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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources is the State Historic Preservation Office.
Our mission is to foster, encourage, and support the stewardship of Virginia's significant historic architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources.

Historic Virginia

Commission for Historical Statues in U.S. Capitol Solicits Nominations for New Honoree to Replace R. E. Lee Statue

National Statuary Hall
National Statuary Hall. (c) Architect of the Capitol.

—On behalf of the commission, DHR will collaborate with the Va. Dept. of Education to solicit names from Virginia teachers and students from elementary through college level—

—Comment period open until November 27—

The Commission for Historical Statues in the U.S. Capitol is asking the public to submit suggestions for a historical person to represent Virginia in a new statue for placement in the Capitol. The commission is particularly interested in hearing proposals from Virginia students. The deadline for submitting a name for the statue is November 27.

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DHR Seeks Public Input on Our Statewide Preservation Plan

 Buildings in the Chase City Warehouse and Commercial Historic District.
Buildings in the Chase City Warehouse and Commercial Historic District.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources is updating its five-year statewide preservation plan, and we need your help. Your feedback and input will help us shape the plan as we consider a wide range of strategies to identify, evaluate, and protect historic places throughout Virginia. The successful implementation of a comprehensive preservation plan is possible only if the commonwealth’s preservation community shares its common goals and objectives. For that reason, we urge you please to take our brief on-line survey that seeks to capture your ideas and opinions about the current and future state of historic preservation in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Information gathered from this survey will help us determine how best to serve you in telling and preserving Virginia’s diverse and rich heritage. Thank you in advance for your participation in this important effort.

DHR Announces Cost Share and Planning Grant Awards for 2020-2021

A motor court complex in the proposed Colonial Beach historic district
A motor court complex in the proposed Colonial Beach historic district.

Grants support projects in the counties of Bedford, Fauquier, and Henrico; the towns of Ashland (Hanover Co.) and Colonial Beach (Westmoreland Co.); and the City of Virginia Beach

DHR has awarded $53,500 in Cost Share Survey and Planning Program grants to fund preservation projects in six localities that will use those grants to leverage around $110,000 in matching funds. The projects entail surveying historic buildings and drafting nominations to list districts and two former African American schools on the National Register of Historic Places, among other endeavors.

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DHR Announces 2020 Virginia Battlefield Preservation Grants to Protect 610 Acres  

Stone-Keller Mill in village of Fisher's Hill, part of the battlefield in Shenandoah County.
Stone-Keller Mill in village of Fisher’s Hill, part of the battlefield in Shenandoah County.

–Targeted tracts are in the counties of Henrico, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Warren, and York, and the city of Chesapeake– 

 –City of Chesapeake tract preserves land associated with the Revolutionary War; the second time VBPF grants have gone to land associated with battles from that war–

Grants from this year’s Virginia Battlefield Preservation Fund will protect more than 610 acres including acreage associated with the Revolutionary War, in addition to Civil War battlefields and the actions of United States Colored Troops.

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East End Cemetery: Public Meeting Oct. 23 to Discuss Discovery of Human Remains

State Historical marker for Evergreen CemeteryOn Friday, October 23, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., please join the Department of Historic Resources and the Enrichmond Foundation for a public hearing to discuss the July 20, 2020 discovery of human remains at East End Cemetery. The remains of the unknown individuals were recovered by DHR archaeologists immediately following the discovery and currently reside in secure storage at that agency. We do not know their names, only that they were laid to rest at a ravine’s edge. We do not know their families, and therefore, we ask you to serve as family. Please speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves. Any citizen with an interest in the discovery or in guiding the proper and respectful reinternment of these unknown individuals is welcome to join this community conversation. To register to attend this virtual public hearing to discuss the discovery of human remains at East End Cemetery or to provide public comment during the hearing, please click the following link Register. Registration is required. Each participant must register separately. Once you register, you will receive an email with a link and telephone number. Registration to provide public comment at the hearing is also required by 12 noon, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23.

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2020 Archaeology Month & October Events Calendar

VA_Archaeology_Month_MillieWoodson-TurnerEvery October, Virginia celebrates archaeology at libraries, museums, historical societies, clubs, and at active archaeological sites. For many of this year’s events, participating venues have made arrangement, in some cases, for online activities, while other venues will be coordinating visits in a safe manner. The theme of DHR’s 2020 poster is “Women of Courage” and features information about two women and affiliated historical properties: The Millie Woodson-Turner Nottoway Allotment & Farmstead [jpg] in Southampton County and Elizabeth Key and Coan Hall [jpg] in Northumberland County.

View this PDF of the October Events Calendar [pdf]. For more information about archaeology month, or to add an event to the calendar or to receive a copy of this year’s poster, please contact Laura Galke, Chief Curator, State Archaeology Division (804 /482-6441).

