Preservation Awards given for the first time in Bath

There are less than ten days left to get your nominations in for one of three awards being given in Bath County. Janice McWilliams and Scott Miller of Preservation Bath explain why it’s important to recognize old buildings, and the people who work to save them.

“I think a building can tell us who we are, what past things have happened in the county,” said Janice McWilliams. “The architectural interest sort of sets a mood for how a town, or little village looks. So, I think these things become important for us. I think our heritage sets the tone often for how we behave, how we live. “

Scott Miller explained what the awards will honor, and encourages residents to make nominations.

“There are three categories of awards. One is the Bath County Heritage Award, and it recognizes, an individual, business, or group that has been effective in promoting preservation of historic structures in the county; there’s also the Preservation Activist Award, and it’s presented for significant accomplishments within the past five years; and finally there’s the Legacy Preservation Award, and that recognizes pat preservation accomplishments. All nominations have to be in by September 10th of this year. The address that you submit a nomination to is: Preservation Bath, P.O. Box 54, Warm Springs, Virginia, 24484. After we’ve received all the nominations, a committee will evaluate them and make this year’s selections.

When asked what might be an example of a building deserving recognition for its historical significance, Janice responded,

“We have more than you might think. We can list probably maybe twenty sites that have been repurposed or restored. The Gristmill is one that I think we all would recognize. That’s an old mill that has been turned into a restaurant. The Episcopla Church in Warm Springs became a beautiful private home. The Bacova Church was turned into an art gallery and a museum. The Millboro School has certainly been a work in progress for a long time. And that group has been very active. The Dairy Barn was saved from total collapse, and now has become a public space, and office and meeting space. Bacova Enterprises is now becoming a private home. So these buildings have all been saved and repurposed by people who are interested in not loosing the historic significance.

The ceremony where the awards will be given is a new event on October 4th at Garth Newel Music Center. A keynote lecture is offered by the man overseeing the renovation of one of the most historically significant buildings in the Virginia, the Rotunda. Janice McWilliams continued.

“It will be at 2pm and Jody Lahandro, who is the University of Virginia’s Historic Preservation architect is going to be the speaker, and this is going to be a really wonderful afternoon, and we will be making the awards that afternoon too. The lecture is free to the public. “

Scott Miller concluded,

“The lecture and awards ceremony is going to be sponsored by Preservation Bath, and Bath County Historical Society, and um, just looking forward to a good turn-out.”

To make a nomination, or to learn more about the lecture and ceremony on October 4th, visit, or the Bath County Historical Society.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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