To Remember: The Hills of Home

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Late afternoon sunlight filters through the new memorial shelter built at Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve Park. Adjacent to the lone standing chimney, these two structures symbolize the people and way of life that once enriched our Blue Ridge Mountains. Photo: Paul Cantrell.

By Sally James

In an upper corner near the parking areas of Byrom Park in northwestern Albemarle County, now stands the sturdy framework of what could have been someone’s fine mountain home.

The Albemarle Blue Ridge Heritage Project has completed their memorial shelter at Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve Park. Driven by the desire to remember and honor the families who were displaced by the creation of Shenandoah National Park, the ABRHP has created a memorial that includes a 16-foot tall chimney with a plaque affixed bearing the names of the families and landowners who lost homes and property in the 1920s and ’30s, and now this open shelter.

Completed in early June and with oversight by committee member Larry Lamb, the shelter was constructed by SalvageWrights Ltd., roofed by Stuart Collier’s C&C Roofing, with concrete donated by Allied Concrete and finished by Dallas Hite Masonry. Beautiful eight-inch posts and beams made of oak are reminiscent of the craftsmanship of the people who built their homes and barns in these mountains many years ago.

The project has been blessed with grants from the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors (CAAR), National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Bama Works Fund at the Charlottesville Area Com-munity Foundation, the Perry Foundation, and recently, a grant from Preservation Piedmont. Combined with donations from many generous supporters, ABRHP is moving into its final phase of designing and building four educational panels to be installed in the shelter.

To learn how to contribute to this last phase of the memorial, visit the ABRHP Facebook page, or  www.blueridgeheritageproject.com/albemarle/. The Blue Ridge Heritage Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose vision is “to develop a monument site in each of the eight counties where land was acquired to create Shenandoah National Park.” In addition, checks made payable to “BRHP-Albemarle” can be mailed to ABRHP, P.O. Box 88, White Hall, VA 22987.

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