The Hamner Homeplace
An Update From Owner Pamela Rutherford
Yesterday I received a letter from Virginia Department of Historical Resources that the Hamner home has been placed on the Virginia Landmark list. Frazier & Associates, an architectural firm in Staunton were notified after acceptance on September 8th but it takes a while for the owner to receive "official notification". Virginia then submits it to the National Register of Historical Places. I am still waiting for the official national notification.
As far as the process - we started with an early spring deadline to submit information. A PIF (Preliminary Information Form) is first submitted to the reviewed by a few members representing the board. If they accepted it, another form is filled out and the entire board votes at the June meeting whether to nominate it. It's not until the final nomination form is submitted (about 20 pages) that the committee votes to include it as a Virginia Landmark. Earl was most kind to send me a large packet of helpful information. He's great!! If you wish to view this form please go to the following website and click on Nelson - The Hamner Home : http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/homepage_features/board_activities.htm.
The designation gives the property an honorable distinction and makes it available for grants and tax credits. I have not explored this part yet but the are available to encourage upkeep and improvements to the property. The Virginia Department of Historical Resources is the best source of information on what the designation actually means.
Presently I am working on plans to restore the foundation. It has a drystacked soapstone foundation and a cellar was hand-dug at a later date. Some of these soapstones are unstable and starting to cave in some sections around the cellar. We have two methods of correcting this and I am in the process of defining how this should be done. It is probably the area that needs the most immediate attention. The back portion that was added on is in very bad repair. A structural engineer suggested this needs to be entirely rebuilt. It is on a crawl only a few inches deep and the floor and most of the structure is rotting. Since I'm working with an architectural team that specializes in reconstruction, I am paying careful attention to their advice on how to maintain the character of the home but also how to stop and correct the damage that has occurred over the years.
As far as future plans for the home, I would like to restore it and then offer to those who may want to come spend a week or week-end. I thought it would also be a good location for clubs, individuals, families or groups to use for reunions, receptions, meetings etc. It would also be a good site for small events. My sister lives about 5 miles away and would be able to manage it since I live about an hour away. She is currently doing an excellent job on managing the yard and exterior maintenance while we have been in the process of getting these designations. If this all comes together as I hope, I would like to talk with you about including it in your forum. Any suggestions that you or any of your readers have would be most appreciated. This is a home that deserves to the restored and used as it has been through the years focusing on family and community unity.
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