ATTACHMENT H

 

Position Statement on Albemarle County’s Historic Country Stores

by the Albemarle County Historic Preservation Committee (May 6, 2003)

 

Overview

 

Historic preservation must be considered an integral component of rural conservation in areas such as Albemarle County, where an agrarian economy predominated during much of its history. Historic buildings, ranging from country stores and churches to farm buildings and domestic residences, as well as historic rural landscapes, often relate directly or indirectly to agricultural pursuits. Accordingly, preserving rural landscapes, that include both historic structures and archaeological resources, is essential to preserving the County's heritage. In addition, keeping Albemarle County rural character is essential to the economic vitality of the region in regards to agricultural businesses and heritage tourism.

 

The Historic Preservation Committee strongly believes that choices about growth and change in the County’s Rural Areas should include the preservation of both historic buildings and landscapes.  In addition to supporting County initiatives such as Rural Preservation Developments and Purchase of Development Rights/Acquisition of Conservation Easements, we encourage the County to adopt policies that protect historic resources in the Rural Areas. The County has the second largest Rural Historic District in the state (the Southwest Mountains) and has many properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Properties on register lists primarily reflect the high end on the economic scale of our cultural heritage, but there are many other lesser-known properties that are not listed on the registers that are significant to the architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of the County. The threat appears greatest for these unlisted properties – those local and traditional buildings and structures used by the majority of our citizens in the past, and most of those properties are located in our Rural Areas. It is precisely those historic resources that would be most visible and therefore more recognized by today’s residents, and which could be significantly impacted by Rural Areas policies.

 

In this document we provide recommendations for the protection of country stores – one type of historic resource located in Albemarle County.  Country stores are a microcosm of the historic preservation issues within Rural Areas, concerns that also include churches, farmsteads, rural landscapes, local lodges, and archaeological resources.  We encourage the County to adopt effective preservation and conservation policies that can be applied evenly throughout the Rural Areas. 

 

Albemarle County’s Historic Country Stores

 

The Albemarle County Historic Preservation Committee recommends that the County take specific measures to protect and preserve one of our most quickly vanishing historic resources, country stores. For generations country stores, and their ancillary businesses, have supplied the material necessities of life to rural communities. In addition, they have come to mark crossroads as places where rural neighbors could meet, socialize and conduct business in an expansive rural context. While a dwindling number of country stores still exist, many have disappeared or have left only a vacant collapsing shell. These once vibrant structures are still a potent symbol of a rural way of life and are a significant part of our shared heritage.

 

Albemarle County’s surviving country stores are significant at both the national and local level. The country store seems to be a largely American building type that appears in greater proliferation in largely rural and formerly frontier contexts. Unlike more densely settled regions that could support greater economic specialization, individuals and families living in frontier or otherwise rural contexts like eighteenth and nineteenth-century Albemarle County depended on the country store for a majority of their purchased goods. As a result these stores became critical community centers and points of congregation for otherwise dispersed peoples. Once the country store was an established community center, it persisted in that role in Albemarle County and elsewhere through the twentieth century. Information contained in the extant ledgers of country stores reveal a broad network of trade that helped shape communities in Albemarle County and reflected the County’s social and commercial ties with other localities. Recent research has revealed that these buildings served as a center of the community in a variety of ways. Some storeowners offered their spaces for community dances, while others provided services to local residents, such as shoe and farm tool repair. Unfortunately, the recent survey undertaken by this committee suggests that a large percentage of these historic community centers have already been lost and that not a single example dating before 1880 still survives. The preservation of these remaining examples is of critical importance; the loss of these stores signals the demise not just of a building type, but of a way of life, community, and memory that once characterized a majority of our County. As the County begins to assess the adaptive reuse of these surviving stores, it should take into account their historically multipurpose use.

 

The Committee believes that, with the County’s encouragement, country stores can be both preserved and reintegrated into our plans for the future. The May 2001 draft of the Rural Areas Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan states that there are many buildings located in the crossroad communities that are vacant and could have local significance. The plan further states that these buildings could be renovated to maintain the rural character of the community and to provide a valuable service to the immediate local area (page 16). The plan recommends the preservation and rehabilitation of these historic buildings. Country stores—those purpose-built structures with a history of commercial use in a rural context — are among these important yet threatened historic resources.

