1830s; he said to improve his health, but I think to escape the boredom attendant to being an indifferent student.
In chapter four of his book, " Two Years before the Mast," he wrote of death at sea after losing a shipmate overboard.

He said,"Then, too, at sea- to use a homely but expressive phrase- you miss a man so much. A dozen men are shut up together in a little bark, upon the wide, wide sea, and for months and months see no forms and hear no voices but their own and one is taken suddenly from among them, and they miss him at every turn. It is like losing a limb. There are no new faces or new scenes to fill up the gap. There is always an empty berth in the forecastle, and one man wanting when the small night watch is mustered. There is one less to take the wheel and one less to lay out with you upon the yard. You miss his form, and the sound of his voice, for habit had made them almost necessary to you, and each of your senses feels the loss."

When I read that years ago I thought it was pretty American Victorian writing, and I now know he wrote of feelings I cannot express.

We Waterfordians are in a small ship sailing on a wide wide sea of life. We live in small houses where all our senses know who is with us every moment. Waterford is a pretty place but the best thing about it is the kind and gentle crew that my family and I have for shipmates. Thank you.

Danger stalks Clarkes Gap Road Top of page
October 24, 2001

Another traffic fatality occurred at the intersection of Clarke's Gap Road and Route 9 during the fair weekend.
This intersection is very treacherous because of the duality in turn signals that cars make coming down from the gap. When you see a turn signal as you wait for a break in the traffic, you never know if it is for a turn into the gas station or a turn onto Clarke's Gap Road. Anyone who assumes that a car is going to turn and tries to jump out in the break caused by a car slowing is in trouble.
Other factors, such as the lane reduction on Route 9, the long downhill slope, and the gradual bend in the road make this intersection even more dangerous.

We don't know what formula VDOT uses to determine when to put in a light. Some have rather morbidly said that it takes a death rate of three a year. What ever requirements it takes must have been met by now. A traffic light is long over due. The next intersection to the west at Hamilton Station Road has a caution light due to the lack of a clear line of sight. Friday morning Molly Keating bagged her second deer there using her weapon of choice, a 1991 Honda.
Her father was disappointed in trying to load the family larder since the deer ran off. Molly was not hurt and only a fender was crumpled. Mary Hayford stopped to offer assistance to Molly's father but withdrew the offer when she found help needed was to search for a wounded deer.

This weekend one of Waterford's retired post masters was back serving the public.
Christine James was helping out at the Leesburg Veterans of Foreign Wars Post with the annual Out of the Attic sale.

Those who enjoyed looking at the Rhodes's 28-year-old white horse at the ice house lot will be relieved to know that the horse is fine. We feared the worse but found out he was moved to another pasture where he would have some company.

Lisa awarded best of Loudoun Top of page
October 10, 2001

In the 2001 Waterford Fair Photography Show, Lisa Piercy-Wray proves that all Waterford's children are exceptional by winning the Leesburg Today Best-of-Loudoun award with her photo, 140th Reenactment First Manassas/Bull Run (at Morven Park) that was of a little girl at the reenactment.

Other Waterfordian winners in photography are; Britton Baine, third in Architecture; Lynda Buck, third in Photojournalism; Mary Dudley, third in Abstract, and Janet McLean, second in Waterford Scene/ Waterford Fair. In the 2001 Red Barn Art Show Waterfordians Don Stivers is the winner in Best of Show and Nick Schrenk is second in Oils.

While at the show talking to Nick's mother Betsey, we found that she is looking for a home for a cat. It seems that the brother of a 2-year-old marmalade colored cat left home two weeks ago and has not returned. Betsey is worried the remaining cat may be getting lonely and is looking for a home, perhaps with other cats. Now is a good time of year to add a cat to your household, as this is when the mice start coming in. Also, if you have a cat already and it gets real cold, you need at least two to keep warm when the wintry blasts shake the house.

The new bulletin board next to but having no connection with the post office is in operation. If you need a dog instead of a cat, one is being offered for adoption.

Tornadoes miss, trolls do not Top of page
October 4, 2001

Tornadoes missed us Monday afternoon as the weather radar showed a red mass of heavy rain moving straight toward Waterford from Hamilton.

