Preservation Virginia Releases Endangered List
Preservation Virginia has released its annual list of endangered buildings and archaeological sites across the Commonwealth.
May is National Preservation Month, and the list released this week marks the sixth consecutive year that the group has published its overview.
Kostelny: It’s a way to raise awareness about historic resources that are in jeopardy in the Commonwealth.
Elizabeth Kostelny is Executive Director of Preservation Virginia, organized in 1889.
Kostelny: We think that this is a great way to just shine a light on some of the things that are very unique about Virginia and unique about Virginia’s history. And oftentimes we find that the communities are not aware that there is a need for them to reach to help them or to think about innovative ways to keep some as part of their community.
The list, she says, includes ten sites, some of which are in Central Virginia.
Kostelny: St. Francis de Sales School, which is in Powhatan County, is listed this year. It is a building that is held by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, that was built in 1895 as part of a school for African-American girls. It was a school that continued to graduate girls up until the 1970’s, so there’s a great alumni group behind it. But St. Francis itself needs some restoration and really, quite frankly, it’s been hit upon by hard times. Part of the tower has fallen. And before more tragedy strikes this place, we wanted to bring awareness to the site. There’s really an opportunity on the whole Bellemeade Plantation for some very innovative thinking about sustainable agriculture and how it can interface with the community, and hopefully they’ll get some traction out of the awareness that’s built through their nomination this year.
Also in need of attention, the Albemarle County Jail.
Kostelny: This structure that was built in the 1870’s. And it is part of the courthouse complex there. The local Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society believes that there is an opportunity to create a museum complex, using this jail of part of the focal point.
Cornland School in Chesapeake was built in 1885.
Kostelny: It’s a one-room African-American schoolhouse. It’s a woodframe building that stands now surrounded by brush, but it is one of the last remaining structures related to the African-American community in that area.
Oral histories from former students there, Kostelny noted, indicate that even adults often went to class to learn to read and write. Preservation Virginia believes the building can help to interpret the educational heritage of African-Americans in post Civil War Virginia. It’s been vacant for nearly 20 years.
Warwick Town is an archaeological site in Newport News.
Kostelny: The site itself has evidence of Virginia Indian occupation, as well as being an 18th century site for the courthouse.
Also listed are the the Gavis home and the Taylor Hotel in downtown Winchester, the Warm Springs Historic Bath Houses, The Carver School in Alexandria, Morrisena, a house in Albemarle County, and a number of family cemeteries located alongside roads in the shadow of highways across Virginia.
Elizabeth Kostelny: Our website is www.preservationvirginia.org, and Preservation Virginia is all one word.
John Ogle, WCVE News.