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To L. Ferdinand Zerkel
April 22, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Mr. Zerkel,
I am really very glad to have the map of the Valley Land and Improvement Company.1 While I was about 10 years old at the time my memory regarding Luray, the Inn, the Caverns, the auctioning off of real estate, the excursion trains from the North with prospective buyers, and all the other manifestations of a boom period, is quite clear.
You mention my return visit to Luray at the time of the Officer Candidate School, about 1909, I think. I recall meeting Mr. Morrison at that time and I remember his father discussing the VMI with mother, also Colonel Charles Marshall, Lee’s former Aide, who was a guest at the Inn at that time.2
In 1928 I paid an unexpected visit to Luray one evening, making a tour of the Caverns and motoring on to Upperville, Virginia.
I will have in mind your hospitable invitation should the opportunity develop where I can find time for such a pleasant visit.3
Please remember me to Mr. Morrison and with my thanks and regards to you, believe me,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Zerkel, commissioner for the Shenandoah National Park, had written from Luray, Virginia, to send an 1890 map of the Valley Land and Improvement Company, of which Marshall’s father had been a partner. (Zerkel to Marshall, April 17, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].) Marshall recalled his father making “the great mistake of his life” by investing in the land boom and ultimately losing everything in Marshall Interviews, pp. 69-70.
2. Marshall was assigned as an instructor for a week-long officers’ camp for the Second Virginia Infantry held at Luray in May 1911. While there he had met Robert T. Morrison, currently the executive secretary of the Luray Chamber of Commerce, whose father, Colonel James H. Morrison, had been a member of the faculty at the Virginia Military Institute. (Zerkel to Marshall, April 17, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].)
3. Zerkel invited Marshall for a return visit to the Luray Caverns and surrounding attractions of the Shenandoah National Park and the scenic Skyline Drive, where “your likely wish for privacy is remembered” and “your wishes would be commands for Mr. Morrison and me.” (Ibid.)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 429-430.