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  • Manual for Historic Property Owners Adobe Acrobat Document
    This manual is designed to help current or prospective land owners assess whether a property is historic and learn more about historic buildings and properties in Albemarle County.
  • Historic Preservation Committee Evaluation and Assessment of Priority Recommendations Adobe Acrobat Document
    This report was prepared by the Historic Preservation Committee as an update on Committee activities to the Board of Supervisors on June 6, 2007
  • Albemarle County Country Stores
    The Albemarle County Historic Preservation Committee is charged with protecting the county's historic and cultural resources. The Committee takes an active role in identifying and documenting structures of importance to the community. From 2002-2003, it has conducted the Country Stores Project, a survey of general stores in the county. These structures once served as uniquely-American, vital social and commercial centers for the people of rural communities--young and old, male and female, African-American and white.

    At the Crossroads
    For generations, country people depended on local general stores for most of their purchases. Store ledgers reveal a broad variety of goods available for sale: clothes, seeds, flour, sugar, mule collars, horse shoes, stick candy, and a myriad of small necessities.  Farm families bartered apples, chestnuts, chickens, eggs, butter, and wild game for store credit. Store owners bundled these goods for resale to bakeries and retailers in Charlottesville or to wholesalers in Richmond, Washington, Fredericksburg, and Baltimore. Often general stores housed the post office and offered a variety of other services from blacksmithing to undertaking.

    Store Closings
    The increasing availability of electricity and telephone service, affordable automobiles, and paved roads shortened the distance between country and city. Shifts in the economy drove many farm families to seek employment in mills, factories, and business offices. These new jobs brought in cash and the opportunity to take advantage of the lower prices and greater variety of goods offered by mail-order catalogues and larger urban retailers.

    New Life for Old Country Stores
    A handful of country stores have survived into the 21st century. Proprietors offer the kinds of items that cater to the changing needs of their customers, like gourmet foods and specialty goods.Some former stores have found new lives, housing different kinds of businesses. Adaptive reuse of these structures provides a means to preserve these important artifacts of our past.

    In 2005 the Historic Preservation Committee organized a public presentation of its findings on Albemarle's country stores. To view the poster display that was prepared for this event, follow this link: Country Stores Poster Presentation    Buildings, their appearance, tenants, and uses can change over time. Please note that some of the details about the buildings in this presentation may have changed since this project was completed.