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Posted at 2:20 PM ET, 05/17/2010

Preservation Virginia releases annual list

By Washington Post editors

Preservation Virginia's annual list of endangered historic sites and properties includes several schools that educated African-American children during Virginia's segregated past and all of the state's family cemeteries.

The list released Monday is the sixth edition compiled by Preservation Virginia, the statewide nonprofit historic preservation group founded in 1889.

According to Preservation Virginia, the places, buildings and architectural sites "face imminent or sustained threats to their integrity and in some cases their very survival."

The group's executive director, Elizabeth Kostelny, said the list is based on statewide nominations that are narrowed down to 10 by preservationists and architects.

Kostelny said previous lists have been effective in leading local preservation efforts. She cited Mill Mountain in Roanoke and Fort Monroe in Hampton, which the Army is leaving in 2011.

The 2010 entries are:

Old Albemarle County Jail, Charlottesville, portions of which date to the 1870s. "It has been little altered from the time it was constructed," according to a summary. Local preservation officials are attempting to preserve the property and use the complex for a museum.

Cornland School, Chesapeake, a weather-beaten structure built in 1885 by African-Americans to educate their children. Some adults also attended the school to learn to read and write.

St. Francis de Sales School, Powhatan, built in 1895 to educate African-American girls. It was a partner with St. Emma Military Academy for boys. Features bricks kilned on site and altars made of imported Italian marble. A tower collapsed at the school in March, a harbinger of further deterioration likely to occur.

Taylor Hotel, Winchester, occupied during the Civil War by Confederate and Union officers. Stonewall Jackson had temporary quarters here. The property has been declared blighted.

Warm Springs Bathhouses, Warm Springs, one of the country's oldest spas; men's bathhouse could be nation's oldest spa building. Threatened by neglect.

Gavis Residence, Winchester, a two-story dwelling dating to 1881. Neglected for the past quarter-century, the property is now overgrown with weeds and suffering from structural deterioration.

Warwick Town, Newport News, the site of a colonial port town that was a political and commercial center. Also contains archaeological components of Native American use and Civil War earthwork fortifications.

Historic family cemeteries across Virginia, many of which are threatened by development and neglect. "The graves help to perpetuate the memories of the deceased and the remains of the people buried there (and) should be treated with the utmost respect and dignity," Preservation Virginia wrote.

Carver School, Alexandria, the last remaining formerly segregated school building in the city. Scheduled for demolition, local preservationists are fighting to save the property, which more recently was a community center for African-Americans.

Morrisena, Albemarle County, dating to 1748, the property has been farmed continuously for nine generations and remains in the same family since the original land grant was issued. Also has one of the oldest houses in the county, though threatened by theft and vandalism.

-- Associated Press

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By Washington Post editors  | May 17, 2010; 2:20 PM ET
Tags:  African American, American Civil War, Civil War, Historic preservation, United States  
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