 

The Albemarle County Historic Preservation Plan, adopted by the Board of Supervisors in September 2000, identifies the protection of the County’s natural, scenic and historic resources in the Rural Areas as a primary goal. The Historic Preservation Committee has conducted research to better understand this issue. At the outset of our research it became immediately apparent that country stores are seriously threatened.  The Committee’s research to date indicates that no stores constructed during the first 130 years of the County’s history survive. Only a handful of stores date to the late nineteenth century. To date, the resource identified to be the earliest known store to survive is the Craig’s Store in the Samuel Miller Magisterial District, which dates to the third quarter of the nineteenth century. At least 22 of these country stores have been lost in recent decades. Furthermore, at least 26 of them are standing vacant, threatening to join those already lost to conscious demolition or neglect. Approximately two dozen of these stores are still operating in their traditional role. In an effort to preserve these buildings, we have made a near comprehensive list of all those buildings in the County (See Appendix A). This list includes those stores that have persisted in their original use, those stores that have been adapted for other uses, those stores now threatened (closed, in disrepair, in transfer without specific plans for reopening, and/or empty), and those historic country stores already lost. This list includes buildings erected by 1950 and later buildings that replaced earlier stores in kind.

Recommendations

 

It is our recommendation that the County should be more proactive in allowing the reuse of country stores. The Committee has debated the merits of the regulation (Zoning Ordinance Section 6.2.G) that requires a nonconforming use to be discontinued if the use is discontinued for more than two years. The Committee recognizes that there is a perception among some property owners that the onerous nature of the Special Use Permit process (combined with strict requirements for parking, water/septic, etc.,) can make the re-establishment of the country store use impractical, if not impossible. We therefore encourage the County to institute measures to ease the process and requirements for historic country stores. We have identified the following potential measures for achieving the goal of reintegrating our country stores as vital and contributing components of our County’s rural landscape. We are happy to work with staff to refine the details and mechanics of the recommendations as necessary to incorporate these suggestions into the County’s plan for the rural areas and related regulatory documents.

 

For all buildings listed in the Appendix:

 

1) Revise the requirements for parking to allow exceptions to accepted practice when the confines or limits of the property of one of these historic stores do not allow for the standard requirements.

 

Discussion: Staff will necessarily work out this exception on a case-by-case basis in the spirit of returning the property to its historic commercial use. As a means of limiting abuses to these exceptions and preserving the integrity of the buildings, the Historic Preservation Committee recommends that these incentives be allowable and applicable ONLY to the store building as it stands on the property. These exceptional conditions should no longer apply if the building is demolished, moved to another property, or so altered as to render negligible its historic character.

 

2) Require that additions to stores listed in the Appendix be designed in accord with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards 9 and 10.

 

Discussion: The preservation of the historic character and integrity of historic country stores is our principle concern. Nonetheless, we acknowledge that many of these buildings will necessitate additions to make them viable spaces for many contemporary commercial uses. We believe that additions designed in accordance with Standards 9 and 10 of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation (listed in Appendix B) will preserve the store’s historic character. The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards are accepted by the National Park Service, the National Register for Historic Properties, and numerous other preservation-minded institutions.

 

3) Allow for the consideration of multiple uses in any of the buildings listed in the Appendix.

 

Discussion: Allowing more than one use (in addition to the country store use) in a single building provides additional opportunities for adaptive reuse and for the ultimate preservation of the County’s country stores. Among the uses that should be considered are any uses that can be considered for home occupations. Using the store as the place for the home occupation, rather than a residence, could offer a resident greater flexibility in working near home while providing an opportunity to place a historic resource in a useful occupancy. The concept of allowing multiple uses in the store is consistent with the building type’s evolution as the needs of the community changed throughout history.

 

For buildings listed in the Appendix whose rehabilitations are completed in accordance with all ten of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation:

 

4) Institute specific property tax abatements (for the structure only) that will serve as incentives to shop-owners to open or re-open commercial enterprises.

 

Discussion: Our recommendation is that an owner who rehabilitates one of the stores listed in the Appendix for use as a store should receive a 10-year grace period from County taxes assessed on the structure. For adaptive reuses (uses other than country store) of buildings listed in the Appendix, we recommend a 5-year grace period from County taxes assessed on the structure only. We further recommend that this tax relief should apply to improvements to stores listed in the Appendix that are already in operation.

