Rich, waterlogged history told on Wednesday

Published 10:38 pm Friday, December 7, 2018

The Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society and Suffolk Public Library are bringing in locals with deep ties to the city’s waterman culture and history for a free, public presentation on Wednesday.

The latest in a series of “Afternoon Conversations” organized by the library is called “History, Heritage & Preservation!” This presentation will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Phillips-Dawson House at 137 Bank St.

Afternoon Conversations discuss regional history and other local topics of interest. Speakers from the Crittenden-Eclipse Village Preservation group in North Suffolk and the Nansemond River Preservation Alliance are expected to pack this session to the brim with colorful information, according to library associate Thomas Farrar, who co-organizes the talks with Library Outreach and Operations Assistant Joseph Ficklen.

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“We’ve actually had a lot of community interest in this event,” Farrar said. “It might be an extra-long session this time.”

The “Crittenden-Eclipse Village Preservation” page on Facebook has gained hundreds of followers since it was first established in late August. The goal is to preserve local wetlands and the rich heritage of watermen that made their living in these waters.

Local waterman and artist Wayne Martin will have several of his amazing watercolors at the presentation, each pulling from the natural splendor of Suffolk. Eclipse resident Bill Cary will talk about his family’s history in the community, including his mother, who was deployed to Pearl Harbor to help provide aid shortly after the attack on Dec. 7, 1941, according to fellow Eclipse resident Kelly Hengler.

“He has a rich heritage here in the village,” Hengler said about Cary.

Suffolk River Heritage chairman Karla Smith and board member Larry Saint will open up about their book “Screwpiles: The Forgotten Lighthouses,” a pictorial history on the unique lighthouses in southeastern Virginia, northeastern North Carolina and southern Maryland waterways before the Civil War. NRPA President Elizabeth Taraski will round out the afternoon with a look at some of the organization’s environmental programs in schools and around the city.

Hengler said the event will be less like a lecture and more like an hour to share stories that are steeped in local waters.

“I just kind of went around and asked good folks who might want to participate and put together a storytelling panel,” she said, with an open invitation for anyone interested in hearing them.