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Posted at 9:35 AM ET, 01/26/2011

Wal-Mart will not build at Va. battlefield

By Associated Press

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is dropping plans to build a store near the Wilderness Battlefield in northern Virginia.

Lawyers representing the Arkansas-based retailer made the announcement Wednesday in Orange County Circuit Court.

The nation’s largest retailer won local approval to build the store near the Wilderness Battlefield. But residents and preservationists went to court to overturn that 2009 decision.

Wednesday was to be the second day of a trial seeking to block the project.

An attorney representing the county has said the case is not about the Civil War, but local land use.

Residents and preservationists argued the store would bring traffic and more commerce to Locust Grove.

By Associated Press  | January 26, 2011; 9:35 AM ET
 
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Comments

To call Orange county Northern Virginia is a gross distortion. Im sure the good people of Orange county would not be at all excited to be lumped in with a part of the state they consider DC.

Posted by: Wowza1 | January 26, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

The Wilderness is one of the most significant battlefields of the American Civil War. After 3 days of horrific casualties, it was assumed that the Union Army would skedaddle northward, as they always had in the past. As the Army approached the junction of the DC/Richmond road, all expected a left turn and another retreat. Instead, Grant ordered a right turn, and regiment after regiment cheered as they headed south (toward almost certain death at the gates of Richmond). On the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, it is fitting that this ground be preserved. You can build a discount store anywhere. But the ground purchased with American blood is priceless.

Posted by: Dave115 | January 26, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Wowza1 - And the good people of Northern Virginia do not wish to be lumped into "DC" by the good people of Orange County.

Posted by: Eric12345 | January 26, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Next in line should be to give up their plans to build near the site of the battle of Ft Stevens in DC.

Posted by: blankspace | January 26, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Enough of this preservation stuff. As Obama said in the State of the Union, we need growths and stores bring employment to areas that need it. I wouldn't make these points except that Civil War nuts are constantly changing the boundaries of battles as they grab more land for whatever silly reason. How many tourists visit the Wilderness, compared to shoppers in the malls? How much revenue do these tourists bring, versus revenue in the stores? Most of Maryland and Virginia were the site of intense conflict during the Civil War, but do we need to preserve Robert E. Lee's camp ground or the site of his latrine on the night of a conflict? We need to balance modern demands for use of the land, versus claims being made on obscure grounds to historical relevance.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | January 26, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Enough of this preservation stuff. As Obama said in the State of the Union, we need growths and stores bring employment to areas that need it. I wouldn't make these points except that Civil War nuts are constantly changing the boundaries of battles as they grab more land for whatever silly reason. How many tourists visit the Wilderness, compared to shoppers in the malls? How much revenue do these tourists bring, versus revenue in the stores? Most of Maryland and Virginia were the site of intense conflict during the Civil War, but do we need to preserve Robert E. Lee's camp ground or the site of his latrine on the night of a conflict? We need to balance modern demands for use of the land, versus claims being made on obscure grounds to historical relevance.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | January 26, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I live in Arlington and I think Wowsa1 is right. Orange County is south of Culpeper and about a 2-hour drive from Arlington. Some might want to include Fredericksburg in "Northern VA" but I don't know anyone who thinks it extends past Culpeper.

Posted by: msh41 | January 26, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

There's a strong rumor afoot that has Wal-Mart buying Arlington House and turning it into ... yep ... a WM store.

If and when it happens, I hope my family has finally located our grandfather's grave site.

Posted by: slipuvalad | January 26, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

To call Locust Grove, Orange County "Northern Virginia" is stretching geography.

What's next - will Norfolk, Hampton Roads and VA Beach be considered a suburb of DC.

Glad it isn't being built tho'.

Posted by: skippyaveo | January 26, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

That’s right, enough of this useless preservation stuff. This nation is now owned and operated by the unintelligent and reactionary right wing and if they say we need gigantic cathedrals to unbridled capitalism right smack in the middle of historic sites well then so be it. Under their plan that’s where all good Americans are going to be eventually working anyway so keep up the good work.

Posted by: vztownes | January 26, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

One more for the weak side.

It is heartening to see the preservationists and the Mom & Pop stores on the same side.

Whatever stops the Wal-Mart behemoth is all right with me. Now perhaps the good-hearted founder of Wal-Mart can stop spinning in his grave over what has been done in his name.

Posted by: Geezer4 | January 26, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

As much as I hate to admit it, when people commute from Fredricksburg, Locust Grove, and points south the areas become bedroom communities of either Tysons Corner or DC. Progress will eventually overcome opposition as it has in every bedroom community of the greater Washington Metropolitan Area.

Oh yea, the reason for the opposition to progress? The South Will Rise Again!