 

The small number of properties to which this would apply is not expected to impede the County’s revenue. In fact, nothing is lost since these buildings do little to contribute to the tax base as vacant shells. Property owners could combine this County tax abatement with the 20% Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit and 25% State Credit, which would amount to a substantial incentive to preserve our country stores.

 

5) Allow for the updating of the list of historic country stores as additional stores are identified in the future.

 

Discussion: The Committee’s research has consisted primarily of a windshield survey, with some research into historic maps, store ledgers, and photograph collections. This research should not be considered exhaustive at this point. Previous surveys and future discoveries could expand the current list of historic country stores.

 

 

Albemarle County’s historic country stores were once a vital component of our County; they are today an eroding memory of our local heritage. If Albemarle County intends to preserve its distinctive character, these important and distinctive historic buildings must receive the special attention they deserve.

 

Country stores are one component of the built environment in the rural areas. We have addressed stores first because they are the rural resources with the greatest potential to be impacted by blanket policies and regulations. However, responsible preservation planning is required for all historic resources in the rural areas. The Historic Preservation Committee will continue to study the rural areas and would like to continue to update the Board of Supervisors as other important rural commercial structures are discovered. Also, the Committee hopes that the Board will remain open to the concept that previous surveys and future discoveries could expand the current list of historic country stores.

 

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to voice our concerns and recommendations.


 

APPENDIX A

Albemarle’s Country Stores

 

Members of the Albemarle County Historic Preservation Committee compiled the following list from archival material, maps, and field surveys. The Committee plans to amend these lists if/when additional stores are discovered.

 

CURRENT STORES

Stores that have remained operational, serving the rural area.

Some may have been expanded from their original plan or re-built.

 

Name

Location

District

Information

Baber’s

James River Rd., Howardsville

S

store/gas/post office

Barracks Road Market

Barracks Road

JJ

store/gas

Briar Fork

Irish Road, Schuyler

S

store/gas

Brown’s Mini Market

Irish Road, Esmont

S

store/gas

Brownsville

Rockfish Gap Tpk.

WH

store/gas

Boyd Tavern

Richmond Road, Boyd Tavern

S

store/gas/post office

Buck Island/Allen’s

Thomas Jefferson Pkw.

S

store/gas

Cismont General Store

Louisa Road, Keswick

R

store/gas

Crossroad’s

North Garden

SM

store/new/replacement bldg.

Green Mountain Store

Scottsville Road, Keene

S

store/gas

Hilltop Grocery

Hydraulic Road

JJ

store/gas

Hunt Country Store

Garth Road

JJ

store/gas

Little Market

Plank Road, Batesville

SM

store

Maupin’s Store

Free Union

WH

store/gas

Piedmont Store

White Hall

WH

store/gas/post office

Ridge Mini Market

Rockfish Gap Tpk.

WH

store/gas

Rock Store

Hydraulic/Rio Roads

JJ

store/gas

Rosena Store

Barboursville Road

R

store/gas

Simeon/Colle/Bishop’s

Thomas Jefferson Pkw.

S

store/gas

620 Market

Rolling Road

S

store/gas

Triangle

Earlysville

WH

store/gas

Vintage Market / Thomas’ Grocery

Scottsville Road

S

remodeled extensively/store/gas

Woodridge Market

Rolling Road

S

store/gas

Wyant’s Store

White Hall

WH

store/gas

 


 

ADAPTIVE REUSE

Store buildings that have been adapted into other commercial uses or as residences.

 

Name

Location

District

Information

Blackwell’s

 

WH

house

Brick/White’s Store

Ivy Depot Lane, Ivy

SM

house

Burnley Station Store

Burnley

R

wood shop

Craig’s Store

Craig’s Store Road

SM

house

Foster Layman Store

Batesville

SM

house

Green Creek Store

Green Creek Road

S

house

Hatton /Brown’s Store

Hatton Ferry

S

James River Runners

Ivy General Store

Ivy

SM

post office/nursery

Keene General Store

Plank Road, Keene

S

veterinary clinic

Kennedy Store

Covesville

SM

house

Lackey Store

Covesville

SM

house

Nortonsville/Parrish’s Store

Nortonsville

WH

house

Porter’s Superette

Porter’s Road, Esmont

S

house

Powell’s Store

Plank Road, Powell’s Corner

S

house

Purvis’ Store

Esmont

S

house

J. T. O’Neill’s Store

Crozet

WH

 

