Fort Nonsense project taking shape

Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Aug 21, 2013 - 02:24 PM

Photo: To enhance the visibility of Fort Nonsense in Mathews, a replica of a 10-pound Parrott Rifle was installed Aug. 15 at the southwest corner of the fort. Mathews Historical Society members, from left, Arthur Jennette, Reed Lawson, Josie Thorpe, Frank Lansinger and Forrest Morgan were present to watch the rifle being installed. Photos by Quinton Sheppard

To enhance the visibility of Fort Nonsense in Mathews, a replica of a 10-pound Parrott Rifle was installed Aug. 15 at the southwest corner of the fort. Mathews Historical Society members, from left, Arthur Jennette, Reed Lawson, Josie Thorpe, Frank Lansinger and Forrest Morgan were present to watch the rifle being installed. Photos by Quinton Sheppard

Motorists traveling along Routes 3 and 14 may have noticed some new, eye-catching additions recently at the Fort Nonsense Historical Park, located just across the county line in Mathews.

The Fort Nonsense Confederate Fortification, originally referred to as North End Mill Fortification, dating to the Civil War, has been restored to its original condition by the Mathews County Historical Society, and will soon serve as a gateway park, welcoming visitors and residents to Mathews County.

Land Studio, the firm that designed the project, will do a final walk-through to make sure everything has been done correctly before a grand opening of the park is held. MCHS project manager Frank Lansinger expects completion of the project within 30 to 60 days.

"We plan to have the opening of the fort as a tourist attraction," Lansinger said. "Our main goal is to bring more tourists to Mathews."

To enhance visibility of the fort, a replica of a 10-pound Parrott Rifle was installed Aug. 15 at the southwest corner of the fort.

Photo: The cannon being used to mark the Fort Nonsense Historical Park is shown lifted by a crane across Route 3 onto the mound where it sits today.

The cannon being used to mark the Fort Nonsense Historical Park is shown lifted by a crane across Route 3 onto the mound where it sits today.

According to Lansinger, this artillery piece was used during the Civil War in forts by both the Confederate and Union armies.

Lansinger said the rifle was designed by Robert Parker Parrott and manufactured in 10- and 20-pound sizes by such foundries as the Fulton Iron Works in Richmond. "The guns were so accurate and popular that they were often commandeered by the enemy in engagements since ammunition was available to both armies," he said.

The rifle can be easily seen sitting proudly atop a tall mound behind a new brick wall and signage the historical society had erected, marking the official entrance to the park.

"It just gives me goose bumps every time I drive by now," said historical society president Reed Lawson.

Lawson and Lansinger were two of several of the original "Fort Nonsense Irregulars," the group of members who conceived of the project and are seeing it through to its conclusion.

It was quite a sight last Thursday when Terry Hearn of Tom Hearn Auto Service volunteered his services, using his tow truck to bring the rifle from where it was sitting in Cobbs Creek to the Fort Nonsense site.

The contractor hired for construction on the site then used a crane to lift the rifle off the tow truck, cross Route 3, onto the mound where it sits today.