Charles Barham, Jr.

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

Charles Barham, Jr. (1903-1983) was a Charlottesville business man and owner of radio station WCHV.[1] Mr. Barham was elected to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation's Board and named Vice-President in 1950. From 1951 he served as both a Vice-President and as Treasurer. In 1958 he became First Vice-President and Treasurer. In 1966, he was elected President of the Board, a position he held until his retirement in November of 1973. He was then elected to permanent status as Director Emeritus in recognition of his 23 years of distinguished service for the Foundation.

Born in 1903 in Nashville, Tennessee, Mr. Barham earned a B.A. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1924. He worked in Nashville in banking and operated a wholesale bakery from 1932 until 1940 when he moved to Charlottesville and purchased radio station WCHV in partnership with his wife. He operated the station until the business was sold in 1959. Mr. Barham was an active member of the Charlottesville community and in several local business organizations: he served as president of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Chamber of Commerce in 1945; was chairman of the Albemarle County Planning Commission in 1957; helped develop the Bellair Estates and Jefferson Hills subdivisions; and was a board member of the Peoples National Bank from 1946 to 1976. He died in Charlottesville at the age of 79 in October of 1983.

In January of 1950, Mr. Barham attended the Foundation Board Meeting as a Director-elect. When he was initially approached by Frank K. Houston, President of the Foundation, to join the Board, it was emphasized that he would be a "working member;" due to the illness of both Mr. Hildreth and Mr. Taliaferro, it was necessary to have a local member who could devote attention to the details of running Monticello. Mr. Barham agreed to take the responsibilities of supervising the operations at Monticello with the conditions that he was the sole person in charge in Charlottesville, that the Foundation books and files could be moved to his office, that the Foundation's architect be changed from Milton L. Grigg to Floyd Johnston, and that a furnace be installed in the house.

During his tenure at Monticello, an interior restoration of the house was undertaken which included the installation of a modern heating and air conditioning system; an automatic sprinkler and alarm system was installed; a shuttle transportation system was instituted for visitors; property was purchased to protect the approach to and view from the mountain top (including the Shadwell and Tufton properties); and the Resident Director's house was built. In addition, Mr. Barham suggested the establishment of a small tree nursery (considering the number of linden trees lost in the 1952 hurricane), he promoted the effort to furnish the north and south pavilions, he initiated and oversaw the institution of hostesses to guide visitors through the house, and was instrumental in establishing the Foundation-sponsored Fellowships at the University of Virginia.

Footnotes

  1. This article is based on Anna G. Koester, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Archives: Collection Guide and Catalog, October 1989, 20-22.

Further Sources