The commonwealth’s rich history includes land where the English first settled in the New World and enslaved people sought rest on their way to freedom. But many of those places are in jeopardy from decay and development, weather and lack of resources, according to Preservation Virginia, a nonprofit group dedicated to protecting historic locales.
The group’s annual list of endangered historic sites was released Tuesday:
The Battle of Williamsburg in 1862 was the first major contest between the Union and the Confederacy in the Peninsula Campaign, according to Preservation Virginia. Bristoe Station played host to the Battle of Kettle Run in 1862 and Battle of Bristoe Station in 1863.
Both sites are threatened by “encroaching development,” according to Preservation Virginia; 2,000 acres of Williamsburg Battlefield has been developed. At Bristoe, unprotected battlefield could soon be occupied by 80 acres of cemetery.
Situated in the middle of Appomattox River, Pocahontas Island was one of the earliest free African American communities in the country, due in part to the presence of two stops on the Underground Railroad that former slaves used to head north.
The site is also home to what became the Keziah Affair, where aboard an eponymous schooner, a white ship owner was caught smuggling five slaves to freedom in Philadelphia.
Historic houses on Petersburg’s Witten Street and Logan Street on the island are in disrepair, according to Preservation Virginia.
The city of Richmond is looking to redevelop Shockoe Bottom, which used to serve as the center of the state’s capital and was a common meeting place for Founding Fathers such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Marshall.
It was also once the “center of domestic commercial wholesale slave trade,” according to Preservation Virginia. One redevelopment proposal includes a plan for a slavery heritage site, which has drawn the interest of former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder (D), the nation’s first black elected governor. .
Six million people from across the world visit Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown every year. In their travels, they sometimes head to the James River Viewshed to take in the Historic Triangle.
A proposed Dominion Virginia Power line would cut across that vista with 17 towers as high as 296 feet.
Historic structures on Columbia’s St. James Street are in need of repair, according to Preservation Virginia.
Columbia was explored by Captain John Smith as early as 1608. The transportation hub’s industrial luck ran dry after historic floods in the 19th and 20th centuries. As canals were filled in and railroad lines grew, the decline continued.
The decaying Old Clerk’s Office is Montgomery County’s best example of a late 19th-century law office. Lawyers who worked there went on to serve in the Virginia legislature, the U.S. Congress and Virginia’s Supreme Court.
Also known as Prospect Road, the concrete road was the original access to the top of Mill Mountain, which has long been a symbol of Roanoke.
The retaining walls on either side have fallen by the wayside as the rest of the mountain is conserved, according to Preservation Virginia.
This agricultural homestead is one of Virginia’s few remaining 18th-century mercantile structures.
By renting the building to supporters of nearby Booker T. Washington National Monument, Preservation Virginia said the site could attract tourism business.
Pamplin City’s historic buildings on Main Street are used for storage. According to Preservation Virginia, the town and county governments are working to make Pamplin the end of the 31-mile High Bridge Trail in hope of attracting tourists. That would provide a purpose to Pamplin’s oldest buildings that date back to the city’s boom time as a transportation hub.
The Civil War-era bridge over Rappahannock River between Culpeper and Fauquier counties was active until January. The Virginia Department of Transportation wants to replace the structure rather than repair it.
A 1912 mill played a key role in the early life of Chase City and is an example of an early 20th-century building, complete with millstones and engines.
Today, the owner struggles with upkeep costs, according to Preservation Virginia.