Arlington Cemetery, Manassas Battlefield Among 'Most Endangered' Places in Virginia

Eight places, buildings and sites on group's list face "imminent or sustained" threats

Monday, May 13, 2013  |  Updated 6:15 AM EDT
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Prince Harry participates in a ceremonial wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns during the second day of his visit to the United States at Arlington National Cemetery on May 10, 2013 in Arlington, Va.

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Preservation Virginia's annual most endangered list includes Arlington National Cemetery, Manassas Battlefield and a network of schools that aimed to improve educational opportunities for young black students in rural areas.

The private, non-profit preservation group on Monday identified eight places, buildings and sites that it concludes face "imminent or sustained" threats, even to the point of their survival in some cases. The threats include planned roads, neglect or development.

Preservation Virginia said the list is compiled not to shame, but to bring attention to the threats and possibly inspire solutions.

The ninth edition of the list includes the following entries, and the things that threaten them:

  • Arlington National Cemetery, threatened by the 27-acre Millennium Project expansion. It would disrupt the cemetery's surroundings and destroy a 12-acre section of Arlington House Woods, as well as its old-growth hardwoods and a historic boundary wall.
  • Rosenwalds Schools, a rural school building program by Julius Rosenwald to provide a better public education to African-American students in the segregated South. A total 381 of the schools were built in Virginia. They are now threatened with demolition and neglect.
  • Manassas Battlefield Historic District: Preservationists fear a proposed parkway would put the Bull Run Battlefield at risk.
  • The Luray Graded and High School, a fixture in Luray's center since 1881, which would be demolished to make way for a parking lot for a new Page County government complex. A group of residents is fighting the proposal.
  • The Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Foundation and Museum, in downtown Wytheville, commemorating a popular and influential first lady. A local organization is struggling to address the building's immediate repairs, including moisture and deteriorated masonry.
  • The Compton-Bateman House in Roanoke, also known as the Villa Heights Recreation Center. It was badly damaged in a fire and will not survive long without immediate attention. It's one of the few remaining antebellum houses in the city.
  • The Fearn site, in Danville. Located on the Dan River, the tract is slated for industrial development. Current plans include relocating a historic cemetery and demolishing foundations linked to Danville's early history.
  • The Jesse Scott Sammons Farmstead, in Albemarle County, includes the Sammons family cemetery and the 19th century Jesse Scott Sammons House. They are located near the proposed path of the Charlottesville Western Bypass.

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