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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

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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Tax Credit Project Profile: Price’s Fork Elementary School

Former Price's Fork Elementary School in 2012.
Former Price’s Fork Elementary School in 2012.

Built in 1950 during an era of consolidation and modernization of Virginia’s public schools, Price’s Fork Elementary School served its rural namesake community as well as surrounding northwestern Montgomery County. The building exemplifies mid-20th century standardized plans for public school architecture. It exhibits a streamlined Moderne design characterized by its flat roof, bands of windows, and sprawling floor plan.

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Twelve New State Historical Highway Markers Approved

Bas-relief sculpture on Patriots of African Descent Monument, Valley Forge, PA
Bas-relief sculpture on Patriots of African Descent Monument, Valley Forge, PA

—New markers cover topics in the counties of Albemarle, Fairfax, New Kent, Rockingham, Smyth (3), and Stafford; and the cities of Lynchburg, Petersburg, and Portsmouth

—Full text for each marker below—
—Click on images to enlarge—

Topics covered in twelve recently approved and forthcoming state historical markers include two signs highlighting the soldiering exploits during the Revolutionary War of a “free person of color” from Albemarle County and a Pamunkey Indian, along with markers about George Mason’s Fairfax County parish and church, and the origins of Winchester’s Shenandoah University in Rockingham County.

Revolutionary War soldier Pvt. Shadrach Battles (ca. 1746-ca. 1824) “was one of at least 5,000 black soldiers who served in the Continental Line,” explains the marker, the location of which is to be determined. Battles joined a local militia unit by June 1775, and a Virginia regiment by December 1776. He fought in the battles at Brandywine and Germantown in Pennsylvania, and Monmouth in New Jersey, spent the winter at Valley Forge, and participated in the Southern Campaign. Battles returned to Albemarle County after the war, living as a carpenter and laborer.

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Eight Historic Places Added to the Virginia Landmarks Register

Eight Historic Places Added to the Virginia Landmarks Register—New VLR listings are in the counties of Albemarle, Hanover, Loudoun, New Kent, Pittsylvania, and Pulaski; and the cites of Fredericksburg and Richmond—

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

During its quarterly meeting in September, the Virginia Board of Historic Resources approved eight new listings for the Virginia Landmarks Register including a tavern visited by George Washington and French troops during the Revolutionary War, a rural village in Northern Virginia settled by African Americans before and after the Civil War, and a military academy in Southside Virginia established in 1909. Read full text »

Spotlight on Collections: Online Sources for Identifying Artifacts

For this blog penned by State Archaeologist Dr. Elizabeth Moore, we take a detour from strictly focusing on DHR Collections and move beyond to highlight online collections useful for research.

Have you ever wondered how archaeologists identify all of the many artifacts that they recover in the field?

Prehistoric vessel with incisionsLearning to identify artifacts is not a superhuman memory power, it comes from years of experience and knowing where to look for information. I’ve gathered some of my favorite online artifact identification resources below. Some of these are useful for specific types of artifacts, some are good for broader categories of materials, and some are just fun to browse to see what other people have found at their sites.

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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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