Posted by: Rich393 | January 26, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

One follow-on comment: preservationists have worked successfully with developers in Bristow and Winchester (and elsewhere)to save battlefield land while granting developers density in other areas. However, I would not use the word "silly" to apply to any of these battles: Gettysburg (51,000 total casualties), Antietam (23,000 in one day), Chancellorsville (30,000), the Wilderness (30,000), Shiloh (23,000), Chickamauga (36,000 - many of the wounded were eaten alive by wild boars). Or Cold Harbor, where an estimated 7,000 fell in the space of 25 minutes. These dead must be honored as long as our nation stands.

Posted by: Dave115 | January 26, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I hope the residents remember their fighting this commercialization when there unemployment runs out.

Posted by: BobEngineer | January 26, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Orange County is actually about a 90 minute drive from Arlington, but I certainly would not consider it part of Northern Virginia. It might better be thought of as part of the ambiguous and equally ill-defined area referred to as Central Viriginia. Parts of it have shoreline at Lake Anna which is, I think, generally thought of being in Central Virigina. I suppose Orange County is caught betwixt and between. Either way, it is one of the more pleasant and well-kept areas through which to drive.

Posted by: Arlington4 | January 26, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Glad this isn't being built near the battlefield. There's plenty of land in Orange Co., they can easily find another location in the region away from the battlefield. Can't believe that the county BOS approved this location in the first place.

BTW, Orange isn't Northern Virginia. Maybe the WaPo needs a map???

Posted by: JackESpratt | January 26, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

FWIW, www.virginia.org actually has the map of Virigina subdivided into regions and has placed Orange County in Central Virginia.

http://www.virginia.org/site/map.asp?referrer=central

Posted by: Arlington4 | January 26, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

If only Lee could have purchased shoes at a Walmart...

Posted by: bbirdy202 | January 26, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

And stay out of DC too!

Posted by: johng1 | January 26, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

There are plenty of other places in Orange County to build a goddarn Wal-Mart. It doesn't need to be built where men gave their lives for this country.

Why would anyone want a Wal-Mart anyway?

Posted by: Rory14 | January 26, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused. Is this Wal-Mart being built to serve the people of Orange, or the people of northern Orange County close to Fredericksburg? If the former, why not build the store in Orange instead of Locust Grove? If the latter, why not build it just a little further east on Route 3 closer to the commercial areas....or better yet, just tell shoppers to go to the one in Fredericksburg?

Posted by: thetan | January 26, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bob,

Do you really think that building the WalMart there would helped with jobs and local taxes?

Do a quick search online to see the battle that NC is having with WalMart over how much it should pay in tax money.

Check out the WalMart Crime report, and see what type of crime is at an average WalMart, compared to the a Target in the same community.

WalMart has the right to build their superstores where it makes sense.

But damaging history?!?!?!

Posted by: kernunnos1367 | January 26, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

China is disappointed by Walmart's decision not to build a Great Store. China would love to fill the Great Store with Chinese goods. Residents will be forced to spend less, use local products or take a long drive.

Posted by: jercha | January 26, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Let's build 3 big box stores over top of and next to edwardallen54's place.

Posted by: MRGB | January 26, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Are those wise and intelligent "preservationists" who always fight to preserve every spot where GW crashed for the night or where Lee let his horse take a dump ever FOR anything besides keeping land unoccupied and fallow?

I'm very familiar with Orange County (my daughter and her family have lived there for 7 years). The last time I checked, Orange County is no a jobs mecca and their tax base is nothing to brag about.

Posted by: ceefer66 | January 26, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Good PR. Someone in management @ Wal-Mart has a brain.

Posted by: TaxiDriver | January 26, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Let's develop EVERY vacant space/ground in the WASH DC metro area! There HAS to be a business (Starbucks) or a town house development you can put there. We need MORE traffic. More delays/traffic jams/congestion.

Posted by: TaxiDriver | January 26, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

What I find interesting about all this is that these preservationists weren't any where around when they build a 7-11, sheetz, Wachovia, McDonalds or even a ABC store at the site that Walmart picked. Heck the site isn't even on the actual battlefield. Its a mile or two down the street.
The people fighting this had historians changed the history to support the position that this place was a staging area.

Everyone said that no one had a right to stop the Muslims in NY from building their Rec center, because it was public property. Yet, everyone in the world stops Walmart's from opening on public property all the time.

Posted by: apearson54 | January 26, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Since we are making these huge Civil War parks, what about America's other wars? How about the Battle of Bladensburg, otherwise known as the Bladensburg races, which go uncommemorated unless you know it was near the (World War I) Peace Cross. What about the French & Indian wars, or the American Revolution in Virginia for that matter. The Civil War nuts have grabbed all this attention fighting Disney and Walmart, yet where is the attention to the development obscuring the march route taken by Cochrane on his way to Washington? There is an historical marker or two, but little else. Americans died at these siste, too, but it's funny how no one seems to really care about these wars.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | January 26, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I can remember when Walmart actually had something of a conscience... Granted, that was probably 30 years ago and well before the death of founder Sam Walton, who held the rank of Captain in the US Army, and titled his autobiography "Made in America".