Tornado alerts were being broadcast on the television. A look toward the south-southwest showed ominous darkness on either side of a band of white. The rain came harder and we decided the stairway was the best place to be when the windows blew in, but the wind was not increasing.

The lights stayed on and a close look at the radar showed the area of heavy rain was mostly to the east with a little to the west. Waterford rode right down the middle with the sky staying light, the lights staying on, and the trees staying up. Evidently Waterford's Internet connections are still staying porn-free.

With the rain falling at 2.5 inches an hour throughout much of the Catoctin watershed, the creek did come up much faster then it has in the past. We began to believe that the Troll Brothers have had something to do with this. We should explain to those who are not familiar with Waterford myths and legends that the Troll Brothers are descended from an North European family that lived under bridges and were famous for terrorizing goats that sought to cross. Loudoun does not have goats that spend a lot of time crossing bridges. Loudoun's Troll Brothers still live under bridges but they now cause mischief by silting up streams. Their presence under our bridges was rumored Halloween.

Lovers of liberty should rejoice. Waterford has a new community bulletin board. The new board is just to the left of the flag pole out side of the post office. We wonder how long it will take those who objected to the old board to object to the location of the new.

In case you forgot, the fair is only three days away. Don't forget to volunteer for the Waterford Citizens' Association barbecue stand. A good menu for visitors and guests is to breakfast at the PTO stand, lunch at the WCA barbecue stand, and have dinner with things you bought at the country store.

There are other things afoot near Waterford. Saturday Oct. 6, at the S.E. corner of routes 9 and 287 at the Guthrie's' Farm, The Fall Festival is taking place. The harvest celebration features games and rides and is free, although donations to the sponsor, Joshua's Hands, may be made.

Fox killed on Clarke's Gap Road Top of page
June 27, 2001

Friday a juvenile red fox was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on Clarke's Gap Road near Beans Branch Bridge. It was perhaps a forgivable incident given the new creation of VDOT on this particular stretch of the state highway system with the addition of another layer of black top. The narrow shoulders now have a sharp cut at each edge so that any attempt to avoid a fox, deer or anything is likely to cause a wheel to slip down and veer the car to the right. In an attempt to get back up on the road you may have a tendency to over steer and this puts you into the oncoming traffic lane. To correct this VDOT will dump a lot of gravel on the edge and then the water will flow across the road again and then they will add more blacktop.
Be careful when you drive because, as you can see, you have no place to go and you will just have to hit anything in the road.

Years ago we had a resident who drove an elderly classic car with a bad passenger door latch. When the door would fly open, usually in the curves near the Greystone Pool, he had a rather disconcerting way of solving the problem.
He would steer to the center of the road so the door would not bat against
the trees and then lie down across the seat to reach the door. The net effect for oncoming drivers was to meet a driverless car coming down the road with a door open to completely block both lanes.
Fortunately at the last moment the door would shut, a black bearded face would pop up above the dashboard and the car would veer wildly back over to the right lane. The bearded driver would wave merrily and everyone who ever experienced this meeting on Clarke's Gap Road agreed it was a real landmark in driving.

The schedule for the Waterford Citizens' Association 4th of July celebration is 10 a.m. parade registration on Factory Street with Parade at 11 a.m. and songs, speeches, and awards at the Tannery lot on Bond St. near the Mill at 11:45 a.m., followed by hot dogs, drinks, watermelon and games at 12:45 p.m. The pot-luck dinner is at 6:30 p.m. at the Old School and the fireworks at the Schooley Mill field at dark.

A Waterford walnut whooshes Top of page
June 27, 2001

Last Friday afternoon there was just a little enough breeze whispering through the trees to send a large limb whooshing down beside the log cabin just up Main Street from the mill.

As it came down the power line broke and the oldest part of Waterford returned once again to the usual historic state of no electricity. The only damage was to the landscaping and, of course, the power and phone lines leading to the Brock's log house. The Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department arrived to block off Main Street followed by Virginia Power. The traffic was flowing about 20 minutes later and the electricity for all except the Brock's soon after. The limb was about a foot in diameter and is from the walnut tree estimated to be 114 years old and 62 feet 5 inches high on the mill side of the house.

