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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

DHR Currently Accepting Applications to the Threatened Sites Program

Threatened Sites FlyerSubmit Threatened Sites project proposals now. This DHR program offers small grants to support investigations of archaeological sites endangered by erosion, pending development, or vandalism. These grants do not address standing structures, only archaeological sites. All work associated with these grants must be completed within the state fiscal year in which they are awarded. All awardees must be registered with the state procurement system before a grant is awarded or work for a state college or university or government agency. All work must be supervised by an archaeologist who meets the Secretary of the Interior Standards. Download the Threatened Sites Proposal Form.  Applications and supporting materials are due to DHR by May 15, 2021.

Ask an Archaeologist: A Mysterious Artifact

Mysterious artifact with question marker superimposed—DHR archaeologist Mike Clem turns the tables and asks us, “What is this object?”—

We have an item that has us stumped. It came from a friend on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He found it in his usual, top secret, fishing spot on the barrier islands south of Chincoteague. He often finds other items washing up on shore there, likely the remnants of a site that long ago eroded away. He often finds spear points, arrowheads, and pottery, all dating to pre-European settlements in the area. He also finds early colonial ceramics dating to the 1600s and 1700s. Additionally, he has picked up a number of the small, yellow Dutch bricks that date to the early 1600s and that are common at an archaeological site we are investigating at Eyreville (Northampton Co.), first occupied by Europeans in the 1630s.

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Archives News: Updates to the VLR Online (Virginia Landmarks Register Listings)

Cover of The Virginia Landmarks Register book.
1999 edition of The Virginia Landmarks Register, edited by Calder Loth.

Since DHR launched the VLR Online in 2018, DHR staff has enriched the information posted to our website about each landmark. Initially, we focused on correcting obvious errors to the summary texts or updating them if a property should be delisted for some reason. When warranted, we linked additional pdf files for the posted landmarks, and fixed broken links to the VLR (pdf) nominations. (Thanks to readers who alerted us.) With that first phase largely completed, our attention has shifted to ensuring that the images posted for each VLR property are, in fact, good, publication-quality representations of the historic sites as they currently appear.

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Rehabilitation Tax Credits, Project Profile: Sessions Hotel, Bristol

Shows aerial of hotel buildings.
Sessions Hotel complex.

The idea behind a Bristol boutique hotel was originally conceived of around 2013 when the City of Bristol, Virginia distributed a Request for Proposals for a hotel that would re-purpose another historic building in this famous “dual-state,” country music-oriented city, where its downtown State Street straddles the Virginia-Tennessee border. Although the original property selected did not work out, the Bristol area and its robust travel market so captivated a Roanoke developer, Creative Boutique Hotels, that project proponents sought other historic buildings in the area.

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16 New State Historical Highway Markers Approved

—Markers cover topics in the counties of Albemarle, Alleghany (2), Chesterfield, Goochland, Highland, Loudoun, Pittsylvania, and Tazewell; and the cities of Alexandria, Bristol, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Martinsville, Petersburg, and Staunton—

Sixteen proposed historical markers approved for manufacture recall people, places or events from Virginia’s colonial era to the 1960s, with topics drawing on Virginia’s African American, political, educational, and social history, among other threads.

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State Adds Nine Historic Sites to the Virginia Landmarks Register

Four buildings nominated to VLR and NRHP in March 2021.—VLR listings are in the counties of Amherst, Arlington, Bath, Henry, Patrick, and Shenandoah; and the cites of Norfolk, Richmond, and Virginia Beach—

Among nine places listed in March on the Virginia Landmarks Register are a 1960s motel in Virginia Beach that signaled a new era of family vacationing, a Pentecostal church in Richmond where a nationally-acclaimed preacher began his career, a 1950s school built when the Southside region experienced unprecedented prosperity, and a high-style “French country house” in the Allegheny Mountains.

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New Survey Report: Reston, A Planned Community in Fairfax County

Cover of Reston Survey Report
Reston Survey Report.

Striking examples of modern architecture are found throughout the Commonwealth, but the community of Reston in Fairfax County stands apart as a sprawling and cohesive collection of mid-20th century design. Developer Robert E. Simons planned Reston in the early 1960s as a mixed-use “work, play, live” town highlighting modernist buildings designed by well-known architects, green space, and walking paths.

In 2019, Fairfax County received a DHR Cost Share Survey and Planning grant to conduct an architectural survey in Reston to better document the community’s key buildings and spaces. The scope of the project included reconnaissance-level survey on 51 individual properties and eight potential historic districts and to produce a report, now in hand, that offers historical context, survey findings, and recommendations for further study.

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What Is Meant by “Historic Resource Survey”

In preservation circles and at DHR, people often refer to a “historic resources survey.” In this brief video (5 min.), DHR’s Blake McDonald, manager of the Architectural Survey & Cost Share Grant Program, explains clearly what exactly such a survey is and entails—and why it does not affect property owners or their property (beyond documenting the property’s historic character).

DHR Guidance Regarding Confederate Monuments

R. Lee Monument, Richmond, with graffiti.
R. Lee Monument, Richmond. (Photo: Adam Dawson)

As of July 1, localities may legally remove monuments.

DHR offers these guidelines to support the removal of monuments in a manner adhering to best preservation practices, one that will also allow for input from local officials and citizenry about the ultimate fate of each monument.

Additionally, Preservation Virginia convened an “interracial working group of Virginia preservation practitioners and scholars with varied backgrounds” to create a checklist of best practices to guide localities who are considering removal of war monuments and memorials.

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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