HISTORIC BROWNTOWN (copy)

Marcie Sirbaugh, of Browntown, walks her dog, Cooper, outside the O.J. Rudacille Store on Bentonville Road in June.

Browntown’s historic district has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

After the district received a designation on the Virginia Landmarks Register in June, its application was forwarded to the national register.

The village was officially added on Sept. 30, said Tom Lacombe, chairman of the Browntown Community Center Association’s Historic District Committee.

The committee did much of the research for the designation and hired J. Daniel Pezzoni, of Landmark Preservation Associates in Lexington, to write the nomination form.

“It feels good,” Lacombe said of the national designation.

“My wife and I had worked on this project years ago, but we met with some resistance,” he recalled. “Folks that were afraid it would limit their property rights.”

“The listing on the state and national historic register is an honorary type of thing,” he explained.

The list, which is coordinated by the National Parks Service, is updated weekly. It lists the Browntown Historic District as portions of Bentonville, Browntown, Fetchett and Smith Run roads, Gooney Manor Alley, Gooney Manor Loop and Smelser Lane.

Following the state designation this summer, Lacombe said the community has become more interested in historic preservation.

“We actually started a new history group in Browntown,” he said.

The club is coordinating with the Community Center Association on such efforts as getting a historic sign for the community and helping preserve the Browntown Union Church, which Lacombe said is abandoned but currently owned by Browntown Baptist Church.

Union Church dates to 1882, he said, and was funded by four churches, the Primitive Baptists, Southern Baptists, Lutherans and Methodists, which traded off Sundays as to when they would hold services there.

Another “interesting little tidbit” he recalled was how, after D-Day, schoolchildren were directed to the church to pray for American soldiers fighting in World War II.

Lacombe, who reopened OJ Rudacille Gen. Mdse. country store in late summer following renovations to the front porch, said the store also serves as a destination for those interested in Browntown’s history.

“We’ve developed a little walking tour guide,” he said. “Anyone who comes into the store, I can give them one.”

The store at 5590 Bentonville Road in Browntown is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information on the district’s historic designation, visit dhr.virginia.gov/historic-registers/093-5032.

Contact Josette Keelor at jkeelor@nvdaily.com