History Society to Homeowners: Please Don’t Tear Down Your Old House | ARLnow

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Demolition of Rouse’s Dominion Hills estate (file photo by Jay Westcott)

The Arlington Historical Society is trying to convince owners of older, potentially historically significant properties to consider alternatives to demolishing their homes or selling them to homebuilders.

The company said earlier this week that it “has sent an appeal letter to dozens of area owners, builders and agents” which “asks owners, builders and agents to conduct research on their properties before to rush to the dismantling option”. .”

The society cited the demolition of the Febrey-Lothrop House on the 9-acre Rouse Estate in Dominion Hills, as well as the more recent demolition of the Fellows-McGrath House circa 1889 at 6404 Washington Blvd. Both properties are slated for new housing construction.

“The recent demolition of several valuable properties…are key examples of beloved properties that have fallen into the wrecking ball without sufficient consideration, in our view, of creative alternatives,” the company’s letter reads. “We believe the best way to preserve more properties that reflect Arlington’s heritage is through education and negotiations that respect the interests of all parties.”

The letter comes in the form of a pair of bills intended to bolster historic preservation efforts failed to pass the Virginia legislature this year.

Proponents of the bill want to force local governments to block the demolition of properties that are under consideration for historic status. In the case of the recently razed Arlington homes, the demolition took place before the county could complete a historic designation process requested by preservation advocates.

A press release from the Arlington Historical Society is below.

As part of its new initiative to improve the preservation of historic properties, the Arlington Historical Society has sent an appeal letter to dozens of area homeowners, builders and real estate agents.

“The recent demolition of several valuable properties – the historic Febrey-Lothrop House at 6407 Wilson Boulevard and the ‘Memory House’ at 6404 Washington Boulevard – are key examples of beloved properties that fell into the wrecking ball without consideration. sufficient, in our view, of creative alternatives,” the letter states. We believe the best way to preserve more properties that reflect Arlington’s heritage is through education and negotiations that honor the interests of all parties. .

Acknowledging that the county is changing and expressing respect for “rightful ownership and the free market considerations that go into home sales and improvements,” the nonprofit asks homeowners, builders and agents to conduct research their properties before rushing to tear- down. “We believe the government, residents and businesses of Arlington could do more to preserve properties that represent notable people, events or architectural styles,” the letter states.

While the company can’t offer official advice on whether a given property is historic, it could help explore alternatives to demolition – finding a historic-minded buyer or an architect who could design a partial renovation.

Society President Cathy Bonneville Hix invites residents with questions about the historical significance of any residential or commercial property to contact the Society through the arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org website or the County Historic Preservation Program office at 703-228-3831.

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