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History Activities

What is it?
Do you think you can figure out what item from history this is before the end of the video? From staff member Lisa D. (Video Link – coming soon)

Transcribe Lee’s Letter
How much of this letter from General Robert E. Lee can you transcribe? Lee was writing to Confederate Secretary of War George Randolph from his headquarters at Dabbs House, just 4 days before the start of the Seven Days Campaign. View the letter, then check your answer!

Crossword Puzzle: Henrico Historic Sites
Test your knowledge of Henrico history with this crossword from staff member Julian C.! Print-friendly version

History Lessons

Elko Monument
In WWII, the Federal government seized farms at Elko in eastern Henrico for the war effort. In order to protect nearby Byrd Airfield, a decoy airfield was to be constructed on this seized land. The 1896th Engineer Aviation Battalion oversaw the construction of this decoy airfield and was assigned to occupy the site once it was completed.

The people of Elko welcomed the soldiers of the 1896th by holding Sunday dinners, dances, and church services for the troops. Elko continued these community events until the battalion was deployed to the Pacific in early 1944.

At their 30th reunion in 1978, the engineers and servicemen of the 1896th battalion met at Elko Community Center and dedicated this monument, which still stands, to their fallen comrades on the grounds of the community center.

Pocahontas: Wedding Anniversary

The Wedding of Pocahontas and John Rolfe

Happy 406th Wedding Anniversary to Pocahontas and John Rolfe! Pocahontas and Rolfe were married on April 5, 1614, and for the next two years they resided at Varina Farms. Their marriage would create a time of peace that would last eight years between the colonists at Jamestown and the tribes of the Powhatan Confederacy. https://henrico.us/hi…/ourhistory/pocahontas-and-john-rolfe/


History of Peeps
Have you ever wondered how old Peeps Marshmallows really are? No, not the ones in your cupboard! Not only do our history staff research the history of Henrico through our events, programs, and museums, they can also teach us about everyday items like this that we’re all familiar with. Just Born, Inc. acquired the Rodda Candy Company in 1953. It was supposedly these very marshmallow chicks that caught the eye of its owner, Sam Born. An immigrant from Russia, Sam Born grew his candy empire in less than a decade from a small retail store in 1923 to opening a thriving factory during the Great Depression! According to Just Born, Inc., when they first bought the Rodda Candy Company, a single Peep took 27 hours to make – squeezing them from pastry tubes by hand no less! The following year, Born’s son, Bob, designed a machine to speed up the process and cut the production time to just 6 minutes. Originally, Peeps came in just one color – yellow – and this has consistently remained the most popular color in the U.S. With Peeps science experiments, stylish socks, hoodies, plush toys, art shows and eating contests, these sweet confections are firmly stuck in our pop culture!

Emek Shalom Monument
Located in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Eastern Henrico, Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial was erected in 1955 by the New American Jewish Club of Richmond. The monument is among the first of its kind in the country. The Emek Sholom, or ”Valley of Peace,” monument is the centerpiece of a burial ground for Jewish families who came to Virginia after 1933. The Department of Interior granted National Register designation to this site in 1999, prior to the 50-year age requirement due to its significance. The granite memorial originally listed the names of 237 victims of the Holocaust whose families fled to Virginia from Germany and Eastern Europe. By 2010 the list of names was 459.For more information and an image of the 1955 dedication go to http://www.emeksholomcemeteryrichmond.org/

How did the Richmond area react to news of VE Day?
75 years ago today President Truman announced to the nation by radio the surrender of Germany, or Victory in Europe (V-E) Day. Truman noted that, “This is a solemn but glorious hour… Much remains to be done, the victory won in the West must now be won in the East.”

So, how did people in the Richmond area celebrate this monumental news – with parties, parades, and speeches? Surprisingly, no. The Richmond Times-Dispatch headline the following day read: “Calmness Characterizes Mood of City’s V-E Day Observance.” Richmonders received unofficial news of the surrender on May 7 with mixed reactions. Some downtown office workers who’d been saving ticker tape and confetti for a year “showered the corner of Grace and Fourth Streets with pink, yellow and blue paper, but saved twice as much for the day of the official announcement.” A local radio station’s sound truck blasted patriotic music and newsboys shouted out the news to sell newspapers.

Even after the official announcement on May 8, observances were subdued. Federal, state, county and city offices remained open as did factories and some businesses – perhaps pausing to hear the proclamation read, but then going back to work. A few retailers decorated store windows with patriotic décor and placed placards in them declaring “Closed for Victory.” Some businesses tried to open but when few staff showed up to work, closed anyway. Despite low attendance overall, schools remained open and held assemblies for students. Residents flooded churches and synagogues to attend services. The commander of Richmond Army Air Base, located in eastern Henrico, assembled his troops on the morning of May 9 for a simple ceremony of music and a few brief speeches. McGuire Hospital celebrated with a 75-pound victory cake.

A local mother summed it up best, when she commented to the RTD: “It’s the greatest thing in the world for all mothers. But, I’m going to the Red Cross. We must continue to fight in the Pacific.” Listen to Truman’s VE Day announcement

Gabriel’s Rebellion
During the summer of 1800, a plot to overthrow the Virginia State leadership and forge a path to freedom was brewing. The idea followed the emotions of Patrick Henry’s 1775 “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” speech but offered an alternative: “Death or Liberty.” Gabriel’s Rebellion, as it came to be known, was organized by an enslaved blacksmith named Gabriel from Henrico County’s Brookfield Plantation. Gabriel was born into slavery, but he was determined not to die that way. In this American History Teller’s podcast, hear and feel the emotions and details behind the largest planned slave insurrection in American History. Listen to a Podcast by American History Tellers.

Contact Us

Recreation and Parks

Physical Address
6800 Staples Mill Road
Henrico, VA 23228

(804) 501-7275
Inclement Weather Hotline
(804) 501-5132

(804) 501-5284


Mailing Address
P. O. Box 90775
Henrico, VA 23273-0775

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