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Virginia Landmarks Register

New Listings, March 2016

Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources added five sites to the Virginia Landmarks Register in March 2016. The six nominations include an archaeological site on the campus of the University of Virginia associated with a free African American antebellum household, an early 19th-century crossroads tavern complex in Hanover County, and two consolidated schools and a public healthcare facility in western Virginia built during the 20th century. (Use the arrow keys to scroll through this slideshow of the listings, or choose a listing from the drop-down menu above.)

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Ashwood School
Bath County

      Bath County’s purpose-built consolidated Ashwood School was constructed around 1909. The concept of consolidated schools reflects changes in public school education during the early 20th century in response to Progressive Era concerns about the quality of life and education in rural areas. Reformers envisioned a consolidated school as a center of community life, replacing dispersed one-room schoolhouses. With their multiple classrooms, consolidated schools enabled teachers to separate and instruct students by class level and age.
     Constructed for white students during the era of segregated public education in Virginia, Ashwood School was desegregated in 1965, marking a significant shift in local public education practices.
     In addition to the brick school building, the property features a stone wall with pillars that the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed in 1935, when the CCC improved landscaping at the school.

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Court House Hill /
Downtown
Historic District
(2016 Expansion),
Lynchburg

      The previously listed (2001) and expanded (2002) Court House Hill/Downtown Historic District, which dates to the town’s founding in 1786, has expanded again to incorporate 20 additional buildings and structures.
     The expansion areas extend the story of Lynchburg’s downtown commercial and financial history through the first-half of the 20th century. The most recent expansion area features a range of traditional and modern commercial building styles popular in Lynchburg from the mid-19th century through the mid-20th century and includes the First National Trust & Savings Bank built in 1961, the last major office building erected in downtown prior to the 1970s.

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Foster Site,
Charlottesville

     The nearly three-quarter acre Foster Site, located on the University of Virginia campus, contains archaeological features and artifacts associated with the family of a free African American seamstress, Catherine “Kitty” Foster, who purchased the residential property in 1833. As part of a free African-American community called “Canada,” the Foster family occupied the site until the land was sold in 1906.
     Prominent archaeological features of the site include a domestic basement, a brick fire box and chimney base, and remnant masonry piers. The site also contains the remains of a brick-lined well, a likely smokehouse, and a small cemetery.
     The Foster Site is significant as the one-time residence of an antebellum free-black household and for its research potential into the service-based commercial relationship between free African Americans and the University of Virginia community during the pre- and post-Civil War eras.
     The university has installed a memorial park dedicated to education and interpretation of the Foster family, the cemetery, and the adjacent Canada neighborhood.

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Roanoke City
Health Center

Built in 1951, the Roanoke City Health Center’s design reflects a nationwide shift in public healthcare after World War II. With federal funding under the Hill-Burton Act, public health centers were constructed to provide adequate and accessible healthcare to the public, particularly in underserved rural areas.
     These new centers contained assembly areas, immunization and dental clinics, examination and treatment rooms, and laboratories that corresponded to a new healthcare approach that emphasized education, diagnostic and preventative intervention, and progressive treatment.
     The functional and unadorned design of the Roanoke City Health Center exemplifies the impact of government-prescribed design standards and the dominance of the International Style in creating clean, efficient new public medical facilities in the mid-20th century. Its original design also conformed to Virginia’s segregation era, which required separate accommodations for whites and African Americans. Although later integrated, the building’s high level of integrity and relatively few alterations serves to illustrate the design practices of the segregation era.

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Roland E. Cook
Elementary School,
Town of Vinton,
Roanoke County

Roland E. Cook Elementary School in the Town of Vinton was built in 1915 and expanded in 1924. The school’s two-story design is consistent with other consolidated schools built in Virginia’s western counties between 1910 and 1920 (see Ashburn School in this slideshow).
     The concept of consolidated schools reflects changes in public school education during the early 20th century in response to Progressive Era concerns about the quality of life and education in rural areas. Reformers envisioned a consolidated school as a center of community life, replacing dispersed one-room schoolhouses. With their multiple classrooms, consolidated schools enabled teachers to separate and instruct students by class level and age.
     Constructed for white students during Virginia’s era of racial segregation in public education, the school was desegregated in in 1965 and in 1966 the building underwent a modernization to bring it in line with the newer and larger consolidated schools of the post-WW II era.

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The Tavern at
Old Church,
Hanover County

    The Tavern at Old Church is an important example of a rural Federal-style tavern complex, an increasingly rare but once-common building type in rural Virginia.
     The property formed the nucleus of the crossroads community of “Old Church.” A number of historic houses and churches remain within sight of the tavern, giving it a pleasing context and intact historic setting.
     The Tavern at Old Church operated from around 1820 to 1890. Its owners also often served as postmasters and, around 1870, a purpose-built, frame post office building was constructed on the property.
     The property’s period of significance extends from circa 1820 to 1893, when the tavern building was divided into two private dwellings. The tavern shows outstanding vernacular character with one half of the building constructed in brick and the other half in heavy frame, all dating to before 1860.