The Waterford Elementary School ended the school year Friday afternoon with a pool party at Greystone Community Pool. As the clouds grew lower and lower pool party mavens Helen Wolcott and Cordelia Chamberlain began to fear for the success of the Grand Opening Pool Party for the community starting at 6 p.m.. At 6 p.m. the rain started in a steady drizzle, at times almost reaching a downpour. The decision was made to party on. In spite of the rain, more and more people kept arriving, covered dishes in hand. After all, what's a pool party for but to get wet and what's a cover for but to keep the rain out of the dish. By 9 p.m. the packed parking lot confirmed the Grand Opening was a huge success. The fireworks have been saved for the Grand Closing in August.

Two weeks ago the last of the lines were painted on the Waterford tennis court at the elementary school and court time is now becoming a precious commodity. Already doubles teams are starting to be paired up in preparation for the Labor Day Waterford Tournament. This tournament always serves as a showcase for Waterford where all the women are athletic and sleep on 230-count all cotton sheets. We have been trying to confirm the rumor that Lara Croft's mother once played in the tournament.

Buses need not much paving Top of page
June 20, 2001

Waterford Elementary School buses are heavy enough to stay down as tornadoes are tearing the roofs of school buildings and thanks to a set of revolving chains, very sure-footed in snow or where there is not much paving.

The Virginia state legislature, in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first two quarters of the 20th century, decided to not pave the roads from Waterford. Could this be because the Loudoun Rangers, the only organized body of troops from the entire South to fight for the North, came from Waterford and vicinity?

Now, 50 years later, school bus traction still remains a factor in keeping schools open in inclement weather. Unpaved roads are now viewed as a cultural asset. So why does the state continue to appear to be punitive, paving an inch higher between Waterford and Route 9.?
The school buses do not account for the highest volume of traffic at the Waterford School. Holding as many as 60 students it does not take many buses to populate the school. Most of the traffic is from cars, or more accurately trucks, dropping off students in ones and twos.

Like the buses these trucks, called SUV's (Sport Utility Vehicle), pronounced "suff" as in suffer, are heavy and sure-footed. They are the Waterford-area residents' answer to the under-paving on the one hand and the over-paving an inch at a time on the other. Where there are no roads these vehicles can be shifted into 4-wheel drive and go cross-country through plowed fields or up stream so that every creek can be used as a driveway or vice versa. Using this added traction they can also crawl up the sides of the thick pavement resulting from years of added inches to get on top.

To verify that these vehicles have seen some rough going all you have to do is look at the exceptionally hardy children they empty out into the school. They all have shoes of the most durable nature and they have on their backs packs fit for Everest expeditions. Some may even be carrying equipment to drive pitons and rope-up should the going get really rough. The only trouble with using these SUVs as a solution to the seemingly punitive paving problem is that they are expensive. They are so expensive that a Governor was able to get elected just by saying he would eliminate car taxes. The trouble with this loss of taxes is that many services that used car taxes suffered. Perhaps the money that could be saved by not much paving could make up the car tax loss.

The Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department is now in the middle of its annual drive. Don't forget to send in the envelope they left. The volunteers don't forget when the stove goes up or the chimney catches on fire.

Duck struck, ducklings saved Top of page
May 23, 2001

The thumping bumping sub-woofers did not musically warn the mother duck soon enough as the black sports convertible driven by a heavily ringed-faced driver slowed and then continued up Main Street.
"Be kind to your web-footed friends,
For a duck may be somebody's mother,"

  The wounded mother fled flapping frantically through the grass on the slope of the hill behind the site of the Tannery dig.
  Cate Wyatt had been trying to warn traffic that the ducklings, dutifully following their duck mother, were trying to cross Waterford's over-burdened thoroughfare. It was her son, Ford, who noticed that the driver, in his early 20s, hiding behind his sun glasses, had rings over his face.
  Things looked bad for the seven abandoned, perhaps orphaned, baby ducks. They were cast adrift not only on the edge of a dangerous road but in the depths of cat country, right on the boundary between the prowls of the Cutter's cat, Tuffy, and the Keating's cats, Rupaul and Lula.
  Cate called the Northern Virginia Wildlife Rescue, 703 440-0800, despairing that the time was about 5:50 p.m. Friday afternoon, not the most encouraging time to expect a reply to the recorded message. Within 20 minutes, they returned Cate's call. Get the ducks in a box that is tall enough that they can't get out (they jump) and short enough that the mother duck can hear them peep. If she doesn't show up by dark take them in and keep them warm and call again in the morning.
  Until dark all of lower Waterford revolved around the box. The wounded mother was searched for to no avail. The cats were all put in lock-down. One duckling escaped and was found and returned by Ford. That night the box was taken in and a 60-watt light bulb was put in for warmth and food and water for snacks.
  Cate found that if a hand was in the box petting a duckling they all went to sleep. If a hand was not in the box everyone was awake to the sound of peeping ducklings. Duck motherhood is not ducky.
  The next morning Helen Rapson, a licensed waterfowl rehabilitation, was contacted and the ducks were taken to her shelter.
"Be kind to your friends in the swamp
Where the weather is always damp,"

