We believe that an important way to preserve history is to gather and share the stories, facts about the homes, places, and people who lived here. To do that, we are continuing our signature event: the Christmas in Hillsboro Historic Homes Tour, as well as initating a series called “History Talks, Trips, and Treasures.” We will also hold events to raise funds for our projects and other efforts.
Historian Rich Gillespie at the Burnt Mill on Sunday, October 21 for History Talks, Trips, and Treasures
Meet us Sunday, October 21 at 4 p.m. at the Burnt Mill to tour the historic ruins of the mill and the miller’s house and to hear from Rich Gillespie with his talk called “The Power of Symbolism in our Burnt Mill: Autumn, 1859–Another Moment in Time for A Local Landmark.”
Please bring your own chair and dress appropriately for the weather as this trip will be outside. Park in the field off of the driveway at 15250 Cider Mill Road near Hillsboro, VA Light refreshments will be provided. The event is free–a suggested donation of $5 a person is welcome! You may also bring a pumpkin to be placed at the mill. Register to attend.
Thank you to Ryan Siemers, owner of the mill and board member of the Short Hill Historical Society, for giving us the opportunity to visit these historic ruins! This event is part of the Short Hill Historical Society’s History Talks, Trips, and Treasures series, sponsored by The Purcellville Gazette-the Title Sponsor, and Jason P. Sengpiehl of the Sengpiehl Insurance Group.
About Rich Gillespie
Rich Gillespie taught U. S. History and ran the huge, very locally involved History Club at Loudoun Valley High School from 1973 to 2004. He gave many students intern and volunteer experiences with local historic sites. From 2004 to 2014, he served as the Director of Education at the Mosby Heritage Area where he ran public programming, school outreach, and publications. For the next year, he was the Executive Director of the Association and is now the Historian Emeritus for the Mosby Heritage Area. Many of you who love history know Rich or know about him, and we are honored to have him here with us today to lead this trip at the Burnt Mill. Thank you to Rich and to Ryan Siemers who owns the Burnt Mill and is our host for this event and to our sponsors: The Purcellville Gazette, the series Title sponsor, and Jason Sengpiehl of the newly expanded Sengpiehl Insurance Group.
During hi talk, Rich will examine the power of our local landmarks and their roles as placemarks for and symbols of our shared history. He will review the famous story of the burning of the mill in 1864, and how that is symbolic to Virginians of their history, then examine another time five years earlier–autumn 1859 in the wake of John Brown’s Raid just a dozen miles away–in which the old Potts-Neer Mill became similarly symbolic of Virginia’s history.
Holiday Concert at Stony Point Farm on Friday, November 23
Kick off the holiday season at the holiday concert at Stony Point Farm the day after Thanksgiving! At 4 p.m., we will hear the talented Neil Weston and Grace Srinivasan perform a variety of holiday songs for the season. Light refreshments will be provided. Seating is limited to 50 for this event, and RSVPs are required with a suggested donation of $10 a person (non-refundable). Use the button below to donate online and RSVP today!
Greens Workshop on Sunday, December 2
Help us make the decorations that will fill the homes on this year’s Christmas in Hillsboro Historic Homes Tour! Learn the art of making these decorations–which you can use later on your own–and join the fun! The Greens Workshop will be held from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 2 at Bear Feet Retreat Bed and Breakfast. Bring your own gloves and clippers, and a dish to share! Register today and bring a friend! Register today!
Christmas in Hillsboro Historic Homes Tour, Saturday, December 8
Tour historic homes in the Short Hill region beautifully decorated for the holidays with fresh greens! Homes will be open to ticket holders only from noon to 6 p.m. Ticket holders will drive to each of the homes on tour. See photos from past tours. Watch for more details and to buy tickets!
Support the Tour as a Sponsor or Volunteer!
Please support the Short Hill Historical Society’s Christmas in Hillsboro Historic Homes Tour! This wonderful event that brings hundreds of people to our area and that highlights the history and beauty of western Loudoun.
There are several sponsorship opportunities available and we will recognize you and your business in a variety of ways to thank you for your support, including online and in the house tour booklet that everyone who purchases a ticket will receive. Click here to see the sponsorship opportunities available this year!
You may also volunteer to help by being a docent, selling tickets, and with set up and parking direction on the day of the event. This is great for students and scouts!
