nvdaily.com link to home page

Traffic | Weather | Mobile Edition
      Archives | Subscribe | Special Sections


Local News arrow Alex Bridges arrow Fire & Rescue arrow Shenandoah County

| 2

County loses 'jewel' to fire

2014_04_13_Almshouse_Fire16.jpg
Shenandoah County firefighter Adam Pettit waits on water outside the Shenandoah County Farm early Sunday morning. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

2014_04_13_Almshouse_Fire19.jpg
Strasburg Volunteer firefighter Jerry Figgins looks up at this burning section of the Alms House at the Shenandoah County Farm in Maurertown. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

2014_04_13_Almshouse_Fire20.jpg
The bell from the Shenandoah County Farm rests on the ground amid smoldering ashes at the fire scene Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

2014_04_13_Almshouse_Fire21.jpg
A bench remains intact under a tree near the burned structure. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

2014_04_13_Almshouse_Fire22.jpg
The roof of the original structure caved in during the fire. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

2014_04_13_Almshouse_Fire23.jpg
Remains of the buildings smolder at the Shenandoah County Farm. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

2014_04_13_Almshouse_Fire24.jpg
County supervisors and alliance staff gather in front of the Alms House at the Shenandoah County Farm after fire destroyed the historical landmark. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)


By Alex Bridges

MAURERTOWN -- Shenandoah County lost "a jewel" Sunday when a fire destroyed its historic Alms House at the County Farm.

Barbara Adamson, president of the board of the Shenandoah County Historical Society Inc., stood by the County Farm Road structure as it continued to burn that afternoon.

"It's very, very sad," Adamson said. "This is such a county landmark and treasure."

The building that provided shelter for area homeless people had retained much of its original, historic appearance over the years, Adamson said.

"For those of us who really love that kind of thing, it was a jewel," Adamson said.

Adamson had been at the scene earlier that morning but returned to see how far the fire had progress. She pointed out that when she had returned, half of the front wall of the main building had collapsed and the metal roof on the north end had fallen into the structure.

"There are a lot of reasons why old, historic buildings disappear and this is one of the reasons," Adamson said.

The Alms House, sometimes referred to as a poor house, had been constructed on a 200-acre farm previously owned and used by Peter Muhlenberg, pastor of Beckford Parish, and his family. The Glebe Farm became an institution for the benefit of the poor, according to Adamson. The property was deeded to Shenandoah County in 1798 and a different building on the site was used as a poor house.

The Alms House was built in 1829 for the purpose of providing a home for needy people, according to information from Adamson. A kitchen wing on the west side and a two-story extension on the south end were built around 1850. Other buildings on the property possibly date back to the 18th century, according to Adamson. A large barn was built on the property in 1952.

"Changes were made but it was still a basically beautiful ... building," Adamson said.

Approximately 40 acres of the entire farm is now part of the county park. The county also leases part of the farm for agricultural purposes.

The Shenandoah County Alliance for Shelter has used the southern addition for emergency or transitional housing for area homeless people. Structural problems in the central portion and a collapsed wall in the kitchen wing limited the agency to what parts of the building could be used.

The Alms House had been one of the last remaining structures built strictly for the purpose of housing the area's needy people and was still in operation.

By the late 1980s only a few elderly residents lived in the Alms House. The Alliance for Shelter took over the Alms House to provide shelter for homeless families and with a goal of making them self-sufficient.

The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors last week approved an agreement with the Alliance for Shelter and People Inc. for the rehabilitation and renovation of the building. The agreement outlined the responsibilities of all parties involved. Abingdon-based People Inc. would seek funding for the project.

County Administrator Mary Beth T. Price said Sunday afternoon that there may no longer be a need for the agreement and that the fate of any effort to rehabilitate the building remains unknown.

Edward Provost, treasurer and past president of the Alliance for Shelter, said the organization is helping the two people who were staying at the county farm.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com


Keep up to date on local news

Sign up here to receive Northern Virginia Daily news delivered to your email box each morning and when breaking news occurs.

Comments

Comments that are posted represent the opinion of the commenter and not the Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com. View our comments/submisssions policy. Report abuse by clicking the X next to the comment.













Local News Sections

Affordable Care Act Agency on Aging Agriculture Alex Bridges Apple Blossom Festival Aviation Basye Berryville Boyce Breaking News Business Charities Civil War Clarification Clarke County Colleges Corrections Courthouse Notes: Permits, Transactions Courts & Legal News Crime & Public Safety Economy and Jobs Edinburg Education Edward N. Bell Election 2012 Election 2013 Entertainment Environment Fairs & Festivals Fire & Rescue Fishers Hill Fort Valley Frederick County Front Royal George Washington National Forest Guest Column Hard Times Health History Holidays Homes In The Spotlight Jeff Nations Joe Beck Josette Keelor Katie Demeria Kim Walter Ledger Livestock Local Markets Maurertown Media Middletown Military & Veterans Moms Mount Jackson New Market Page County Pets & Animals Politics Progress 2013 Progress 2014 Quicksburg Religion Rockingham County RSW Jail Ryan Cornell School News Shenandoah County Shenandoah Farms Volunteer Fire Department Star Tannery State Stephens City Steven A. Boyce Strasburg Toms Brook Traffic & Transportation Utilities Valley 911 Warren County Weather West Virginia Winchester Woodstock Year in Review




News | Sports | Business | Lifestyle | Obituaries | Opinion | Multimedia| Entertainment | Classifieds
Contact Us | NIE | Place a Classified | Privacy Policy | Comments/Submissions Policy | Subscribe

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137

nvdaily.com
2014 Virginia Press Association Grand Sweepstakes Winner
The Best Small Daily Newspaper in Virginia!


nvdaily.com | seeshenandoah.com