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Virginia Landmarks Register

New Listings, June 2015

A bus station in Petersburg connected with the Civil Rights Movement, an early 20th-century railroad depot in Pittsylvania County, a state park that originated in federal conservation efforts during the 1930s, and the site of a British fort in the Chesapeake Bay where escaped slaves were trained as Colonial Marines during the War of 1812 are among six sites recently added to the Virginia Landmarks Register by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. (Use the arrow keys to scroll through a slideshow of the listings, or choose a listing from the drop-down menu above.)


Chatham Southern Railroad Depot,
Pittsylvania County

The Chatham Southern Railway Depot, in the Town of Chatham, was erected between 1918 and 1919. The depot is a well-known landmark, owing in part to the importance of the railroad in the post-1850 history of the town and region.
   As the central transportation hub of Chatham and the surrounding area, the depot played a pivotal role in economic development through the 1950s. Local businesses relied heavily on the railroad as the volume of local production shipped out of the depot continued to grow throughout the first half of the 20th century. The depot served as an arrival and departure point for businessmen, soldiers (particularly during World War II), vacationers, and the boarding students and faculty of Chatham Hall (a school for girls), established in 1894, and Hargrave Military Academy (for boys), established in 1909; both schools are located on the outskirts of Chatham.
   The depot is a strong example of the Railroad Style with Colonial Revival influence. After nearly a half-century in service, the depot was closed to passenger service in 1965, but freight service continued until 1975, when the station was retired from railroad use altogether.
   Since 2001 the depot has been owned and restored by the Pittsylvania County Historical Society. The building is leased by Pittsylvania County, and operated by the County Public Library System for historic research, educational seminars, and civic functions.


Cornland School,
City of Chesapeake

Cornland School is a one-room schoolhouse built in 1903, during the segregation era, to serve African-American students in the Pleasant Grove School District in the former Norfolk County, now part of the City of Chesapeake.
   Cornland School replaced a circa-1868 school that stood on the same site. In 1952 the school closed and its students were transferred to a newly-constructed but still racially segregated elementary school.
   The Cornland School building is one of the oldest one-room schools still standing today in Chesapeake and one of the last remaining African American elementary schools from the segregation era.


Trailway Bus Station,
City of Petersburg

The Petersburg Trailways Bus Station was the site of civil rights protests and “sit-ins” that occurred during 1960 and 1961. As one of the stops on the historic Freedom Ride civil rights campaign, the bus station witnessed events that were a critical component of the Civil Rights Movement in Petersburg and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
   The building also embodies the architecture of racial segregation. Constructed in 1946 during the Jim Crow segregation era, it was specifically designed to convey and enforce the long-held belief of white racial supremacy and the requirement that there must be strict separation of the races to the extent possible as set forth under Virginia law.
   Today, the station is the only mid-20th century, unaltered Trailways bus station in the Streamlined Moderne style documented by the Department of Historic Resources. The building's Period of Significance for the nomination listing begins in 1946 with the building’s construction and ends in 1961.


Pocahontas State Park,
Chesterfield County

Originally known as Swift Creek Recreational Demonstration Area (RDA), Pocahontas State Park was a project of the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The historic district encompasses the park’s initial acquisition, design, and construction by the CCC through the National Park Service’s donation of the park to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
   The Pocahontas State Park Historic District listing is part of a separate and overarching nomination for Virginia State Parks Built by New Deal Programs, including the CCC and the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
   Architecturally, Pocahontas s notable for having the largest number of surviving buildings constructed during the CCC period of any Virginia state park. The majority of buildings were built in a rustic architectural style that emphasized simplicity in design and use of native building materials.
   Swift Creek RDA was one of two RDAs developed in Virginia and one of 46 created across the U.S. RDAs were the brainchild of the National Park Service as part of the larger Federal Emergency Land Relief Program begun in 1934.
   In 1946, the NPS donated the park to Virginia State Parks, to be run jointly by state parks and the Virginia Department of Forestry. Renamed Pocahontas State Park and Pocahontas State Forest, the area became the state’s largest park and now encompasses over 7,900 acres and three small lakes.
   In 1989, the park implemented a new master plan that included expansion of the park facilities to attract and accommodate the growing numbers of residents in nearby Richmond and Chesterfield County. Pocahontas State Park is the only Virginia state park specifically designed for use by large groups


Violet Bank Historic District,
City of Colonial Heights

The Violet Bank Historic District stands out as containing one of the earliest planned suburbs in Colonial Heights. The entire Colonial Heights Extended subdivision and more than half of the Riverside Park subdivision comprise the Violet Bank Historic District. They were planned on farmland originally associated with the Violet Bank dwelling, previously listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
   The original subdivision plats in this district are important examples of early 20th-century suburban design. Their neatly delineated plans, divided into blocks and further subdivided into lots of uniform size, are prototypical of early-20th century suburbanization.
   The neighborhood also features a highly intact group of Kit Houses that were factory produced and shipped to site for construction. The collection features houses offered by Aladdin (Bay City, Michigan), Gordon-Van Tine (Davenport, Iowa) and Sears, Roebuck and Company (Chicago, Illinois).


