Preservation Virginia

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Preservation Virginia
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Founded 1889
Focus Historic Preservation
  • 204 W. Franklin Street, Richmond, Virginia
Area served
Commonwealth of Virginia
Key people
Archaeologist William Kelso
Slogan Connecting people and resources to ensure the continued vitality of Virginia's historic places
Formerly called
Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities; APVA Preservation Virginia; APVA

Founded in 1889, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities was the United States' first statewide historic preservation group. In 2003 the organization adopted the new name APVA Preservation Virginia to reflect a broader focus on statewide Preservation and in 2009 it shortened its name to Preservation Virginia. Preservation Virginia owns historic sites across Virginia including Historic Jamestowne, located at Jamestown, Virginia, site of the first permanent English settlement in North America, and the Cape Henry Light, one of the first public works projects of the United States of America.


It has had a leadership role in historic preservation in Virginia; its 1889 saving of the Powder Magazine in Williamsburg came decades before Colonial Williamsburg's creation.[1]

In some ways similar in mission to organizations such as The National Trust for Historic Preservation in the U.S. and The National Trust in Britain, Richmond-based Preservation Virginia also serves as a resource for organizations and individuals on preservation issues. However it also seeks to cultivate an awareness of the importance of Virginia's heritage as an "economic asset". The organization's branches represent Preservation Virginia across the state; in Richmond, Preservation Virginia's self-governing affiliate is Historic Richmond Foundation, which merged in July 2005 with Preservation Virginia's William Byrd Branch.[2]

Preservation Virginia also operates the statewide revolving fund, which protects historic properties with easements before placing them on the market, and organizes an annual Preservation Conference.

Starting in 1994, a major archaeological campaign conducted by Preservation Virginia at Jamestown known as Jamestown Rediscovery has discovered the remains of the original 1607 settlement, and greatly increased the knowledge of Jamestown.

Revolving Fund Program[edit]

Preservation Virginia has operated a revolving fund program since 1989.

About the Revolving Fund Program's History and Mission The Commonwealth of Virginia's Historic Preservation Trust Fund was created in 1989 by the Virginia General Assembly. In 1999 the fund was transferred to Preservation Virginia and became the Revolving Fund Program. The Revolving Fund Program is the only program in Virginia dedicated to saving endangered historic property statewide.The Revolving Fund Program's goal is to save endangered historic properties across Virginia from demolition and severe neglect.

How Does the Revolving Fund Program Work?

The Revolving Fund Program works in the following way:

  • Endangered significant historic properties are acquired to save them from demolition or severe neglect.
  • Acquired properties are placed under protective easement with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, ensuring their protection from demolition and subdivision in perpetuity.
  • Properties are then sold to new owners who agree to undertake the necessary rehabilitation.
  • All proceeds generated from the sale of Revolving Fund Program properties are returned to the fund to replenish the reserves which enables future acquisitions.

The Revolving Fund Program's Record of Achievement

Since 1989, the Revolving Fund Program has achieved the following:

  • Saved 19 endangered historic properties from demolition
  • Sold 17 historic properties to new owners for rehabilitation
  • Placed 18 properties under protective easement Virginia Department of Historic Resources, this includes protecting over 700 acres of land
  • Received 4 donated endangered historic properties putting $1,096,821 into the fund
  • Acquired historic properties in 17 counties
  • Saved 3 commercial properties and 15 residential properties
  • Helped over 248 endangered historic properties through technical advice and guidance, leading to the saving of over 20 properties and helping place at least 10 properties under protective easement with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources
  • Listed 4 properties on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Place.

Why is the Revolving Fund Program Needed?

Virginia is home to much of the oldest and finest architecture in America and as each historic property vanishes we lose an important part of our heritage. Virginia's historic properties are rapidly disappearing for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Inappropriate development and sprawl
  • Severe neglect, for example, the property is abandoned or a victim of demolition by neglect
  • Absentee owners
  • Ownership issues—the property is tied up in disputes with family members or heirs
  • Property is threatened with demolition by city officials for code violations
  • Lack of awareness and understanding that historic properties are valuable and worth saving
  • Owners don't know how to go about selling or marketing their vacant and deteriorating historic property
  • Structures need to be moved for development, roads or new building project

Maintaining the Revolving Fund Program

The cycle of acquisition and re-sale keeps the Revolving Fund Program, in theory, in play in perpetuity. However, sometimes some endangered historic properties are harder to sell than others and stabilizing, insuring and maintaining them takes money out of the fund. As a result, the fund slowly depletes over time. The Revolving Fund Program combats the decline in funds by accepting donations of property. Selling donated property puts money back into the fund and keeps it ready for the next acquisition. The Revolving Fund Program also actively seeks donations from individuals and foundations to support the management of the Program and to fill the coffers for purchasing threatened property.

Historic sites[edit]

Preservation Virginia museum sites include:

Preservation Virginia also manages Warner Hall Graveyard in Gloucester and the Cub Creek Church site in Charlotte County.

Legacy properties[edit]

Preservation Virginia owned and restored many historic properties that are now owned and operated as museums by other organizations. Some of the properties are open on a limited basis or by appointment.

Preservation Virginia formerly operated several sites in Fredericksburg, which are now operated by Washington Heritage Museums.[3]


  1. ^ "Powder Magazine in Williamsburg". On This Day: Legislative Moments in Virginia History. Virginia Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-11-16. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Historic Richmond Foundation and The William Byrd Branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities Announce Merger". Historic Richmond Foundation. 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  3. ^ "Official site". Washington Heritage Museum. Retrieved 5 October 2015. 

External links[edit]