A Student of History

July 19, 2006

Preservationists buy land from Civil War battle

Filed under: Historic Preservation — John Maass @ 12:19 am

This from WAVY.com: Preservationists have bought a piece of land in the Shenandoah Valley that was the site of a Civil War battle — to protect the property from development.The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation bought 100 acres in the Toms Brook area, about 25 miles southwest of Winchester. Acquisition of the property will present significant management challenges and opportunities for the Battlefields Foundation.  Its proximity to the town of Toms Brook offers the opportunity to provide substantial green space to town residents.  Likewise, adjacency to the county farm and park could enable a variety of public uses that are compatible with the preservation of the battlefield.  Like much of the rest of the county, the Toms Brook area offers splendid views of the nearby Massanutten Mountain and both Jordon Run and Toms Brook drain into the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. The rest of the brief copyrighted piece is here.For more on the The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation go here, and for more details on the Tom’s Brook aquisition, go here.

A central part of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation’s mission is to preserve Civil War battlefields in the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District, both directly and by enabling landowners and local organizations to do so. Exploring the rich legacy of the Valley’s Civil War heritage is only possible with the protection of its historic places.  The Battlefields Foundation’s land and easement acquisition efforts concentrate on the ten battlefields named by Congress in the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District and Commission Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-333). These battlefields, listed in the table below, include more than 21,000 acres of core battlefield that retain historic integrity, largely because they are still in active farm and forest uses. Less than ten percent of this essential resource is protected from development that would destroy its historic value.


During its first year, the Battlefields Foundation protected three parcels totaling 68 acres at Cross Keys, Fisher’s Hill, and Third Winchester, all through fee simple purchase from willing sellers. The Foundation also helped local groups acquire the Mansion House at McDowell and Fort Collier in Winchester and is currently working with the owners of nine properties at six battlefields who want to protect their land. These projects will protect an additional 948 acres of land using fee simple acquisition and conservation easements.

In addition, the Battlefields Foundation has helped our partners raise $550,000 from local governments and $3.5 million from the state to match federal funds in the effort to help preserve battlefields such as Cedar Creek and First and Second Kernstown. The Battlefields Foundation has also leveraged considerable investments from partnering organizations. For every dollar from the Foundation, its partners have contributed eight dollars to preserve and interpret Civil War resources in the National Historic District.

The Battlefields Foundation’s conservation efforts use voluntary measures that protect farm and forest land from conversion to more intensive commercial, industrial, and residential uses. The Battlefields Foundation neither has nor seeks condemnation authority. Instead, it pursues policies that aid private landowners who face development pressure to maintain their land in rural uses.

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