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South Boston applying for a national park to honor town's Revolutionary War history

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SOUTH BOSTON (WSLS10) - A stone obelisk and a replica wooden boat mark the spot on the Dan River in South Boston where American General Nathanael Greene is believed to have crossed on February 14th, 1781.

The crossing was the beginning of the end of the Revolutionary War.

"As all historians will tell you," said South Boston Town Manager Thomas Raab, "had that not happened, we would probably still be under British rule."

As significant as the crossing was though, he says it often doesn't get talked about and consequently many people are unaware of it.

In the town's Prizery Building, an exhibit about the crossing has been set up to try to make people more aware.

Raab says he was inspired to pursue the national park designation in February after hearing an author who wrote a book about the crossing speak at the town's annual celebration of the crossing.

"We're willing to work with the park system in any way they see beneficial for them and for us," Raab emphasized.

No official paperwork has been submitted yet, but Raab has contacted U.S. Congressman Robert Hurt, who represents the area, and Raab says Congressman Hurt is planning to bring him up to Washington soon to discuss the next steps in the process.

South Boston-Halifax Tourism Director Linda Shepperd says it's hard to understate the positive impact this would have on the area, with national parks being popular tourist destinations.

"It's another tool in our tool box of what brings people to this region," she said.

Raab says given the lengthy application process, he hopes that he can get the designation secured in the next year and a half to two years.


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