Loudoun County, in coordination with the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library’s Black History Committee, has begun updating and expanding its African American Historic Architectural Resources Survey. As a result, residents may see surveyors in their communities performing this work over the coming weeks.
Since the early 1700s, Loudoun County’s African American communities have been an important part of the county’s history and culture, and the survey is intended to document the buildings, settlements and landscapes that highlight those contributions.
The county has contracted with EHT Traceries, Inc. of Washington, DC to assist in updating the survey, which was initially conducted in 2004. Residents may be seeing Traceries staff in their neighborhoods as they photograph and further document these historic sites. Traceries is authorized by Loudoun County to conduct this research; however, if they would like to access a private property, they must first seek permission from the property owner. The county’s surveyors are carrying information about the project with them, which members of the public may take to learn more.
The county previously surveyed 210 properties related to African American history dating back to 1770. About 90% of those properties are located within 30 historically African American towns, villages, hamlets or neighborhoods.
The initial 2004 survey included recommendations for additional work and the Loudoun County Heritage Commission’s African American Resource Protection subcommittee has compiled a list of previously unrecorded resources for the current survey work. Surveyors are now attempting to photograph and further document these sites.
Among the goals of the project is to create an expanded and accessible database of architectural, archaeological, and landscape resources, a GIS-based interactive map of the resources and to update information in the Virginia Department of Historic Resources’ Virginia Cultural Resources Information System database.
For more information about the 2004 African American Historic Architectural Resources Survey and other historic and heritage resources in Loudoun County, visit loudoun.gov/historic.
For more information about the current project, contact the Loudoun County Department of Planning and Zoning at 703-777-0246 or by email.
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