Archived Story

Tours help open our eyes to history

Published 11:59pm Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sometimes it’s easy to go about your business and not see the city around you. That happens to me a lot as I hurry to and from work. I can only assume that many Suffolkians are the same way.

In the hustle and bustle of daily life it’s easy to forget, for example, that Union and Confederate soldiers once marched over the very ground we drive on.

But not everyone in Suffolk has forgotten these important moments in Suffolk’s history.

Kermit Hobbs, a local historian who is bursting with Civil War stories, is among those whose passion helps keep these moments alive. Hobbs told the Suffolk News-Herald he had grown up exploring the trenches before he even knew their historical significance. When he finally read about all the local sites, he was bitten by the history bug, and he has been sharing that passion ever since.

This Saturday, Hobbs will offer his annual spring tours of Civil War sites in Suffolk. The tours are sponsored by the Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society and raise funds for the organization, which seeks to collect, preserve, interpret and promote awareness of the history and culture of Suffolk.

The two tours will differ in length, cost and sites visited. The shorter, morning tour will focus on Battery Onandaga, Fort Connecticut and the site of the Battle of Deserted House. The longer, afternoon tour will guide participants from Battery Onandaga to Fort Stevens, Fort Huger and Fort Rosecrans. Reservations and fees are required for both tours and can be made by calling the society at 539-2781.

There is no better way to learn about Civil War history than from a passionate expert like Hobbs. In the 50 years he’s been offering tours of historic sites, it’s not hard to imagine he has inspired a few new historians.

If you can’t make either of the tours, the society has two more opportunities to explore Civil War history this weekend.

At 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, costumed guides will take participants on a walk through historic Cedar Hill Cemetery, telling the stories represented by the monuments there.

The Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society and Suffolk citizens like Kermit Hobbs selflessly provide an important service by keeping the history of this community alive. Instead of just driving past an historical site for the hundredth time, this weekend offers an excellent opportunity to learn about the history that happened there.

And the tour fees will help the society support its important goal of preserving and sharing the history that has formed Suffolk into the city it is today.

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