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Historic Staunton Foundation documenting historic buildings in Staunton’s West End with new online tool

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 11:41 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Staunton is known for its historic architecture housed in several historic districts, but there are historic buildings outside those districts. A new tool available to the public is helping document that history.

There’s a real push and recent steps to revitalize Staunton’s West End, and the Historic Staunton Foundation is showing there’s a lot of history there worth documenting and preserving.

“Staunton Spectator and Vindicator, the newspaper at that time, would point out very specific activities that were going on in Plunkettsville,” Historic Staunton Foundation Executive Director Frank Strassler said. “The trolley car went to Plunkettsville. They had their own fire department.”

Don’t worry, if you’ve never heard of Plunkettsville, you are not alone. It’s an older community on West Beverley Street. It’s not a historic district, but it’s full of historic gas stations, buildings, and houses, including kit homes.

“They were mail order catalog homes from Sears and Roebuck, Aladdin, Harris Brothers,” stated Strassler. “And, Plunkettesville area actually has quite a few as well at Pattern Book homes.”

For the first time, work is being done to understand this neighborhood. With the help of a new seasonal and paid internship program, the Historic Staunton Foundation was able to get StoryMaps off the ground. It’s a new digital platform that allows the Foundation to do a history of the neighborhoods and individual buildings.

“That’s how the historic districts were created,” said Strassler. “You have to create an inventory. You have to know what your resource is before you can designate it.”

It’s a resource for community planning. “What we’re trying to do as an organization is provide a tool to the community to make decisions about revitalization strategy,” stated Strassler.

And StoryMaps is fun for the at-home-history-lover. “The viewer can click on the map and see a building pop up, or work through the map and the buildings in progression,” said Strassler.

He says they are just getting started on the West End, but StoryMaps is already up and running on the Historic Staunton Foundation website.

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