On Thursday, May 23, Polegreen hosts an exciting lecture conducted by Dr. Melanie Buffington. Buffington will discuss her research and findings regarding the social functions of public art, specifically monuments and memorials. The diverse sites range from Parisian fountains to Richmond’s Lee monument, and a bubble gum wall to our own Polegreen silhouette structure.
Buffington, Associate Professor of Art Education at Virginia Commonwealth University, earned her Ph.D. and M.A. at The Ohio State University and her B.S. at The Pennsylvania State University. She has published articles, reviews, and chapters in several publications and has travelled extensively in her research of contemporary and historical public art.
The free lecture, Collective Memory: Approaches for Understanding the Social Functions of Public Monuments, will be held at the Virginia Center for Architecture, located at 2501 Monument Avenue, Richmond VA 23220. It begins at 6 pm and is open to the public.
The lecture is supported by the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation.
On Thursday, May 2nd, from 5:30 to 6:30 in the evening, Polegreen will host the 62nd Annual National Day of Prayer event – all are welcome to attend. The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Millions will answer the call to prayer around this year’s theme “Pray for America.”
Participatory Pastor Steve Starzer of Fairfield Presbyterian Church says of the event:
“I always look forward to the National Day of Prayer. We sit shoulder to shoulder with people who represent so many different denominations and affiliations. Our differences are set aside since we all agree on the fact that there is nothing more important for us to do than to join our hearts and voices in prayer for our community, those who serve us, those who lead us and for our nation as a whole. We sit in a place where generations before us recognized the dual nature of prayer: it is both a privilege and a responsibility – it ought never to be taken lightly.”
National Preservation Week 2013 is quickly approaching and Polegreen is excited to participate with our own Preservation Week event. On Tuesday, April 23rd, Polegreen hosts a talk and reception on-site with our architect Carlton Abbott. Carlton will discuss his design of the silhouette structure that preserves the locale and the memory of the original Polegreen Meeting House. Please join us at 6 pm for this special opportunity to hear from Carlton and to celebrate the multitude of preservation efforts of the Historic Polegreen Church Foundation.
This Sunday, Polegreen will utilize the historic site for its original intended purpose: a worship service. Over the course of its history, Historic Polegreen Church has played host to a multitude of worship services for a multitude of worshipers. From the Hanover Dissenters who established the church in 1747, to Patrick Henry who articulated the principles of the American Revolution, those who have worshiped at Polegreen have served an integral role in the history of America.
On Easter, Polegreen continues to honor the roots of the historic site and invites anyone interested to participate in a sunrise service. Fairfield Presbyterain Church and Mechanicsville Presbyterian Church are pleased to welcome all to this special event that begins at 7 a.m. Refreshments will be provided and participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets as needed.
As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we acknowledge Sarah Winston Syme Henry, mother to America’s most revered patriot Patrick Henry. Other than this maternal role, little is known or published about Sarah. It has been recorded that she was from a prominent family of English ancestry, born to Isaac Winston and his wife Mary Dabney of Hanover County in 1710. She married first Colonel John Syme and had a son by him, John Syme, Jr. After the death of Colonel Syme, she married Scottish-born planter John Henry in 1734 as a twenty-four year old widow.
Two years into their marriage, on May 29, 1736, Sarah gave birth to their second son, Patrick Henry. Patrick was once thought to have been of humble origins, but he was born into the middle ranks of the Virginia land gentry at Studley in Hanover County. With Henry, Sarah had eleven children – two died at young ages leaving two sons and seven daughters in the family. It is well documented that Sarah brought young Patrick to Polegreen. Despite her English heritage and her family’s affiliation with the Anglican Church, Sarah and Patrick traveled from Studley to Polegreen and listened to the preachings of Samuel Davies – the voice and advocate for religious freedom in America.
Sarah Winston Syme Henry spent her final years at “Winton,” an Amherst County plantation where she is buried in the family cemetery. The grave of Sarah, cared for by Preservation Virginia since 1965, pays tribute to this woman – the mother of Patrick Henry and a historically significant parishioner of Polegreen.
The rich history that the Polegreen site maintains includes the education and worship of 18th century black slaves under the leadership of Samuel Davies. In a time when engaging slaves in this capacity was unthinkable to most, Davies invited slaves to his home and to Polegreen to partake in prayer, hymns, and literacy lessons. With no schools or other means of education for blacks in existence, the reading and writing taught by Davies provided an educational outlet for the black slave population in the area. No records exist to show the names of the individuals engaged during Davies’ ministry, but we can gather an idea of number based on Davies’ report that forty blacks partook of communion in just one Sunday at Polegreen. In celebration of Black History Month, Historic Polegreen Church reflects on the ministry of Samuel Davies, who believed and declared the equality of all souls, and acknowledges the multitudes of slaved individuals who share in the Polegreen story.
Visitors to Polegreen often ask “what is the smaller structure?,” referencing the Morris Reading Room at the far end of the site. In the 1740s, local brick mason Samuel Morris began reading the Bible and additional religious works in his home. The participatory group of friends and neighbors outgrew Morris’s home and established the Morris Reading Room to meet for prayer and readings. Like the Polegreen Meeting House the Reading Room precedes, it was not called a church because it was not part of the Anglican Church – the only recognized religious entity in America at the time. Four Morris Reading Rooms existed in Hanover County in the 18th century. Polegreen’s Reading Room is designated by a white silhouette structure that now boasts a newly laid brick floor. The brick is an especially appropriate material for the room given the brick-based occupation of establisher Samuel Morris. An informational marker is set to be installed later this year to offer additional education and interpretation for visitors to the Polegreen site.
Need last minute stocking stuffers? Grab a Polegreen ornament! These wooden treasures add a piece of history to the Christmas tree and are available for just $10 apiece. Call 730-3837 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get yours today!
Add an evening stop at Polegreen to your holiday to-do list! This Christmas season, Polegreen boasts an exciting installation of glowing white lights lining the four arches and nine windows of the silhouette structure. They can be viewed nightly between five o’clock and midnight.