Local historic sites added to Virginia Landmarks Register

Courtesy: Virginia Department of Historic Resources
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Six historic sites were added to the Virginia Landmarks Register last week, including sites in local hometowns such as Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Wytheville.

12th Street Industrial Historic District

According to a release from the Department of Historic Resources, the 12th Street Industrial Historic District in Lynchburg is one of the historic sites being added to the Register. This district features tobacco prizeries, warehouses, and commercial laundry plants that highlight Lynchburg's history as a major processing and transportation center for tobacco.

In the mid-1800s, 12th Street in Lynchburg became a center for tobacco. After the Civil War, this area grew with construction of new tobacco factories and warehouses. Most buildings in the district at this time were built to process and store tobacco, but many of these buildings also served other purposes, such as a Civil War hospital and an African American school and lodge.

When Lynchburg's tobacco industry declined in the 20th century, other industries came about as the economy became more diverse. According to the Department of Historic Resources, the oldest building in the 12th Street Industrial Historic District is a circa 1858 tobacco prizery.

Villa Heights

Villa Heights in Roanoke was also added to the Virginia Landmarks Register last week following approval from the State Review Board and the Board of Historic Resources.

Villa Heights was constructed in 1820 for Lt. Colonel Elijah McClanahan, who was a veteran of the War of 1812. The Department of Historic Resources said McClanahan "owned most of the land that ultimately became the Northwest section of Roanoke City, which included “Long Meadow,” the future site of Villa Heights."

The house was re-purposed in the late 1950s for public recreational use, but it still holds many of the early 19th century Classical Revival details.

This property is significant because it highlights McClanahan's time as he served as a justice when Roanoke County was formed from part of Botetourt County. McClanahan was later appointed as Roanoke County's first High Sheriff. According to the Department of Historic Resources, McClanahan was also one of the trustees chosen when the town of Salem was founded.

Wytheville Historic District
In addition to the six locations in Virginia selected to be added to the Virginia Landmarks Register, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources also approved a boundary increase for the Wytheville Historic District. The Department of Historic Resources says this expansion will include the Carpenter Building, which is a commercial-style, one-story masonry building.

The Carpenter Building was built in 1941 and stored automobiles for Crowgey Motor Company. The building was acquired by Albert B. Carpenter in 1946 and was upgraded to be used as a hosiery mill. This hosiery mill "manufactured and dealt in knitted goods, yarns, and textiles, but mostly produced men's socks," the Department of Historic Resources said.

In 1947, the Wythe County Chamber of Commerce developed a $150,000 program for an interior renovation of the building and construction of a rear addition.

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According to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, "Virginia is a national leader among states in listing historic sites and districts in the National Register of Historic Places."