Sam Walton is probably rolling in his grave; the company he founded on American exceptionalism has devolved into a conduit for China Incorporated to flood our country with artificially cheap goods that compete unfairly with American industry. And to add insult to injury, the new Walmart is more than happy to pave-over the hallowed grounds of American history if it allows them to make a buck.

I'm glad Walmart finally withdrew this project - but it had nothing to do with any act of conscience on their part. Rather, Walmarts only concern was that the negative publicity had become too costly to their image.


Posted by: ProfessorPeabody | January 26, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

That's always been one of my gripes, too -- that the Revolutionary and 1812 battlefields don't get the same TLC as the Civil War battlefields. Then again, there are LOT more CW sites.

To those poo-pooing the idea of preserving random places like where Washingtonn slept and so forth, this is not land in which a minor asterik of history place.

I have no doubt that Wal-Mart will soon find a more appropriate location nearby.

Posted by: Georgetwoner | January 26, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Orange County, California is part of Northern Virginia? Well, I suppose, if you stretch a definition. And you could consider China part of Northern Virginia as well, considering that most of what consumers in Northern Virginia buy in most stores, not just in Walmart, comes from China. Talk about geocentrism...

Posted by: foofoofoo | January 26, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Northern Virginia is typically considered the following:

Arlington County (and independent cities inclusive)
Alexandria
Fairfax County
Prince William County (and all independent cities inclusive)
Eastern Loudoun County (though this is pushing further west as they continue to build that way)
and most recently, northern and eastern Fauquier County. I don't EVER remember anyone lumping Fredericksburg into Northern Virginia. In fact, I remember as a kid, that was generally accepted as "outside Nova" when you got down to the Cracker Barrel.

And we do need a balance, where I live, there were some important battles, but I have a house on one of those grounds. It was built a while ago. What was the battle and what did it have to do? I don't know the battle, but it provided me with this country in which I live. If we "preserve" all the battlefields, then where are we supposed to live because EVERY piece of land in the colonies can be considered battle ground.

Posted by: dj1123 | January 26, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Wall-Mart was smart for backing off on building this store.They want good public relations not bad ones.

Posted by: ctharwick | January 26, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Wall-Mart was smart for backing off on building this store.They want good public relations not bad ones.

Posted by: ctharwick | January 26, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Some excellent follow-on comments regarding the Revolutionary War and 1812. My ancestor served in the 2nd NJ Regiment, and I had in-laws who died when the Maryland 400 (400 soldiers) perished repelling 20,000 British soldiers at the Battle of Long Island, to save Washington's army. Certainly a worthy mention of young men who gave all and are long forgotten. Freedom is not free.

Posted by: Dave115 | January 26, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Need I remind you a Tall Commercial Building is being at 9/11 while Muslims want a Mosque where one of the tires hit the building a few hundred feet away from Ground Zero .
If my city of Richmond had left all the Civil war grave sites in tack .... there would be no enter city Richmond .
There were many ,many civil war battles in and around Richmond .

Posted by: same15259 | January 26, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Wal-Mart HAD to consider building it there? Absolutely nowhere else in the area was suitable?

Posted by: TaxiDriver | January 26, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Isn't there already a mosque very close to WTC site/Ground Zero in NYC? Thought I heard that on the news.

Posted by: TaxiDriver | January 26, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"Enough of this preservation stuff"...

Yes sir, Let's pave over the world and do away with all that is good, beautiful or historic in the name of another dime a dozen gas station, another 7-11, etc. Once you've done away with the historic, the unique, the interesting, the beautiful in the name of crass, neon-nightmare commerce with a cheesy McDonald's or a Pizza Hut or Taco Bell stuck in the middle of it, there will be no way of ever getting that back.

If you want commerce, keep the historical site preserved and then at least let the commercial area be complimentary to the historical nature of the area with period style architecture, quality restaurants, instead of tacky chain franchise Taco Bell stuff and the service stations and stores be made of brick or styles similar to the old styles of the civil war era.
Tasteful and traditional style service buildings, stores and unique restaurants have been and can be built so that a historical area doesn't look like franchise neon-nightmare crap and can reflect the pride people take in what they have in their history and in their community.
The WalMarts have their place, but not right next to a revered historical battleground or historical town.

Posted by: mmhoover1 | January 26, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"Enough of this preservation stuff"...

Yes sir, Let's pave over the world and do away with all that is good, beautiful or historic in the name of another dime a dozen gas station, another 7-11, etc. Once you've done away with the historic, the unique, the interesting, the beautiful in the name of crass, neon-nightmare commerce with a cheesy McDonald's or a Pizza Hut or Taco Bell stuck in the middle of it, there will be no way of ever getting that back.

