Henrico County Historical Society
PO Box 90775   Henrico, VA 23273   (804)501-5682   hchsinfo@yahoo.com
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Henrico County Historical Society's motto, which is Preserving the Past in the Present for the FutureSkipwith Academy in Three Chopt District, Henrico County, Virginia.Log Cabin in Tuckahoe District, Henrico County, Virginia.Mankin Mansion in Fairfield District, Henrico County, Virginia.Dorey Barn in Varina District, Henrico County, Virginia.Bethlehem Church in Brookland District, Henrico County, Virginia.

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News 2007, First Quarter

HCHS President's Message - February, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jamestown!

It is amazing how the first settlers came by ship to an unknown and often hostile environment with a limited amount of supplies and survived. Even more amazing is that it took almost 400 years to find the original location of the fort. What a birthday present! And all the while it was next to where the reproduction of the original church stands. The artifacts that have been found are impressive and I hope you will join us on our tour of the historic site on March 4th to view them for yourself.

Henricus Historical Park will be celebrating Publick Day on Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20, 2007, and the Godspeed will be moored at the Henricus dock on the James River. You can come and visualize what it must have been like to travel abroad.

Also to commemorate the 400 year anniversary, a state conference of historical societies is planned later this year in cooperation with the Valentine Richmond History Center. Surveys were passed along to members requesting their feedback to aid in the development of a new exhibit to showcase the region and returned to Valentine Richmond History Center.

Stay tuned for an entertaining 2007.

Sarah Pace

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HCHS March Meeting - February, 2007

Jamestown Banner.

The first quarter 2007 meeting of the Henrico County Historical Society will be a tour of Historic Jamestowne on Sunday, March 4th to commemorate the 400 year anniversary of the first English settlement in America. In cooperation with Signa Tours Ltd., departure will be from Glenside Park and Ride (near the intersection of Glenside and Staples Mill Roads) leaving at 10:15AM and returning 5:30PM. Lunch will be served at the Chickahominy House Restaurant and will consist of homemade ham biscuits, Brunswick stew, fruit salad, and a choice of pie for dessert with coffee or tea. Cost will be $50.00 per person to include transportation, admission to Historic Jamestowne, tax and gratuities, lunch, refreshments aboard motorcoach, and driver gratuity.

Invite your relatives, friends, and neighbors to join us! For any additional information, contact Sarah Pace at (804) 285-8047.

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Jamestowne's 400th Anniversary - February, 2007

Jamestown, first established in May 1607, was the site of the first permanent British colony in North America and was the capital of the Virginia Colony. As a result of Bacon's Rebellion in 1676, the statehouse was burned. After a second burning in 1698, the captial was relocated to higher ground at Middle Plantation in 1699, which was then renamed Williamsburg. In the 19th century, Jamestowne Island reverted to little used farmland, and became the site of Confederate earthworks during the American Civil War, intended to provide river defenses against Union gunboats. The Ambler Farm, as it was then known, was burned by escaped slaves, who found the desolate island to be a haven. By 1893, the site of Jamestown was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Barney, who donated 22.5 acres of land, including the 1639 church tower (still in existence as part of the reconstructed 17th-century Jamestown Memorial Church) to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now APVA Preservation Virginia).

In 1934, Colonial National Historical Park obtained the remaining 1500 acre island and partnered with the APVA to preserve the area for public use in an educational manner. By this time, erosion from the river had eaten away the island's western shore; it was generally thought that the site of James Fort lay completely underwater. With federal assistance, a sea wall was constructed in 1900 to protect the area from further erosion. The archaeological remains of the original 1607 fort, which had been protected by the seawall, were discovered in 1994.

Excavation since 1994 has uncovered hundreds of thousands of artifacts dating to the first half of the 17th century. Nearly half of the objects date to the first years of English settlement (1607-1610). The site of James Fort was not washed into the river as most people believed for over 300 years. Uncovered were over 250 feet of two palisade wall lines, the east cannon projection (bulwark), three filled-in cellars, and a building, all part of the triangular James Fort. Also a palisade wall line and a large building were found attached to the main fort to the east.

