Jonathan first wrote about Walmart’s plans to build adjacent to the northern Virginia land where generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant met in the Civil War Battle of the Wilderness back in August 2008. Tomorrow the parties go to court.

From The Examiner:

The dispute involves whether a Walmart should be built near the Civil War site, and the case pits preservationists and some residents of a rural northern Virginia town against the world’s largest retailer and local officials who approved the Walmart Supercenter.

Both sides are scheduled to make arguments before a judge Tuesday.

The proposed Walmart is located near the site of the Battle of the Wilderness, which is viewed by historians as a critical turning point in the war. An estimated 185,000 Union and Confederate troops fought over three days in 1864, and 30,000 were killed, injured or went missing. The war ended 11 months later.

The 143,000-square-foot space planned by the Bentonville, Ark., retailer would be outside the limits of the protected national park where the core battlefield is located. The company has stressed the store would be within an area already dotted with retail locations, and in an area zoned for commercial use.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors in August 2009 approved the special use permit Wal-Mart needed to build, but the National Trust for Historic Preservation and residents who live within three miles of the site challenged the board’s decision.

They argued, in part, that supervisors ignored or rejected the help of historians and other preservation experts when they approved the store’s construction in Locust Grove about 1 mile from the national park entrance.

Hundreds of historians, including Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson, filmmaker Ken Burns and actor Robert Duvall have appealed to Wal-Mart to walk away and find another place to build in the county of less than 35,000 people.

Why is this store so important to Walmart? Does it fear a precedent? Are the potential sale that great? Does the company simply want to assert its will?

Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.


  1. raybury says:

    I recently spent a few vacation days hanging out in southwestern Virginia, not far from Virginia Tech, James Madison University, and the University of Virginia, which combine to have 65,000 undergrads. Many other schools are nearby, yet Blacksburg, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville are not exactly vast metropolises. I saw a few students wearing t-shirts from their high schools or home towns, and I recognized most as being from my neighborhood, Northern Virginia, around the DC Beltway.
    Trust me, sometimes you’ll be okay on the Interstates: Using I-95 and I-64 through Richmond traffic isn’t always so bad. Or going way out I-66 and then way down I-81 isn’t always so long and boring. But once you get tired of the unpredictability, or just want a happy medium between megalopolis and empty stretches, you go through the center sometimes. Maybe U.S. 29 or 15 will get you where you’re going, but just as often the trip involves cutting over from I-95 on Virginia Route 3, then heading down VA-20. Unlike Interstates 64, 66, 81, and 95, or U.S. Routes 15 and 29, this path is not dotted with Targets and Walmarts.
    It’s great that the folks around the oddly-named untown The Wilderness won’t have to schlep over to Fredericksburg or Culpeper for their weekend Walmarting, but the reason to put a Walmart at the corner of VA-3 and VA-20 is college kids and their parents from NoVA stopping to pick up a fan and some bottled water and snacks and tees and furniture and soda on the way to school.

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