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DHR Register Program Updates

January, 2021
In this issue:
*Preliminary Agenda for the March DHR quarterly meeting of DHR's boards
*Register-Listed Sites in the News *News Around Virginia *Training Opportunities
Happy New Year--and we hope it is a better year for all of us than was 2020.
--Lena McDonald, Historian, DHR Register Program.

*Consultants, CLG staff, university faculty, students, and anyone interested in Virginia's landmark register programs and history. (Please share this newsletter with others!)

Draft Agenda for Dec. 2020

Quarterly Joint Board Meeting

The Virginia Board of Historic Resources and State Review Board are scheduled to convene in an online joint meeting on March 18, 2021. The following nominations currently are planned to be presented at the meeting. (The nominations and photos to each will be posted in February.)

Eastern Region
  1. Cruser Place Historic District, City of Norfolk, DHR No. 122-5985
  2. Virginia Beach Oceanfront Resort Motels and Hotels (1955-1970) Multiple Property Documentation Form, City of Virginia Beach, DHR No. 134-5721
  3. Jefferson Manor Motel Apartments, City of Virginia Beach, DHR No. 134-5383
  4. John’s United Holy Church of America, Inc., City of Richmond, DHR No. 127-7209
Northern Region
  1. Quarry Hill, Bath County, DHR No. 008-5036
  2. Whitefield Commons, Arlington County, DHR No. 076-6009
Western Region
  1. Amherst Baptist Church, Town of Amherst, Amherst County, DHR No. 163-0022
  2. John Redd Smith Elementary School, Henry County, DHR No. 044-5911
  3. Stuart Downtown Historic District, Town of Stuart, Patrick County, DHR No. 307-5005

Register-Listed Properties in the News

Redevelopment Project Proposed for Schoolfield Historic District in Danville

Danville’s Schoolfield Historic District was listed in the registers in 2020 and now is the planned site of a new casino to be located at the district’s former Dan River Inc. industrial site. In a local referendum, city voters approved the casino project in November 2020.
A master plan that includes the historic district as well as, potentially, the West Main Street corridor is being developed. During the early 20th century, Dan River Mills established a large industrial complex here and established a company town that included rental dwellings for employees, stores, a school, and other community resources. Starting in the mid-20th century, the firm began selling the houses to employees as the company town concept was abandoned. Dan River Inc. vacated its industrial campus in 2006, but the neighborhood of approximately 1,005 historic buildings has continued to be a presence in Danville.
Masons' Hall in Richmond

Richmond’s Masons' Hall in Shockoe Bottom is undergoing rehabilitation and receiving much-needed repairs. The circa 1785 Masons’ Hall is the oldest building known in the United States built for and continuously used for Masonic purposes. A partnership among the hall’s current owner, Richmond Randolph Lodge No. 19; its associated charitable nonprofit foundation, Masons’ Hall 1785; and Historic Richmond, as well as funding from the Matthew and Genevieve Mezzanotte Foundation have provided crucial funding for the project.
Archaeological Collection Returned to Germanna

DHR recently facilitated return of a large collection of artifacts to the Germanna Foundation’s facility. In the late 1990s archaeologists conducted investigations at Germanna, royal governor Alexander Spotswood’s pioneering settlement on the Rapidan River. The collection will be the centerpiece of the foundation’s new Hitt Archaeology Center. In recent years, the nonprofit started an archaeology program at several of the half-dozen historic sites it owns in the Piedmont, and opened the center in 2019. State Archaeologist Elizabeth Moore and Laura Galke, DHR’s chief curator of archaeological collections, assisted with the collection’s relocation.
Wilton Museum Opens a New Chapter

In February 2021, the Wilton Museum will unveil a new exhibit, “Wilton Uncovered: Archaeology Illuminates an Enslaved Community.” Wilton originally was built in 1753 for the prominent Randolph family on one of their extensive landholdings in Henrico County. The architecturally significant house was dismantled in 1933 and reconstructed in Richmond. In 1998, archaeologists from the College of William & Mary returned to the original site to conduct a dig at the request of the Virginia Department of Transportation, which was planning for the state Route 895 toll road. The sites of five slave dwellings were found as well as thousands of artifacts, including brick rubble, shards of pottery and animal remains. These artifacts form the basis of the exhibit, and local artist Dennis Winston created four scenes out of woodblock prints to depict slaves’ lives on the plantation.
Brown v. Board of Education Expansion Act

In partnership with the offices of House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is working with local partners to join the stories of these places with those already being told at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas. The effort creates opportunities for public education and interpretation while allowing buildings to maintain their current uses as schools, community centers, and offices. The Robert Russa Moton Museum in Farmville, Prince Edward County, is among the places proposed to be included in the Expansion Act. Read additional information about the proposed legislation.
Reimagining Richmond’s Monument Avenue

