With new roadside marker, Hanover Tavern joins historic ranks
A new highway marker along Route 301 calls attention to Hanover Tavern’s historical significance.
Hanover Tavern Foundation president Frank Bradley, Del. Chris Peace, Foundation board member Ashley Peace, Foundation vice-president Catharyne Back, and executive director David Deal share a laugh in front of the new marker on Route 301.
Elected officials, Hanover Tavern Foundation members and other supporters gathered at the Tavern parking lot Saturday morning for a brief dedication ceremony.
“Today marks a fabulous milestone in the history of the Hanover Tavern Foundation, as we continue the preservation and acknowledgment of this great old building,” said David Deal, the foundation’s executive director.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s taken this long to actually put up a highway marker for the Tavern,” he added.
Deal said the new marker materialized largely due to the efforts of foundation board member Ashley Peace and her husband, Del. Chris Peace. Both were in attendance at the ceremony.
“I want to thank both of you so much for your commitment to Hanover Tavern and our foundation,” Deal said.
Del. John Cox, who represents the House of Delegates’ 55th District, which encompasses the Hanover Tavern, further thanked the Peaces for their dedication.
“It’s folks like Chris and Ashley and the Foundation and all of you who have taken a part in this—I commend you for your efforts,” he said.
Cox also emphasized the need to shed more light on local historic resources.
“We have so much of a history here in God’s country, and we need to show it off,” Cox said.
Representing the Virginia Department of Historic Resources was Peter Luebke, the historian for its highway marker program. He said the program has commemorated events of state and national significance since 1927. The department has erected approximately 2,500 roadside markers statewide, oversees the development of each one and ensures its historical accuracy.
“The highway marker program is one of many programs the Virginia Department of Historic Resources oversees to foster, encourage, and support the stewardship and use of Virginia’s significant architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources,” Luebke said.
Canova Peterson, the Board of Supervisors’ 2012 vice-chairman, brought greetings from the board.
“In deference to the Town of Ashland, this is truly the center of the universe,” he said of the Hanover Courthouse area.
“We are so fortunate to have practically the entire history of our nation right here at our footsteps, and recognizing here today a little bit more is a great thing for the county,” Peterson concluded.
Deal mentioned several other recent improvements to the Tavern grounds. The parking lot has expanded by 20 spaces. A brick arrival court now helps direct visitors to the rear entrance. Sidewalks have been reconfigured, and new landscaping has been installed. A 19th century smokehouse has returned to the Tavern, after having spent the past eight decades across the street behind the Courthouse complex.
“It’s helped improved our traffic flow, our safety. We’ve increased the number of parking spaces and improved the visitor amenities, and we’re still working on it,” he said.
Deal thanked everyone who participated in the foundation’s fundraising efforts.