Virginians' love of history extends to its historic dirt

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It’s no surprise that Virginians cherish their history. Who knew the love affair extends to our dirt?

Roughly 27,000 tons of the stuff were recently scooped out of the south lawn of the state’s 200-year-old Capitol building. The dig made room for an underground addition, part of a $100 million renovation.

The soil, considered “historic earth,” was trucked to a secret spot in Henrico County and piled into a mountain.

“I can only tell you it was taken to state-owned property,” said Susan Pollard, spokeswoman for the department of general services. “We don’t want to advertise its location.”

Treasure seekers are not the concern. Archeologists gave the Capitol lawn a good going-over before the backhoes moved in. Despite centuries of human traffic, the gentle hill offered up no artifacts worth mentioning.

“The most interesting thing about the dirt is the effort made to conserve it,” said Jim Wootton of the Capitol Square Preservation Council.

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