A University of Mary Washington student has taken her historic preservation studies far beyond the classroom with a historic Route 1 tour that kicked off Saturday, Sept. 7 at Riverfront Park in Fredericksburg.
“You have to start with a community that wants to preserve their history,” said Emily Taggart Schricker, a volunteer at the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, who has been an integral part of the planning process for The Route 1 Tour and Fredericksburg Community Day. Last year’s tour brought more than 1,000 participants, and even more were expected this year.
“There will be something for everybody who might want to come downtown,” said Taggart Schricker, a historic preservation major. The Route 1 Tour events included a classic car display, vintage fashion show, live music, children’s activities and food tastings. “They will definitely learn some hidden gems about the things they drive past every day.”
A majority of the events were free, with trolley and walking tour tickets available for purchase online and at the event on Saturday.
UMW student volunteers helped out at many of Saturday’s events. UMW faculty members also were involved, including Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation Michael Spencer and Adjunct Professor of Historic Preservation Kerri Barile. Three out of four event tour guides were Mary Washington graduates, Taggart Schricker said.
The idea for the event, now in its second year, started in October 2011 when Taggart Schricker started volunteering on HFFI’s event committee.
“I suggested doing a tour of Fredericksburg’s 20th-century buildings,” she said.
Her event became a focus on historic Route 1 after a suggestion from HFFI Executive Director Sean Maroney.
“Fredericksburg is a town rich in history, but the 20th century hasn’t always gotten a lot of focus,” said Maroney, citing the large emphasis that is often put on Fredericksburg’s Revolutionary War and Civil War past.
Many of Fredericksburg’s unique features came in the 20th century, he explained, when U.S. Route 1 went straight through Fredericksburg on Princess Anne Street and Lafayette Boulevard. Gas stations, hotels and lunch counters popped up to accommodate the travelers.
Taggart Schricker spent the summer working on the event, researching, organizing, finding sponsors, getting downtown stores involved and making phone calls.
“It’s a great way to revitalize downtown,” Maroney said. “It’s about raising and promoting awareness for the very rich history in Fredericksburg.”
More information can be found at http://www.vintageroute1.com/. Event proceeds will benefit the HFFI, which preserves, protects and restores the city of Fredericksburg and its history.