Quantico Site, Prince William County District Join Virginia Historic Places List

By Jennifer Buske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 2, 2009

A general's quarters at the Quantico Marine base and a historic district on Prince William County's west side were named to the Virginia Landmarks Register last week and are pending approval to become part of the National Register of Historic Places.

The two local historic landmarks were among 18 statewide added to Virginia's register in March, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources said in a news release.

The Commanding General's Quarters at Marine Corps Base Quantico has served as the base commander's residence since 1920, according to the Historic Resources Department.

The two-story dwelling was once the home of Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history at the time of his death in 1940. Butler laid the foundation of the modern Marine Corps by implementing a professional military educational system, now known as the Marine Corps University.

Besides Butler's Dutch Colonial dwelling, the Broad Run-Little Georgetown Rural Historic District also made the list of historic landmarks. The 9,500-acre district, which includes northeastern Fauquier County and a portion of Prince William, dates to 1759, when the first "significant" wave of European settlement occurred, according to the Historic Resources Department.

The district is associated with the development of the Manassas Gap Railroad, Kinloch Plantation and various Civil War battles. Its agricultural landscape remains intact, representing Virginia's historically rural environment.

Department spokesman Randy Jones said two advisory boards meet quarterly to approve additions to the Virginia Landmarks Register. The list goes to the state's historic preservation officer, who later passes it on to the National Park Service, which Jones said almost always places the nominations onto the National Register of Historic Places. Other landmarks that made this month's cut came from 14 jurisdictions across Virginia, including Fairfax, Gloucester and Louisa counties as well as Fredericksburg.

Listing something on the state or national register doesn't protect it from development, Jones said. It does, however, allow the property's owner to pursue state or federal tax credits for rehabilitation or for placing part of the property in a preservation easement.

"This is strictly an honorary designation and does not protect it from demolition," Jones said. "The registers are more educational tools to let people know what is in their community."

Jones said localities must submit proposals to be considered for the list. About 2,200 Virginia landmarks are on the National Register of Historic Places, 65 of which are in Prince William.

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