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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

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The Department of Historic Resources invites you to subscribe to our newsletter, which launches late next month. Bring DHR’s news and activities under one banner quarterly.

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Special Announcements for Black History Month

Photo shows Dallard-Newman House and Bethel Church
Bethel AME Church and Dallard-Newman House Historic District in Harrisonburg.

In a Foreword to DHR’s 1995 book publication Virginia Landmarks of Black History, legendary scholar Armstead L. Robinson (1947-1995) notes, “Virginia does indeed encompass this nation’s longest continuous experience of Afro-American life and culture.” In that spirit and in recognition of Black History Month 2019, DHR has launched an online catalog of sites in the Commonwealth listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register (VLR) and the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) associated with African American history. The catalog will continue to grow as DHR adds new listings to both registers.

While DHR highlights people, places and events pertaining to African American history year round through the VLR and NRHP as well as through the state historical marker program, see these other noteworthy announcements for Black History Month:

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DHR Now Accepting Applications for Survey & Planning Cost Share Program

In Wise Co., the Town of Appalachia's Commercial Historic District was surveyed during a 2018-2019 Cost Share grant-funded project.
In Wise Co., the Town of Appalachia’s Commercial Historic District was surveyed during a 2018-2019 Cost Share grant-funded project.

DHR is now soliciting applications for our Survey and 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., March 15th, 2019. Contact Blake McDonald at DHR for more information about the program and the application.

Cost Share Application


Spotlight on DHR Collections: Tenacity: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia

A Needle Case & Schreger Lines

A needle case or hussif. (Click this and other photos to enlarge.)
A needle case or hussif. (Click this and other photos to enlarge.)

One of the things that conservators are experts at is figuring out what an artifact is made from.

Recently an artifact arrived at the DHR Conservation Lab to be prepared for loan for an exhibition. The item, a needle case—also known as a hussif*consists of two parts. It has a base, similar in appearance to an inkwell, and a hollow tube that screws into the base. A lady could store her needles in the case and carry it around with her to do her sewing.

Dating to the early 1600s and recovered from a site called Causeys Care (44CC0178) in Charles City County, the needle case helps tell the story of women in early Virginia, and it is now on display at Jamestown Settlement Museum, along with other DHR artifacts, as a part of the exhibit Tenacity: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia.


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2019 DHR Historic Resource Commission — CLG Training Workshops

CLG Workshop in 2018
CLG Workshop in 2018


Registration is now open for this year’s Historic Resource Commission / CLG Training Workshops!  DHR has three training opportunities for Historic Resource Commission members in 2019. Read full text »

Ten New State Historical Highway Markers Approved in Dec.

Highway marker sign outlineNew markers cover topics in the counties of Appomattox, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Lunenburg, and Prince William; and the cities of Lynchburg (2), Petersburg, Richmond and Virginia Beach

 [The full text for each marker is reproduced below.]

Among ten new historical markers approved for placement along Virginia roads will be ones to highlight Lynchburg’s ties to the “world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship,” the African origins of the banjo and its emergence in mainstream American music, and George Washington’s early and influential biographer Mason Weems.

The “Nuclear Ship Savannah” marker will rise in Lynchburg to recall the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship. The Savannah’s nuclear propulsion system was designed by the Babcock & Wilcox Company at its Lynchburg office on Kemper Street. The company also built the propulsion system at its Mount Athos facility located outside Lynchburg, and the ship’s first crew trained at Lynchburg College. In 1991, the Savannah was designated a National Historic Landmark.

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13 Sites Added to the Virginia Landmarks Register in December

13 Sites Added to the Virginia Landmarks Register in December—New listings are in the counties of Amherst, Bath, Botetourt, Clarke, Culpeper, James City, and Nelson; and cities of Newport News, Richmond (3), Roanoke, and Virginia Beach —

 —VLR listings will be forwarded for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places—

Among 13 places approved for listing on the Virginia Landmarks Register by the Department of Historic Resources are districts in Roanoke and James City County that highlight the economic impact of railroads in the late 1800s, a municipal electric power plant and waterworks in Culpeper, a mill from the 1700s in the northern Shenandoah Valley, and a 101-year old theater in Botetourt County.

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Two Audio Tours of Historical Highway Markers Available

Logo of DHR historical marker audio tourDHR has produced two audio tours of state historical markers, available on any device including laptops. One tour follows the I-95 corridor through Virginia, another stretches along Route 5 and the Capital (Hike and Bike) Trail between Richmond, Williamsburg, and Jamestown. The tours are the start of an ambitious project to record for online listening the texts of the more than 2,600 markers erected in Virginia between 1927 and 2018. Visit our audio tours homepage to download the app and to give the tours a spin.

Natural Disaster Recovery Advisory