Press Release

May
14

2024 List of Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Places Announced

Ten historic locations facing substantial threats were named to this year’s list.

For immediate release

For more information, contact:
Will Glasco, wglasco@preservationvirginia.org
(804) 648-1889 ext. 311

RICHMOND, Va. (May 14, 2024) – Each May, Preservation Virginia releases a list of historic places across the Commonwealth facing imminent or sustained threats. The list, which has brought attention to more than 180 sites in Virginia, encourages individuals, organizations and local and state governments to advocate for their preservation and find solutions that will save these unique locations for future generations. The program has a track record of success. Only 10% of the sites listed so far were lost to demolition or neglect.

Nearly every region in Virginia is represented in this year’s list, with historic places often facing development pressures and neglect. “These historic sites represent important spaces in communities throughout the Commonwealth. All are under threat, all irreplaceable and all propose solutions to ensure a viable future,” said Elizabeth S. Kostelny, Preservation Virginia CEO. “From Hampton to Roanoke, Loudoun County to Brunswick County, these historic sites are in need of awareness and assistance to ensure they are preserved for future generations.”

In no particular order, Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Places for 2024 are:

Richmond Community Hospital – City of Richmond
Located on the Northside of Richmond in the historic Frederick Douglass Court neighborhood, the local African American community raised funds to establish this hospital to provide equitable and adequate healthcare, medical training and spiritual guidance to residents. Built in 1932, the hospital now sits vacant, neglected and unmaintained. The structure faces an uncertain future as Virginia Union University plans to develop local real estate holdings. To preserve this important structure, it needs to be appropriately incorporated into future plans for the community. Local residents and advocates are also exploring the opportunity to list the neighborhood as a historic district to provide further awareness and engagement.

Grand Contraband Camp – City of Hampton
Established in 1861 following the Union Army’s occupation of Fort Monroe, the Grand Contraband Camp in Hampton Roads provided a sanctuary for thousands of enslaved individuals seeking refuge behind Union lines. Cemeteries associated with the site are being encroached upon by Interstate 64 expansions, resulting in an inability for descendants and researchers to reach and identify some of the older gravesites. Overgrowth in these regions has led to some graves being lost entirely. The Contraband Historical Society, the Fort Monroe Authority and their partners are initiating a long-term project that will utilize current technologies to identify and archive unmarked or neglected gravesites.

Mt. Carmel Baptist Church – Albemarle County
Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, established in 1879 by African American descendants of the community, stands as a testament to resilience and faith in the face of adversity. Development is quickly and aggressively reaching this portion of Albemarle County. Several historic buildings nearby were recently demolished or placed up for sale, with the church being the only remaining community-serving structure left.

Massies Mill Odd Fellows Hall – Nelson County
The Odd Fellows Hall in Massies Mill carries a significant historical legacy, serving as a vibrant center for the International Order of Odd Fellows until its closure in 2014. Now operating as the headquarters and meeting space for the Central Virginia Farm Workers Initiative (CVFWI), it’s become a lifeline for the Hispanic farm working community in the region. Neglected repairs left the building in dire need of attention, with its roof and foundation requiring urgent maintenance. Without intervention, there is a real risk of losing this invaluable community space, along with the vital services it provides to the Hispanic farm working population in the region.

Lower Surry Church – Surry County
The ruins of the church represent the second church constructed on this site in 1754. In 1868, the church was destroyed by a fire, and in 2003, winds from Hurricane Isabel caused a tree to crush sections of the brick walls as well. Initial repairs made soon after the 2003 hurricane may be causing further damage to the historic fabric. With a treatment plan in hand, the Bacon’s Castle Memorial Association will have a strategy to make the case for raising funds and preserving the original brick fabric.

Suffolk African American Waterman Villages – City of Suffolk
Two historic villages in Suffolk- Oakland and neighboring Hobson- stand as testaments to the resilience and heritage of African American and Nansemond Indian communities. United in their struggles and shared history, residents from both villages have joined forces, forming advocacy groups to preserve their legacies and fight against the encroachment of modern developments. Strengthening their relationship with the City of Suffolk will be core to the success of their regional advocacy efforts as their platform expands.

