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Historian honored with portrait at Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historical State Park

Posted at 8:03 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 20:07:05-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- A Petersburg man will have his portrait permanently on display at Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historical State Park to celebrate his more than four decades-long career of telling the history of Virginia.

Friends and former colleagues were on hand Wednesday as the portrait was presented to Chris Calkins, the first superintendent at Sailor's Creek.

Calkins spent more than 30 years with the National Park Service, including time at Appomattox and Petersburg National battlefields.

After retiring from the National Park Service, Calkins spent more than a decade with the state park service at Sailor's Creek.

And without Calkins’ knowledge and research, Lee Wilcox, the chief ranger at Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historical State Park, said it is doubtful the state park would exist.

“Through Chris' 50 years-plus research on the battle, he put it on the map as far as getting it attention through books, articles,” Wilcox noted.

In fact, Wilcox said Virginia officials recruited Calkins to become the park’s first manager when it was established as an independent state park in 2008.

The portrait will be on display at the entrance to the visitors center, so it is one of the first things people see when they walk in.

Calkins has written 12 books, including one on Sailor's Creek.