Crozet has both benefited and been victimized by encroaching development. Development brings vitality and economic growth, and new neighbors, but it also often brings destruction of the cherished past. I fear unchecked development will destroy our Crozet of the past and leave nothing to show for it. It’s already happening. We’re experiencing a lot of infill now in old Crozet, especially along Blue Ridge Avenue. Adjacent McComb Street appears to be next. Using the vacant land and fields there, the developers have by-right planned to build hundreds of new homes. Standing in the midst of this development is a historic home, perhaps the oldest in Crozet. It is called “Pleasant Green.”
Many were surprised recently to see that lovely old home on Blue Ridge Avenue suddenly bulldozed and demolished. Gone forever. There was little concern or protest until it was too late. Nearby, the Ficklin-Wayland house, Pleasant Green, which has been maintained lovingly by many owners since 1820, is the latest target. The developer of the large site wants to demolish the house, despite its historic connection with Claudius Crozet, who boarded there while beginning his tunnel construction. Within the unique, large structure, it is believed there is the original log home built by Benjamin Ficklin around 1810. Once torn down, the town of Crozet’s only remaining connection to Claudius Crozet will be gone forever. (We even know which bedroom he slept in!)
Despite the fact that Albemarle County is one of the most historically significant counties in Virginia, it is appalling to learn that the county has no preservation ordinance to protect old structures. Charlottesville wisely has one to save its historic buildings. It strikes me that the Board of Supervisors needs to hear from those of us who care about our community. The Board needs to be told that a preservation ordinance is terribly overdue, and it’s timely, essential, and backed by the public. I ask those who hate to see historic building after building razed and removed forever to take time to contact their County Supervisor and plead for an ordinance to protect our heritage. It probably won’t happen if we don’t care. It’s won’t save Pleasant Green, but it will save other structures. The County website has all the contact information needed. Please show that you care.
David F. Wayland