Thursday, March 24, 2011

Evaluation of Bacon's Castle Presentation continues...

The sign at the entrance road to Bacon's Castle says it all. The site will be closed to regular visitation this year and likely next as we evaluate the visitor experience and our use of the entire site. This National Historic Landmark property tells a unique story, but to a diminishing audience. Like many historic sites, we need to ensure that Bacon's Castle is relevant and the experience provided is one that engages today's visitor. Our most important audience is that in the community that surrounds it. We will seek community ideas and suggestions on how this place can play a useful role in the life of the Surry area and broader region. All this while not losing sight of the historical significance of the building, its architecture and legacy. A fine needle to thread, but one that is exciting to undertake. We welcome thoughts and suggestions. Earlier this week we met on site with representatives from different parts of the National Park Service to get their thoughts on how visitors might experience the site. In mid-April, we will be holding a community input session to brainstorm with neighbors about the use of the site. Watch this space, as well as our Facebook page for ongoing opportunities to provide your thoughts and ideas.

Friday, March 11, 2011

..and other duties as required.

Its that time of year when the properties are gearing up for the new visitation season and the Restoration Dept is bouncing around like ping-pong balls, covering a wide range of really mundane duties. We have done or are in the process of fixing windows for Wilton, Farmer's Bank, and the Cape Henry Lighthouse. We have met, advised and given estimates for Wilton and the Fredericksburg Properties. We burned the fire pile at Bacon's Castle and then had to move 16 tons of dirt that had accumulated under the pile. We have replaced the two doors at the Cape Henry gift shop with fiberglass doors with windows. Taking advantage of the ambient light makes the shop more inviting, and helps prevent "blind door" strikes on guests and employees. As soon as we finish the sundry duties, the department will transition over to Bacon's Castle as part of its renovation. We were going to post pictures of the new Cape Henry gift shop doors, but our computer says no.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Colonial Heights Baptist Church Demolition to Start this Week

Demolition Begins at Former Baptist Church

After two years of working to save the former Colonial Heights Baptist Church building, the demolition is set to start this week. The Colonial Heights City Council voted to demolish the early 20th century structure and build a new courthouse in its place.

The church was the first church established in Colonial Heights' original subdivision. The building predates the incorporation of Colonial Heights and has been a dominant and iconic presence on the main boulevard through the city since the early 1900s.

The building has been unused since the congregation built a new structure in 2008 and sold the church to the city.

Preservation VA listed the church on our Endangered List in 2009.

A local reuse committee created a plan to reuse the church for the new courthouse, but this plan was rejected by the City Council last year, because it was determined that it would be more expensive to resue the church rather than demolish it.

See latest article in Progresss Index.