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Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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Five Virginia Preserve America Communities Receive Designation Certificates

Nov. 18, 2004, Charlottesville, VA—Alexandria, Hanover County, Lynchburg, Petersburg, and Warrenton, Virginia, received certificates of designation as Preserve America Communities today at the fall 2004 business meeting of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP).

National Park Service Director Fran Mainella presents three representatives of Lynchburg, Virginia, with their Preserve America Community certificate of designation.
National Park Service Director Fran Mainella (left) presents representatives of Lynchburg, Virginia, with their Preserve America Community certificate of designation. ACHP Chairman John Nau (second from right) commended the communities as "national leaders" in the trend towards sustainable historic preservation. (staff photo)

"There are significant economic, educational, and cultural benefits that historic preservation, through efforts such as heritage tourism, bring to a community," ACHP Chairman John L. Nau said. "Sustainable preservation is not a cost for maintaining the past, it is an investment in building the future. These communities are national leaders in this trend and have created a powerful positive example for others."

Two Virginia communities that received their certificates earlier this year, Williamsburg and Smithfield, were also noted by Nau, who presented the certificates on behalf of the Office of the First Lady. The ACHP helps administer the Preserve America initiative for the Bush Administration.

As of November 5, 2004, 178 designated Preserve America communities were located in 34 States nationwide. The first Virginia communities to achieve the status, Williamsburg and Smithfield, were recognized at a Capitol Hill ceremony March 18, 2004. That occasion was a joint effort of the ACHP and the U.S. House of Representatives Historic Preservation Caucus.

The five communities receiving their certificates today have received a letter from Mrs. Laura Bush notifying them of the designations. The following summaries outline some of the heritage attributes of each community.

  • Alexandria—Established in 1749, with early ties to President George Washington, Alexandria was a principal colonial trading center and seaport that retains many historic structures and places. It has the third-oldest locally designated historic district in the Nation, as well as a well-known and much admired city archeology program, one of the first in the Nation. Among its treasures is the Parker-Gray District, which is among the resources highlighted in the city's guide to African-American historic sites, one of several visitor guides to the city's historic places. Read more

  • Hanover County—As one of Virginia's fastest growing counties, Hanover County is working closely with private developers and public partners to integrate preservation into its land-use and approval processes to preserve its rich historic heritage. The birthplace and home of Revolutionary war firebrand and first governor of Virginia Patrick Henry, many structures associated with him remain. The county also is rich in remaining Native American, colonial-era, and Civil War sites. Read more

  • Lynchburg—Chartered in 1786 on a hill overlooking the James River ferry landing established by James Lynch, the city escaped most of the destruction of the Civil War and as a result remains rich in historic structures. The city became an important trade center, and by the 20th century the economy had flourished, largely transformed from a tobacco center to manufacturing. The city is working to revitalize its historic downtown and riverfront through a master plan in which historic preservation plays a prominent role. Read more

  • Petersburg—The site of major battles in both the Revolutionary and Civil wars, Petersburg is where British forces attempted to regain control of Virginia and 80 years later suffered the longest siege in warfare on United States soil. The famous Battle of the Crater, where Union forces tunneled under Confederate lines and detonated a gigantic mine, took place here. The city owns or administers the five Petersburg Museums and is active in the regional heritage tourism effort known as Civil War Central, as well as the Virginia Civil War Trail Initiative. Read more

  • Warrenton—Founded in the 1760s at the crossroads of major thoroughfares, Warrenton was of such transportation significance that it changed hands 67 times between Union and Confederate control during the Civil War. The town purchased Brentmoor, the home of legendary Confederate raider Colonel John Singleton Mosby, and in partnership with a non-profit foundation, is transforming it into a focal point for heritage tourism. Read more

Communities designated through the program receive national recognition for their efforts. Benefits include use of the Preserve America logo, listing in the Preserve America Web site directory to showcase preservation and heritage tourism efforts, and eligibility for proposed Preserve America grants that will begin in Fiscal Year 2005 if enacted by Congress.

The next quarterly deadline for applications to become a Preserve America Community is March 1, 2005. For more information, application forms and procedures, and the directory of Preserve America Communities, visit the Preserve America Communities Web page.

The Preserve America initiative is a White House effort to encourage and support community efforts for the preservation and enjoyment of America's priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the initiative include: a greater shared knowledge about the Nation's past; strengthened regional identities and local pride; increased local participation in preserving the country's cultural and natural heritage assets; and support for the economic vitality of communities.

The ACHP, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other agencies partner to administer the Preserve America Community program with the Office of the First Lady.

Updated February 9, 2005

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