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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

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).

Public Notice: Archaeological Removal of Buried Human Remains, Richmond

During redevelopment of a multifamily residential parcel on Perry Street in South Richmond, three iron coffins were displaced by construction equipment. Archaeologists from DHR investigated the site and identified one additional coffin. All were recovered by DHR archaeologists and immediately reburied in a cemetery on the property. Since this time, archaeological investigation has identified what appear to be three additional interments. As the interments are within an active development site and cannot be avoided, the Applicant has requested a permit for their recovery, which will be performed by a qualified professional archaeologist. Reinternment is proposed to take place in the adjacent cemetery unless otherwise requested by descendant family. See more information and deadline for response.

DHR Presentation for National African American Read-In

Montage of historical markersDHR’s James Hare participated in a virtual African American Read-In hosted by the Central Rappahannock Regional Library in partnership with the Stafford NAACP Youth Council and with music performed by Little Black Notes studio. The program featured community leaders sharing literature and music in celebration of African American history. Hare gave a presentation on DHR’s A Guidebook to Virginia’s African American Historical Markers.  View Hare’s presentation using this password: Va%%1607


2021-2022 Survey and Planning Cost Share Program

Shows the former passenger depot in Abingdon’s Depot Square Historic District, Abingdon. A Survey and Planning Cost Share Program funds to survey and nominate the historic district in 2020.
A Survey and Planning Cost Share Program funded a survey to nominate Abingdon’s Depot Square Hist. District in 2020.

DHR is now soliciting applications for our 2021-2022 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 range of survey and planning activities and the protection of historic resources through identification, documentation and evaluation, as well as preservation planning activities consistent with the responsible stewardship of historic resources.

The deadline for applications is 4 p.m., April 2, 2021. More information about the program is available by contacting Blake McDonald (804-482-6086) at DHR. Download the Request for Applications.

Spotlight on DHR Collections: Celebrating Our Shared Hair-itage or Hirsute Pursuits

Historical curling tong.
A pair of colonial-era curling tongs that archaeologists recovered in Westmoreland Co., Va.

What tools do you use to style your hair…a comb…a curling wand? Do you need the help of others to create a unique hair style? Grooming says a lot about how much time we have to devote to our appearance, as well as the nature of our daily activities. Remember how difficult it was for some of us to get haircuts at the beginning of the 2020 pandemic? We have really came to appreciate our allies in hair care!

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Ten New State Historical Highway Markers Approved

Syms-Eaton Academy in Hampton. (See Syms Free School marker text below.)
Syms-Eaton Academy in Hampton. (See Syms Free School marker text below.)

—Markers cover topics in the counties of Accomack, Chesterfield (2), Gloucester, Montgomery, Westmoreland, and Wise; and the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, and Lynchburg—

—Text of each marker reproduced below—

The lynching in 1927 of an African American man in southwestern Virginia, which resulted in the nation’s first law to make lynching a state crime, and the exploits of two influential families during the Revolutionary War are among the topics highlighted in ten new state historical markers designated for localities in the commonwealth.

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State Adds Seven Historic Sites to the Virginia Landmarks Register

Shows four thumbnail photos of properties nominated—VLR listings are in the counties of Botetourt, Hanover (Ashland), Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and Prince William; and the cites of Lynchburg and Williamsburg—

Among seven places approved for listing on the Virginia Landmarks Register in December are two churches integral to Reconstruction-era Black settlements, the houses of a James River canal lock builder and that of a one-time railroad company treasurer, and a 1920s subdivision tied to the College of William & Mary.

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DHR Announces Publication of “The Archaeology of Virginia’s First Peoples”

Cover of The Archaeology of Virginia's First People—Partially funded by DHR, the book is a joint publication of the
Archeological Society of Virginia and the Council of Virginia Archaeologists—

—Focused on Virginia’s pre-European Contact past, the multi-author volume is for scholars and readers interested in Virginia’s American Indian archaeology

With partial funding from the Department of Historic Resources, the Archeological Society of Virginia (ASV) and the Council of Virginia Archaeologists (COVA) recently completed a yearslong effort to produce The Archaeology of Virginia’s First Peoples, a book about Virginia’s pre-European Contact past.

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Archaeology in the Field: Watercraft Survey of Inland Waterways in NOVA*

Archaeologist canoeing on river.
A volunteer surveys the Shenandoah River with a fish weir in the background. (Photos: DHR/Jolley)

In 2017 DHR’s Northern Regional Preservation Office (NRPO) began conducting archaeological survey of inland waterways in Northern Virginia by using kayaks and canoes to inspect the shorelines and river bottoms. This method of survey is an efficient way to locate sites threatened by ongoing erosion that terrestrial survey could not identify. Watercraft survey has the potential to identify buried sites that plowing has not disturbed as well as a variety of well-preserved underwater sites.

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Completing a Preliminary Information Form, The First Step toward Listing a Property on the Historic Registers

The first step toward potentially listing a property or historic district on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places begins with completing a Preliminary Information Form.

DHR register program staff created this 7+ minute video about the importance of the PIF and what DHR staff look for when evaluating a property using the PIF. The good news is that the 3-page form is relatively simple to complete. If you want some tips or just familiarize yourself with the form before beginning, this video is a great place to start.

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.

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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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