Virginia Industrial Home School for Colored Girls,
Hanover County

Established in 1915, the Virginia Industrial Home School for Colored Girls — most recently known as the Barrett Learning Center — arose in response to an early 20th-century juvenile reform movement in the United States, especially for African American girls.
   The complex was the third such school for African-American girls in the U.S. and survived its predecessors in Maryland and Missouri.
   The property is important for its association with Janie Porter Barrett, the first African-American woman to head a training school. She advocated a pioneering rehabilitation philosophy that was adopted throughout the U.S. and around the world.
   Today’s complex of buildings was designed by Merrill C. Lee, a well-known Richmond architect. Lee’s design for the Barrett Juvenile Correctional Center reflect the trend towards architectural modernism in mid-20th century school design being embraced by school systems across the country and complement the progressive pedagogy established by Barrett in 1915.
   The period of significance for the site is from 1915 when the school was established to 1965 when the facility was racially integrated.


Boundary Increase,
Danville Historic District,
City of Danville

The Boundary Increase for the Danville Historic District covers 66 additional resources and extends the story of Danville’s era of growth and prosperity when the tobacco and textile industries were thriving.
   The original and extended district contains a broad spectrum of architectural styles popular in Danville from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century. The period of significance for both the original district and the expansion area begins in 1830, the date of the Lanier House and the Old Grove Street Cemetery, and ends in 1940, with the last major wave of development was completed.


Boundary Increase, Downtown Hopewell Historic District,
City of Hopewell

The boundary extension of the Downtown Hopewell Historic District reflects the city’s prolonged period of commercial, industrial, and governmental development from World War I through World War II as well as the emerging importance of the automobile and vehicular traffic during the post-WWII period. The extended district reveals the story of the city’s commercial development up to the mid-1960s, when postwar economic prosperity finally began to slow. The district extension emphasizes the significance of personal automobiles in shaping postwar commercial development and, eventually, suburbanization patterns that pulled investment away from traditional downtown areas.


Boundary Increase, Mountain Road Historic District,
Town of Halifax,
Halifax County

The Mountain Road Historic District boundary increase extends the original historic district one mile further west along U.S. 360 in the Town of Halifax. 
   The district depicts the gradual evolution of this rural Southside area from large tracts of farmland owned by prominent county leaders in the early 19th century to a mid-20th century community. The district continues to serve as a premier residential neighborhood and institutional center for the town, a county seat.
   Comprised primarily of residential properties ranging in date from 1837 to the mid-1960s, the district expansion area is similar to the original district, characterized by large lots with well-designed and constructed homes set back from the road and surrounded by mature landscaping, evoking park-like setting. The residences are strongly connected to the road itself, historically significant as a main artery leading into the courthouse town. The period of significance for the district stretches from 1837, the year the earliest extant house was built, through 1965, when the most recent contributing resources were erected.
   The distinctive architectural history of the district includes the work of Dabney Cosby, Sr., a craftsman who worked under Thomas Jefferson, and who designed and built the Halifax County Courthouse in 1838-39 (individually listed), adjacent to the district; Dabney Cosby, Jr. and Howard Cosby, who owned and operated a brick factory on the north side of town.


Boundary Increase, Tangier Island Historic District,
Accomack County

The boundary increase for the previoulsy-listed Tangier Island Historic District extends the district to include an area, now under water, where the British established Fort Albion in 1814 (indicated by the yellow arrow on this detial from an 1850s map of Virginia).
   At Fort Albion self-emancipated African Americans, who had escaped slavery to join British forces, were trained as Colonial Marines in the British navy. Now an underwater archaeological site, Fort Albion was recently designated by the National Park Service as a place on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom due to its direct association with the self emancipation of thousands of enslaved African Americans during the War of 1812.
   The area covered by the boundary increase is also important for its association with the history of Methodism on Tangier Island and for early 20th-century military ordnance testing. The period of significance for the expanded district spans from around 1808 to 1921, beginning with the first religious camp meetings at today's submerged site and ending with a significant military ordnance test associated with early aeronautics.