Two of new highway markers planned for Pulaski County

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A stock car racer whose career took him from delivering moonshine in the Blue Ridge Mountains to being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be commemorated with a new historical highway marker in Virginia.

Two new markers are planned for Pulaski County paying tribute to the local World War II effort.

The marker for racer Curtis Morton Turner is among a dozen new highway markers authorized this month by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources.

Other new markers will describe the historical significance of two African-American churches in northern Virginia, early 20th-century schools built for non-white students during segregation, World War II-era ordnance production and a Tuskegee airman who was inducted into the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame.

The historical highway marker program began in 1927 with installation of the first markers along U.S. Route 1. There are now more than 2,500 official state markers.

The two new markers in Pulaski County will focus on the home front mobilization during World War II.

One marker will direct attention to the area’s transformation from the founding of Radford Ordnance Works and the New River Ordnance Plant. The New River’s Plant construction drew more than 20,000 people from around the United States, changing the area’s economy and infrastructure, resulting in more roads, schools, and commerce.

A second marker will focus on the New River Ordnance Plant (Radford Ammunition Plant), established for primarily bagging propellant powder used for firing artillery shells during World War II.

The plant shipped 144,000 tons of powder between 1941-1945.

Details on the markers follows:

Marker One:

Proposed Location: State Route 611 (Wilderness Road), near intersection with SR 1039 (Staff Village Road), Dublin

FULL TEXT: World War II Home Front

The United States’ mobilization for World War II brought dramatic changes to this region. The Radford Ordnance Works, nine miles northeast of here, and the New River Ordnance Plant, near here, opened in 1941. Construction employed more than 20,000 people from 45 states, and thousands of workers later operated the facilities. This population boom diversified the area’s agricultural economy and transformed its infrastructure, bringing new roads, schools, retail and industrial establishments, and private and government-funded housing developments. Just north of here is the New River Ordnance Plant’s staff village, a set of 15 houses built in support of the war effort.

 

Marker Two:

Proposed Location: State Route 1030 (Bagging Plant Road), 1.7 miles from intersection with SR 100, Dublin

FULL TEXT: New River Ordnance Plant

Just south of here stood the New River Ordnance Plant, or Dublin Bagging Plant, a World War II facility established primarily for the bagging of propellant powder used for firing artillery shells. Construction of the plant, designed and operated by the Hercules Powder Company, began in Feb. 1941 on nearly 4,000 acres of former farmland. Thousands of employees, many of them women, manufactured bags, loaded them with powder, waterproofed artillery propellants, and made cannon flash reducers. The plant shipped nearly 144,000 tons of powder before being declared surplus in 1945. Portions of the property were sold, while about 2,800 acres later became part of the Radford Army Ammunition Plant.

The sponsor of both markers is the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors.

From staff and wire reports