Windsor celebrates 122nd birthday

Published 10:00 am Saturday, April 6, 2024

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The Isle of Wight County Museum threw a celebration for the town of Windsor on Saturday afternoon, March 16, at the Windsor Town Center, highlighting the locality’s 122nd birthday.

The celebration, held in the town center’s Arrowhead Conference Room, included a presentation from Albert P. Burckard Jr. on trains in light of Windsor being a historic railroad town.

Historical artifacts from the museum relevant to Windsor and trains were on display, and following Burckard’s presentation, the small group in attendance sang “Happy Birthday” to the town and enjoyed some delicious birthday cake.

Windsor Mayor George Stubbs said the event was “very nice. I wish we could have more in attendance.”

He noted that Burckard and Isle of Wight County Museum Director Jennifer England do a very good job of presenting information relevant to the town.

“I appreciate them doing it, especially Albert, because he puts everything into it,” Stubbs said. “It was built on the town and the railroad, but it’s what the town came from, so I’m very pleased.”

Windsor was founded on March 15, 1902.

The museum opted to align the birthday celebration with a Saturday.

England opened the event by saying, “Happy birthday to Windsor! Windsor is 122 today, so yay, Windsor! The really cool thing about Windsor’s birthday is that the town of Windsor and The World’s Oldest Ham have the same birthday year. So everybody’s turning 122 this year.”

Before giving the floor over to Burckard, she highlighted a few Windsor-related artifacts in the museum’s collection that she had brought to the celebration, including a Windsor baseball jersey that she estimated was from around 1910. The front of the jersey bore the town’s name, and on the back was “Goodwin Ford Motor Co.,” likely a nod to the team’s sponsor.

“There were a lot of baseball leagues that were here,” she said. “Windsor played Smithfield quite a bit, and they would head on over and go play with Suffolk as well.”

She also presented a Windsor High School diploma from 1930, a 1925 WHS yearbook that was known as “The Shadow,” and a 1960 WHS yearbook known as “The Falcon.”

There were also historic photographs of trains that Burckard arranged to have on hand.

“We have a lot of great things in the collection representing Windsor at the museum,” England said. “We’re always looking for more, so whatever old photos you guys have in your collection, we would always appreciate the opportunity to scan them (and) give them right back to you. You’re also welcome to email them to me so we can add them to the museum’s permanent collection. Digital or in person, it all makes us happy.”

The museum is located at 103 Main St. in Smithfield, and England can be reached via email at

Introducing Burckard and his presentation, England said, “We thought that it would be really fun to talk about all of those noises that you hear here in Windsor, all the rolling stock that goes by.”

Burckard’s presentation was titled “‘Trainspotting’ in Windsor.” It also had an alternate title of “What the Heck is Inside that Train Car that Just Whizzed by D.Q. at 60 mph? (actually 59).”

He explained, “The speed limit is 60, but they actually set for 59, so they never can exceed the speed limit going by here.”

Burckard’s talk covered the names and distinctive features of different kinds of railcars, including the ones seen passing through Windsor the most, and he explained the meaning behind abbreviations and numbers seen on the side of railcars.

He also discussed an effort to reconnect Windsor with passenger rail service to the rest of America.

“For the last 20 years, I’ve run at least two political campaigns trying to get you all, the town of Windsor, connected with the rest of the (country) by railway,” he said. “Amtrak doesn’t even stop here.”

He showed an illustration of the proposed HighRoad Rapid Transit System. 

“It’s sort of a monorail, sort of like Disneyland, takes up very little space on the ground, a very low footprint,” he said. “My proposal is to take this along (U.S. Route) 258, over along Route 10, connect it up Route 17, it’s going to go across the James River on those pylons and connect up with the Amtrak station there. So there you go.”

England suggested an alternative of Amtrak stopping in Windsor on its way out of Norfolk.

Burckard said, “That too, yeah, because when I came up with this idea, Amtrak did not stop here. Amtrak didn’t even come down here. Remember, the only Amtrak station was in Newport News.”

Amtrak began service in Norfolk in December 2012 with the opening of the Norfolk station.