Sketch of Jamestown (Virginia) fort in 1608.

The image at left is a sketch of Jamestown Fort sent to King Philip III of Spain by his ambassador Zuniga. The sketch was found in the back of a map made by John Smith in 1608. (Reprinted in part from wikipedia.)

Objects belonging to Jamestown colonists 400 years ago, unearthed from the original James Fort site, are on display in the Archaearium Building, a new exhibition facility at Historic Jamestowne. The new facility showcases the findings of the world-renowned archaeological discoveries at the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Exhibits focus on the Virginia Company period and reveal a new understanding of the first English settlers, their relationship with the Virginia Indians, their endeavors and struggles, and how they lived, died, and shaped a new society. Visitors will discover how archaeologists found the fort and encounter displays of arms and armor, medical instruments, personal objects, ceramics, tools, coins, trade items, musical instruments, games, amusements and food remains. Interactive virtual viewers overlooking the site will transport visitors back in time and show them where objects were recovered and what the fort looked like 400 years ago. The viewers also include videos showing the remains of buildings, wells, and artifacts as they were unearthed.

Forensic research on remains believed to be those of Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, a founding father of Jamestown, and "JR", a young gentleman who died of a musket ball wound to his knee, is showcased along with facial reconstructions of three early colonists. A preliminary analysis of over 70 other burials from the mid-1600s that were excavated from an unmarked graveyard discovered beneath the Statehouse provides insights into the population, life expectancy, how they lived and died, and how they buried their dead. Kostelny said these skeletal remains will be reinterred in the Archaearium's memorial courtyard during 2007.

William Kelso, director of archaeology, said evidence of the earliest known surgery in English America, attempts at industry and metallurgy, building and rebuilding of the fort, sophisticated architecture, trade with the Indians, adaptation to the environment in the midst of the worst drought in 770 years, and other discoveries revealed through the exhibits dispel the lingering view traditionally held by some historians that the Jamestown settlers were lazy, ill-prepared and incompetent. Exhibits also provide evidence of friendly as well as hostile interactions with the Indians.

Built over the remains of the last Statehouse in Jamestown (1660-1698), the Archaearium also allows visitors to see portions of the excavated ruins of the Statehouse through sections of glass flooring and preserves the foundations. An outline of the Statehouse building's foundation is represented throughout the facility in the carpeting. (Reprinted in part from Historic Jamestown website.)

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HCHS Honors Henrico County Veterans - February, 2007

The Henrico County Historical Society would like to honor Henrico County Veterans by including their stories in the quarterly newsletter. The first Veteran in this series, Allan Gardner, gave an oral history of his military experience prior to his death in 2006.

There is a study under way to establish the number of World War I Veterans alive today and the number of those that are World War II Veterans is dwindling at a rapid pace. There are extensive recorded statistics of wars but what they don't include is the human experience with eye witness reports. This emphasizes the need for collecting oral history. The Library of Congress has, since October of 2000, collected information primarily relating to 20th century wars - www.loc.gov/vets.

In the processing of collecting oral history, topics are discussed that encourage further research and discussions. See Bonus March of 1932 and the G.I. Bill below.

We would like to hear your story or that of a family member. A scan can be made of any photo without any damage to the original and we would like a brief description of military experience to be included in the newsletter and in the Oral History section of our website.

Contact: Sarah Pace at (804) 285-8047 or hchsinfo@yahoo.com.

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Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives - February, 2006

HCHS members visiting Beth Ahaba Museum in Richmond, Virginia.Beth Ahaba Museum and Archives is located at 1109 West Franklin Street in Richmond. Beth Ahaba's website is bethahabah.org.

On October 9th, 2006, HCHS sponsored a reception in recognition of Veterans Day at Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives.

The exhibit, titled Answering the Call: Prayer, Patriotism, Service & Sacrifice, displays artifacts from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, two World Wars as well as the conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait and Iraq.