Ask an Archaeologist: Investigating a “corduroy” road

Illustration of soldiers building corduroy road
Illustration of soldiers building a corduroy road near Weldon, Va., during the Civil War.

In July, I was asked to field visit what was described as a possible “corduroy road” in Sussex County just south of Wakefield. The potential for finding a real, intact historic corduroy road was minimal, as most would not have survived for long due to poor preservation conditions or because they were often destroyed by subsequent road improvements.

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Spotlight on DHR Collections: “Betsy” Dining Utensils

Photo of underwater archaeology

What do dining utensils tell us about life aboard Betsy, a 1772 British supply vessel for General Charles Cornwallis’s fleet?

Betsy was one of several ships strategically scuttled during the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. During underwater excavations in the 1980s, under the direction of Dr. John Broadwater, archaeologists recovered a number of utensils from Betsy including forks, knives, and spoons, all made from a variety of materials and in an assortment of styles. Fortunately, the underwater environment preserved the wooden and bone artifacts, allowing conservators to clean and treat them for study and exhibition.

(Photo shows an archaeologist recovering artifacts from Betsy during excavations in the late 1980s.)

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15 New State Historical Highway Markers Approved

Four small photos related to markers—Markers cover topics in the counties of Bath (2), Charlotte, James City, Loudoun, and Shenandoah; and the cities of Hampton, Hopewell, Lynchburg (4), Norfolk, Richmond, and Williamsburg—

—Text of each marker reproduced below—

African American and women’s history in Virginia figures prominently in 15 state historical markers recently approved for placement along roads in the commonwealth including signs highlighting a “hidden figure” at NASA, two voting rights activists, and several markers about nationally known artists.

The Virginia Board of Historic Resources approved the forthcoming markers during a public quarterly meeting on September 17 that the Department of Historic Resources convened online.

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15 Historic Sites Added to the Virginia Landmarks Register

Artifacts from the Millie Woodson-Turner Site
Artifacts from the Millie Woodson-Turner Site.

—VLR listings are in the counties of Albemarle, Arlington, Campbell, Craig (2), Essex, Fairfax, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, Southampton, and Washington; and the cites of Alexandria, Charlottesville, and Danville—

Among 15 places approved in September for listing on the Virginia Landmarks Register is a site that traces back to Nottoway tribal reservation lands established in the colonial era; a historic district where one of the largest textile mill villages in the South evolved during the 20th century; and a rare surviving former “poor farm” established in the 1890s.

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Completing a Preliminary Information Form, The First Step toward Listing a Property on the Historic Registers

The first step toward potentially listing a property or historic district on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places begins with completing a Preliminary Information Form.

DHR register program staff created this 7+ minute video about the importance of the PIF and what DHR staff look for when evaluating a property using the PIF. The good news is that the 3-page form is relatively simple to complete. If you want some tips or just familiarize yourself with the form before beginning, this video is a great place to start.

Update: DHR Enters Phase III of Operations Under Covid Pandemic

Molecular image of coronavirusCOVID-19 UPDATE: DHR is in Phase III of operations, as per Governor Northam’s guidance, under the Covid-19 pandemic. A major change to note is that our Archives will allow walk-ins only if there is an open appointment available.

Please see our current Phase III Guidelines [pdf] for staff and visitors. Many staff will work remotely during our hours of operation. Staff can be reached by email using this format: first name.last You can also check the staff directory for a phone number to leave a message.

DHR also requires visitors conducting business at DHR to answer questions on this Covid Prevention Questionnaire [pdf]. Its purpose is to protect visitors, our staff, and to prevent the further spread of Covid-19.

DHR Announces Publication of “A Guidebook to Virginia’s African American Historical Markers”

Front cover of the new guidebook to African American historical markers—The book provides locations and texts to more than 300 state historical markers about people, places, and events significant in African American and Virginia history—

The Department of Historic Resources has released a new book that features the texts and locations of more than 300 state historical markers highlighting people, places, and events important to African American and Virginia history, ranging from the colonial era through the civil rights movement.

Compiled by program staff at DHR, A Guidebook to Virginia’s African American Historical Markers sells for $12.95 and is available through local bookstores and online book retailers. It is also available from the University of Virginia Press (, the book’s distributor.

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Subscribe to DHR’s Newsletters

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DHR now has two newsletters: a DHR Quarterly Newsletter, and a newsletter for Register Program Updates. We invite you to subscribe to our newsletters.  Once you have signed, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Any questions or problems, please contact Randy Jones at DHR. We look forward to hearing from you and keeping you up to date with DHR’s register programs and other preservation news and Virginia history.


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