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The designation allows the two New River Valley communities to pursue rehabilitation upgrades.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources announced Thursday it has added the downtowns of two New River Valley communities to the Virginia Landmarks Register .
Christiansburg’s downtown appears on the list, specifically its historic district dating to 1792 when the town was laid out and became the Montgomery County seat.
Anchored by a courthouse square at two intersecting streets, the downtown district is home to buildings from the 1850s to the early 1960s with parapets, storefronts and decorative sign panels of the commercial style and some art deco touches such as low-relief motifs, state officials said.
The earliest building in the district is the Christiansburg Presbyterian church of 1853, according to state officials, who also cited the post office built in 1937 by the country’s Works Progress Administration .
State officials also now recognize the Narrows Commercial Historic District in Giles County as a state landmark.
Narrows, as its name implies, sits in a narrow mountain gap through which the New River flows. The two predominant streets, Main Street ( Virginia 100) and Monroe Street ( Virginia 61), generally align with the route of the 1830s Cumberland Gap Turnpike. It connected Narrows to Pearisburg to the southwest and to Tazewell County to the west. The Norfolk & Western Railway arrived in 1882, followed by the Virginian Railway in 1907-1909, after which Narrows flourished as an industrial center, according to state records.
Many district commercial buildings date from the 1940s and later, officials said.
The Garth Newel Music Center in Bath County also won status. Now foundation-owned, it is the former estate and residence of the late husband-and-wife artists William Sergeant Kendall and Christine Herter Kendall . Starting in the mid 1920s, the couple raised and rode horses, painted and entertained guests at the estate, which is now dedicated to chamber music.
State officials said they will forward the new entries to the National Park Service for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
One of the benefits of a historic designation: It provides an owner the opportunity to pursue rehabilitation tax credit improvements to a building or buildings.
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