  Helen identified the ducklings as wood ducks that had been a threatened species during the 19th century. Wood ducks nest near water as it is important for the ducklings to be in the water within days after hatching. Also she said that wood ducklings are so hyper that wood duck mothers often think Ritalin.
  Helen said Thursday that all the ducklings are doing well. Provisions will be made that their feathers are waterproofed with duck oil and in about three weeks they will be ready to be released into the wild at a reservoir near Evergreen Mill Road.
"You may think that this is the end.
Well, it is!"

Raccoon chases Chamberlin cat Top of page
May 09, 2001

David and Carol Lee Chamberlin's cat was chased toward the porch by a rather raggedy looking raccoon as the sun was starting to set late Wednesday. The raccoon persisted even when David threatened the animal with a hiking staff after it had pursued the cat from around the side of the old bank house to the front door. The Sheriff's Department and the animal warden were notified and they, of course, recommended getting the pets all in and not contacting the raccoon. The suspicious animal was last seen in the Smallwood House back yard heading toward the post office. Nothing else raccoon wise happened by the time it was dark Thursday.
   Sadly Huorassa Hosseini is leaving the Waterford Post Office for assignment elsewhere and her post will be filled by a new appointee. Other Post Office news is that Sandy Skyta is landscaping in Lawrenceville, Ga., but expects to end her world-tour retirement trip and return home by May 13. Anne Carter is continuing her recovery in Loudoun Hospital's long-term care. She is receiving calls and visitors. In the mean time the sparrows have returned to her house and are busy building their usual nest behind her porch light.
   Waterford is just finishing apple-blossom time this week. Maidstone has resumed work on Norman Weatherholtzes' house and Ethan Dafner has the chicken pox. The spots were first noticed Tuesday and by Thursday were still a very light sprinkle. Ethan is 5 and has availed himself of this opportune age to have chicken pox. He has the good fortune to be home from school but not sick enough to be kept from having a good time.He said that except for one spot on the top of his head he doesn't even notice he has them.
   The spring meeting of the Waterford Citizens' Association will be Tuesday, May 22, at the Old School. Agenda items include: Fourth of July, barbecue planning, and phone directory along with other items.The social hour starts at 7 p.m. with the meeting at 7:30 p.m. Notice the overlap.

Tour Spins Setting into Gold Top of page
May 02, 2001

Historic Garden Week Chair Maureen Mercker, the Leesburg Garden Club volunteers and the owners of the houses on The Historic Garden Week Tour, spun the setting for the jewel of Waterford into shining gold last Sunday and Monday.Perfect weather accompanied the skillfully planned and coordinated combination of guides, parkers and publicists to make the tour a textbook example of how to present the right houses with the right owners to the right people in the right manner.The preparation was evident as one tour house owner exclaimed, "Just before the tour began a lady came through with a 'punch' list checking that everything had been done." Expert preparation was also evident at the Catoctin Presbyterian Church as new high standards were established for luncheons in the number, variety and quality served at the church Monday.While much of western Loudoun is suffering from the onus of phony co-lone-y McMansions and Davy Crockett Gothics, this tour was proof that valuable things are possible and are being built while the preservation and protection of the best of the old is taking place with classic Virginia understatement.
  Visitors in the village last weekend also included hundreds of bicyclists.One was heard to say that a nice thing about Waterford is what it is in the middle of. Such a triumph for Waterford was heartening to us all especially as the word spread among concerned preservationist that the Mosby Heritage area near Aldie is under attack by the prospect of another supermarket mall.
   The Greystone Community Pool has lengthened its hours from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. this year. A traditional Memorial Day opening is planned to inaugurate the new and improved deck. Helen Wolcott is the new president and will answer questions about membership or anything else pool related.
.  All is well with Anne Carter Smith who is recovering nicely from her heart surgery. She expects to be home in Waterford soon enough not to allow spring to triple by-pass her.
   Cary Gravatt is the new president for the Waterford Foundation. He was elected at the annual meeting at the Old School April 17 Neil Hughes, former president was elected to a second term on the board of directors. Newly elected were Christine Kropat, Kevin Ruedisueli, Cate Magennis Wyatt, Bruce Cleveland, and Evelyn Godfrey.