Shifflett’s Store

Brown’s Gap Turnpike

WH

house

Sprouse’s Store

Monacan Trail, North Garden

SM

antique shop

Sulpher Mine Company Store

Proffit

R

house

Wagnor’s Store

Dick Wood’s Road

SM

house

unknown

Howardsville Tpk, Howardsville

S

house

unknown

Howardsville Tpk, Howardsville

S

house

unknown

Chestnut Grove

S

house/under renovation

unknown

Chestnut Grove

S

house

unknown

Chestnut Grove

S

house

unknown

James River Road

S

house

unknown

Green Creek Road, Old Dominion

S

house

 


 

THREATENED STORES

Stores, which are closed, in disrepair, or in transfer without specific plans.

 

Name

Location

District

Information

A. J. Bell’s Store

Cobham

R

storage

Advance Mills Store

Advance Mills

WH

empty

Baber Store

White Hall

WH

 

Carousel

Secretary’s Sand Road

S

empty/round building

Cash Corner

Cash Corner

R

empty

Cobham Store/PO

Cobham

R

empty

Community Garage/Store

Rockfish Gap Tpk, Greenwood

WH

empty

Covesville Cider Company/Johnson Store

Covesville

SM

empty

Cumbria Store

Richmond Road

S

empty

Easton’s

Scottsville Road

S

storage

Eubanks Store

Plank Road, Powell’s Corner

S

 

Harrington’s/Lindsay’s Store

Lindsay

R

empty

Harris Store

Free Union

WH

empty

Heard’s Store

Heards

SM

 

Greenwood/Young’s Store

Greenwood

WH

empty

H. I. Davis Store

Boonesville

WH

empty

Howardsville Bank/Store

Howardsville Tpk.

S

empty

Jones’ Store

White Hall

WH

 

W. R. Lewis Store

Proffit

R

empty

Maupin’s Store

Free Union

WH

empty

Old Dominion Grocery

Green Creek Road, Old Dominion

S

storage

Old Dominion Lodge/Store

Green Creek Road, Old Dominion

S

empty

Massey Terrell

White Hall

WH

 

Mechum’s River Store

Mechum’s River

WH

storage

Nortonsville Store/PO

Simmons Gap Road, Nortonsville

WH

 

Pace’s Store

Esmont

S

store/gas station, empty

Page’s Store/PO

Plank Road, Batesville

SM

empty

Rockfield Grocery

Dick Wood’s Road

SM

empty

Rockfish Store

Rockfish Gap Tpk.

 

empty

Shadwell Store

Richmond Road

R

 

Sinclair’s/Wood’s Store

Scottsville Road

S

empty, ca 1880

Steed’s Store

Esmont

S

store, empty

Tomlin’s Store

Crozet

WH

empty

Woodson’s Store

North Garden

SM

empty

unknown

Esmont Road, Keene

S

store/house/garage in  ruins

unknown

Secretary’s Sand Road, Powell’s Corner

S

empty

unknown

Plank Road, Alberene

SM

empty

unknown

Plank Road, Alberene

SM

under renovation-house

unknown

Secretary’s Sand Road

S

empty

unknown

Schuyler Road

S

abandoned as a home

unknown

Green Creek Road, Old Dominion

S

empty

unknown

Irish Road, Schuyler

S

 

unknown

Irish Road, Schuyler

S

 

unknown

Irish Road

S

store/house/garage

unknown

Irish Road

S

abandoned

unknown

Porter’s Road, Esmont

S

store/house

unknown

 

WH

 

unknown

 

WH

 

unknown

 

WH

 

unknown

 

WH

 

 

LOST STORES

Stores that have been razed or are in ruins.

