Friday, April 5, 2013

Previous Endangered Sites- the Entire City of Danville

In 2007, Preservation Virginia’s Most Endangered List included a rare designation— the entire City of Danville —as a result of multiple pleas for assistance regarding saving historic structures within the City.  
Since its nomination to the list, Danville has made progress in its historic preservation efforts including the creation of the River District Plan, a plan to protect and enhance the historic character and facilitate business in downtown, as well as plans to enhance historic areas along Grove Street and in the Five Forks area.  

View of Danville and Dan River

Many see the successful renovation and reuse of the Ferrell Building on Main Street as the catalyst to renewed preservation efforts by the city.  The Ferrell Building, one of the oldest buildings on Main Street, was saved from demolition in 2010 when Rehab Builders acquired it, renovated it and converted it into apartments and commercial space. 

However; Danville is not without its shortcomings. One example is the Fearn Plantation site− an important, early archaeological site with intact foundations that is planned for demolition to make room for industrial development.

Chimney and foundations at the Fearn site
Another example is what locals are calling the “red dot” district− an area of the Tobacco Warehouse District where many small, vernacular “worker’s” houses have been marked for demolition with large red dots.  While it is evident that some of these houses are beyond repair, local preservationists have asked to be involved in the process so that pockets of houses can be saved to help protect the historic mill town character. 

Historic preservation efforts have definitely improved in Danville, but Danville still has a ways to go when it comes to being a notable steward and protector of its historic resources.  

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