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Fall Hill gift will add to city's outdoor pleasure

Date published: 5/20/2014

I am thrilled that my sister, Jenny-Lynn Franklin Guth, has donated her inherited property of the Fall Hill estate to the city of Fredericksburg.

This thrills me because my donation of inherited land is adjacent to Jenny's and now, with Jenny's donation, the city finally has access to the two pieces of property.

Together, these parcels will become a beautiful park with public access to be enjoyed by walkers, bikers, canoeists and drivers, right in your own backyard.

This Fall Hill property was received by the Thornton family in the early 1700s as a land grant from King George. The families who inherited Fall Hill were the Taylors in the 1800s, then the Robinsons and, finally, the property was inherited by my mother, Butler Brayne Robinson Franklin.

The Franklins have loved that piece of property from early childhood on, especially enjoying picnics on the top of the hill overlooking the Rappahannock and the city of Fredericksburg, down to the rippling stream at the bottom of the hill that borders the property of the Fall Hill estate.

That stream is a haven for young children, wading barefoot over soft rounded rocks searching for exotic wildflowers in the new life of spring.

This is God's land, given to the city, as it was given in the 1700s. This is land the Indians lived on. There are many artifacts still to be found on the land, including arrowheads, Indian punchbowl and flint rock used to sharpen tools.

This land was given when America believed in God. Our family was raised at Fall Hill believing in God, as did most families in America in past centuries.

May this historic playground, bearing my mother's name, reflect the strong faith of our forefathers and empower future generations to be guided by the hand of God.

Bess Forbes Franklin Macdonald Turk

Jacksonville, Fla.