Addison to tell its story at 46th annual National Road Festival

May 10, 2019

Every village has a story.

The village of Addison will celebrate its story during the 46th annual National Road Festival May 15-19.

The festival will have several special events.

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Post 502 Ladies Auxiliary will host a Civil War Tea from 1 to 4 p.m. May 18 at the Addison United Methodist Church.

Laurel Peirsel, an auxiliary member, said that during the Civil War, such gatherings provided an important support system for women who had lost a husband or other family member.

Ladies will be dressed in period costume. The tea will feature traditional finger foods, such as scones and teacakes. Ladies also will display traditional clothing.

Other members of the Sons of Union Veterans will display period weapons.

A genealogist will be there as well, to assist with any ancestry-related questions from attendees.

The one-room schoolhouse is another special festival feature.

Joan Whetsell, of the Old Petersburg-Addison Historical Society, said that the schoolhouse recently was renovated. It includes old-style wooden desks and a potbellied stove.

The teacher will be in attire that reflects the early 1900s.

Those who visit the schoolhouse will receive lessons in penmanship — with an actual quill pen — math and elocution.

The wagon train is another main attraction. Doc Sherry, wagon master for the westbound wagon train, said that wagon masters had many responsibilities.

“They had to be sure the roads were clear,” he said.

“They also had to plan the route, make sure there were enough provisions, plan water stops and keep everyone together and safe.”

The wagon train will arrive in Addison at approximately 3:30 p.m. May 16.

Donna Holdorf, executive director of the National Road Heritage Corridor, said that the National Road continues to define the region.

“The festival brings forward one important aspect of the construction of this nation’s first federally funded highway — it was a pathway for western expansion,” she said. “Folks travel the road that weekend and get to experience history, culture, local foods, artisans and the pure scenic beauty of the road itself.”

The Historic National Road is a National Scenic Byway — All-American Road, the highest level of scenic byway recognition awarded by the Federal Highway Administration.

“It continues to be a route for people to connect the rich recreational and heritage assets in the region associated with some of the most important aspects of American history — the events that truly formed our nation into what it is today. This is why the NRHC tag line is ‘America’s Road to Revolution,’” she said.

Conceived by George Washington, the National Road stretches from Cumberland, Maryland, to Vandalia, Illinois. President Thomas Jefferson, with the help of Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin, put this plan into motion. Construction began in 1811 on the first leg of the road, which is known as Route 40 or Main Street in many places.

A full schedule of festival events and attractions is available online at www.facebook.com/addisonhistory.