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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

“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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Va. Historical African American Cemetery & Graves Fund (Revised Documents)

With the new state fiscal year (2019-2020) beginning July 1, DHR announces the availability of funds for the care and maintenance of historical African American cemeteries and graves, defined by Virginia Code (§10.1-2211.2) as “a cemetery that was established prior to January 1, 1900, for the interment of African Americans.”

Please use these revised forms:

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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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