Author: Lisa M. Romano

a writer from Earlysville, Virginia

Virginia’s State Parks

Virginia’s state parks system was launched on June 15, 1936, when the six inaugural parks opened simultaneously. The creation of those parks was made possible through one of U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, the goal of which was to create jobs to help pull the country out of the Great Depression. The success of those first six parks in providing citizens with recreational opportunities and preserving Virginia’s natural areas led to an expansion to thirty-four state parks established in Virginia in 2008.


Hurricane Camille (August 1969)

Hurricane Camille arrived in Virginia on the night of August 19, 1969, as a tropical depression following landfall in Mississippi as one of only three category five storms ever to make landfall in the United States since record-keeping began. One of the worst natural disasters in Virginia’s history, the storm produced what meteorologists at the time guessed might be the most rainfall “theoretically possible.” As it swept through Virginia overnight, it caught local authorities by surprise. Communication networks were knocked out, leaving floods and landslides to trap residents as they slept. Hurricane Camille cost Virginia 124 lives and $116 million in damages. It also served as a lesson that inland flooding could be as great a danger as coastal flooding during a hurricane.


Nancy Hale (1908–1988)

Nancy Hale was a prolific author of short stories, novels, nonfiction, plays, and memoirs. A regionalist writer who excelled at describing life in New England, New York City, and finally Virginia, she is best known for her third novel, The Prodigal Women (1942), which chronicles the lives of three young women in Boston, New York City, and a small Virginia town. An astute observer of everyday people, Hale frequently used female protagonists because, she said, they “puzzled” her.


Staige Davis Blackford (1931–2003)

Staige Blackford was a journalist, writer, and editor. While he is best known for his twenty-nine-year tenure as editor-in-chief of the Virginia Quarterly Review, his career before that was varied and ranged from working at the Central Intelligence Agency to serving on Virginia governor Linwood Holton‘s cabinet as press secretary and speech writer. Throughout his life Blackford worked for civil rights and against the politics of segregation and white supremacy.