On December 11, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam announced that his proposed budget will include nearly $25 million to transform historical sites and advance historic justice initiatives in Virginia. The proposed investments include nearly $11 million to support efforts to transform Monument Avenue, a historic district that is a National Historic Landmark as well as being listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has been tapped to lead the Monument Avenue project. Additionally, this investment will include $9 million for the development of a Slavery Heritage Site and improvements to the Slave Trail in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom neighborhood. This funding will support efforts to preserve the area known as the Devil’s Half-Acre, or Lumpkin’s Jail, as a historical site.
Woodlawn Plantation Hosts Online Event

Woodlawn Plantation, a National Historic Landmark, is hosting a special event on February 25, 2021, Voices of Woodlawn: A Reckoning by 4 Poets of America’s Slave-Holding Past. Maryland Poets Diane Wilbon Parks, Patrick Washington, Sylvia Dianne “Ladi Di” Beverly and Hiram Larew will be joined by poet and harmonica player, Cliff Bernier. The event is free (or a donation may be made) but advance registration is required.

News from Around Virginia

Portsmouth Underground RR Tour
Underground Railroad, Portsmouth

A new digital tour of Underground Railroad sites in Portsmouth was recently was recently unveiled. Mae Breckenridge-Haywood, president of the African American Historical Society of Portsmouth, produced the project with a $1,000 grant from Virginia Humanities under the federal CARES Act, the coronavirus economic stimulus bill passed by Congress in March 2020. The tour features illustrations by Virginia artist Kadejah Harden and highlights specific locations — most still standing today — that were part of the secret network that thousands of Blacks used to escape slavery. It also gives information about people who either escaped through Portsmouth or helped others on their journeys.
More of Reston’s Historic Buildings Identified

A recent survey sponsored by DHR resulted in identification of 10 places in Reston that are associated with Reston’s prime development years between 1961 and 1978. They include the Ring Road subdivision in North Reston, two area golf courses (Reston National and Hidden Creek), a number of 1960s-and-1970s-era housing clusters such as Hickory Cluster, a modernist group of densely-grouped townhouses designed by Charles Goodman, and a Ken Bonner-designed residence on Stirrup Road. The survey will be used to determine what properties have historical value and should be nominated for historical designation. It could also inform any future changes to Reston’s comprehensive plan, said Fairfax County Board Supervisor Walter Alcorn of the Hunter Mill District.
Source: Broadside 1901.N68, Special Collections Department, University of Virginia, 1901 Flyer--"No White Man to Lose His Vote"
Virginia’s Constitution Is 50 Years Old

In 1971, a new state constitution replaced the 1902 constitution that explicitly endorsed white supremacy. The 1902 constitution had, when originally adopted, replaced the 1870 “Underwood Constitution,” so named for John C. Underwood, a federal judge who had overseen the Reconstruction Era document’s creation. Each of these state constitutions is a vivid portrait of prevailing attitudes in Virginia’s political and social realms. The current state constitution came about largely due to momentous changes during the 1960s, both because of federal mandates (one person, one vote; end of the poll tax; the Voting Rights Act of 1965) and within Virginia itself (demographic trends, rise of two-party politics). In 1968, Gov. Mills E. Godwin Jr. appointed a commission to revise the commonwealth’s constitution. The current constitution took effect on July l, 1971.
Circa 2000 Landsat/NASA photo of Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. (Wikipedia)
Chesapeake Bay Remains Endangered

A recent study of the Chesapeake Bay shows mixed results. Water quality remains poor, despite modest improvements in levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, the chemicals that feed the algae that steal the Bay’s oxygen and choke out fish, crabs and shellfish. While Virginia has seen many successes with its restoration efforts, including increases in fish populations and improvements in wetlands health, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Virginia executive director, Peggy Sanner, said the key to progress will be significant investment in the state’s Stormwater Local Assistance Fund to control runoff, its Agricultural Cost-Share Program to fund conservation practices and grants to modernize sewage treatment plants.
Library of Virginia Collections and Volunteer Opportunities are Available Online
Virginia Memory logo
In 2020, the Library added nearly 10,000 new items to the Visual Studies Collection, which includes architectural drawings, photographs, ephemera, and much more.
One special acquisition this year was more than 1,500 photographs from the Hamblin Studio in Suffolk, Virginia. These snapshots of daily life in Suffolk from 1909 through 1979 capture family and school group portraits and local business affairs like the Planters Peanuts “Nutmobile.” Check out this collection and other digital collections through the Library’s Virginia Memory portal.

