Historic Occoquan Historic Town

This page is devoted to Things about Occoquan....

Poetry by Leo Smith

Leo has submitted two poems which are below for your browsing pleasure - webmaster

Along the Occoquan - Passing in Review

Skipjacks up from Chesapeake
And Packets out from Jamestown, too
Loaded down with feed and flour
On the Occoquan and out bound too.  

Low water out on Occoquan Bay
Shallow there at Belmont, too!
Stay tight along the channel mark
The “twain” is less than two.  

 The mills at Occoquan gave birth
To the village settled there
The forge just up the road a piece
Produced the iron so rare.  

Down the river past the town
The river opened wide
As it carved its way through walls of rock
That towered on its side  

The thriving town of Occoquan
Depended for its trade
On crops that grew out west of here
And came by wagon trade.  

So many years ago in Occoquan
The folks who settled here in town
Made Occoquan the center of
All commerce river-bound.  

The Dogue relinquished land and home
And the settlers built the mill
And farmers from the hills around
Brought their grain to this great mill.  

Only here among the sculptured cliffs
With the raging water force
Could water power, found and hitched,
Produce the commerce without horse.  

The iron forge and great grain mill -
The power harnessed from the creek -
The heart and soul of commerce grew
Among the settlers, strong and weak.  

The life of the town of Occoquan
Depends on the channel deep
That connects the Occoquan for miles
To the Potomac River’s sweep.

Traffic was the life-blood, too
For the Port of Occoquan
The trade was high and life was good
When the ships were on the run.  

But times have changed and now the town
Sees yet another face.
The forge is gone - the trade dried up
And decayed, the old millrace!  

And the port of Occoquan has changed
And the folks have lost their sight.
The vision changed as the merchants did
And now it is our plight.  

We strive to find the common ground
To meet the changing times.
How can we let our history pass
And ignore the tolling chimes.  

If we shall not take up the flag
And raise the banner high
Who, then, will fight the cause for us -
Or let the issue die?  

We are the keepers of the book
We sign our marks herein!
This town is ours to keep -
The loss would be a sin.  

So here and now I ask of you
Think deeply now, please do!
For yours it is to make the sign:
Allow the town to pass away
Or help us to renew.  

The council voted three to two
To accept a strategic plan
Quite filled with risk – financial risk-
Quite well informed, yet unconvinced,
To renew the Town of Occoquan.
Leo A. Smith Jr. August 6, 2013  

At a town meeting, August 6, 2013, I voiced my opinion that the establishment of a formal staff position for a Economic Redevelopment Manager was a move to a government staff role not needed and fairly well not supported by the residents. It’s tax money we don’t have and transferring CIP funds to Operating funds does not change reality and is not supported by taxpayers.  

Sign! Signs! Everywhere Signs!

Just a little town
No more than three blocks square -The right of way is marked
By a stop sign here and there!  

The little town is on the way
To every body’s place of works -
And the cut through traffic got so bad
We had to stop the jerks!  

We added stop signs at each block
And no right turns or left turns, too!
At every alley, street and corner curb
We placed a sign or two.  

Then came the merchants in the Town
And asked for signs to show
That there were shops that folks should see
Before the packed to go!  

So, for the owners of the shops
In the alleys and the lots
Behind the stores that faced Mill Street
We added signs in many spots.  

And by the many signs we had
That County and VDOT installed
The colors and their many shapes
Frustrated and enthralled!  

The Food Museum sign they placed
Directly in the face
Of everyone who entered Town
In such an awkward place!  

They put the damn thing in our Park
Where every tourist sits
And if you drive a car in Town,
You’ll see the sign is just “the pits!”  

There is no Food Museum,
The sign is all messed up,
A museum’s at the end of Town
And there are places one can “sup”  

But the sign is big and ugly
And the colors blue and white
Just look very out of place
In a peaceful park – not right!  

Then traffic calming measures
To stem the risks and speed
Required more posted signs
No Parking one could read!  

The painted yellow curbs
Added color to the streets
But still required “No Parking” signs
And policemen walking “beats”!  

Virginia State, Two Thousand 8
A most exciting year
Commemorates the starting here
Of the colonies, you hear!  

Well now for kicks we joined the league
Of Towns around the state.
And did our share of showing off
As our way to participate.  

We dedicated our footbridge
To a Founding father of the Town
And placed a sign upon the walkway
Just to make it well renowned.  

And at the little garden
At the entrance of our Town
Another sign upon a rock
Attests our ageless Town.  

Now VDOT built a big new bridge
To help the traffic flow
And said that it would change the way
Our cut through folks would go  

But that did nothing to curb the flow
So, we did our level best…
“No Right Turns” from Washington
During evening traffic’s crest!  

And in the morning hours
When Union Street is jammed,
A sign says “No Right Turns”
Into the alley, or be damned!  

Now signs there are that tell you
Which way you need to go
And then there are the signs that say
You have to travel “Slow”!  

There are signs that give direction
To the shops and to the stores.
There are signs upon the corners
And signs upon the doors.  

There are signs of pure metal
And plastic ones to boot!
Wooden signs and paper banners
Begging for your “loot!”  

Then, too, there are the colors
So many they display!
The ARB controls the colors
And what the signs can say.  

Then posters and the banners
They too are signs as well.
Look around you every where
There are signs that show and tell.  

Too many signs are taking space -
It’s hard to find another place -
But save some room (just in case
We find a cause we have to face)  

To put up another sign!  

 Leo Smith August 2007  


This page is sponsored by:

BAR-3 Enterprises of Occoquan