May is Historic Preservation Month, and in conjunction with this, the organization Preservation Virginia announced a list of Virginia’s Most Endangered Historical Places Monday. This is the 11th consecutive year such a list has been released, and the intent is to raise awareness of places that face imminent threats, and encourage advocacy and solutions to save them.
One of the locations included in this year’s collection is the Gibson Cottage in Warm Springs. Built around 1840, the Cottage was used as the Warm Springs Hotel Manager’s residence. It is one of the last remaining buildings from the hotel’s mid 19th century expansion, and survived the razing of the hotel in 1925, and served as a residence for the next 67 years.
The Cottage was purchased by current owner Natural Retreats, who has expressed interest in renovation. It currently stands open to the elements, and is now listed for possible demolition by Bath County in 2015. Preservation Virginia urged the owner to take action now to protect the site from further deterioration, or transfer ownership to another entity that will utilize the building. Elizabeth Kostelny, executive director of the organization, was at the Cottage Monday to make the announcement, and spoke more about the group’s efforts.
“Preservation Virginia views preservation as a tool. For far too long, historic preservationists have been seen as people that are saying no to progress, but I think historic preservation is really about progress. It’s about how we can look to the future, and keep these things that are very unique about the Commonwealth, and speak to our history, while we move forward. And people find that they really find a community that has that kind of history, upfront and center, a welcoming environment, and if you look at why people come to visit Virginia, that’s certainly high on their list. If you see why people come to re-locate in Virginia, that certainly high on the list, and I think that, especially in the counties of Highland and Bath and Pocahontas, the people that have lived here all their lives know that the history is very important, and speaks to them.”