The collection includes:

  • A copy of George Washington's letter, dated 1791, replying to a congratulatory letter by the Hebrew congregations of Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, and Richmond
  • The Reverend M.J. Michelbacher's correspondence with General Robert E. Lee
  • Photographs of Confederate soldiers in uniform
  • Confederate War Bonds, bearing the signature of Judah P. Benjamin, Secretary of State
  • Photographs of World War II USO events, with records containing signatures of hundreds of military men and women

If you go:

The museum is open to the public Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. For information on exhibits, guided tours, lectures, or volunteer opportunities, please call (804) 353-2668. Suggested donation is $5 per person.

Also on display in the Museum is another exhibit, Minding the Store, which includes many interesting artifacts from a number of local businesses (many of which no longer exist). This collection is guaranteed to bring back fond memories.

Beth Ahabah also maintains historic cemeteries, one connected to the Franklin Street location, dating to 1791, and the other on Shockoe Hill at Fourth and Hospital Streets, dating to 1816.

The Soldiers Section of the cemetery contains the graves of 30 Confederate Soldiers who died in or near Richmond. In 1866 individual grave markers for the soldiers were erected surrounded by an elaborate ornamental iron fence, designed by Richmond artist, Major William Barksdale Myers, and commemorative services for the soldiers held. Individual grave markers were removed during the 1950's and a central granite marker was erected in their place. In 1963 a correction was made to the bronze plaque regarding the name of one of the soldiers. Henry Gintzberger, a German immigrant, enlisted in the Salem Flying Artillery at the beginning of the Civil War and was killed in Cold Harbor in 1864. His name was mistakenly reported to be Gersberg and he was buried in the Soldier's Section under that name. Richmond historian J. Amber Johnson, whose father served with Gintzberger, correctly identified this long-dead soldier after more than 20 years of research. In a ceremony during the Civil War Centennial, Gintzberger's name was added to the plaque. The soldier, who fought under Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville and was wounded at Gettysburg, now rests under his own name. The cemetery records are currently part of the Beth Ahabah Museum & Archives and have recently been computerized in order to make them publicly available. Call the Beth Ahabah office at (804) 358-6757 for information about historical tours of the cemetery.

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Allen Franklin Gardner, World War II Veternan, 1927-2006 - February, 2007
Part of HCHS Oral History collection

Allen Franklin Gardner in his World War II Army uniform.

Allen Franklin Gardner served in the United States Army with the 252nd Combat Engineers of the 82nd Airborne Division at the end of World War II from 1945 through 1947. The War ended as the division crossed the Atlantic Ocean en route to Germany. While in Germany, Mr. Gardner reported seeing factories designed underground to build airplanes and by the time a plane reached ground level it could be airborne. As part of the occupation forces, Mr. Gardner's unit witnessed the Russian occupation of Berlin, Germany.

Upon returning after the war, Mr. Gardner purchased his first home under the G.I. Bill, where he and his wife, Frances, raised a family of three sons. Mr. Gardner was member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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Bonus March of 1932 - February, 2007

Reprinted in part from wikipedia.com

The Bonus Army or Bonus March or Bonus Expeditionary Force was an assemblage of about 20,000 World War I veterans, their families, and other affiliated groups who demonstrated in Washington, D.C. during the spring and summer of 1932 seeking an immediate payment of a "bonus" granted by the Adjusted Service Certificate Law of 1924 for apyment in 1945. They were led by Walter W. Waters, a former Army sergeant, and encouraged by an appearance from retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, one of the most popular military figures of the time.

The Bonus Army massed at the United States Capitol on June 17 as the U.S. Senate voted on the Patman Bonus Bill, which would have moved forward the date when World War I veterans received a cash bonus. Most of the Bonus Army camped in a Hooverville on the Anacostia Flats, then a swampy, muddy area across the Anacostia River from the federal core of Washington. The protesters had hoped that they could convince Congress to make payments that had been granted to veterans immediately, which would have provided relief for the marchers who were unemployed due to the Depression. The bill had passed the House of Representatives on June 15 but was blocked in the Senate.

