December 8, 2006
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to Proceed
with Protected Sale of Carter's Grove
Foundation Consulting with Leading Preservation Organizations
To Assure Protection of the Property’s Resources
Standards for Preservation of Carter’s Grove Will Serve
as a Model for Historic Preservation Community
WILLIAMSBURG, VA—The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation will assure the preservation of Carter’s Grove Plantation by offering it for sale on a fully protected basis. Under this concept restrictions would be implemented for the long-term protection of the site’s historic, architectural, visual, archeological and environmental resources.
The restrictions will prohibit residential and commercial development of the property. The Foundation anticipates retaining rights to use pasturelands in support of its rare breeds program. Importantly, any sale of the Carter’s Grove property will include a ‘right of first offer’ back to the Foundation, should the purchaser seek to resell the property.
The Foundation will consult with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and other preservation organizations on the content of the restrictions.
“Our guiding principle in evaluating the future of Carter’s Grove has been the preservation of this important property,” said Colin Campbell, president and chairman of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “A fully protected sale addresses Colonial Williamsburg’s stewardship responsibilities while strengthening the Foundation’s focus on the Historic Area and our central program of citizenship education.”
Over the last several years, the Foundation has engaged in discussions with parties known to have an interest in historic properties and explored options to transfer the property to an entity that would own and operate it under specific conditions. The Foundation also retained this year the services of D.R. Horne & Company, specialists in developing strategies for the protection of historic properties and environmental resources, to evaluate the property and propose options for disposition or reuse. Following an extensive assessment and consideration of a range of alternatives, the firm recommended the sale of the property to a private buyer in a fully protected context that includes appropriate restrictions.
“Our decision was guided by a thorough evaluation of Carter’s Grove’s relevance to Colonial Williamsburg’s interpretive focus. Our mission is to tell the story of citizenship and becoming America in the 18th century,” said Campbell. “This is best accomplished in the Historic Area, where we present and interpret Revolutionary War-era Williamsburg. Carter’s Grove, with its multiple stories to tell, does not support this strategic focus.”
As this process moves forward, Colonial Williamsburg will be adding to the body of knowledge of property-protection techniques. “The Foundation will work with partners, including national and local organizations, governments and land trusts, to implement the best current practices,” said Campbell. “We believe that the standards for preservation of Carter’s Grove will serve as a model for others in the historic preservation community.”
The Sealantic Fund, a former Rockefeller philanthropy, conveyed the Carter’s Grove property to Colonial Williamsburg in 1969. Located along the James River eight miles southeast of Williamsburg, the property includes Carter’s Grove Mansion, the Wolstenholme Towne site, the Winthrop Rockefeller Archaeology Museum and the first slave quarters reconstructed by the Foundation. The Foundation’s archeological collection, including artifacts related to the Carter’s Grove site, will be displayed in significant new exhibition space in an expanded Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.
In a related development, and pursuant to long-standing legal agreements dating back more than three decades between the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Anheuser-Busch, Incorporated, ownership of a portion of the Country Road has transferred to Busch Properties, Inc. The Country Road is a one-lane road extending from South England Street in the City of Williamsburg to Ron Springs Road in James City County. Colonial Williamsburg retains ownership of the road from South England Street to Mounts Bay Road. Busch Properties takes ownership of the road extending east from Mounts Bay Road to the Grove Creek Bridge.
Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call toll-free 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Internet at www.ColonialWilliamsburg.com.
Protected Sale of Carter's Grove Site
1. The Carter’s Grove site comprises 400 acres located along the James River, eight miles southeast of Williamsburg, Virginia. It includes Carter’s Grove Mansion, the Wolstenholme Towne site, the Winthrop Rockefeller Archaeology Museum and the first slave quarters reconstructed by the Foundation.
2. The Sealantic Fund, a former Rockefeller philanthropy, conveyed the property to Colonial Williamsburg in 1969.
3. In the years since acquiring the property, Colonial Williamsburg made improvements to the mansion and grounds, conducted extensive archeological investigations, and constructed slave quarters, an archeological museum, a reception center and other support buildings.
4. The property’s distance from the Historic Area and the range of stories represented there diminish the connection of the site to the Colonial Williamsburg mission of preserving and presenting Revolutionary War-era Williamsburg, in furtherance of citizenship education.
5. Under the terms of the sale a prospective buyer would agree to legally binding restrictions regarding the protected areas of the property. Prospective buyers will demonstrate a commitment to preservation, an interest in colonial history, and the capacity to care for the property.
6. Areas protected under the agreement include: mansion and plantation setting, James River view shed and archaeological sites (including the right retained by the Foundation to investigate as-yet unexplored sites). In addition, the Foundation anticipates retaining rights to use pasture land for its rare breeds program. The property is zoned R-8 (Rural Residential) and the mansion is a historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places and on the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register. Included among special restrictions of the sale, residential and commercial development would be prohibited.
7. Archeological artifacts related to the Carter’s Grove site, and others in the Colonial Williamsburg collection, will be displayed in significant new exhibition space at an expanded Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.
8. The standards for preservation of Carter’s Grove will serve as a model for other preservation organizations and historic sites across the country.