Sunday, July 26, 2009

Historic Maury Place Mailbox

On the front page of Saturday's Washington Post was an article that caught our attention: The US Postal service, due to sharply reduced mail volume, is removing a lot of postal boxes around the country. They indicate that if a box has less than 25 pieces mailed per day, it is in danger of being removed. (One small Maine town defended its mailbox by blocking removal with the town's snowplow!)

This article spells trouble to us, because at our corner we have -- not an ordinary (ugly) postal box-- but an historic postal box as shown in this picture with Mac. Twice in the past 10 years, the post office has tried to remove this postal box. The prior owners of Maury Place had to write their US congressperson because the post office was removing the box due to low volume of mail. More recently, the box was damaged, and the post office removed it, saying they could not repair it. When they insisted the box would not be returned, Mac and Jeff also wrote their congressperson, then took the box and repaired it at their expense.

This wonderful mailbox, freshly painted, still stands today serving our neighborhood. We hope to continue to work with our friends at the US Postal service to keep it where it belongs!

Richhmond CenterStage Dazzles!

The performance venue that Richmond residents have long known as the Carpenter Center has been completely renovated as part of the new CenterStage performing arts center. This new performing arts center will greatly enhance the rich and diverse Richmond VA theater community.

In addition to our new CenterStage, visitors to Richmond can enjoy theater in such great venues as Barksdale Theatre, Theatre IV, Triangle Players, and the Firehouse Theatre among others. Richmond also has a wonderful Shakespeare Theatre, a group of actors that performs at various venues. Currently enacting Hamlet at Richmond's historic Agecroft Hall, the group plans to move some of its future productions to CenterStage.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Man, Myth, or Monster"

On Monday, July 20, the Library of Virginia will be opening a new exhibit: "Poe: Man, Myth, or Monster." The exhibit honors the 200th anniversary of Poe's birth and attempts to answer questions about his mysterious death in 1849. It features international movie posters of Poe's works and many artifacts from Poe's life and includes several original Poe manuscripts, a Poe family Bible, and furniture from Poe's last home in Richmond. Admission is free, and the exhibit runs from this Monday through December 5 at the Library of Virginia, 800 E. Broad Street. The exhibit is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 804-692-3500 or visit

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Recommended Reading From Our Friend Ann: The Story of Flying Cloud

In the front hall as you enter Maury Place, you will see to your left a model of the clipper ship Flying Cloud. Jeff found it in an antique shop in Richmond and bought it knowing that the story of Flying Cloud is linked to Matthew Fontaine Maury, the namesake of Maury Place. Jeff and I share a love of reading -- and Maury Place -- so Jeff asked me to read the book and let him know what I thought since he offers the book for sale in the Maury Place gift shop.

So I took the pristine hardcover version of the book that Jeff kindly loaned to me home to Washington, DC. I spent some leisurely hours with Flying Cloud and entered a world that was completely foreign to me. I found a fascinating sea yarn with a little bit of everything. For the sailing afficionado, great descriptions of actually sailing the ship, with rousing accounts of piloting through violent storms. For the women's history fan, an inspiring saga of Eleanor Creesy, the female navigator and captain's wife, who plotted the ship's course and set a longstanding world time record for sailing from New York to San Francisco around the tip of South America. For the social history fan (or just plain gossip lover), author David Shaw gives you the back story of Flying Cloud's passengers. And for everyone who is curious about Matthew Fontaine Maury, you'll see his master navigation skills at work, as Eleanor Creesy relied on his sea charts for Flying Cloud's record-setting voyage.

Now about that pristine copy of the book that Jeff loaned to me. It's not so pristine any more. My black and white "cow cat," Frank, decided that it would be a great idea to practice his jumping skills. He took a full glass of iced tea with him which went all over the off-white carpet, a stack of magazines, a pile of bills, and....that pristine copy of Flying Cloud. Let's just say that the book looks well-loved and Frank will be buying Jeff a new hardcover copy of Flying Cloud.