Volume XII Number 3                                                                                         May 24, 1998 
Special Total Family Edition

This Special Edition of the News Quarterly comes to you , the Robinson-Naylor-Harris family members, to inform you of the Good News we recently received from Cousin Richard R. Robinson. As you will read in the letter included in this edition, the US Department of the Interior through Mr. Robert K. Sutton, Superintendent of the Manassas National Battlefield Park has made a preliminary decision about the reconstruction of the Gentleman Jim Robinson House. You will, no doubt, remember that the Robinson House was destroyed by arsonists on July 26, 1993 (see the December 1993 issue of the News Quarterly, Vol. VI, number 1). Since then members of the Family have worked diligently to have the historical homestead restored. It appears their labors have met with some success. Should you have any questions, write to Richard Robinson. 

The Gentleman Jim Robinson Homestead, Manassas, Virigina
May 8, 1998 

Mr. Richard R. Robinson 
2501 36th Place, SE 
Washington, DC 20020 

Dear Mr. Robinson: 

Thank you so much to taking the time to meet with us concerning the future of the Robinson House in Manassas National  Battlefield Park. As always, it was a pleasure to see you again, and as an added benefit, I was happy to meet your Uncle Louie. 
     The arson fire in the Robinson House has been a tragedy for all of us, and particularly for your family. Several years ago, we determined that the best course of action was to carefully dismantle what remained of the Robinson House, from which we gained valuable inform- ation about the house and your family, and to conduct an archeological investigation of the site of the house and the surrounding area, in which you participated. We will be featuring some of the materials you uncovered in a new permanent exhibition we are developing for the park visitor center. Since the archeological project has been completed, however, we have been weighing various options for the more permanent future of the site. 
     As I noted yesterday, my greatest concern for the present is the chimney. A chimney is designed for support by the structure to which it is attached. Without the building for support, there is a great potential for the chimney to col- lapse. As I showed you, there are clear signs that the chimney is beginning to fail, and in a very short time, it likely will topple. It is impos- sible to stabilize the chimney in place, because the nature of the structural failure indicates that not only has the mortar failed, but in several locations, the stones have fractured as well. It is also virtually impossible, and prohibitively expensive to consider reconstructing the chim- ney in place. 
     We need to take the chimney down as soon as possible. As you, no doubt, are aware, many ark visitors come to the site of the Robin- son House as part of the Henry Hill walking tour. My greatest concern is for the safety of our visitors, and the precarious nature of the chimney creates a safety hazard that I must correct. 
     We, of course, will keep all of the stones with the carving on them in our permanent park museum collection. 
     In the place of the chimney, we are explor- ing the potential of representing the original James Robinson House, with the correct dimensions and elevations, on the site. We were able to determine the location of the house from the archeological investigations. The photographs that survive provide us with the correct dimensions. By constructing this repre- sentation of the house, our visitors will gain a much better understanding of the relationship between the house and both battles of Manas- sas, and the role of James Robinson in these battles. We will need to obtain approval from several sources to build this structure, but I do not foresee any difficulty with obtaining the necessary clearances.You and the other family members have been very patient with us over the years. I, as the superintendent of the park, value your and your family’s interest in this site and the park. James Robinson has become one of my favorite personalities associated with the battlefield. I am very committed to ensuring that our visitors understand his importance, as well as the continuity of the Robinson family with the landscape for the past 100+ years. 
     National Park Service Director, Mr. Robert G. Stanton, whom you and many of your family members know well, is aware of this proposal for the future of the site, and is supportive of this approach. 

Robert K. Sutton 

If you have not yet sent in your subscription for the News Quarterly, please do so NOW! This edition comes to you as an informational service paid for by Richard R. Robinson.  
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