May 22, 2024

Gari Melchers Home and Studio Installs Interpretive Signs

Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont recently installed 10 interpretive markers at key sites along its 1.5 miles of public trails.

The markers feature descriptions and photographs detailing important trail sites, including the locations of a 19th-century ice pond and springheads and the ruins of an electric pump station artist Gari Melchers installed to bring water uphill from underground springs to a cistern near the main house. Additional marker topics include the Melchers’ farming practices, the early canal along the Rappahannock River that helped power 18th- and 19th-century mills in Falmouth and a gravesite for members of the family of Joseph B. Ficklen, the Civil War-era owner of Belmont. The George J. and Effie L. Seay Foundation provided funding for the project.

In Corinne Melchers’ will deeding Belmont to the Commonwealth of Virginia, she expressed a desire that the property be developed into a public park for the enjoyment of local residents.

“We are excited about this long-awaited opportunity to increase the appreciation of local history for walkers exploring our network of trails,” said Site Preservation Manager Beate Jensen.

Belmont’s trails are open year round without charge. Trail maps are available on the museum’s website and in the museum shop. Markers at the trail entrances also illustrate the various routes available.

Volunteers from the Virginia Master Naturalists program hold free guided hikes for the public on the last Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. These hikes focus on native plants and animals, as well as Belmont’s historic features.

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.