After the defeat of the bill, Congress appropriated funds to pay for the marchers' return home, which some marchers accepted. On July 28, Washington police attempted to remove some remaining Bonus Army protesters from a federal construction site. After police fatally shot two veterans, the protesters assaulted the police with blunt weapons, wounding several of them. After the police retreated, the District of Columbia commissioners informed President Herbert Hoover that they could no longer maintain the peace, whereupon Hoover ordered federal troops to remove the marchers from the general area.

The marchers were cleared and their camps were destroyed by the 12th Infantry Regiment from Fort Howard, Maryland, and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment under the command of Maj. George S. Patton from Fort Myer, Virginia, under the overall command for General Douglas MacArthur. The Posse Comitatus Act, prohibiting the U.S. military from being used for general law enforcement purposes in most instances, did not apply to Washington, D.C. because it is one of several pieces of federal property under the direct governance of the U.S. Congress (United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8). Dwight D. Eisenhower, as a member of MacArthur's staff, had strong reservations about the operation. Troops carried rifles with unsheathed bayonets and tear gas were sent into the Bonus Army's camps. President Hoover did not want the army to march across the Anacostia River into the protesters' largest encampment, but Douglas MacArthur felt this was a communist attempt to overthrow the government. Hundreds of veterans were injured; several were killed, including William Hushka and Eric Carlson. A wife of a veteran miscarried and other casualties were inflicted. The visual image of U.S. armed soldiers confronting poor veterans of the recent Great War set the stage for Veteran relief and eventually the Veterans Administration.

By the end of the route:

  • Two veterans were shot and killed
  • An 11 week old baby was in critical condition resulting from shock from gas exposure.
  • Two infants died from gas asphyxiation
  • An 11 year old boy was partially blinded by tear gas
  • One bystander was shot in the shoulder
  • One veteran's ear was severed by a Cavalry saber
  • One veteran was stabbed in the hip with a bayonet
  • At least twelve police were injured by the veterans
  • Over 1000 men, women, and children were exposed to the tear gas, including police, reporters, residents of Washington, D.C., and ambulance drivers.

The army burned down the Bonus Army's tents and shacks, although some reports claim that to spite the government, which had provided much of the shelter in the camp, some veterans torched their own camp dwellings before the troops could set upon the camp. Reports of U.S. soldiers marching against their peers did not help Hoover's re-election efforts; neither did his open opposition to the Bonus Bill due to financial concerns. After the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, some of the Bonus Army regrouped in Washington to restate its claims to the new President. Roosevelt did not want to pay the bonus early, either, but handled the veterans with more skill when they marched on Washington again the next year. He sent his wife Eleanor to chat with the vets and pour coffee for them, and she persuaded many of them to sign up for jobs making a roadway to the Florida Keys, which was to become the Overseas Highway, the southermost portion of U.S. Route 1. On September 2, the disastrous Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 swept many of them and their flimsy barracks away. After seeing more newsreels of veterans giving their lives for a government that had taken them for granted, public sentiment built up so much that Congress could no longer afford to ignore it in an election year (1936). Roosevelt's veto was overridden, making the bonus a reality.

It can be argued, however, that the Bonus Army's greatest accomplishment was actually the piece of legislation known as the G.I. Bill of Rights. Passed in 1944, it immensely helped veterans from the Second World War to secure needed assistance from the federal government to help them fit back into civilian life, something of which the World War I veterans of the Bonus Army had received very little.

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G.I. Bill - February, 2007

Reprinted in part from wikipedia.com.

The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (better known as the G.I. Bill) provided for college or vocational education for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as GIs or G.I.s) as well as one year of unemployment compensation. It also provided loans for returning veterans to buy homes and start businesses.

The G.I. Bill is considered to be the last piece of New Deal legislation. However, the bill which President Franklin D. Roosevelt initially proposed was not as far reaching.

