King and Queen Dedicates Carriage House and Stevensville P.O. Restoration. (July 2009)

Recently the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum dedicated its new Carriage House and Stevensville Post Office Restoration at a ceremony held at the Museum.

Museum Chair Jack Spain began by saying this was a ceremony to show how many hands and how much cooperation it takes to make a project, like the new Carriage House, come together for the benefit of the citizens of the County. He said it all started when E.B. “Brownie” Bevan offered to provide on long-term loan an immaculately restored buggy that had been used in King and Queen County for almost 100 years. Mr. Bevan also offered to help with the construction of a small building to house the buggy. Spain introduced Bevan who told how someone came to him some years ago, asking him how much an old buggy to be auctioned might be worth. He found that buggy to be in parts, but complete. Bevan ended up buying the buggy from his client and having it restored. The buggy had been made in Virginia at the Franklin Carriage Company, purchased by Tom Trice of King and Queen in the 1920s, and used by his nephew, Latane, going to school in Walkerton. After Bevan had used the buggy for several years he thought it would best be displayed at the Museum, since it was such a King and Queen item.

Spain then explained that the Museum had some years earlier received a gift of the interior façade of the old Stevensville Post Office. The Museum Council decided the time was right to build a new building to house both the buggy and the post office. Spain introduced Bill Brown of Stevensville who had generously given the Stevensville post office façade to the Museum. His mother had been the postmistress for a number of years. Spain then thanked Larry and Kay Grahl of Mattaponi who had stored the facade in their basement for at least five years. He also recognized Elizabeth Ramsey, a former Stevensville post mistress, for her donation to the Museum of the “casing table” used in the Stevensville post office. Mail was brought to the post office in a locked pouch, sorted in the casing table and then given to the carrier to distribute along the way to the next post office. He thanked Page McLemore of Walkerton for donating old King and Queen envelops post marked from the 1920s that are being displayed in the restored post office.

Mr. Spain then turned to the building itself. He noted that the building had been principally constructed by Rudy Yoder and three of his colleagues from the Amish community in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, all in one 24-hour day — starting at 7 am on April 16th and working until 1 am the next morning. Brownie Bevan and Bobby Barlow had driven their trucks and trailers to pick up Yoder and the lumber, leaving about 4 am on April 16th, so they could get back by 7 am. The Amish do not drive rubber-tired vehicles. Spain explained that Yoder and his colleagues were not present at the dedication because someone from King and Queen would have to go get them, but gave praise for their fine work!

Also thanked were Minor Trevilian for her donation of the windows and horse harness to go in the building, Bevan for the front door, Nancy Herman Thompson of Bury Partners for preparing the survey plats needed for the necessary approvals, and John Spain for preparing a drawing of the building for the approvals. Spain then recognized Betty Gwathmey and Ellen White for providing and serving food for the workers and supervisors during the long workday. Last, but not least, Spain recognized the help and cooperation of county officials. Although a relatively small building behind the existing Museum, it was built on County property, so it had to be approved by the Board of Supervisors, the County Planning Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals, and inspected by the building department. He thanked all of the members of those boards and Tom Swartzwelder, County Administrator, and especially Donna Sprouse, Assistant Zoning administrator, and Lee Reamy, Building Official, both of who were present at the dedication, for their guidance and help.

Spain then recognized Brownie Bevan, Bobby Barlow, William Gwathmey, Larry Grahl, Sammy Prince, John Spain, Joe Morris, Howard Walker, David Drain, and David Litchfield for their help in moving and installing the Stevensville Post Office and completing the interior of the new building. Each of those present and recognized were presented with a specially embossed “first day envelop” that had been prepared in recognition of the opening of the carriage house and post office restoration.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, carriage rides and refreshments, as well as tours of the new building and the Museum were provided to all those who attended. Over sixty people attended the dedication.