November 6, 2023

Virginia Beach Awarded Two Grants for Historic Preservation Program

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) has awarded two grants to the Virginia Beach historic preservation program. The first grant is for $25,000 from the State Survey and Planning Cost Share Program; the second is a nearly $20,000 Certified Local Government Grant.

The City will match the Cost Share Program grant amount (for a total of $50,000) to fund the development of a historical context study on the post-World War II suburban residential development of Princess Anne County and the City of Virginia Beach. The project will also include a limited architectural survey of associated resources.

The postwar suburbanization of Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach transformed a mostly rural county into the largest city by population in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Developing a historic context for the tremendous volume of residential resources constructed from 1946 to 1991 in the northern half of the city will provide a tool and reference document for City planners and the Historic Preservation Commission. Many of these buildings have reached the 50-year threshold for a potential historic designation and many more will soon reach that age. The study will provide an essential document for identifying areas for historic resource surveys, National Register nominations, and other preservation initiatives.

The Certified Local Government (CLG) grant provides federal funding to Virginia’s 36 CLG communities through DHR. The CLG grant is for $19,523 and Virginia Beach will provide an equal matching amount to fund four projects to update outdated National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) nominations for historic properties throughout the city.

Early NRHP nominations from the 1960s and 1970s often focused primarily on architecture and provided significantly less information than is currently required in the nomination process. Some historic properties have undergone structural changes, or the surrounding landscape has evolved since the original nomination was produced. In many cases, documentary and scientific research has uncovered additional information that has changed the understanding of a property’s history.

These updates will include additional data regarding areas of significance and a broader context discussion about social history, including possible discussion on enslaved individuals associated with the properties. The four NRHP properties that will have updated nominations prepared through the assistance of the CLG grant funding are the Lynnhaven House, Pembroke Manor, Keeling House, and Francis Land House.

The Virginia Beach historic preservation program is administered through the Department of Planning and Community Development in collaboration with the Historic Preservation Commission. The commission is an appointed advisory body established by City Council in 2008. Virginia Beach has been a CLG since 2016.

Keeling House Historic Property

The Keeling House, built circa 1735, is one of the historic properties in Virginia Beach that will have its National Register nomination updated through a recent CLG grant.

Contact Information

Contact Information

Elizabeth Nowak, Planner

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