STAUNTON, Va. (WRIC) — Nine new locations across Virginia have been added to the Virginia Landmarks Register this month, each of them celebrating unique aspects of Virginia history across the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Board of Historic Resources and the State Review Board meets quarterly to consider new nominations of historic sites, as well as to update previously accepted locations. The most recent meeting was held on Thursday, Sept. 15 and the board approved eight new locations for the register, as well as updating a previously approved location.
Check out the new historical sites below, and learn a bit about their background.
Blue Marlin Lodge, City of Virginia Beach
The Blue Marlin Lodge was built in 1965 and designed by architect William Burton Alderman. It was one of many motels on the oceanfront of Virginia Beach during the 1950s and 1960s. Today, it is one of only three remaining motels that was designed by Alderman. The other motels are the Jefferson Manor Motel Apartments, which were named a historic site in April 2021, and the Crest Kitchenette Motel, which was also added to the register in September 2022.
Crest Kitchenette Motel, City of Virginia Beach
The former Crest Kitchenette Motel now goes by the Cutty Sark Motel Efficiencies. It is another motel designed by Alderman and was constructed by its original owner, William T. Winner, who was a contractor. The motel, along with the two others built by Alderman, are now reminders of a time of great growth and change around the Virginia Beach oceanfront in the mid-20th century.
Jarratt House, City of Petersburg
The Jarratt House was built in 1820 by John Wilder. Originally built as a rental property, the house is now the only antebellum building surviving in the Pocahontas Island Historic District.
The house was previously owned by Lavinia Sampson, a member of the Pamunkey tribe, from 1853 to 1877, and then by the Jarratt family, a prominent Black Petersburg family who owned the property from 1877 all the way until 1991.
The Pocahontas Island Historic District, where the house is located, is a community on the north side of the Appomattox River. Pocahontas Island was first settled in the mid-18th century by mainly white residents, but became a large African American neighborhood a century later. The community has also many ties with native Virginia tribes. In the antebellum era, more free Black residents lived on Pocahontas Island than in any other part of Petersburg.
South Garden, New Kent County
South Garden is a historic dwelling located on a rural estate in New Kent that was constructed between 1825 and 1840. Melville and Alice Reams bought the property in 1939 and made several alterations to the house for additional rooms and modern amenities. Even with the renovations, the 19th-century circulation, design and materials remain to this day.
Goodloe House, City of Staunton
The Goodloe House is a 1927 Colonial Revival house located on the north side of Staunton and designed by local architect Sam Collins. The garden was designed by landscape architect Charles Gillette, and has kept many of its original features even over a century later. The house also has distant views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which can be seen from the upper floors.
Silver Hill Baptist Church and School, Fauquier County
The Silver Hill Baptist Church and School is associated with a Reconstruction-era Black community founded in 1876 by Ellen and Thomas Hannibal Coles. The Coles bought 33 acres from the roughly 350-acre “Silver Hill” tract and donated part of this land for the church.
The church continues to be used today. A sanctuary was added in 1902, and a small cemetery is also associated with the church. The Silver Hill School was constructed as part of the property in 1903, and served Black students during the Jim Crow era.
Silver Hill becoming a historic site is part of a larger effort from local researchers and historians to explore of history of the development of Fauquier County’s African American communities.
Blue Ridge Tunnel, Nelson County
The Blue Ridge Tunnel is a single-track railroad tunnel constructed between 1850 and 1857 and opened for use in 1858. It is located 500 feet below the Rockfish Gap on the county line between Nelson and Augusta Counties. Rockfish Gap is a well-used area to cross the Blue Ridge Mountains between the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley.
Today, the tunnel is part of a recreational hiking and biking trail in Nelson County. It remains the longest tunnel that was hand-dug using black powder blasting and no ventilation shafts.
Martinsville Historic District, City of Martinsville
The Martinsville Historic District is largely composed of two- and three-story commercial buildings constructed from the early to mid-20th century. Distinct features include several institutional buildings, including a courthouse, post office, industrial buildings, warehouses and banks.
The Martinsville Historic District was originally listed as a historical site in 1998 and an update to its nomination was approved in the Sept. 15, 2022 meeting.