Sam Palmer was a last survivor Top of page
April 25, 2001

Sam Palmer, the last surviving member of Waterford's John Wesley Methodist Church old board of trustees has left us. He was a veteran of WW II and resident of Waterford since then, until moving to Purcellville. Sam became the sage of central Main Street when he lived in the Janney house, moving there after earlier living in the Hollingsworth-Lee house. He and his family would set out of an evening on the front porch that afforded an excellent view up and down the street. Little escaped his notice. His opinion of what he noticed could only be determined by the action of a toothpick he kept in his mouth as an aid to stop smoking. He was an expert observer of interpersonal relationships and a wise person would always clear any contemplated action with Sam before proceeding. Sam worked for Arthur Godfrey for many years at Beacon Hill. His distinguished manner and sense of decorum made his presence at any social event in Waterford an absolute necessity. His reliability and trust was such that for many years anyone leaving their house for an extended period would leave the keys with Sam and be assured that all would be well on their return.

Few knew of Sam's abilities as an actor. This came to the fore during a filming at Morven Park for a David Wolper Civil War docu-drama filmed in the late '70s. Because of the involvement of horses and carriages it was decided to film without a rehearsal a scene of the arrival of a Union general and his lady for a party. At the word "action" Sam strode purposefully toward the large front door of Morven Park mansion. He was dressed in the grand manner of a mid-19th century butler in brocade and knee britches. Sam opened the door and bowed and smiled. He took the general's hat and gloves and the lady's wrap and pointed the way to the ballroom. The two actors were awe struck at Sam's dignity and presence. All had gone well on the first take and everyone was amazed at the perfection of Sam's performance. The director exclaimed, "Look at that. He did that like he had been doing it all his life." The director asked where had Sam studied acting. We told him Mr. Palmer had studied in McLean, at Beacon Hill, and in Waterford.

Waterford blooms in Garden Week Top of page
April 18, 2001

Sunday and Monday tours in Waterford start Historic Garden Week sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia, April 21-28. The Leesburg Garden Club is the host for the five houses and their gardens around the village. Tickets are available at the Waterford Foundation's Old School and if you were lucky enough to make reservations by April 12, Monday lunch was available at the Catoctin Presbyterian Church. The hours for the tour are 1-5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday. The Waterford Baptist Church, site of one of the "undefeated village's" battles during the Civil War is also on the tour.
  Frog Pond, the home of Linda and Stanley Rodimon just nearing completion, is especially interesting from a preservation point of view. The land is part of the North Meadow property that underwent an easement process under the auspices of the Waterford Foundation. Along with Casey and Jeff Nesbit's Fairhaven Farm, Frog Pond had all the improvements sited so that the rural open character of the land would preserve and protect the soft edges of the Waterford Historic District. Coincidentally Waterfordian Allen Kitselman the Rodiman's architect for Frog Pond roamed these fields as a tadpole.
  The aptly named Haverhill, also known as Steer's House, offers among the other visual delights created by Tom and Jayne Walker, a country veterinary office. This serves to awaken the Herriot-esque aspects of Waterford's fields, animals, and their owners.
  Clover Hill is always a treat to see, having the long history of belonging to the developer of scientific farming John Binns and then the home of the Virts and Costello families who were among the mainstays that created and maintained Waterford as an agricultural center. The girlhood home of Mrs. Bill Hazel, it was restored by the Hazels about 10 years ago. Of special note are the images to be seen of fox chasing through the faux-grained paneling.
  Melrose's Gardens should serve as an inspiration to us all, especially at this time of the year. This house, built curiously during the Civil War, has been brought back from an uninhabited brink by the Allan Josselyn's efforts. The garden demonstrates the potentials that lie in rescued 100-year-old boxwoods and garden plants that have become naturalized.
  Burr Ridge has perhaps the most magnificent view of the Potomac River Valley.
The Thomas W. Blitz's have found a solution to one problem created by Waterford's most dangerous denizens, the white tail deer. Early settlers would spend a lot of time building bear-proof hog pens. Burr Ridge has effective and architecturally attractive deer-proof gardens.

