| Estroz.Net began many years ago when Marvin
and Leslie Broyhill tried to instill in their two young sons a sense of
curiosity about the world in which they live. They felt that learning
should be fun, a combination of education and entertainment. Various
Family Expeditions resulted in the accumulation of many natural
artifacts, such as fossils, minerals, seashells, etc. and a large
collection of related books. The family library became a Natural History
Museum. It was "Show-and-Tell" headquarters for the
neighborhood. Plus there were telescopes, microscopes, chemistry sets
and a host of science projects. Many of these things were virtually impossible
to find in central Virginia. Parents of other children constantly
asked them how they could get them. This revealed the need for
a means to support home education activities.
In 1991, Mr. Broyhill renovated the Appomattox
Iron Works into a living history museum. It had the largest collection of early machine tools in the U.S.
Many were belt driven and powered by steam engines. He wrote research
bulletins on its many resources, the educational field trip program and
lesson plans for teachers. The museum gift shop was conceived and
developed in accordance with the edutainment concept. Then, on
August 6, 1993, the worst tornado in Virginia history devastated
it and the rest of Petersburg's Old Towne Historic District. For all practical
purposes, the AIW was destroyed.
Convinced of the need for science and
resources, Mr. Broyhill began developing a
web site to offer such products. Preparation
of web pages began in the Fall of 1996.
Due to a slew of technical problems the site did not become
fully functional until September, but was an instant success.
Some departments proved so popular and had grown so large they
were used to create a website dedicated to a specialized
subject. The multi-site operations led to reorganizing the business under the
name of Estorz.net. It is now owned by Feenixx Publishing