Tuesday, January 31, 2023

What’s behind a name: The Humelsine Parkway

During the 1950’s, support for the creation of a fife and drum corps came from L to R: Carlisle Humelsine (President of CW), John W. Harbour (Director of Exhibition Buildings), and William D. (Bill) Geiger (Director of the Craft Shops) (1958 photo). (WYDaily/Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums Alumni Association)
During the 1950s, support for the creation of a fife and drum corps came from L to R: Carlisle Humelsine (President of CW), John W. Harbour (Director of Exhibition Buildings), and William D. (Bill) Geiger (Director of the Craft Shops) (1958 photo). (WYDaily/Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums Alumni Association)

The Williamsburg area is known for its rich history — from the banks of the James River, to the Yorktown Battlefield, to Historic Toano.

So, it only makes sense that some landmarks are named after important or well-known people in the area.

This week, let’s take a look at Humelsine Parkway, also known as Route 199.

A two-lane highway in either direction, Humelsine Parkway arcs around the southwest side of the Williamsburg, hitting James City County, York County and the city in one large swoop.

Humelsine Parkway was named after Carlisle H. Humelsine, former executive vice president, president and chairman of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Humelsine died from heart disease on Jan. 26, 1989, according to an obituary published in the New York Times.

He was 73 years old.

Humelsine worked for the foundation in multiple capacities from 1953 to 1985, according to the obituary. He came to Williamsburg after working seven years with the State Department under several secretaries of state, including James F. Byrnes, George C. Marshall, Dean Acheson and John Foster Dulles.

He also served in World War II, and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and won the Bronze Star and Distinguished Service Medal, according to a Washington Post story.

Humelisine was known for increasing Colonial Williamsburg’s attendance and widening its support from philanthropies, according to his obituary.

Virginia Sen. Thomas “Tommy” Norment is also Humelsine’s former son-in-law.

Virginia’s bridges, highways and interchanges can be named by either the Commonwealth Transportation Board or by action of the General Assembly, Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Brittany Nichols McBride said.

In the case of Route 199, the General Assembly took action to make the name come to fruition in 2004.

The bill was proposed by former Del. William K. Barlow, who represented the 64th District in the Virginia House of Representatives.

The total cost to designate the road was $600 in the 2003-2004 fiscal year, which covered the cost for fabrication and installation of three signs by VDOT.

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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