New Wayside Panels
As part of ongoing efforts to tell a more complete history of our community, the City of Fredericksburg installed five new wayside panels in February 2024. Created in collaboration with the Fredericksburg Area Museum, community members, and local scholars, the new panels honor Mr. Johnny P. Johnson, Dr. W.L. Harris, the Mannahoac Indigenous Tribe, Decoration Day, and the Walker-Grant School.
Johnny P. Johnson
Located at 923 Sophia Street this panel shares the story of Johnny P. Johnson, beloved artist, teacher, husband, father, community leader, and friend.
Dr. W.L. Harris
Located between 312 and 320 Tyler Street, this panel shares the story of Dr. W.L. Harris, dentist, entrepreneur, developer, community leader, and advocate.
The Mannahoac Indigenous Tribe
Located on Fall Hill Avenue across from Briscoe Lane (adjacent to 1001 Gordon Shelton Boulevard), this panel shares the story of the Mannahoac Indigenous Tribe, who were settled near the falls of the Rappahannock River.
Located at the intersection of Young and Willis Streets (293 Willis Street is closest), this panel shares the story of Decoration Day, a precursor to modern Memorial Day celebrations.
The Walker-Grant School
Located at 500 Gunnery Road, this panel shares the story of Fredericksburg's first publicly supported high school for African American students.
Walker-Grant High School Class of 1950 Stages Graduation Protest at Fredericksburg Community Center
Located in front of the Dorothy Hart Community Center at 408 Canal Street, this panel shares the history of June 6, 1950. On this day the Walker-Grant graduating class, dressed in cap and gown, marched with their supporters to the community center to protest their treatment for not being allowed to use a publicly-funded building because of the color of their skin.
The Green Book
Located at the corner of Wolfe and Princess Anne Streets, this panel shares a view of the 500 block of Princess Anne Street, where numerous African American-owned businesses were once located. Several businesses in this block were listed in the Green Book, a guidebook for African American travelers that showed where safe accommodations including restaurants, gas stations, and hotels could be found in a time when African American travelers were frequently met with intimidation and outright discrimination.
Freedom Riders Challenge a Nation
Located on Princess Anne Street, this historical panel points visitors to the former location of Fredericksburg's bus depot, now the site of the fire station. On May 4, 1961, the Fredericksburg bus depot became the Freedom Riders' first stop at the start of a seven-month campaign to challenge the racial status quo in states throughout the American south.
French John's Wharf
In the late 18th century, John DeBaptiste, a free Black man, established a shipping wharf where Canal Street meets the Rappahannock River and eventually purchased the land as well. He was a successful entrepreneur who operated this business as well as the Falmouth Ferry (located closer to the site of the Chatham Bridge) in a time when no bridges crossed the river at Fredericksburg.