On June 12, APVA Preservation Virginia closed on a sale of Gay Mont in Caroline County. The house will be restored to a private and livable home. The grounds that Jim Patton so lovingly cultivated will be returned to their once grand beauty.
Mr. and Mrs. James Patton gave Gay Mont and its collection of furnishings related to the house to APVA in the late 1970s. The House was rebuilt after a tragic fire in the 1950s. The Pattons took care in putting the 275 plus acres under easement so that no development of the land may ever take place. The Pattons’ retained a life-time tenancy. Mr. Patton, the last remaining resident, passed away in November of 2007.
When the house was acquired, there might have been a brief thought that it would function as a historic house museum. That thought was fleeting, however, with the recognition that visitation could sustain a financial model for the long-term preservation of the house. Mr. Patton acknowledged this fact as well. He did desire that every effort the made to keep the house and the collection so lovingly brought back to Gay Mont be kept together as much as possible. That desire proved one of our biggest challenges.
When Mr. Patton died in November, APVA became the owner of the house. The Restoration Crew secured the house and posted signs to deter trespassers. Cathy Dean began a full inventory of the collection. Louis Malon began the process of securing appraisals. The neighbors who had nursed Mr. Patton looked in to make sure all was secure.
Shortly after acquiring the house, an individual stepped forward to purchase the property. He undertook engineering and architectural studies to determine that his needs could be accommodated. He plans to re-build the music room, complete the second floor and modernize the bathrooms and kitchen. Through Cathy’s good work, she negotiated a sale of the collection with the intent of keeping the majority of it with the house. And thanks to Sarah’s tenacity, the property closed on time while Louis jetted off to Hawaii.
The sale of Gay Mont represents a beneficial model in historic preservation. Knowing that it is unwise to think of preservation soley within the context of historic house museums, placing Gay Mont in private hands with the resources to restore and preserve it is wise. The proceeds from the sale will be invested in APVA Preservation Virginia’s future. Under our policy, the sale proceeds will be placed in our long-term cash reserves to generate interest income for the on-going operations of the organization. The funds resulting from the sale of the collection will be restricted to acquire new objects for the collection or to help conserve objects already in the collection.
The Pattons gave us a great gift—perhaps greater then anyone realized at the time. The Pattons gave APVA Preservation Virginia the gift of security. Security in knowing that the funds from the sale invested in the long-term cash reserves will generate operating support for years to come. THANK YOU MR. and MRS. PATTON!
And thanks to all who helped make the sale of Gay Mont seem effortless!