The G.I. Bill was created to prevent a repeat of the Bonus March of 1932 and a relapse into the Great Depression after World War II ended. The American Legion (a veterans group) is essentially responsible for many of the bill's provisions. The Legion managed to have the bill apply to all who served in the armed services, including African-Americans and women. The fact that the G.I. Bill paid for a G.I.'s entire education had encouraged many universities across the country to expand enrollment. For example, the University of Michigan had fewer than 10,000 students prior to the war. In 1948, their enrollment was well over 30,000. Syracuse University also embraced the spirit of the Bill and saw their enrollment skyrocket from approximately 6,000 before the war to 19,000 students in 1947.

Another provision was known as the 52-20 clause. This enabled all former servicement to receive $20 once a week for 52 weeks a year while they were looking for work. Less than 20 percent of the money set aside for the 52-20 Club (as it was known) was distributed. Most returning servicemen quickly found jobs or pursued higher education.

An important provision of the G.I. Bill was low interest, zero down payment home loans for servicemen. This enabled millions of American families to move out of urban apartments and into suburban homes. The G.I. Bill of Rights has since been modified but still remains on the books.

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American Revolution Round Table of Richmond - February, 2007

Under the mentorship of Dr. Harry M. Ward, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Richmond and noted scholar of the revolutionary period, a group of interested persons which also included Bill Welsch, Jerry Judd, Lynn Simms, and Steve Atkinson, formed the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond. The first meeting was held Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at the University of Richmond and was well attended. Dr. Ward spoke about his involvement with the revision of Boatner's Encyclopedia of the American Revolution.

The organization is in the beginning stages of development and membership is open to anyone interested in exploring this exciting period of history.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 21st. Optional dinner will begin at 6:00 PM, served cafeteria style, with the meeting starting between 6:30 and 6:45 PM. Meeting and dining in the Westhampton Room of the Heilman Dining Center, number 34 on the map.

Directions to the University are available at http://www.richmond.edu/visit/directions.html.

University of Richmond campus map is available at http://www.richmond.edu/visit/maps/print/campus.pdf.

For more information contact: Bill Welsch at (804) 755-1809 and wmwelsch@comcast.net.

Announcement: The City of Petersburg and the Department of Tourism would like to know if you or anybody you think may be interested would dress in period clothing and mingle with the people who attend Friday at the ARts on April 13th in order to promote the Revolutionary War reenactment weekend on the 21st and 22nd of April. Reenactors as well as children would be great!!! Friday at the Arts starts at 6:00 pm and goes until 10:00 pm. Even if you could only come for a couple of hours, that would be great! If you know anyone who would like to participate, please have them contact: Ann Thomas at (804) 733-9034.

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Karen Mier, New Director of Henrico's Recreation and Park - February, 2007

Karen K. Mier, new Director of Henrico's Recreation and Park.

Karen K. Mier was promoted to Director of the County of Henrico Division of Recreation and Park, effective as of January 24th. Karen has worked for the County since 1976 and as Assistant Director under Wes Malcomb, who recently retired.

We extend best wishes for Karen in her new position. Having enjoyed our association in the past, we look forward to working with her in the future.

(Photo courtesy of Henrico County Public Relations.)

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APVA Preservation Day - February, 2007

Frankie Liles, Sarah Pace, and Diane Brownie, pictured left to right, represented HCHS at 2007 Preservation Day.

On Tuesday, January 30th, APVA Preservation Virginia sponsored 2007 Preservation Day at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located at 815 E. Grace Street in the City of Richmond. Attendees of the conference were encouraged to visit legislators at the General Assembly Building to encourage support or to express opposition to bills relating to preservation efforts throughout the state of Virginia.

Frankie Liles, Sarah Pace, and Diane Brownie, pictured left to right, represented HCHS at 2007 Preservation Day.

Monumental Church.

As part of the conference, a tour of Monumental Church, erected in 1811 in memory of the Richmond Theatre fire, included the lower level where the remains of those that died are interred.