Earlier this Year…
Historian and Author Meredith Bean McMath on featured at September History Talks, Trips, and Treasures
More than 80 people joined us at North Gate Vineyard on Thursday, September 20 to hear from historian, playwright, and author Meredith Bean McMath, winner of the Loudoun History Award. Her talk was called Seldom Told Stories from Loudoun Civil War History during which she shared a letter from a Confederate nurse, the Union soldier’s conversation with a Loudoun slave, the pro-Union female journalists who helped with the Underground Railroad, the only Union troop that formed in Virginia, the Confederate resident of Hillsboro who took in a Union soldier, the Union Burning Raid and its even-handed destruction – all little known true stories from Loudoun Civil War history. Over the years, Meredith Bean McMath has brought their stories to life through plays, museum presentations, documentaries, books, and an opera. Meredith is a former resident of Hillsboro who, with her husband, Chuck, spent 27-years restoring Birkett’s Tavern, Meredith is an historian, author, prize-winning playwright, and the Managing Director of Run Rabbit Run Productions, Inc. Her Creative work includes documentaries, plays, lecture series and living history presentations and programs commissioned by museums and preservation groups which include the National Museum of American History, the Newseum, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Waterford Foundation, Oatlands Plantation and the Lincoln Preservation Foundation. She is a recipient of the Loudoun History Award and a League of Women Voters Award for advancing the knowledge of women’s history, and holds a BA in History from The College of William and Mary and an MS in Arts Administration from Shenandoah University. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of VSA – Loudoun County.
This is part of the Short Hill Historical Society’s History Talks, Trips, and Treasures series sponsored by The Purcellville Gazette (title sponsor) and Jason Sengpiehl of the Sengpiehl Insurance Group. Food for this event was provided by Bear Feet Retreat B&B.
Becky Ottinger Featured at August 30 History Talks, Trips, and Treasures
Ms. Ottinger has considerable knowledge and a passion for teaching, history, and community. After 32 years, the last 25 years at Loudoun County High School, she retired from teaching government, economics, and AP American history. She is the Vice President of the Loudoun Education Foundation and is a past president and now historian of The Ladies Board of INOVA Hospital. Her volunteerism has extended to work at the Thomas Balch Library for more than 20 years where she mainly processes collections which are preserved in the archives of the library. Her love of history and old houses has led her to do research on the buildings in Hillsboro seeking to understand the history of the small community through the architecture and purpose of the buildings as well as the changes made over time. This was the focus of her talk on August 30.
The Short Hill Historical Society’s History Talks, Trips, and Treasures series is sponsored by The Purcellville Gazette—the Title Sponsor, and Jason P. Sengpiehl of the Sengpiehl Insurance Group.
History Talks, Trips, and Treasures with Dr. David Clark
Nearly 60 people joined the Short Hill Historical Society on Sunday, May 20 to hear Dr. David Clark talk about the First Loudouners. The event was part of the non-profit organization’s History Talks, Trips, and Treasures series. In addition to his presentation, professional archaeologist Dr. Clark brought many ancient Native American artifacts for people to examine, including pottery shards, arrowheads, weapons, and tools.
During his presentation, Dr. Clark said that Loudoun County has the potential for 15,000 to 16,000 year-old sites, and emphasized that Loudoun County had the geophysical characteristics necessary for settlements to thrive: water, rocks, minerals, rich soil, plants, and animals. He talked about the value of rock shelters and caves, prehistoric tribes, the eight types of rock in our area that were used to make tools, Loudoun Clovis projectiles which are not found anywhere else in the world, how there used to be elk in this area, and that only 5% of the “arrowheads” found are from arrows—many are Atlatl (spear throwing) points. He also discussed ways to protect archaeological resources in our area. Before moving on to the artifacts, he asked the audience how much they thought was known about ancient native Americans in Loudoun. The answer, according to Dr. Clark, is only 1%.
Dr. Clark has an impressive amount of experience which includes serving as the Executive Director and principle investigator of the Loudoun Archaeological Foundation (2007), conducting scientific research and community outreach programs that engage more than 7,000 area residents each year. He has taught at the collegiate level for 38 years and has been a pre-collegiate educator for 43 years. Dr. Clark has national archaeological experience in 8 states, international archaeological experience in 8 countries, and is a community outreach specialist with experience from Washington D.C. to Hawaii. He currently maintains archaeological research and/or community outreach partnerships in Loudoun County with National Trust properties of Oatlands and Waterford, Virginia.
The History Talks, Trips, and Treasures series is hosted by The Purcellville Gazette and Jason P. Sengpiehl of the Sengpiehl Insurance Group.
About Dr. David Clark
David Clark is a professional archaeologist, collegiate (Catholic University-35 years; NVCC-15 years) and pre-collegiate educator (High-School to Elementary-40 years). Dr. Clark has national archaeological experience in eight states, specializing in both historic/prehistoric archaeology and forensics. He is a Public-Archaeology Outreach specialist with experience from Washington DC to Hawaii. David has international archaeological experience in eight countries including Kenya, South Pacific Islands, Vietnam and New Guinea.