Share the driving and expenses Top of page
April 11, 2001

March slipped by and now is that time when all Waterfordians pause in front of the bulletin board in the Post Office, or any bulletin board anywhere, looking for that magic piece paper with the words like; "Leaving Thursday p.m. non-stop for Lauderdale; Back late, late Sunday after next; Share the driving and expenses; Ask for Adrian 882-6669."
  Or Ocean City, or Virginia Beach, or Daytona, or Key West, or Panama City, or Brownsville, or Baja, or Majorca, Juan les Pines, Minorca, Cote d'Azure, Azule, Gulfo del Gringo; $83 and a bathing suite, a towel, a blanket, two packages of Nabs and a church key.
  Spring break is here.
  JoEllen and Molly Keating with Blair Henderson go to The Mayan Riviera, between Cancun and Cozamel, via BWI Thursday morning. Some habits never go away. It's educational. See the pyramids, the jaguar throne, swim in a cenote, and learn to wind surf and speak Spanish; Drink iridescent blue drinks, mangoed in tall glasses. Hear the throbbing bongos. Get a head start on summer. Buy an iguana.
  When you get back you can look forward to the more historic things in life in Waterford, like: The Waterford Foundation will have its annual meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the Old School Tuesday, April 17. The guest speaker will be S. Vance Wilkins Jr. who currently enjoys 22 grandchildren. He is also Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.
  The Greystone pool monitors will have a meeting at Greystone, across from the pool, Monday, April 16, at 7 p.m. The meeting is for any members and perspective members who want to be informed. The pool has a bigger new deck that's better than all the places mentioned above, all summer long.

Hourassa Hosseini heads 20197 Top of page
April 4, 2001

Huorassa Hosseini, whose voice is as soft, charming and friendly as a Persian tapestry, is now leading the Waterford Post Office, 20197, into its third century.
  Like a magic world traveler, this Tehran native, who received a bachelor of science degree at Delhi University in India, studied English and math at St.George's in London, now presides behind the counter of the historic central universe Waterford facility.
Coming to the United States after teaching math in Tehran until 1994, she began working for the U.S. Postal Service the summer of 1997.
  Her first assignment was as a carrier east of Waterford in the exotic Herndon Post Office. Since then she has served in various capacities with increasing responsibilities in other far-flung locations surrounding Waterford, such as Manassas, Winchester, Reston and Leesburg.
  Hourassa now commutes each day to Waterford from her and her husband's home in Leesburg.
  Their 15-year-old son Arash is a student at Stonebridge and plays piano, after being initially instructed from an early age by his mother. She is steadfastly maintaining the tradition that all roads leading from Waterford also carry the mail.
  The spring rains this week have not stopped the woolly girls behind the Waterford Market from doing their spring thing. With triplets and two sets of twins, the spring lamb population is now at eight. Lamb guru Linda Landreth reports that two more are expected momentarily. She has a reserve flock of 15 lambs at her other location in case we have a shortage of sheep or someone develops insomnia, a shortage of sleep. So far none of the lambs have names, only numbers.
  Further number news on tree 106 near the Ratcliff's is that letters have been sent from both the Waterford Foundation and the Waterford Citizens' Association concurring that the best interests of the community would be served by its removal.
  Last week a petition was circulated to adjacent landowners of Church Street between Second Street and High Street. Approval is being sought so arrangements can be made with Loudoun County to declare the street closed to motorized vehicles and post appropriate warning signs in the street.

