List of most endangered historic sites in Virginia unveiled

Posted at 1:17 PM, May 07, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-07 14:46:48-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Central Virginia is filled with important historical sites, including Civil War battlefields, Revolutionary War sites, homes of presidents and famous authors. However some of the places and properties are now at risk.  Monday morning the group Preservation Virginia, unveiled their annual list of endangered sites.

A crowd of approximately 75 people came together to hear the list at Richmond's Libby Hill Overlook, which happens to be one of this years threatened sites.

Also making the list is Meadow Farm in Caroline County.  The farm was made internationally famous as the birthplace of Secretariat, a Triple Crown racehorse legend.  The Meadow Farm also became home to the State Fair in 2009, but its future is uncertain.  The area is scheduled to go on the auction block May 22, 2012.

This is the eighth year Preservation Virginia has presented a list of historic places, buildings and sites across the state in jeopardy.  Organizers of Monday's event say they're looking for survival solutions, for what they consider the cornerstones of the Commonwealth.

"It (historic sites) drives people to move to Virginia, it's what drives businesses to Virginia," said executive director of Preservation Virginia Elizabeth Kostelny.

Julia Pettus, a Crestview Elementary 5th grader attended Monday's event.  The 11 year old recently wrote an essay on preserving and protecting the state's past.  She said she's on a mission to help save the state's history.

"I'm making people think about it, how special some places are," said Pettus.  "You need to keep them, so they don't get ruined."

The Endangered List from Preservation Virginia includes:

Libby Hill Overlook, Richmond
In 1737 William Byrd II looked out on this view and saw a striking similarity to that of the view from Richmond on the Thames.  Our new town was named Richmond and became the capital in 1780.

New Market Road Corridor, Henrico County
The approach to Richmond through the eastern part of Henrico County crosses some of the most historic lands.  Stories of adaptation, survival and reinvention play out through the centuries as  first Virginia Indians, English and Africans and ultimately Virginians and Americans worked and lived on this land.

MEADOW FARM, Caroline County
In the heart of Caroline County, for centuries Meadow Farm has been a center for agriculture and equestrian history.  Made internationally famous as the birthplace of Secretariat, it became home to the Virginia State Fair.  The Meadow’s future appeared secure until the declaration of bankruptcy.

Ashland Theater, Ashland
Located on the Main Street corridor and in the National Register Historic District of Ashland, this local landmark has been dark and under-used for 17 years.

Gwaltney Store, Suffolk
In the Chuckatuck community of Suffolk, this early 19th century structure is a dominant feature.  The owners and local historical society believe there are alternative uses to prevent its loss and return it to community use.   At present, the City of Suffolk has since posted a CONDEMNED sign on the property with plans to demolish.

Talbot Hall, Norfolk
Overlooking the Lafayette River on one of the only undeveloped sites with in view, Talbot Hall is one of the last two remaining antebellum plantation homes in the City of Norfolk.   For many years, this was the official residence for the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia.  In February of 2012, the Diocese announced tentative plans to market the property for sale with no protections to preserve the structure or the park-like landscape and viewshed.

Slate Seed Company, South Boston
This late 19th century Greek Revival frame building retains detailed architectural elements.  It sits vacant and is in danger of demolition.

Boones Mill Depot, Franklin County
This early 20th century depot is a contributing structure to the Boones Mill Historic District. The owner, Norfolk Southern, is willing to sell the building for $1 so it can be moved and saved. The Boones Mill Town Council and local citizens are working to raise funds to move the depot across the tracks.

Virginia Tech, Lane, Brodie and Rasche Hall, Blacksburg
Lane Hall (constructed 1888), Rasche Hall (constructed 1894) and Brodie Hall (constructed 1900)  occupies the historic Upper Quad of the Virginia Tech Campus and represents an important aspect of university’s history . The Commandant of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets (VTCC) is proposing to demolish these three buildings in order to construct a new dormitory for the VTCC cadets.

Whitehorn-Banister Rural Historic Landscape, Pittsylvania County
This picturesque rural landscape played an essential role in the mid-18th century founding of Pittsylvania County during which time plantation-based agriculture and local water-powered processing were the principal economic activities. The area has standing structures that span almost every era of history of the region including a Native American fishing weir, gristmills, and an assembly of Revolutionary era mansions — all of which are connected by pristine fields, woods, creek and rivers.

Morgans Ford Low Water Bridge, Warren County
Crossing of the Shenandoah River, Morgans Ford Bridge is approached from winding country lanes through some of Virginia’s most historic and scenic farmland. The single lane, 321 foot low water concrete bridge was constructed in 1925.