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Virginia Landmarks Register

New Listings, September 2013

In September, the Virginia Board of Historic Resources approved 12 new listings in the Virginia Landmarks Register (VLR). The listings will be forwarded to the National Park Service for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The board convened for its quarterly meeting at Garth Newel Music Center (photo), near Warm Springs in Bath County.

To view photos and read a summary of each site, use the arrows (top and bottom) to scroll through the slides or select a site from the drop-down menu above.

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Capital Regional Preservation Office (CRPO)

New September 2013 listings for the Virginia Landmarks Register in the CRPO are in the counties of Nelson and Powhatan and the City of Richmond.

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Chesapeake Warehouses, Richmond

The advent of new technologies that allowed for high-speed cigarette manufacture in Richmond by the 1920s led to the consolidation of tobacco warehouses. These large warehouse complexes marked a shift away from the use of independent warehouses.

Chesapeake Warehouses, built in 1929, was one of the first of these complexes. It consisted of single-story, high-bay frame, rail- and truck-serviced buildings, a construction pattern that served high-speed cigarette manufacturing plants in Richmond during the 1920s.

As with their construction, modifications to the buildings over time reflect changes in tobacco industry technology and distribution. The warehouses also recall Virginia’s seminal tobacco heritage and the industry’s significant 20th-century legacy in Richmond.

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Fighting Creek Plantation, Powhatan County

Originally part of a 1,699-acre plantation located in Powhatan County, Fighting Creek, built around 1841, is a good example of a mid-19th century plantation home. Blending both Classical Revival and Italianate architectural elements in a two-story stucco home with one-story wings, the house retains much historic building material and its original floor plan.

According to local tradition, Fighting Creek was designed by renowned New York architect Alexander Jackson Davis (1803-1892), who designed the nearby Gothic Revival Belmead Plantation. However, no historic records yet confirm Davis as the architect of Fighting Creek.

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Robinson House, Richmond

The Robinson House, located on the campus of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, is significant for its distinctive architecture and compelling history, particularly as part of R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, the nation’s first successful and oldest operating Confederate soldiers’ home.

Constructed in the mid-19th century as the country house of Anthony Robinson Jr., a prominent Richmond banker and landowner, the Robinson House indicates the popularity of Italianate architecture with Virginia’s antebellum elite. In 1884 the Robinson family sold the house to the R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, Confederate Veterans, at which time it was transformed into a three-story institutional headquarters for the Soldiers’ Home (post card image). For 56 years thereafter, Robinson House—renamed Fleming Hall during the R. E. Lee Camp era—served as a barracks, administrative center, and museum until the facility officially closed in 1941.

The building’s role as the literal and symbolic center of the large residential complex for Confederate veterans made it a visual icon of the “Lost Cause” and a long-standing, important site for collective commemoration, remembrance, and reconciliation events. While more than 30 buildings and structures once stood on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home, only Robinson House and the Confederate Memorial Chapel remain, both of which are now owned and maintained by VMFA.

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Major James Wood House (Three Chimneys), Nelson County

Constructed around 1795 for Major James Woods (1761-1832), Three Chimneys is one of the earliest extant brick houses in Nelson County, and an excellent example of a late-Georgian style dwelling. It features an unusual floor plan, and one of the most elaborate chimney pieces in the area. The property also has several outbuildings including an original kitchen constructed of brick. In 1915, new owners added Classical Revival features to the house.

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Northern Regional Preservation Office (NRPO)

September 2013 listings in the Virginia Landmarks Register include historic sites in the counties of Bath, Highland, and Loudoun, all located within the NRPO district.

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Barton Lodge, Bath County

Barton Lodge, now known as Malvern Hall, was built between 1898 and 1900 on a hill overlooking The Homestead in Hot Springs in Bath County. Its original owner, Seth Barton French, was a major investor in the Virginia Hot Springs Company. In 1927 it became the re-named residence of Letitia Pate Whitehead Evans, a philanthropist who was named to the board of the Coca-Cola Company after her husband’s death, making Evans one of the first women in the U.S. to serve on the board of a major American company.

The house is a sophisticated example of the Neo-Classical Revival style, and incorporates early-20th-century building technology into its steel frame and features design trends popular during the latter 19th century. Evans, who died in 1953, contributed to numerous religious, educational, and charitable organizations across the South and Virginia. In 1961, the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation transferred Malvern Hall to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

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Huntland, Loudoun County

Covering about 400 acres and located near Middleburg, the Huntland estate was once devoted primarily to foxhunting, a sport that reinvigorated the economy of the region in the early-20th century.

A portion of the main house dates back to an 1830 brick dwelling built by master brickmason William Benton Sr., whose work is associated with many buildings in the region including the Unison Methodist Church and Oak Hill, the home of President James Monroe.

In the early 20th century wealthy New Yorker Joseph B. Thomas acquired the estate and converted and enlarged the stately brick country dwelling into a Colonial Revival-style masterpiece. He also enhanced the grounds with gates, walls, and terraced gardens that are reminiscent of English manor estates and designed Huntland’s state-of-the-art kennels and horse stables.

By the mid-20th century, under the ownership of two wealthy Texans, Huntland became a retreat for notable Washington dignitaries including then-Senator and future U. S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1962, secret international negotiations were conducted at Huntland that resulted in a treaty between Indonesia, the Netherlands and the United Nations centering on the future of New Guinea.

