Monday, January 30, 2023

In the New Year 50 years ago: What was going on in Williamsburg?

(WYDaily/Courtesy Virginia Gazette archives at Williamsburg Regional Library)
(WYDaily/Courtesy Virginia Gazette archives at Williamsburg Regional Library)

Many things have changed since January 1969.

The internet was invented, we landed on the moon, America elected its first black president and much, much more.

Despite 50 years difference, there are some issues that have stuck around or resurfaced in Williamsburg, such as traffic and parking complaints around town and political redistricting in the region.

History can repeat itself.

The Virginia Gazette, which was a weekly paper at the time, gives a glimpse into issues in the Williamsburg area, from Charles City County all the way down to York County.

Engagement, marriage and death notices span through the paper, which include far fewer photographs than today’s newspapers.

Here are some excerpts from the Friday, Jan. 3, 1969 Virginia Gazette:

Redistricting

Page 1 news item:

“RESIDENTS of York County will attend a public hearing at 2 p.m. Feb. 4 on a request for redistricting of the county. The order calling for the hearing was signed by Judge Robert T. Armistead Jr.

The petition was submitted to the York County board of Supervisors in July; it asked the court to proceed to adopt, prior to January, 1971, a rearrangement of the five districts in the county that would provide a more equitable distribution of population.

York Commonwealth’s Attorney G. Duane Holloway presented the petition. Earlier, the county’s Democratic Club submitted a petition to the court that requested redistricting ‘with all reasonable speed.’ That petition was taken under advisement by the Circuit Court judge.”

Page 2 editorial:

“York County has once again beaten James City County to the draw.

A public hearing has been set for February 4 in York County on a request for redistricting of the county. The board members apparently are thankful that the hearing is to be held almost immediately and that a more equitable representation for its citizens could be immediate in the offing.

Since the law now definitely says that there shall be equal representation on public bodies, there is no question about the need for redistricting James City County. There can be, it seems to us, no argument that there is now anything like a one-man, one-vote situation in the county.

There are two ways to follow up a petition, and the two depend largely upon the type of petition that has been filed.

In York County, the plan is to rearrange the present five magisterial districts, keep the number on the Board of Supervisors the same as it is now.

James City County, with an awkward number of four men, has to call upon a tie-breaker to settle any two to two vote.

It has been suggested that when the redistricting of James City County is accomplished (as it must be, eventually, to comply with federal law) the Board of Supervisors will no longer need a tie breaker because Stonehouse and Powhatan districts may be combined into one.

We hope that is only a wild idea that someone has dreamed up and has no basis for fact. As the county grows in population, the people need more, not fewer, representatives to operate the government. Five would be nice.

— E.D.”

Here are some related stories from recent history:

Traffic and parking

“CORNER DANGERS — Intersection accidents are one of the five major types that results in the most damage and injury. Drivers hurrying to and from vacation spots should be especially careful at dangerous corners.”

“Illegal Parking —

(WYDaily/Courtesy Virginia Gazette archives at Williamsburg Regional Library)
(WYDaily/Courtesy Virginia Gazette archives at Williamsburg Regional Library)

The photographer had to wait some minutes for the traffic, backed up behind this parked truck, to edge around before the picture could be made. The corner is one of the most dangerous in the city; possibly because of the extremely hazardous, blind corner, there are few accidents — everyone who drives in the city is aware of the particular problems it presents. It is at the corner of Prince George St. and Boundary St. A couple of minutes after this picture was taken, traffic again was backed up all along the block.”

Here are some related stories from recent history:

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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