Nelson County Historical Society

Historic Preservation 


  • Continued to work on Atlantic Coast Pipeline treatment plans, met with the Board of Directors of the Heritage Center to invite them to participate in the African-American Oral History component of the Warminster Rural Historic District (WRHD) plan; commenting on a newly proposed pipeline pumping station communications tower on top of Piney Mountain near Shipman, and visited over a dozen sites identified by property owners in the WRHD responding to a NCHS letter that requested their assistance in preparing for the architectural survey component of the plan. The committee also supported the efforts of the Rockfish Valley Foundation which is developing the treatment plan for the South Rockfish Valley Rural Historic District (SRRHD) which is still in development.
  • Inspected the Campbell farm near Montebello with Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) Regional Architectural Historian and U. S. Forest Service archeologist. Provided information from legal documents, historical research and photographs to document the isolated site celebrated for the recently deceased octogenarian occupants and their 19th century existence there. The property—200+ year old log house, multiple outbuildings, fenced cemetery--has been donated to the Forest Service which has no intention of preserving the site.
  • Visited the houses of Mary Ann Davidson and Glynn and Pat Harker—both celebrating their 200th anniversary in 2019--accompanied by DHR's Regional Architectural Historian. Provided follow-up research and photographs for inclusion in DHR's files.
  • Accompanied DHR's Regional Architectural Historian on a visit to Fleetwood School to discuss and advise on the community's effort to preserve the structure and potential listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Participated in the Preservation Virginia-sponsored African-American Resources Roundtable in Charlottesville.
  • Brought to the NCHS Board's attention the Monacan Nation's struggle against the James River Water Authority's plan to build a water pumping station on the site of the Monacan's ancient capital, Rassawek. The Board signed on to a letter to the Governor and state and federal agencies protesting the project's use of the site. Since then a number of irregularities and deceptions in the process have also been revealed.
  • Executed  the responsibilities of the NCHS as a designated consulting party under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 in regard to a Virginia Department of Transportation's proposal to remove and replace the Route 653 truss bridge over the railroad adjacent to the Oak Ridge estate. The bridge is a designated Virginia Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Collection and Exhibits

  • Over 100 items were donated during 2019 including photographs, family histories, school yearbooks, ledgers, newspapers, letters, Camille remembrances, and bank and church records. 
  • A complete listing of the society’s holdings was added to the society’s webpage under "Society Archives" catalog.  (See "Search Tips" on our webpage.)
  • Efforts are ongoing to make more documents and photographs available for reading and viewing online including digital copies of Kodak slides, 8mm film, and audiocassettes.
  • Funds raised and planning underway for updated and expanded Camille exhibit.



  • The Nelson County Historical Society News published quarterly. Back issues added to website.
  • website reorganized and updated with links to historical and genealogical information related to Nelson County, members-only access, event listings, and other features.
  • Commemorating Camille



  • Volunteers provided assistance and help with inquiries made through the website and in person.
  • New materials added to family folders and other files housed at the Nelson Memorial Library.


Programs and Events

  • Series of programs commemorating the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Camille
  • “Nelson before Camille”
  • “The Local Response”
  • “The Meteorological Causes and Impact of Camille”
  • “Jimmy Fortune and Friends Concert” and DVD recording of portions of concert
  • “Critical Assistance”
  • “Camille Commemoration Ceremony”
  • 25th Nelson County Historical Homes and Properties tour in the Southern Rockfish Valley including The Dodd Cabin, Beech Grove Christian Church, The Prizery at Elk Hill, Wintergreen Store, Glenthorne and Nellysford Country Inn (Witt House). 
  • Workshop for updating the Cemeteries of Nelson County (reprint planned for 2020)
  • “The Importance of Symbolism in 19th Century Funeral Monuments”
  • Lynn Coffey book signing of Crazy Quilt
  • Participated in History Day at Wintergreen



  • Wednesday afternoon hours were added to Oakland’s operating schedule.
  • New volunteers trained as docents for Oakland.
  • Membership increased by approximately 20% during 2019.


Building and Grounds

  • Exterior brickwork repairs were made to the south side of Oakland.
  • Interior of Oakland painted and third floor space incorporated for archives and collection storage.
  • Reception room/Museum store was updated.