With its sweeping vistas over fields that have been under cultivation for nearly 180 years, the property today includes a springhouse, smokehouse, and a guest cottage, all constructed around 1834, and early-20th-century structures that include secondary dwellings, a dairy barn with attached silos and a corncrib, a milking parlor, five sheds, a garage, a pump house, and a cistern.

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John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church and Cemetery, Bath County

John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church is the only remaining building from the first decades of West Warm Springs, a Bath County community settled by African Americans who arrived after the Civil War to find employment in the area’s springs resorts and affiliated industries.

The church was the first religious building for blacks in the community. It became a social and religious hub and part of broader community development patterns former slaves created in the wake of Emancipation and Reconstruction.

 Today the church is the only remaining log building in the immediate community and the only surviving example of a Bath County religious institution constructed by, and once serving emancipated blacks. A small cemetery is located on an adjacent parcel west of the church.

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C. P. Jones House and Law Office, Highland County

The C.P. Jones House and Law Office, located in the Town of Monterey, is an evolved dwelling with Victorian architectural elements. At the house's core is a two-story log structure built around 1850 that may have functioned as the first tavern in the area and, according to local tradition, a courthouse prior to completion of a county courthouse. During the Civil War, one of the upstairs rooms is believed to have served as a temporary hospital.

In 1873, Charles Pinckney Jones purchased the property and began making additions and exterior finishes in the then-current Late Victorian architectural style. He also had additional outbuildings constructed including his law office (pictured upper left). Jones practiced law in Highland and surrounding counties, and served as a member of the Virginia State Legislature as a delegate and a senator (1883-1897). He was also on the board of visitors for the University of Virginia, where he was also elected rector of the university.

Today the property retains several contributing secondary structures including a mid-19th-century brick springhouse site and a frame smokehouse and apple cellar, both built about 1900.

 

PhotosSwitchback School, Bath County

Switchback School, also known as Union Hurst School, was completed in 1924 using building plans and money from the Julius Rosenwald Fund to leverage additional financial support from the local African-American community as well as the Bath County school board. During its history, several generations of black students from the Hot Springs area attended the school.

The one-story, frame building, typical of the rural schools built with Rosenwald support, stands on its original site and preserves a substantial amount of its original fabric.

Switchback School began as a two-teacher school building and was enlarged by the serial addition of two classrooms. It is one of two Rosenwald schools built in Bath County and one of approximately 70 still surviving out of the 364 that were built across Virginia. The school closed in 1965, when the county ended its official policy of segregation.

Secondary contributing historic resources on the site include a late 1930s stone and concrete cistern and three stone walls, structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

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Three Hills, Bath County

Located on a hill at the outskirts of the village of Warm Springs, the estate Three Hills is associated with author Mary Johnston, who had the house built in 1913 as her residence. Johnston, the first best-selling novelist of the 20th century, gained popularity for her historical romances featuring heroes and heroines of colonial Virginia. She lived at Three Hills until her death in 1936, during the latter and most productive period of her life and career when she wrote 16 novels and one book of nonfiction. While Johnston faded from the canon of American authors by the mid-20th century, she has earned renewed interest among scholars with the rediscovery of her early involvement in the women’s suffrage movement in Virginia.

The main house at Three Hills, completed in an Italian Renaissance style with a Colonial Revival-style interior, was designed by Richmond architects Carneal and Johnston and is the only known example of their work in western Virginia. The property features a small formal boxwood garden, a stone and brick chimney, and three Craftsman-like cottages that were built in the 1910s and 1920s including Garden Cottage, where Johnston wrote many of her works.

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Western Regional Preservation Office

Within the WRPO coverage are two historic districts, one for Ferrum College (Franklin Co.) and one in Roanoke. that were approved for listing in Septemeber in the Virginia Landmarks Register.

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Ferrum College Historic District, Franklin County

The Ferrum College Historic District in Franklin County encompasses the historic core of what was originally the Ferrum Training School, a Methodist-affiliated high school established in 1913. The school grew out of a desire by Virginia Methodists to provide educational opportunities to underprivileged young people in the state’s Blue Ridge region.

The eight buildings constituting the historic campus date from 1914 to 1942 and are primarily of Colonial Revival and Classical Revival architectural character. They include two houses, one of which has served as the president’s residence since 1915, and a 1940 infirmary that served for a time as the county’s best-equipped health center.

 In 1926 Ferrum’s trustees voted to recast the institution as a junior college and by the eve of World War II approximately half of the enrolled students were college level. By the 1950s the junior college transformation was complete. In 1976 Ferrum achieved accreditation as a four-year college.

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Roanoke River & Railroad Historic District, Roanoke

This district centers on a tract of land along the Roanoke River in southeast Roanoke that developed rapidly as an industrial corridor with the completion of the Roanoke & Southern Railway in 1892 and the Virginian Railway line in 1909.

The industries that located along these two rail lines reflected the tremendous growth Roanoke experienced with the construction of the railroads. From lumber yards to iron and bridge works, the industries were directly tied to either the construction of the railroad or the many houses built during the early boom years of Roanoke.

The Roanoke River & Railroad Industrial Historic District's period of significance extends from 1892, the year Roanoke & Southern Railway line was completed, to 1959, when the Virginian Railway merged with Norfolk & Western and the district’s rail station ceased service for freight or passenger traffic.