If you want commerce, keep the historical site preserved and then at least let the commercial area be complimentary to the historical nature of the area with period style architecture, quality restaurants, instead of tacky chain franchise Taco Bell stuff and the service stations and stores be made of brick or styles similar to the old styles of the civil war era.
Tasteful and traditional style service buildings, stores and unique restaurants have been and can be built so that a historical area doesn't look like franchise neon-nightmare crap and can reflect the pride people take in what they have in their history and in their community.
The WalMarts have their place, but not right next to a revered historical battleground or historical town.

Posted by: mmhoover1 | January 26, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's good Walmart decided to look elsewhere but if it had been built who would have patronized it???? Yep, most of those same protesters...go by any Walmart and you will see droves of people coming in and out....Surely those people didn't come from 20-30 miles away!!!!!!!

Posted by: pentagon40 | January 26, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's good Walmart decided to look elsewhere but if it had been built who would have patronized it???? Yep, most of those same protesters...go by any Walmart and you will see droves of people coming in and out....Surely those people didn't come from 20-30 miles away!!!!!!!

Posted by: pentagon40 | January 26, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

BobEngineer,
Commercialization is not bad if is decently, respectfully or intelligently done. A balance can be struck between the historic and the commercial by reverently preserving the historic and by putting in nicely constructed commercial stuff that blends in with and copies the historic character of the place and be thus avoid the crappy and tacky neon-nightmare franchise looking junk.

I remember that the McDonald's in one German town had to have its building look like its traditionally styled neighboring building and it to its credit served some of the same things like coffee etc but in the traditional German style. And no arches allowed.
Some compromises can be worked out where gas stations, convenience stores etc. are made to blend into the historic character of the place instead of sticking out like junky sore thumbs.

Things can be worked out so that the commercial doesn't look junky, and people can enjoy a mix of traditional and convenient.
A little traveling around to old preserved and historic towns or tasteful commercial areas around historic sites can reveal how these locals live with their historical things and yet provide jobs to their locals that don't necessarily have to incorporate an unattractive WalMart big box. Or else they can put the WalMart box in an already existing corridor of ugly and unattractive commercial junkiness where it would fit right in.

Posted by: mmhoover1 | January 26, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Walmart needs castrated. they do more damage than stray cats. and produce more litters of junk than the white house. they should produce but not reproduce. their multiplication stinks worse than my garage. and consumers get no return for their investment since it all leaves the country.

Posted by: Liberty14 | January 26, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I love walmart.... we should have a least 4 or 5 in America. I love my kids too..I don't need anymore to be happy. and I sure don't need more walmarts to be messing up more of my space. castrate walmart so my kids can keep their marbles.

Posted by: Liberty14 | January 26, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I love walmart.... we should have a least 4 or 5 in America. I love my kids too..I don't need anymore to be happy. and I sure don't need more walmarts to be messing up more of my space. castrate walmart so my kids can keep their marbles.

Posted by: Liberty14 | January 26, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

xxx Yes sir, Let's pave over the world and do away with all that is good, beautiful or historic in the name of another dime a dozen gas station, another 7-11, etc xxxx
You have the photographic records, so you see that what happened on these battlfields looks nothing like the pristine scenes we see today. So in effect, we are preserving a myth of what we think it looked like, not the original battlefield. Obviously, it would be silly to bring back the corpses of dead horses and periodically fire off canons to get the smell of burning cordite as people to try and recreate the original idea. But why is it okay to have phony stacked oak fences that the Park Service recreated, and no modern structures.
They got involved in this issue with Antietam where I remember 30 odd years ago they bragged they allowed local farmers to continue to work the land in order to keep a semblence of what the area looked like the year of the battle. That's now gone as in-holders have been bought out, and now only phony farms are farmed, and fake forests are being grown.
This phony approach is no different in my mind than putting up a golden arches. At least you know the golden arches were never there and so can erase them from the image in your mind.
At Gettsyburg, there used to be a car dealership at the corner of the battlefield, and I don't really think that interfered with the scene. Nothing much happened on this field, but it was considered an eyesore. But we live in different times and we have cars now.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | January 26, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Edwardallen,
We agree to not agree.
We have enough boring modern buildings around.
Thanks for writing and sharing.
Morgan

Posted by: mmhoover1 | January 26, 2011 7:44 PM | Report abuse

1 - Orange County is proudly part of Central Virginia
2 - WalMart does bring in jobs and tax revenue, as demonstrated by the one that opened just over a year ago just south of Orange in Louisa County
3 - if every parcel of land in Europe that was the site of a battle was off limits for commercial use there would be no construction at all - let's learn a bit from the old world about honoring our past without constraining our future

Posted by: andrea3 | January 26, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

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