Virginia Monuments

Virginia Monuments
"Virginia is for lovers," the slogan says, but the state is also for history buffs. Two important surrenders--the one that ended the American Revolution in Yorktown and the one that ended the Civil War in Appomattox--occurred in Virginia, and eight presidents were born there. Monuments commemorating various moments and historical figures can be found throughout the state.

John Smith

British explorer Captain John Smith was one of the 105 settlers who arrived on the shores on Virginia in 1607. He was a founder of the Jamestown settlement. On a hunting trip, Smith was captured by the Powhatan Indians and condemned to death, but was saved by Pocahontas' intervention. He returned to England in 1609. Smith was also known for expeditions to Chesapeake Bay and, later, to the New England coast. A statue of John Smith by William Couper was erected in 1909 and now stands near the James River in Jamestown, where an easy walking path of about a mile affords visitors the opportunity to stroll around the historic settlement.

Preservation Virginia, Jamestown Rediscovery
1365 Colonial Pkwy.
Jamestown, VA 23081

George Washington Birthplace Monument

The George Washington Birthplace is a national monument that isn't a statue. It's a parcel of land that re-creates an 18th century tobacco farm. A 538-acre park, the "monument," as it is called by the National Park Service, is located in the southeastern part of Virginia, where the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers meet to flow into Chesapeake Bay. Because the original home in which George Washington was born and spent his early childhood burned down in the late 1700s when a spark from the chimney caught a pile of cotton on fire, the buildings, trees, livestock and gardens are replicas. The Memorial House and Colonial Kitchen, built in 1931, are decorated with more than 1,000 museum artifacts. A pleasant natural trail around the grounds stretches about one mile long.

George Washington Birthplace Monument
1732 Popes Creek Rd.
Colonial Beach, VA 22443

Robert E. Lee

Centered in a traffic circle near Monument Avenue in Richmond sits a large and impressive bronze memorial to Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The 21-foot-high statue is mounted on a 40-foot granite pedestal and was sculpted by French artist Antonin Mercie. Lee, who led the Army of Northern Virginia from 1862 until the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865, is memorialized on his horse, Traveller. They are both facing south.

Robert E. Lee Memorial
3321 Monument Ave.
Richmond, VA 23221

Article Written By Ann Oldenburg

Based in the Washington, D.C. area, Ann Oldenburg has been a reporter/editor/author since 1990. She has written for publications including "The Washington Post," "USA TODAY" and "TV Guide." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Florida.

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