This Month in Stafford County History – April 2017

The Free Lance newspaper of Apr. 4, 1911 reported:

"Telegraph Tower at Arkendale Burned.  The Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad switch and telegraph tower at Arkendale, in Stafford, burned Sunday morning.  The fire was discovered by Operator George Moncure, who made every possible effort to put the fire out with several buckets of water, which were kept in the building, but these were inadequate and the building was burned to the ground.  Besides the machinery and apparatus used in working the switches there was in the tower two typewriters and two phones, none of which were saved.  There were a number of the wires of the Western Union and R. R. Company burned.  The loss is estimated at from $1,500 to $2,000, partly insured.  The tower will be rebuilt as rapidly as possible."


The man who discovered this fire was telegraph operator George Vowles Moncure, III (1883-1973).  He lived at Rectory in Wide Water, Stafford County.  After the government condemned his farm in 1942 for the expansion of the Quantico Marine Corps base, he moved to a farm on Bell's Hill Road just north of Stafford Courthouse.