Gordonsville Historic District

gordonsville pictures 006The history of the Town of Gordonsville is reflective of the history of our nation. From the expansion of the railroad to the Civil War and years beyond, the events in the life of the Town give it a character today that residents and visitors alike cherish and strive to protect. 

To get a sense of the Town's history, one only has to stroll down Main Street and side streets where most of the structures of the Town's early days still stand. This area, known as the Gordonsville Historic District, is centrally located within the Town and generally includes properties along Main Street from the Traffic Circle to Cobb Street, as well as properties along West Baker Street, Weaver Street, Market Street and Commerce Street. 

Is your property located in the Town's historic district? To see what area of the Town is included in the district, view this map.

In August 1983, the Town's historic district was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register, and in October 1983 the district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination form, which describes in detail the features of the historic district and the structures within, is available on the website of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Historic Structures
Located within the Town are numerous structures of historical and architectural significance that exemplify the Town’s rich and important history. These structures provide a link with other periods of the Town’s growth and development and create a diversity of architectural styles, materials and details. These structures contribute to Gordonsville’s allure as an attractive and interesting place in which to live and visit.

The primary concentration of notable structures is located along Main Street between the traffic circle and Grove Avenue. These properties attest to the Town’s basic evolution as buildings in the vicinity of the Old Gordon Tavern extended along Main Street to meet with the development that occurred in the vicinity of the railroad. Many of the buildings provide an interesting example of mid-to late-nineteenth century architecture that occurred as the Town’s growth accelerated with the prosperity of the railroad. While most of the structures in the area are individually notable, the real importance results from their number and continuity, with each structure serving to complement the other, thereby creating a unified relationship.

An inventory of the structures located within the Town's historic district may be viewed here.
Historic Overlay District Ordinance
In October 2009, the Gordonsville Town Council adopted the Town’s first Historic Overlay District (HOD) ordinance for the Gordonsville Historic District. To provide oversight and review in this regard, Town Council appointed a 5-member Board of Architectural Review (BAR) in November of 2009. The BAR assisted the Town in developing enhanced guidelines for the historic district as a tool for assisting property owners in the renovation and care of their properties. These guidelines were adopted by Town Council in July 2010.

These actions demonstrate the Town's desire to protect individually significant properties as well as the character of the entire district. Through the Town's historic district overlay ordinance, the identification, preservation and enhancement of buildings, structures, settings, neighborhoods, places and features with special historical, cultural and architectural significance accomplishes this as set forth below:  

(a) To preserve and protect buildings, structures and properties which serve as important visible reminders of the historic, cultural, and architectural or archaeological heritage of the town, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or the nation;

(b) To assure that, within the town's historic district, new structures, additions and related elements will be in harmony with their setting and environs;

(c) To promote local historic preservation efforts through the identification and protection of historic resources throughout the town;

(d) To maintain and improve property values by encouraging the upkeep, rehabilitation and restoration of older structures in a safe and healthful manner, and by encouraging desirable forms of development that will lead to the continuance, conservation and improvement of the town's historic, cultural and architectural resources and institutions within their settings;

(e) To promote tourism and enhance business and industry, while also promoting an enhanced quality of life within the town through the protection of historic, cultural and archaeological resources.

Certificate of Appropriateness
**In accordance with Section 610.05 of the Town's Land Development Ordinance, no historic landmark, building or structure (including but not limited to outbuildings, fences, walls, permanent signs, and signposts) shall be erected, constructed, reconstructed, altered, or restored unless and until a historic district permit (Certificate of Appropriateness) has been issued by the Board of Architectural Review (BAR). The application for a Certificate of Appropriateness is available online or may be obtained at Gordonsville Town Hall.**