Friday
Sep282012

Preserving Place = Sustaining Community

In conjunction with Preservation Week 2009, Preservation Piedmont created an exhibition, titled Preserving Place=Sustaining Community, to highlight the relationship between historic preservation and sustainability by examining case studies based in Charlottesville. The exhibit hung in the Charlottesville Community Design Center the gallery for the month of April.  View the exhibit panels here.

Wednesday
Dec022009

Ridge Street Oral History Project

In 1995, with the assistance of more than twenty volunteers, Preservation Piedmont interviewed residents and former residents of the Ridge Street neighborhood of Charlottesville, Virginia. The oral histories were published in the Ridge Street Oral History Project, a supplement to the Ridge Street Historic District Survey. This architecturally significant late nineteenth and early twentieth century African American neighborhood was listed on the National and Virginia Landmarks Registers in 1981, but was in need of local design controls to limit the destruction and alteration of its architectural fabric. The oral history project offered the City of Charlottesville the opportunity to better understand the area's demographic and physical evolution and assist it with the neighborhood's designation as an Architectural Design Control District (ADCD). The project provided Charlottesville officials with valuable information and rare insight into the neighborhood's social and physical development. 

The Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society has copies of the document.

 

Wednesday
Dec022009

Historic Jefferson School Recognitions

In 2000, Preservation Piedmont responded to requests by the Jefferson School alumni to help in the preservation of Jefferson School, which had been the first high school for the African American citizens of Charlottesville, Virginia when public schools were segregated by race. Preservation Piedmont Board members conducted documentary research on the history of Jefferson School and recorded the building in photographs and drawings to provide the initial documentation necessary for the City of Charlottesville to begin the process of nominating the property to the Virginia Landmarks and National Registers. Subsequently, the City hired a professional consultant to prepare a National Register nomination that resulted in the 2006 listing of the historic school. In addition, Preservation Piedmont members were active in the City’s Jefferson School Task Force process (2004) that considered various re-use scenarios for Jefferson, and sought to secure a Virginia Historical Highway Marker for Jefferson School (2003). Preservation Piedmont along with the Jefferson School Alumni and the City of Charlottesville provided the funding for the installation of the marker at the intersection of 4th and Commerce Streets.

 

Wednesday
Dec022009

Jefferson School Oral History Project

In 2002, Preservation Piedmont applied for and received grants to conduct oral histories with people associated with the Jefferson School, Charlottesville's first African-American high school. The oral histories were idesigned to expand upon the historical information available about the school - to make known the human and personal element of its role in the Charlottesville community. The Oral History project culminated in the generation of 30 interviews, transcripts of which were turned over to the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society and the University of Virginia, and the 2004 publication of a booklet entitled 'Jefferson School Oral History Project,' a series of essays and historical studies as well as excerpts from the interviews conducted on behalf of the project. Funding for this project was provided by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the American Architecture Foundation's Accent on Architecture Grant Program. 

Project publication available at Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society.

 

Wednesday
Dec022009

Document Before Demolish Program (initiated 2004) 

Alarmed at the rapidly increasing loss of Charlottesville's architectural fabric, Preservation Piedmont initiated a City-wide program called 'Document Before Demolish'. The program aims to record jeopardized historic structures through photography, field notes, and, under special circumstances, measured drawings. 

In March of 2004, Preservation Piedmont submitted a request that the City of Charlottesville adopt the Document Before Demolish program as a requirement of the demolition application process. In support of this request, Preservation Piedmont designed a simple, two-page documentation form (PDF) to be submitted with accompanying site sketch plan and photographs that could be completed within a short period of time. The program has the support of the Neighborhood Development Services Department but has not yet been adopted by the City of Charlottesville.  

In the interim, Preservation Piedmont has arranged to receive notifications of demolition applications from the City. Once notified, members of Preservation Piedmont go out with camera and documentation forms in hand to record each property slated for demolition. All field records and data generated by the program are temporarily stored in Preservation Piedmont archives and are available upon request.

 

Wednesday
Dec022009

Rosenwald Project

 

Preservation Piedmont, together with the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, funded research on Rosenwald Schools in Albemarle County and the surrounding region. Interest in Albemarle County Rosenwald Schools began in 2006 when members of the Albemarle County Historic Preservation Committee (HPC) began collecting oral histories from former Rosenwald students and teachers. In 2008, the Committee returned to this project and broadened its scope by expanding the research to collect information from a broad range of communities throughout the Piedmont. Dr. Lynn Rainville is chair of the HPC Rosenwald Sub-Committee and is heading up a project to create an on-line database of central Virginia Rosenwald Schools. Members from HPC, Preservation Piedmont, and architectural historians are donating their time to help locate and document these historic schools.

The project website, www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/schools, lists information about the Rosenwald Program and local schools. If you have information about a Virginian Rosenwald School (including photos, remembrances, or historic records) please contact Preservation Piedmont.

 

 

Wednesday
Dec022009

Nimmo House

The James D. Nimmo House, 208 Hartman’s Mill Road, Charlottesville 

Winner of the APVA’s Outstanding Domestic Project Award for 2007

In the summer of 2005, Howard and Linda Carey found themselves in a difficult predicament.  Eleven years earlier, they had bought the house next door. Vacant since the early 1990s, it was in rough shape and had continued to decay rapidly. A string of contractors had declared the structure too far gone to save.  The Careys wanted a decent, nearby house for their daughter.  Starting from scratch seemed like the only way to make that plan come true.  But, when the Careys applied for a demolition permit, they learned that 208 Hartman’s Mill Road is one of Charlottesville’s Individually Protected Properties, and that the City’s Board of Architectural Review (BAR) would need to approve the demolition. The BAR did not approve the demolition, and an appeal to City Council was also turned down.

Several members of Preservation Piedmont contacted the Careys and learned that a usable house, not demolition, was their principal goal.  Preservation Piedmont pointed the couple toward Lithic Construction, a local contractor familiar with (and undaunted by) old buildings.  Lithic furnished the Careys with an estimate.  Although the figure was higher than they Careys hoped, Lithic explained that it would cost approximately twice as much to build a new house of comparable quality.  Preservation Piedmont board members contributed further by helping to apply for state rehabilitation tax credits on the Careys’ behalf, by measuring the building, and by coordinating the production of measured drawings by locally based Arcadia Preservation. Thanks to the Greenwalt Charitable Trust, even the state’s preliminary fee for processing the tax-credit paperwork was covered.

Slowly but surely, the James D. Nimmo house came back into glorious repair.  Lithic Construction worked tirelessly on the project, as did members of Preservation Piedmont.  To the Careys’ surprise and delight, their house has turned out to be a gem.  As of December, 2007, they moved in and their “old” house, a 1960s ranch, turned out to suit their daughter just fine…

(For more information on the Nimmo House, see the Spring 2006 and Spring 2007 Preservation Piedmont newsletters.)