Organizations join forces on Fort Nonsense property

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jun 08, 2011 - 04:43 PM

For the past year or more, three seemingly disparate organizations have been working together on shared goals: to preserve the integrity of a historic property and ensure an attractive gateway to Mathews County.

Photo: The layout plan for developing a historical park at Fort Nonsense shows the proposed trails and features that will be created to provide a pleasing gateway to Mathews County and to help tell the story of the Civil War in Mathews. The plan includes the newly constructed entry, at left, that has been built in a cooperative effort of the Mathews County Historical Society, the Court House Players, and Redeeming Grace Baptist Church. Image courtesy of Land Studio.

The layout plan for developing a historical park at Fort Nonsense shows the proposed trails and features that will be created to provide a pleasing gateway to Mathews County and to help tell the story of the Civil War in Mathews. The plan includes the newly constructed entry, at left, that has been built in a cooperative effort of the Mathews County Historical Society, the Court House Players, and Redeeming Grace Baptist Church. Image courtesy of Land Studio.

Photo: Members of the Mathews County Historical Society and Court House Players met recently at Fort Nonsense to discuss their joint project to build an entry that will serve both their properties and property belonging to Redeeming Grace Baptist Church. Pictured from left are MCHS member Doug Wilton, MCHS president Reed Lawson, Trey Shinault, building committee chair for the Court House Players, and Frank Lansinger, Fort Nonsense committee chair for MCHS. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

Members of the Mathews County Historical Society and Court House Players met recently at Fort Nonsense to discuss their joint project to build an entry that will serve both their properties and property belonging to Redeeming Grace Baptist Church. Pictured from left are MCHS member Doug Wilton, MCHS president Reed Lawson, Trey Shinault, building committee chair for the Court House Players, and Frank Lansinger, Fort Nonsense committee chair for MCHS. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

Mathews County Historical Society, the Court House Players, and Redeeming Grace Baptist Church have adjacent properties located at or near the intersection of Routes 14 and 3, near the Gloucester/Mathews county line.

All three need access to their properties, and with VDOT balking at the idea of having an entry off Route 14 so close to an intersection, they banded together to build a VDOT-approved entrance off Route 3 that will serve all their needs.

The historical society’s property, Fort Nonsense, is the site of a Civil War-era earthwork believed to have been built by Confederate soldiers to help repel a Union attack. A plan to preserve the earthworks and develop the 2.9-acre site as an attraction is in the works, and the historical society intends to turn the property over to the county when the project is completed.

The Court House Players’ 5.88-acre parcel, the site of a proposed future dinner theater, is located immediately east of Fort Nonsense on Route 14, but the organization owns an additional strip of land that runs along the north side of Fort Nonsense and connects to Route 3. Beside that strip of land is the 7.1-acre Redeeming Grace property, the site of the church family’s future house of worship.

It just made sense for all three groups to go together to build the entry on CHP’s strip of land, said Trey Shinault, spokesman for the Court House Players. He said it was more cost-effective, and it would keep the Fort Nonsense property intact.