 

Name

Location

District

Information

Alberene Company Store/Maupin’s Store

Alberene

S

torn down

Baber’s Store

Howardsville Tpk, Howardsville

S

ruins, closed 1969

Carter’s Bridge Store/PO

Scottsville Road, Carter’s Bridge

S

torn down

Crossroad’s Store

Plank Road

SM

replaced

Earlysville Post Office/Store

Earlysville

WH

torn down

Edgewood Store

Plank Road, Alberene

SM

torn down, 2001

R. N. Estes Store

29 north

WH

torn down

Glendower Store/PO

Dyer’s Mill Lane

S

torn down

Greenwood (Depot) Store

Greenwood

WH

burned

Keswick Store

Keswick

R

torn down

Milton Store

Milton Road, Milton

S

torn down

Moon’s Store

Main Street, Scottsville

S

torn down

Ney’s Store

Batesville

SM

torn down

S.A. Payne

Esmont

S

burned

Smith Brother’s Store

North Garden Depot

SM

torn down

Stony Point Store

Stony Point

R

torn down

Tapscott’s Store

James River Road, Tapscott

S

torn down

Thompson’s Store

Rolling Road, Overton

S

torn down

Warren General Store

Warren

S

burned

Warren Store

Warren

S

torn down

unknown

Porter’s Road, Esmont

S

ruins

unknown

Schuyler Road

S

burned

 

APPENDIX B

SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR’S STANDARDS FOR REHABILITATION[1]

 

1)      A property shall be used for its historic purpose or be placed in a new use that requires minimal change to the defining characteristics of the building and its site and environment.

 

2)      The historic character of a property shall be retained and preserved. The removal of historic materials or alteration of features and spaces that characterize a property shall be avoided.

 

3)      Each property shall be recognized saw a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or architectural elements from other buildings, shall not be undertaken.

 

4)      Most properties change over time; those changes that have acquired historic significance in their own right shall be retained and preserved.

 

5)      Distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property shall be preserved.

 

6)      Deteriorated historic features shall be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature shall match the old in design, color, texture, and other visual qualities and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features shall be substantiated by documentary, physical, or pictorial evidence.

 

7)      Chemical or physic treatments, such as sandblasting, that cause damage to historic materials shall not be used. The surface cleaning of structures, if appropriate, shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible.

 

8)      Significant archeological resources affected by a project shall be protected and preserved. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.

 

9)      New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment.

 

10)   New additions and adjacent or related new construction shall be undertaken in such a manner that if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property would be unimpaired.

 


 

APPENDIX C

ALBEMARLE COUNTY COUNTRY STORES

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

 

Account books from Baber's Store, 1885-1900. MSS 11222. Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

Ongoing store accounts for residents in the Howardsville area, including the Moseley, Mallory, Turner, Baber, Adcock, Jordan, and Edwards families.  Early books do not list specific merchandise sold; later books list merchandise and indicate cash transactions.

 

Briggs, Feral. Albemarle County [Scrap]Books, books 5-8.  MS 424.4- MS 424.7. Albemarle County Historical Society, Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

Personal collection of black and white photographs, newspaper articles, obituaries, real estate advertisements, and other ephemera relating to historic country stores, houses, and other structures in Albemarle County.  Photographic collection includes pictures of stores in the early twentieth century, and interior as well as exterior shots. Newspaper articles on country stores often contain interviews with owners who describe the stores social as well as commercial functions.

 

Heath, Barbara. Engendering Choice: Slavery and Consumerism in Central Virginia. Unpublshed manuscript, 2003(?).

 

Heath, Barbara. Slavery and Consumerism: A Case Study from Central Virginia. African American Archaeology, Winter 1997.

 

McMurray, Sallly, ed. And Ann Marie Adams, ed. People, Power and Places. Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, vol. 8. University of Tennessee Press, 2000.

 

Roberts, James. Account books of cobbler and general store, 1832-36. MSS 7093. Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

Ongoing accounts to James Roberts, who appears to have sold general merchandise as well as repair shoes and farm implements.  Roberts' shop may have been located in Mt. Israel, which later in the nineteenth century was renamed Batesville.  Book indicates that Roberts sold or bartered mostly nonperishable goods to various individuals, including members of the Baber, Carr, Marshall, Gantt, Wood, and Pemberton families.

 

Stony Point Store Ledger, 1856-59. MSS 11449. Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

Debit ledger for store which sold a variety of perishable and nonperishable goods, including foreign imports.  Clientele included several doctors (Dulaney, Austin) as well as members of the Garth, Brockman, Broadhead, Meeks, Bramham, Parrish, and Pritchett families.

 


 

[1] W. Brown Morton, III, et. al. The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Illustrated Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings, (National Park Service, 1992), vii.


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