Historic determination continues

Published 11:27 am Thursday, January 24, 2019

Representatives of Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) visited Dillwyn Jan. 11 to tour the historic district, specifically the house in the Community Development Block Grants that was questioned due to it being in an eligible historic district designation.

Cam Johnson

“We had representatives from the Department of Historic Resources come up and tour the site, to take some pictures and view some of these houses to basically see them up close in person,” Commonwealth Regional Council Community Development Planner Cam Johnson said.

The house in question, located at Culbreth Street, is located in a boundary that was determined by the DHR in 2010 to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Resources and Virginia Landmarks Register. This eligible designation may pose a potential setback to the Culbreth site if it’s determined to be in a historic site.

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“This determination was made after reviewing a Preliminary Information Form (PIF) submitted by the Town of Dillwyn,” DHR representative Marc Holma said in a previous interview. “Although the PIF contains enough information for us to evaluate the historic district and make a recommendation for inclusion … it is only a preliminary step.”

The nomination stage of the historic designation process, Holma said, includes identifying individual properties within the identified historic district as contributing (historic) or non-contributing (not historic).

The full nomination process was never pursued by the Town, Holma said, meaning that it is not known whether the house on Culbreth Street is a contributing resource or not.

DHR also suggested a period of significance for the historic district as 1879 to 1965.

“Therefore, if the property at … Culbreth Street is located within the recommended boundaries and was constructed between those dates AND if it retains enough of its historic integrity (materials, design, etc.) to convey its architectural and historic character then it may be that the dwelling is contributing to the Dillwyn Historic District and can be considered ‘historic,’” Holma said.

The town of Dillwyn recently received a grant award amount of $445,400 from the Community Development Block Grants, an increase from the $176,300 initially awarded, to complete the project which involves renovating six homes in Dillwyn. The grant is from the Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD).

Johnson said the tour itself, which involved representatives of CRC, DHR and Town of Dillwyn representatives, took a few hours.

Dillwyn Mayor Linda Venable Paige, in a message from a Town of Dillwyn representative, said the tour went well and that a decision by the DHR is expected to be released soon.

Johnson said the representatives took their findings back to the department’s evaluation team.

“Typically they come back with a designation, whether it is historic or not,” Johnson said.

Virginia DHR representative Laura Lavernia confirmed Wednesday that the evaluation team is reviewing the information and is expected to issue a response in the next few days.

Johnson said the Culbreth site in question was not included in the first round of houses that were bidded out for renovations.

Johnson said his hope is that the determination comes back in time for the Culbreth property to be included in the second round of bids for the project.