The Case of the Grinding Crash Top of page
March 28, 2001

A grinding crash late last Sunday sent Mary Dudley running toward the front of her house on Second Street just in time to see the back of the hit-and-run perp's (That's COPS talk for the perpetrator of a crime, if 8 p.m. Saturday evening is really true to life) car going down Second Street.
   Mary began the chase, "The game being afoot," (As Holmes used to say) northeast on Second. Linda Landreth was heading toward the pasture behind the Waterford Market when she heard the sound of rendering metal. Dropping her buckets of sheep feed she turned in time to see the fleeing vehicle, now pursued by shouting Mary Dudley. It had plunged into the side of Mary's car and then backed up before heading for the Post Office corner. It was a macho safari type lorry suited more for the Sahara. Linda was surprised to see it continue on, so soon after the crash. Mary gave up the chase as the perp fled north on Main Street.
   Just then the lone Samaritan came down Second Street and after seeing what had just happened followed the path of the perp-driven wreck. All along Main Street people were out pointing out the path of the fleeing perp. The lone Samaritan dogged the trail; half hoping to be joined by a posse comitatus, wondering what he would do if he overtook the perp. He noticed the trail along Main Street was strewn with spoor-like parts falling from the damaged get-away car. West on First, crossing the Catoctin Bridge, North on Milltown Road he followed the trail. Alas, somewhere around John Wolford Way on the Milltown Road the trail grew cold.
  Was this a successful escape he thought? Not by a long shot.
   Back tracking to the crime scene he picked up the parts that had fallen from the fleeing perp's vehicle, placing them in a bag. Mary was disconsolate. A side-swiped car, her only means of transportation that enabled this single mother to eke out an existence commuting many miles each day from her humble Waterford home.
   Then from up and down the street came sympathetic villagers. A description of the perp was given here, the make and approximate year of the pursued vehicle was recounted there. Most vital was information on Plate ID. That's police talk for tag number. Next, after Mary had telephoned the Sheriff, came Deputy Michael Cenate. He had been patrolling the Waterford area and had been dispatched to the scene of the crime to investigate. The parts gathered by the lone Samaritan were turned over as evidence.
   Deputy Cenate began to deduce. The vehicle that the perp had used was designed for use in Timbuktu. Repair shops having the parts to complete a repair are scarce in these here parts. As it turned out there were only two between here and Timbuk. One is in Alexandria and one in Tyson's. Before going off duty that night Deputy Cenate arranged for both to be on the lookout. When he returned to duty Wednesday he found that this line of reasoning had paid off. The Tyson's location had a customer whose missing car parts subsequently proved to be in the bag. Armed with this and other information recorded at the scene, Deputy Cenate confronted a suspect and the case was closed.
   Waterford is a village of a thousand eyes. It is a very good place to visit but a very bad place to flee.

Avid gardeners make pilgrimage Top of page
March 21, 2001

The Waterford Gardeners Club, after a lecture about preparing the garden for spring, made a pilgrimage to the Philadelphia Flower Show. Last Friday morning. Ed Lehmann, Edith Crockett, Margaret Good, Diane Solatka, Ginny Witte, Pat Pierce, Lynn Maurer, Mary Kenesson and I went north to the city of origin of many of Waterford's early Quaker settlers. Arriving about 10 the morning in two cars, the group went into the flower show. The show was so extensive that one carload, with one exception, did not see any one from the other carload.
   Leaving Philadelphia at 4:30 p.m., all were treated to traffic delay on Route 95 South, covering the first 20 miles in two hours.
   Everyone confessed to buying tools, seeds, bulbs and bouls. Most are now awaiting shipment of the many things purchased from among the hundreds of garden type dealers at the show. One of the booths was selling iron graveyard gates and all sorts of stone relics from Ireland. There were stone fence posts, horse troughs and even cobblestones from Dublin's streets. With the cobblestones selling at $85 apiece, that's almost as good as having streets paved with gold. And that $85 did not include shipping.
   Waterford, being an Irish settlement of sorts, is getting ready for Saint Patrick's Day. We were wondering what Waterford Ireland was doing to get ready for Saint Patrick's Day. A quick check of the Internet revealed that the other Waterford s known as The Unconquered City. This has something to do with withstanding two sieges during the Civil War. (The other one). We did not warrant sieges during our Civil War (the real one) but we did have at least two battles, or maybe skirmishes, depending on your point of view. Neither one of them resulted in the village being conquered. That makes us The Unconquered Village.
   As you may have guessed, a search for Waterford Ireland's preparation for spring caused us to get bogged down in history.
   There has been much attention paid recently to the state of our streets being about two feet higher on average because of excess paving caused by excess traffic. In the spirit of Saint Patrick's Day, some pseudo-Irish wag has suggested Waterford tear up chunks of the street and sell them to Dublin.