Jackson Blacksmith Shop – Goochland County
Built around 1880 by Henry Jackson and his father, the shop provided essential blacksmithing services to residents of Goochland County and neighboring counties. Born into slavery and later sold from Louisa to Goochland, Henry Jackson purchased land at the corner of Route 607 and U.S. 522, where he established the shop. As one of only two known remaining Black-owned blacksmith shops in Virginia, the Jackson Blacksmith Shop holds immense historical significance.

Waterford Historic District – Loudoun County
Settled in 1733 by Quaker farmers, the Historic Village of Waterford, sitting in the Catoctin Valley, was once a thriving agricultural and industrial community in Loudoun County. The county has considered multiple proposals for data centers, which come with associated infrastructure development including substations and transmission lines. Recently, a proposal was introduced to construct 500 kV transmission lines through the Waterford Historic District. These lines range from 80 to 200 feet tall, and are proposed to run through several western Loudoun County properties under conservation easements.

Blick Plantation – Brunswick County
The Blick Plantation is one of the few remaining undocumented 18th century plantation homes in Central Virginia. After seven decades of searching, the Blick family rediscovered and purchased their ancestral home just North of Lawrenceville. Without stabilization, a corner of the main residential structure will likely fail within the next few years. The brick foundation is in need of repair before the damage becomes irreversible. Family descendants and owners of the current home and parcel have established the Historic Blick Plantation nonprofit to fund the restoration of the structure. They’re raising awareness for this unique historic site in Southside Virginia and engaging with the local community to help share the story.

Washington Park Caretaker’s Cottage – City of Roanoke
The Washington Park Caretaker’s House is one of the oldest surviving structures in Roanoke City. Following the sale of the property to the City in 1922, the land became a public park for the Black community during the Jim Crow era of segregation. Last year, the City announced plans to rebuild the swimming pool at Washington Park. Due to soil restrictions, they had to choose another site in the park, and slated the deteriorating house for demolition to make way for the new pool. The Friends of Washington Park, Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation, Hill Studio and others involved are pursuing a private investor to make a long-term commitment to rehabbing and adapting the Washington Caretaker’s Cottage for a community center with event and food service space. However, that investor needs to be identified before year’s end to ensure the cottage is preserved.

For more information on each location, please contact the following:

  • Richmond Community Hospital: Viola Baskerville, vbaskerville@comcast.net,

(804) 690-5279

  • Grand Contraband Camp: Liza Rodman, lizarodman@gmail.com, (617) 733-5244
  • Carmel Baptist Church: Darrell Howard, dlatengo17@gmail.com, (434) 964-8742
  • Massies Mill Odd Fellows Hall: Vanessa Hale, vhale@cvfwi.org, (434) 964-7005
  • Lower Surry Church: Dianna Keen, dbsmfd@aol.com, (757) 371-3031
  • Suffolk African American Waterman Villages: Mary Hill, hlovethyneighbor@aol.com, (757) 685-1730
  • Jackson Blacksmith Shop: Jerome Jackson Jr., jmjjrlcs@gmail.com, (804) 629-7987
  • Waterford Historic District: Abigail Zurfluh, azurfluh@waterfordfoundation.org, (540) 882-3018 ext. 116
  • Blick Plantation: Richard Blick, blickplantation23@gmail.com, (703) 401-7980
  • Washington Park Caretaker’s Cottage: Alison Blanton, ablanton@hillstudio.com, (540) 765-7154

About Preservation Virginia

Preservation Virginia’s mission is to inspire and engage the public in fostering, supporting and sustaining Virginia’s historic places through leadership in advocacy, education, revitalization and stewardship. In addition to advocating for historic places and policy, Preservation Virginia operates six museum locations open to the public throughout Virginia. Visit www.preservationvirginia.org to learn more.

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