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Historic Woodville

Preserving Woodville's Heritage

Letter to Friends of Historic Woodville

November 2008

Dear Woodville friends,

Historic Woodville became an official nonprofit in 1998, and we started gathering/preserving Woodville's history. It's appropriate now to review 10 years of preserving what would have been lost forever - or at best scattered - without these efforts. While we provided the legwork, nothing could have been accomplished without your very generous support. We are very grateful those of you who have shared our vision to make our goals - and much more - possible:

1) National Register of Historic Places designation, insuring federal and state tax credits for any future restoration of contributing structures
2) Via our website with maps, memoirs, photos,genealogies, censuses, church register and cemetery records, much information is now saved for future generations, who otherwise would know nothing of life in Woodville since the late 1700s.
3) Endangered family gravesites from Indian Woods moved to protected Woodville churchyards
4) Saved three endangered properties: St. Frances, Bazemore house ( the oldest home in Woodville, c. 1750-1790), and the old Woodville Supply Co., now a museum of Americana.
5) Erected markers delineating HW district
6) Hosted 3 tour groups to Woodville

This spring, thanks to a nomination by Lou U. Bryant in Cary, we received the North Carolina Daughters of the American Revolution 'Award for Historic Preservation'. As a result of this, in July, a reporter from the Virginian Pilot met us to tour and photograph Woodville, and wrote an article about Woodville in the paper. Elizabeth Widmer, 101 years old, met us at St. Frances for her 'closeup':

This article generated an interest in Woodville from the Suffolk-Nansemond County (Va.) Historical Association (where many of our Pugh and Norfleet ancestors had lived), and they toured the 2 churches, a few homes, and the old Woodville Supply Company. We really enjoy showing off Woodville's gems, and get a boost from hearing people marvel at what we have here. We ended it with a very nice luncheon Claudia Griffin prepared for us at her home.

In September/October Bruce Lassiter repaired damage to St. Frances by the pesky woodpeckers over the past 5 years - 23 holes in steeple and bell tower of Saint Frances church, with resultant water damage! This summer, we had to take down 3 dead trees there, and within 2 months a July storm uprooted another one. Bruce also repaired a rotted window and door sill, and repainted the whole church. It looks great, and we hope you will visit it soon. There is a sign at the door with the caretaker's number (252-348-2228) ; he can meet anyone there with a little notice.

Virginia Crilley, the excellent manager of the Rootsweb Bertie County page, has added an important item to the Historic Woodville page: the complete study/nomination guide prepared by Ruth Little for our nomination to the NRHP. This report has much detailed information on Woodville's history and all its significant structures. It's well worth the read:. This nomination was presented to the State, then the Department of the Interior and resulted in our "Rural Historic District" designation by the National Register of Historic Places.

Also this year, Bruce Lassiter completed the total restoration of the front three 'hall and parlor' rooms of the Bazemore house, leaving the rear part for a prospective buyer to complete to their specs. We also built an enhancing privacy fence at the left rear of the house. It is now listed for sale via Preservation North Carolina - we have had some interested lookers, but no takers yet. You can view this PNC listing online here . Mary Lee Griffin's house, also a contributing house within the historic district, is also listed. . Be sure to click on the .pdf attachment at the bottom of both of these web pages for more detailed information and floor plans.

We haven't abandoned our thoughts of moving the Rosenwald school to St. Frances to house a small history center, just haven't found any funding yet. Grants are scarce, and times are tough all around. As always, we relish any support you can provide in these difficult times. The SF repair bill was formidable this fall, and we had to borrow money to pay those bills. We've always operated on a shoestring, but are especially poor now. Please help us, if you can manage a small donation.

Sincere best wishes for this Christmas season and the coming year,

Molly and Vicki

Please send us your comments and questions.

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