Dr. Clark is a specialist in Zooarchaeology and Osteology (Osteoarchaeology) investigating animal/human remains, and human-diets from prehistoric, historic, military, and shipwrecks sites. He has compiled over 125 related publications.
He is a Forensic Education and Field Specialist teaching forensic anthropology and archaeology, human remains recovery techniques and laboratory analysis, and Law-Enforcement Forensics. He has worked in the DC-Northern Virginia area for over 38 years, the last 16 years as a resident of Loudoun County, Virginia.
Dr. Clark is executive director and principle investigator of the LOUDOUN ARCHAEOLOGICAL FOUNDATION (2007) conducting scientific research and community outreach programs engaging over 10 thousand area residents, yearly.
David specializes in PRIMARY/SECONDARY STEM-BASED SCIENCE EDUCATION (Science, technology, engineering, math) including classroom programs for elementary, middle and high school students, archaeology summer camps for 3-6 grades and Weekend Workshops In Science.
Currently, Dr. Clark maintains archaeological research and/or community outreach partnerships in Loudoun County with Claude Moore Park, Oatlands and Waterford.
History Talks, Trips, and Treasures Resumed April 15, 2018!
More than 80 people joined the non-profit Short Hill Historical Society to kick off its 42nd year and its second season of History Talks, Trips, and Treasures on Sunday, April 15 at the barn at Silverbrook Farm Bed and Breakfast. Historian and mapmaker Eugene Scheel was the main speaker and shared interesting facts about the history of the Short Hill. The board and officers of the non-profit were voted in, photographer Luke Greer showcased his photographs, and there was a chance to win prizes. Get more information and see photos.
Watch for details about the next History Talks, Trips, and Treasures scheduled for May 20 featuring archaeologist Dr. David Clark at the Between the Hills Community Center.
Donations and membership dues for the Short Hill Historical Society will be accepted and may also be made online.
Other guests planned for the series this year include Rich Gillespie, Meredith McMath, Mark Ware, Gary Heath, and Dr. David Clark. Watch for updates, dates, other guests, and more!
History Talks, Trips, and Treasures is sponsored by Sengpiehl Insurance Group and The Purcellville Gazette. If you are interested in sponsoring, please contact us at ShortHillHistoricalSociety@gmail.com.
2017 – Our Year in Review
Christmas in Hillsboro Historic Homes Tour
December 9, 2017
Thank you to our sponsors:
- Alta Terra Farm Bed and Breakfast
- Bank of Clarke County
- Birch Hollow Yoga
- Browning Equipment
- Doukenie Winery
- Fieldstone Farm Bed and Breakfast
- Hillsborough Bed and Breakfast
- Hillsborough Vineyards
- Hunt Country Jewelers
- Keel Point
- Old 690 Brewing Company
- Silverbrook Farm Bed and Breakfast
- The Purcellville Gazette
History Talks, Trips, and Treasures
Our Third History Talks, Trips, and Treasures featuring Historian Rich Gillespie at the Burnt Mill was Amazing!
On a chilly, overcast Sunday at the beginning of November, a sizable crowd gathered at the Burnt Mill to hear the history of the mill and about the burning raids during the Civil War from historian Richard Gillespie. This gathering was the third of the Short Hill Historical Society’s series called History Talks, Trips, and Treasures, and was hosted by the caretaker of the mill, Ryan Siemers. Read more and see photos from the event. The Short Hill Historical Society’s History Talks, Trips, and Treasures series is sponsored by Sengpiehl Insurance Group and The Purcellville Gazette. The October 29 event is also supported by Southern States and hosted by Ryan Siemers.
History Talks, Trips, and Treasures–Recaps
The second in our series called History Talks, Trips, and Treasures featured award-winning author Linda Harris Sittig at Old 690 Brewing Company from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, September 14. Beer and non-alcoholic beverages were sold by the glass and we will serve cheese and crackers. All ages were welcome! Ms. Sittig had a book signing after her talk about how history shapes women’s lives.
Many thanks to Mrs. Sittig for her engaging talk, and to Old 690 Brewing Company for their generosity in opening their doors for us and for donating a percentage of their sales from the evening! Thank you also to our board members and volunteers who made the evening possible, including Carrie Crossfield, Sandy Simmers, Jan Goodrich, Claire Cutshall, and Dee Taplin.
Our first of our History Talks, Trips, and Treasures series featured Eugene Scheel at Hillsborough Vineyards.
We are planning our next History Talks, Trips, and Treasures now…watch for details!