Public Hearing on Greenwood-Afton Rural Historic District Scheduled


Update: The original version of the article, and the one published in the print edition listed the wrong contact information for comments from those unable to attend the meeting. Comments should be addressed to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, not the Virginia Historical Society. See address below.

Click to download/view the map as a PDF.
Click to download/view the map as a high-resolution PDF.

After two years of research and preparation by the Western Albemarle Association, a public information hearing on the creation of a Greenwood-Afton Rural Historic District is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Albemarle County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road in Charlottesville. The purpose of the meeting is to explain the nomination process and advantages of historic district designation, to hear public comment and to answer questions. All interested parties from Nelson, Augusta and Albemarle counties are invited to attend.

Following the November meeting, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR), Virginia’s historic preservation office, will consider the district for recommendation to the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register at a meeting in Richmond on December 16.

The proposed Greenwood-Afton Rural Historic District is located in northwestern Albemarle County and incorporates a small area of northeastern Nelson County and southeastern Augusta County, encompassing approximately 16,200 acres. A number of historic villages are located within the proposed area, including Yancey Mills, Afton, Greenwood and the historically African-American enclaves of Newtown and Freetown. Within its proposed boundaries are a number of properties that are already listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including Blue Ridge Farm, Casa Maria, The Cedars, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Mirador, Piedmont, Ramsay, Seven Oaks, Swannanoa and Wavertree Hall/Bellevue. A total of 583 properties have been documented in the district, which also includes the historic Blue Ridge Tunnel.

Those unable to attend this meeting may send written comments to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, 2801 Kensington Ave., Richmond, VA 23221 prior to the December 16 meeting. Results of the Board meeting will appear on their web site,, within 10 working days.


  1. Prior to retiring and moving to Virginia I lived on a National Historic Register farm, patented in 1662 with the brick manor house built (c. 1730) with bricks made in England and shipped back as ballast on tobacco ships based on Broad Creek, Prince Georges County, Maryland on the Potomac River (across the Potomac from Mt. Vernon), five miles from Washington, D.C.

    I participated with neighbors, officials, and historic preservation groups in establishing the first historic district in Prince Georges, County, Maryland. It was a long, tedious, and cooperative community effort with much information coming forth to allow affected citizens to judge the establishment of the Broad Creek Historic District. We all have fears when we feel our property rights might be impaired, our home values lowered, restrictions imposed upon us that might be costly or not allow us to deal with our properties according to our own desires. Happily, the long, deliberative process was successful and to the satisfaction of the majority of land owners – it is now a success story and has preserved a very historic swath of land on the Potomac on both the Maryland side as well as protecting the viewsheds seen from the Virginia side of the Potomac.

    The Greenwood-Afton area while developed after Maryland & Virginia’s Potomac River area is still relatively unspoiled and more diverse geographically that the coastal/river bank areas of the Potomac. What a great opportunity we all have here to further one of the most scenic areas in Virginia. It deserves any efforts to preserve it and its history and I urge all citizens to carefully consider the benefits – property value-wise, economic benefits to the counties involved and last but not least the enhanced tourism and small business ventures that will benefit – as well as agriculture/ farmers, cattle farms, and horsemen. I will follow it with great interest.

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