The conference concluded with a Legislative Reception and the presentation of APVA 2007 Preservation awards as follows:

  • Frederick Doveton Nickols Award - Banister-Shackleford House
  • Gabiella Page Historic Preservation Awards - General Francis Marion Hotel; Prince William County Historic Preservation Division for the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre; the Prizery in South boston; and Robert W. Glenn, Jr. for the State and City Building in Roanoke
  • The Mary Mason Anderson Williams Award - Frazier Associates
  • The Founders Awards - Speaker of the House William J. Howell, Senator Charles Hawkins, and Delegate R. Lee Ware, Jr.

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The Association for the Preservation of Henrico Antiquities - February, 2007

The next meeting for the Association for the Preservation of Henrico Antiquities will be held at Walkerton Tavern, 2892 Mountain Road, Glen Allen, VA, Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 7:00 PM.

The guest speaker will be Sergei Troubetzkoy, Director of Tourism for the City of Staunton, Virgina.

Visitors are welcome.

President, Dr Henry Nelson, reports that the Association continues to monitor the development of Tree Hill Farm and hopes to ensure the preservation of the house and outbuildings along with the Native American Village on the property. He also reports that the historic road marker commemorating Nathaniel Bacon which had been missing for some time has been returned back to its rightful place on Route 5 at the entrance to Curles Neck (Curles Neck in Varina). Dr. Nelson relates that the March issue of Richmond Magazine will feature an article on the impact of development on historic sites in Henrico County.

For additional information, contact: Dr Henry Nelson, Jr. at manels9@verizon.net.

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March 2007 HCHS Quarterly Meeting

HCHS Events - First Quarter
Sunday, March 4th, 10:15AM to 5:30PM

Jamestown Banner.

Discover the New Historic Jamestowne with the Henrico County Historical Society on Sunday, March 4th. This tour is arranged by Signa Tours.

In May of 2007, America will commemorate an event that changed the world - the settling of Jamestown in 1607, the first permanent English settlement in North America. In celebration of this 400th anniversary, a state-of-the-art new visitor center has recently opened at Historic Jamestowne - run by the National Park Service. Add a delicious lunch and this is one tour you will not want to miss in 2007!

Arrive in the Williamsburg area for lunch at the ever-popular Chickahominy House. Lunch consists of homemade ham biscuits, brunswick stew, fruit salad, slice of delicious pie for dessert and coffee or tea.

Spend the afternoon at Historic Jamestowne, where you can walk in the steps of Captain John Smith and Pocahotas and explore America's beginnings. Here is where teh successful English colonization of North America began and where the first seat of English government in America established itself. Here is where the first English representative government met and where the first arrival of Africans to English North America was recorded in 1619. In celebration on the 400th Anniversary, a new state-of-the-art Visitor Center has recently opened as well as the Archaearium, an innovative exhibition facility that showcases the artifacts and findings of the Jamestown Rediscovery archaeological project. View a film in the visitor center followed by free time to explore the grounds (wear comfortable walking shoes - walking involved).

Tour departs from Glenside Park and Ride, near the intersection of Glenside and Staple Mill Roads, at 10:15 AM. Tour returns to Glenside Park and Ride at 5:30 PM.

Tour cost includes: round trip Motorcoach transportation, admission to Historic Jamestowne, lunch at the Chickahominy Restaurant, tax and gratuity for lunch, refreshments served aboard the motorcoach, and driver gratuity.

Total cost per person is $50.00. Make checks payable to HCHS and mail by February 23rd to:
Sarah Pace
2305 Leah Road
Richmond, VA 23230
(804) 285-8047

Cancellations made within three (3) business days of departure are "Non-Refundable". In addition, all deposits or payments are subject to any non-refundable or cancellation charges imposed by vendors.

Signa Tours is located at 1237 Mall Drive in Richmond, VA 23235. They can be reached at (804) 379-6500 or (888) 540-0100.

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