The Library’s popular Making History: Transcribe program engages volunteers, in-person and online, to work together to enhance access to the Library’s digital collections. Since 2014, Transcribe has made over 100,000 digital pages searchable through the work of hundreds of volunteers—25,000 pages were transcribed in 2020 alone! The Library manages two additional crowdsourcing platforms—From the Page and Virginia Chronicle.
Va Forum logo
Virginia Forum 2021 Has Been Cancelled

Because of the continuing COVID-19 epidemic, the Virginia Forum has cancelled the in-person Virginia Forum scheduled for March 25-27, 2021 at the Virginia War Memorial. Members of the Virginia Forum Board of Directors and Program Committee are planning for several online/virtual programs instead – please keep an eye out for announcements on the Virginia Forum website and the Virginia Forum Facebook page.
Museums Included in Recent Covid-19 Aid Package

On December 21, 2020, Congressional leaders announced a deal on a $900 billion COVID-19 aid package in addition to $1.4 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations that include important funding for museums that have been affected by the pandemic. The COVID-19 agreement is expected to include more than $284 billion for first and second Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans that will be available to small non-profits, including museums, with significant economic loss. The small business provisions also are expected to include $15 billion in dedicated funding for grants for shuttered venue operators, including museums, also known as “Save Our Stages.” In addition, enhanced charitable giving incentives are likely to be extended and Refundable Employee Retention Tax Credits (RETC) to be extended and expanded.

A recent survey showed that one out of every three museums may close permanently without immediate support, which could constitute a loss of up to 11,000 museums and 124,000 jobs. Although most have been closed to the public since the pandemic began, museums are continuing to meet the needs of their communities despite the financial stress caused by the pandemic—from providing spaces for remote and virtual classrooms to providing lesson plans, online learning opportunities, and drop-off learning kits to teachers and families. The 2020 National Visitation Report provides a window into museum services nationwide. Additionally, the FY 2021 appropriations package includes a $2 million increase for a total of $40.5 million for the Office of Museum Services at the Institute of Museum and Library Services and $5.25 million increases for a total of $167.5 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Map showing distribution of more than 5,000 Rosenwald schools in the South.
Julius Rosenwald and Rosenwald Schools Act

The Julius Rosenwald and Rosenwald Schools Act was signed into law on January 13, 2021. The legislation directs the National Park Service to conduct a special resource study of the sites associated with the life and legacy of Julius Rosenwald, especially the Rosenwald Schools.
This is the first key step in ultimately creating the National Historical Park. Two of the partner organizations that played pivotal roles in passage of the legislation were the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Additional information, including the history of Rosenwald schools, is available at The Campaign to Create the Julius Rosenwald & Rosenwald Schools National Historical Park. The Campaign envisions a National Historical Park with a visitor center in Chicago that would interpret Rosenwald’s contributions to Sears, Roebuck as well as highlighting his innovative and important philanthropic activities. The Park also would include a small number of Rosenwald Schools in their original locations in the South, to be selected by the NPS. Virginia has numerous historic Rosenwald schools, some of which have been individually listed in the National Register for their significance in Virginia’s history. (See a slideshow of Rosenwalds listed in Virginia.)
Pamunkey River screenshot vid
Pamunkey River Yesterday and Today

A recent film available on YouTube, Pamunkey River: Lifeblood of Our People, is about the Pamunkey river, located in Virginia’s tidewater region and home to the Pamunkey Indian Tribe for longer than records have been kept. For thousands of years the Pamunkey River has connected a people to a place, and has sustained generations of the Tribe. Today it is under pressure from invasive species and pollution, but a new generation of Pamunkey members, in tandem with government scientists, are working to bring the river and its fish populations back to a healthy place. In the film, tribal members and researchers discuss the unique history of the Tribe and how this river has affected the lives of so many Pamunkey Indians.
Podcasts About Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has curated a list of 11 podcasts that touch on various aspects of preservation. The list includes shows produced by James Madison’s Montpelier and President Lincoln’s Cottage (in Washington DC), as well as topics ranging from Modern architecture to urban planning to the practical aspects of preservation trades.

Training Opportunities

GIS for Cultural Resources: Roundtable Conversation

On Thursday, February 25, 2021, at 3:00 EST, the National Preservation Institute will host the first of an expected series of roundtable conversations about GIS and cultural resources. Registration and advance payment of a fee are required This roundtable conversation is an opportunity for a free-ranging discussion with other geographic information system (GIS) users in the cultural resource management field. Participants will have an opportunity to review changes in the industry and updates in the ArcGIS platform, and to pose questions to baffling issues and contribute a case study or story map. This is an opportunity for GIS users to learn about the latest GIS tools, new data portals, and upcoming technologies with potential connections to GIS, and to consider ways to work more effectively with non-GIS users and promote the use of GIS. See additional information.
NAGPRA Grant Proposal Development Two-Part Webinar Series

The National Preservation Institute will offer a two-part series on February 4 and 11, 2021, regarding NAGPRA Grant Proposals. Additional series are planned for April, June, and August 2021. Registration and advance payment of a fee are required. The National NAGPRA Program offers non-competitive Repatriation grants and competitive Consultation/Documentation grants to Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and museums. The grants fund projects that further Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) implementation. In this two-part webinar series, Part 1 lays the groundwork for the development of a successful grant application project by identifying fundable projects through a needs assessment seminar. Part 2 continues the process by covering the essential aspects of budget and project narratives. See additional information.