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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

2020-2021 Survey and Planning Cost Share Program

South Side Roller Mills in the Chase City
South Side Roller Mills in Chase City, surveyed during a Cost Share grant.

DHR is now soliciting applications for our 2020-2021 Survey & Planning Cost Share program. Cost Share projects are funded through a partnership between DHR and a local government and/or regional planning district commission. Eligible projects encompass a broad range of survey and planning activities, protection of historic resources through identification, documentation, and evaluation, and preservation planning activities consistent with the responsible stewardship of historic resources. The deadline for applications is 4 p.m., April 3, 2020.

See this Request for Applications.

Questions? Contact Blake McDonald at (804) 482-6086.

A Steatite (Soapstone) Bowl

A bowl made from soapstone.
A bowl made from soapstone (steatite).

A property owner plowing a field in the Southampton area found in broken pieces this bowl (photo). The person glued it together and asked DHR about it.

Here’s what we think:

The bowl is made of steatite (soapstone) likely quarried from present-day Brunswick County. Soapstone is relatively soft and was cut and chipped from outcrops using harder stone and bone tools. These bowls date from the Late Archaic into the Early Woodland (between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago) and have been found quite far from their source. They are generally associated with broad spear technology. Broad spears are larger points/blades that dominate the region at the time.

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Slideshow of Historical Markers Highlighting African American Women

Ella Fitzgerald singing with band.For Black History Month in 2020, DHR offers this slideshow compilation of 33 state historical markers about African American women whose contributions made a difference in Virginia (and in the nation’s) history.

Photo: Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) was born in Newport News, Va. Marker W-70-a recalls her career. The photo shows her in 1947 with Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz. (Library of Congress)



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Notice of Intent to Relocate Interments, Stafford County

A proposed plan to construct an industrial park and commercial warehouses on a 48-acre parcel located at/near the intersection of Ramoth Church Road and Centerpoint Parkway will require the relocation of burials in the Embrey Family Cemetery. Please see this Public Notice for more information and who to contact with written comments, which must be submitted by close of business on February 16, 2020.

DHR Announces CLG Workshops for 2020

CLG Workshop in 2018

Staff of the Department of Historic Resources will conduct CLG (Certified Local Government) training workshops this year in Arlington (March 23), Fredericksburg (March 24), and Williamsburg (May 15). Workshop training will focus on historic architecture, appropriate treatments for historic materials, ADA accessibility project planning, and community outreach and engagement. (See this draft agenda for the Arlington workshop.) Each workshop is capped at 40 participants, and early registration is encouraged. To register, please complete this online form. For more information about the workshops, contact Aubrey Von Lindern at (540) 868-7029.

“Preserving African American Historic Places” Conference Scheduled

Attendees at a Preservation Virginia conferencePreservation Virginia, the Alexandria Black History Museum, and DHR are co-sponsoring this one-day conference on Friday, March 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., hosted by Alexandria’s History Museum at the Lyceum. The conference will provide networking opportunities and tools to help strengthen organizations preserving African American historical sites. General admission is $60 (coffee and lunch included). For more information, see this pdf flyer or register here.

Rehabilitation Tax Credits, Project Profile: Windsor Castle (Smithfield, Isle of Wight Co.)

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle around 2000.

Windsor Castle is a modest 18th-century manor house integral to the agricultural complex of buildings that stretch in parallel rows toward the Pagan River within Windsor Castle Park.

The property includes a tenant house, granaries, smokehouse, log corncrib, kitchen, smokehouse and stable, representing multiple building campaigns in the 18th and 19th centuries. Listed in the National Register and Virginia Landmarks Register in 2000, since 2007 a historic preservation easement protects a portion of the property.


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Spotlight on Collections: High Tea on the High Seas

Tea plant
Tea plant (Camellia sinensis) from Köhler’s Medicinal Plants, 1897. (Wikimedia)

In the 18th century, tea was already a very important part of British society and daily life, even during life aboard a collier (coal transport ship). When Betsy was intentionally sunk prior to the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, she took with her at least two wonderful examples of seafaring china cupboards. Fast forward to the project underway at DHR and researchers are learning so much more about the china cupboard and its manufacturing. For the first time in the history of the Betsy project, we have the space and resources to assemble fragments of the china cupboard and piece together the form and function of this piece of furniture.

In form, the cupboard boasts a half-dome top constructed from wooden ribs fanning from a central spot with veneer between. This was likely framed by a decorative trim arching across the front.

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13 New State Historical Highway Markers Approved

Shows label of 78 rpm record.
A swinging version of “Tech Triumph”— Virginia Tech’s “fight song”— by Bob Crosby’s Bobcats, 1940.

—New markers cover topics in the counties of Amherst, Bath, Bedford, Hanover, Nottoway, Rockingham, and Smyth; and the cities of Danville, Petersburg, Portsmouth, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, and Winchester—

—Each marker’s text reproduced below.—

Topics covered in 13 recently approved and forthcoming state historical markers include a Revolutionary War militia force that dogged British troops under Gen. Benedict Arnold, the educational and political achievements of an enslaved family that escaped to Union lines during the Civil War, and a black baseball player who became a decorated World War I soldier. The martial theme extended as well to the origins of the Virginia Tech “fight song,” “Tech Triumph.”

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16 Historic Sites Added to the Virginia Landmarks Register

Four thumbnail images of new VLR buildings—VLR listings in the counties of Albemarle (2), Caroline (2), Culpeper, Cumberland, Henrico, Highland, Pulaski, Spotsylvania, Southampton, and Sussex; and the cites of Danville, Franklin, Norfolk, and Petersburg—

 —DHR forwards VLR listings for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places—

 —Sites associated with the history of African Americans, colonial era, Civil War, education, railroads, and 20th-century architecture, industry and civic planning—

Among 16 places, the Department of Historic Resources added to the Virginia Landmarks Register this quarter courthouse village buildings in Southampton and Caroline counties associated with racial events in 1831 and 1958 of national consequence, particularly across Virginia and the rest of the South.

Other Virginia Landmark Register (VLR) listings the Board of Historic Resources approved during its December 12 quarterly meeting include three Civil War-affiliated sites in Culpeper, Henrico, and Highland counties. And architectural listings that capture outstanding examples of Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, International Style, and Modern architecture, and an unusual antebellum log cabin.

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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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Slideshow: Virginia Rosenwald Schools Listed on the VLR and NRHP

Julius Rosenwald
Julius Rosenwald
Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington

One of the most successful initiatives to provide universal schooling for African American students during the long decades of segregation was the Rosenwald Fund, established in 1917.

The brainchild of Booker T. Washington, president of the Tuskegee Institute, and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, the fund provided money that was leveraged with other private gifts and public funds to construct more than 5,000 schools for African Americans in 15 states throughout the South (see map).

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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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