Waterfordians ask for a match Top of page
March 07, 2001

At the Waterford Citizens' Association meeting last Tuesday night Eric Breitkreutz reported that several Waterfordians addressed the Board of Supervisors Monday to encourage budgeting the required 20 percent local government matching funds for the TEA-21 grant given to the county for Waterford. He also stated, looking ahead, arrangements had been made for our village and county representatives to meet with Sen. John Warner and Rep. Frank Wolf. The meeting is to emphasize the need for federal funding necessary to begin solving traffic, drainage and utility problems that have been inexorably destroying the National Historic Landmark village of Waterford.
   Other items included the adoption of the 2001 Budget of $12,090; the approval of by-law changes and lowering the speed limit on Route 662. Kathleen Hughes of the Catoctin Conservation District Association mentioned that there is a Web site,, that contains a lot of information of interest to residents of the Catoctin District.
   It was revealed during the meeting that VDOT, with Teutonic efficiency and perhaps with the use of Hollerinth Card descendants, has designated Tree 106 as having 11 of 12 criteria, any one of which justifies removal. Like most of the trees lining Waterford's streets, its position on Second Street is in a right-of-way no-mans-land. Responsibility for these trees depends on how much way is in the right-of-way, or how much no is in the no-mans-land. The amount of way varies from the traditional 16 1/2 feet necessary for two loaded wagons to pass when our houses were built to 100 feet that is required for standards based on current traffic flow. Nick Ratcliffe, whose house is buffered by Tree 106, brandishing the 1976 tree map, explained how VDOT seeks the approval of both the Waterford Foundation and Citizens' Association before removal operations are considered. Action was deferred because Jeff Bean, Tree Chair, was not present. His objectivity was assured because his house, Hidden House, is more than 200 yards from Tree 106. Everyone was wondering what was the 12th condemning criterion not present in Tree 106.


Springing right to spring rite Top of page
February 28, 2001

March shows promise of coming in like a spring lamb (only two so far behind the Waterford Market) with a substantial snow Thursday ending a winter that would have done justice to two centuries ago. Waterford began the week with some workers sent out from the VDOT Round Hill office cleaning out a clogged ditch on Main Street. As the uphill parking spaces get muddy you can expect to see more gravel dumped to force the water to the downhill side and the ditches will fill up again.
   As St. Patrick's Day approaches Waterfordians who want to be traditionalists can look forward to two spring tonics that celebrate having survived winter. The first tonic is beer of course. Waterford still harbors three or four secret brewers and now is the time to dust off the carboys and capitalize on the ideal temperatures for lagering beer. Most people associated bock beer with spring as a tonic and believe that the dark beer is from the dregs from the bottom of the brewing vats. This is not true. The strong beers known as bock were actually the result of long-term lagering over the winter months. Now that spring is here the best thing to do is to drink it so that room is made to begin new spring batches. It is surprising how many Waterford cellars retain the vestiges of brewing operations. Almost every excavation of a dirt floor reveals the tell tale evidence.
   The frost penetrated the soil much deeper this winter so we can count on surprises emerging as the plants that have hung on because of mild winters are replaced this year by plants that require a long cold spell to make them viable. Consequently Waterford can expect a bumper crop of the most widely known spring tonic collectively known as "greens".
   Cornfields now fallow because of development either proposed or present surround Waterford. They are the ideal environment for poke, dandelion and creasy greens. Occasionally mustard, beet, kale, and collards can be found that have escaped from gardens long gone. Former cornfields seem to be the preferred habitat for poke, dandelion and creasy. These three must be picked young and tender with creasy being the most forgiving about this. Creasy greens, a wild field cress introduced as a weed in 1819, are our favorite. We first found out about them from Richard Newman who would carefully watch for the emerging leafy rhizomes. When boiled down with seasoning meat their subtle peppery taste is a true celebration of spring.
   A word about shopping for seasoning in local stores; we have found that the price varies between 72 cents and $2.89 a pound for the same smoked jowl, hocks or fatback at different stores.


 Top of page




Download the free web browser you can trust
Faster and safer than Internet Explorer

- 11/20/2004 © 2023