Book Unveiling

By Terry Harris

October 9 promises to be an important and exciting time for the town of Wakefield for two reasons. 

The first is that on that Saturday the Wakefield Foundation will bring back their ever-popular Community Day – canceled last year due to the pandemic - featuring everything from a parade to children’s games to a mega yard sale to live musical entertainment to a memorial show and sale of artwork by the late Binford Harrell to the famous Wakefield Brunswick Stew.

Second, in conjunction with the festival, the Wakefield Historical Association will unveil their new book, “Wakefield – Photos from the Past” and also provide a display of Wakefield’s history in pictures.

The new book contains old photos of Wakefield along with historical information about the town, and Association board member and chief author of the book Ralph Seeley will be on hand to answer questions about the book.  

Seeley, who described himself as “born and raised right here in Wakefield” said that he is particularly looking forward to the Foundation Community Day because it will be such a great opportunity to share the information that the group as collected over the years – not to mention a chance to reconnect with friends and neighbors he has seldom seen during the pandemic.

As for how this particular book came about, Seeley said, “We had a meeting and decided that we wanted to do a photo book of old photographs of Wakefield, many of them of Railroad Avenue, which was a main site of business in Wakefield in the early 1900s.”

“Over the years we had collected so many photos,” he continued. “A lot came from Fay B. Savedge, and some came from V. L. Worrell, Sr. and also V. L. Worrell Jr.  They took a lot of photos that went into the Sussex and Surry Newspapers back in the day. Those were the main source for this book, though some came from various other people here and there, one or two at a time.”

“I was excited to do the book,” he added, “because one of our historical group goals is to collect historical information and then make it available to local people. The book – and now the Foundation Community Day – are just a great way to do that. While it is a book of photos, almost all of the pictures have some historical information concerning them – an explanation of what’s going on in the picture or details about the people in the photos   The front cover has a picture of Whitmore Store, which is actually a painting that was done by local artist Kitty Nettles.”  

Association Board Member Gayle Lanier pointed out that the new book will make great Christmas gifts for locals and out of town family members and friends. She added that the three previous historical books from the group about local veterans, interesting people from the past, and a volume highlighting quilts and other fabric material collections in the hands of area people will, as well. But Seeley cautioned that with a very small printing of this new book and even fewer of the previous volumes remaining, anyone really interested probably will want to take advantage of the debut day opportunity to purchase any or all of the set while supplies last as no reprinting is planned.

Wakefield Community Day will be held on Saturday, Oct. 9th from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on the grounds of the Wakefield Foundation, 100 Wilson Ave, Wakefield, VA.  For more information & updates call (757) 899-6005 or go to their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wakefieldfoundation.